Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Understanding Leadership Barriers for Women

The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the WorkplaceAccording to the White House Project Report 2009 women earn 60% of all degrees and make up 57% of the nation’s college students but only represent 26% of executive level positions. The Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology is working to change this statistic by promoting positive changes in institutional and organization life. One important way to make this change is to find or act as a role model and/or mentor to other women. Building experiences is another great way for young women to break through the glass ceiling. These experiences will build on leadership skills.

Trotman Reid, PhD presented several key activities for women to work on:

• Set you own goals and remember to dream

• Develop your skills and your network

• Adapt a few mentors and cultivate advisers

• Volunteer and self-nominate

• Act like a leader, because perception often becomes reality

• Know the rules and learn the history

• Lean how to share the work and the credit

• Seek balance and live by your priorities

• Make a life, not just a career

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Dad Effect

Can you take control of the board room, keep your cool in stressful situations and successfully manage your peers and direct reports in the office? If so, you may have your Dad to thank, according to recent research that suggests that strong father-son bond forged during childhood may help men deal with everyday stress and relationships later in life. Mallers, PhD examined men about the quality of their father/child relationships, as well as stressful events over several weeks. Mallers found that men who reported a good relationship with their fathers during childhood were less affected by stressful events than those who had poor father-child relationships.

RICH DAD, POOR DAD by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter discusses the importance of mentoring your children into successful careers and relationships. Although I agree that this is extremely important, Mallers research indicates that you can start today by simply wrestling with your kids. Maller suggests that rough and tumble play stimulates and challenges children and can even improve problem solving skills.

So put down those flash cards and build a future leader with some rough play.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Does your email really say what you mean?

A new download from Microsoft called ToneCheck will scan outgoing email messages and flags wording that could be interpreted as harsh, angry of offensive. It will flag obvious swear words but will also detect aggressive statements or starting too many sentences with “you”.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

TWO TEN Hosts Leadership Panel

LuAnn Via
 Two Ten offers Financial Assistance, Counseling, Community Resources and Scholarships to those working in the footwear industry. They are committed to strengthening the footwear community with financial, social and educational support and services while nurturing community building and volunteerism. On October 14, 2010 Two Ten hosted a Leadership Town Hall in NYC for emerging leaders in the footwear industry. This remarkable panel included 5 footwear presidents (LuAnn Via of Payless Shoe Source; Scott Savitz of; Mike Shirley of Nina footwear; Jim Salzano of Clarks Companies; Jay Piccola of Puma) and leadership expert Dr. Ann Beatty.

Jay Piccola
 The 90 minute town hall was a smooth flowing conversation between the audience of emerging leaders like the young leadership director, Alison Muskat of Deer Stags and the comfortably seating panel. The panelists were questioned about key leadership traits, techniques used during the economic crisis, ethical leadership, and recommendations for future leader. The panelist all agreed that one of the keys to success in any leadership position is communication. Each panelist discussed different approaches within their organizations including town hall meetings, newsletters and informal walk throughs. However, the most surprising element of the panel for me came at the end of the discussion when the panelists were asked to give future leaders recommendations. Almost all of the panelists recommended in some way that future leaders live a more balanced life than the panelists currently were. They almost all said they wish they would spend more time with friends and family and feel this would ultimately increase they work performance. In response to questions regarding the economic crisis and up holding integrity within their organizations and the industry LuAnn Via said it best…”you need to model and live what you are telling people. Honesty and integrity are one thing on paper but another in action.”

This is just an idea of the interesting conversation that took place in NYC on Oct. 14th. Two Ten continues to bring footwear leaders – join in the fun at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cleaning the Web- Air

The economy is slowly coming around and you are out there applying for jobs. The key to getting a job may be in your past or what’s not there. Almost 80% of recruiters surveyed in a recent Microsoft study checkout out applicants online, and 70% of those eliminated candidates based on what they found. Before you apply to that new position google yourself. If you find junk in orbit look into one of these companies working to clean the air. These companies can tell you what’s out there (for your entire family), push positive info to the top of searches and even delete information you don’t want floating around.

Reputation Defender, Naymz, Schakra, Brand-yourself

Thursday, September 30, 2010

You're Great!

How many times do we look at a child and say, Oh he's so smart? Can we not ever be more detailed or possibly more realistic?
Now I don't mean to come off inconsiderate. Actually, just the opposite. Giving our children or anyone for that matter detailed realistic feedback helps them grow and develop in multiple ways. Saving "over the top" praise for occasional moments makes the praise more valuable and credible. Being specific helps them know what part they did well because sometimes they don't know what they did that was impressive and therefore have difficulty repeating it.
The reason it is just wrong to tell our kids (or direct reports) how amazing (e.g., smart) they are is because smart is not something we are or are not. Our brain is like a muscle that improves with exercise. The more we practice and use our brain, the better it performs. If we can teach that, than they understand that they can play a major role in how intelligent they become.
The catch 22 to our intended compliment is that individuals who are often told how smart, wonderful, high potential they are do not attempt to try anything that they will not be instantly good at. They are afraid to prove your statement wrong. On the contrary, those who are encouraged to work on activities even when they are not mastering them are not afraid to take on new challenges. If you encourage hard work, they will feel like they can most certainly accomplish what you are expecting of them. It is fear of disappointing others that stops people from leaving their comfort zone.

**Refer to Nurture Shock for more information.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nurture Shock

A parenting book like NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman may seem irrelevant to the modern businessman but surprisingly enough the concepts clearified in this book for infants can be clearly translated into health business relationship building.

This book proposes that good sibling relationship building starts before the second child is even born. Parents can groom the eldest children to be a good big brother and sister before they even have a sibling. Having your child experience friendships, playgroups, daycare or the like is where they get practice in equal relationships. Supervisors think of your subordinates (in the most respectful way) as children by providing them with opportunities to participate in healthy team environments, mirror good management behaviors and focus on good behaviors rather than punishing bad behavior. Just as children learn that certain behaviors gain them friendships and certain behaviors lose them employees quickly learn what will get them ahead and what will get them isolated from the team.

The book further describes that share fantasy play truly shows how a child can get along with others. In order to make believe children "must emotionally commit to one another, and pay attention to what the other is doing. They have to articulate what's in their mind's eye and negotiate some scenario that allows both their visions to come alive." Clear communication as described in this example is the key to working together. Work groups should focus on building communication skills to improve efficiency and productivity.

ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN…well they weren’t lying. Practice healthy relationship, model good behaviors and communicate clearly and often to play nice with others.

Co-authored by Dawn Gilbertson and IO Psych Girl

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


A recent study conducted at Michigan State University and presented at the APA 2010 Convention in San Diego examined the effects of bullying on life satisfaction and psychological distress. Furthermore, researchers looked at the effects of race, gender and self-esteem as moderators. Results indicated that Caucasians reported more general workplace bullying while African Americans reported significantly more racial bullying at work. Females in both race groups reported significantly more bullying and experiences greater psychological distress and less life satisfaction than men. However, self-esteem significantly moderated all of the previous effects.

For example, individuals with higher self-esteem whom report bullying did not experience psychological distress nor decreased life satisfaction. The researchers discussed how this could be a double edged sword. In the African American community young boys are taught to have a strong self-esteem but sometimes this can be portrayed as intimidating especially to the white community. This often causes a backlash increasing racial bullying in the workplace.

How can we stop this trend?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Body Doesn’t Lie: Psychophysiological Study of Dancers

The current study conducted at the Graduate Student and Faculty Dance Concert held at California State University, Northridge illustrated that dancers demonstrate a significantly high awareness of their generally physiological states and are able to regulate those states if unbalanced. Empirical results illustrated that dancers are autotelic (Autotelic is used to describe people who are internally driven, and as such may exhibit a sense of purpose and curiosity. This determination is an exclusive difference from being externally driven, where things such as comfort, money, power, or fame are the motivating force,) and considered intrinsically rewarded by dance and performance. . Further, the results from the Adult Attachment Interview provided evidence that dancers from this sample had coherent states of mind regarding attachment, loss and trauma experiences. Their coherence of mind supported the notion that dancers have flexible attentional abilities and enhanced integration of cognitive-emotional processes. This can be seen in their portrayal of emotionally charged characters.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Work-Family Conflict

A recent study conducted at the University of Washington and presented at the APA 2010 Convention in San Diego examined men’s role in the household. Past research in this area has illustrated that women tend to take on more household responsibilities even when they are working full time. The current study examined the impact of traditional vs. modern male perspectives on work – family conflict. Results indicated that men with a traditional perspective spent more time at work and allowed work to interfere with family. Men with modern perspectives spent 20 plus hours caring for others at home and reported significantly less work – family conflict even while controlling for job performance.


Organizations need to be respectful of MENS needs and stop asking them to skip paternity leave or work on weekends. Furthermore, men need to change their own perspectives and attitudes about other men. Finally, men who hold traditional perspectives of the male role should attempt to alter this attitude to decrease work-family conflict while maintaining job performance.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Creativity, Passion and Love

At the annual American Psychological Associations 2010 Convention in San Deigo Kelly Campbell presented empirical research illustrating that single individuals reported higher creativity than individuals in coupled relationships. Additionally, coupled individuals reported higher creativity if they were involved in a passionate love-based relationship, versus a companionate love-based relationship. Relationship length was also associated with creativity levels in that individuals involved in short term partnerships (e.g., relationship length < 1 year) reported fewer creative behaviors than individuals involved in long-term partnerships. Our study extends existing research by demonstrating that creativity varies as a function of relationship status (i.e., single versus coupled, short-term versus long-term) and love type (i.e., passionate versus companionate love).

Keep the passion alive and get creative!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pay for Performance or for Beauty?

It is common knowledge that attractive people get hired more often and paid more. Whether you like it or not it happens all over the globe. Beauty premiums exist in Holland, China and the US amount several other countries. So if we know this why do companies keep doing it. A recent study at Penn Institute for Economic Research found that correlations between height and income were most attributed to confidence. Surprisingly, they found adult income differences between tall men and women if they were not tall or attractive as children. So, the beauty premium only existed for individuals who were tall and attractive as children and as adults. The Journal of Applied Psychology pegs the premium at an extra $789 annually per inch of height. However, there was no actual work performance differences found across any of the studies. The researcher concluded that the beauty effect is similar to the placebo effect, where some real value actually does derive from nothing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


How would you feel if some say your company was “vanilla”? So often we equate vanilla with boring or bad but isn’t vanilla the most successful and longest lasting flavor ever? Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi recently discussed just this issue in the June 2010 issue of the Harvard Business Review. Leinwand and Mainardi stress the importance of focusing intensely on what you (or your company) do (does) best. They call it the coherence premium. In general the coherence premium tells you to stick with your companies “vanilla” or what you do best.

Companies today are so focused on innovation and creativity that too often they lose focus on what they have done that was successful. They suggest that companies should create their strategy from the foundation of “what they do best” with the marketplace. They further illustrate that coherence in capabilities correlate strongly with greater profitability (as measured by EBIT margin). When you think of innovative companies you may think of Apple. But when you look with a “vanilla” eye you can clearly see that they have built off of their strengths (i.e., technology). Working off your organizations vanilla doesn’t mean being boring! To build a successful strategy there needs to be alignment between the people, organization and strategy. So start with vanilla, and build from vanilla.

Success is the new vanilla!

What do you think? Should companies stick with what they are good at or jump on the innovation wagon and create something new.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Woman's Touch

Company EEOC programs often warn against hugging and touching your coworkers because you may not be able to read when it is or is not ok. A study published in the April issue of Psychological Science indicated another reason men may not want a woman’s touch in the office and it’s not why you think. The study examined the financial risk taking behave of men who received a handshake, a pat of the back or no contact from a woman before entering a meeting where they were going to make financial decisions. Results indicated that those men who received pats of the back or a pat on the back were willing to risk more financially (and reported feeling more secure) than me who received handshakes. While those who received handshakes still took more risks than men who did not receive contact. A control group with men delivering the touch did not illustrate any significant different than the non touch group. So men, be aware of another’s touch before you make a big decision.

Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers

Harvard Business Review on Women in Business (Harvard Business Review Paperback Series)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Increase Performance with a Cup of Joe

Have you somehow let your health conscience coworker get you to kick your caffeine addiction? Well, think again about that cup of joe. A recent study from the London School of Tropical Medicine in England found that caffeine in any form (i.e., pills, energy drinks and coffee) improved performance on cognitive tests of memory, attention, perception and reasoning compared to participants without caffeine. So cut it out for now, but the next challenging project you have to work on may be best accompanied by a cup of joe.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Online Consulting in the Digital Age

Technology is developing faster than we can keep up. Unfortunately, that also means it is growing faster than regulators can make policies. Journalist Amy Schatz, who covers tech policy and the FCC for The Wall Street Journal reported that congress will be meeting in June to discuss communication laws that were last examined in 1996 and were created back when the internet didn’t even exist. The challenge is to create policies and laws that will be flexible enough for changing technology but detailed enough to enforce privacy on the web.

However the opportunity currently exists for practitioners to speak their voice about their concerns regarding client information and telepsychology. We need to ensure that confidentiality and informed consent are critical in providing telepsychology services. If you don’t think this is relevant to your business today…it will be!

The Ohio Psychological Association was the first state to issue telepsychology guidelines for its members. Check them out at

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Global Voices

Nothing compares to experience whether it Is in the workplace or through travels but global voices online is a comparable option for those individuals that can’t take the time off, spend the money or physically go places an opportunity to learn globally. As mentioned in my post on attitude change, humans have a difficult time changing their perceptions of people and places without an experience that influences a change. Global Voices is a collection of political, social and economic stories written by citizen and professional journalists across the world. Americans can now access all this information without ever leaving their computers.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

People in Power May Be Better Liars

Have you ever thought about the non verbal cues you send to others while you are telling a lie? Do you try to look them in the eye; sit still; blink less? These non verbal cues are caused by anxiety and stress from lying. Dana Carney, a professor at the Columbia University School of Business recently found that people can hide these non verbal cues but that some people, specifically people in power position, actually experiences less emotional distress when lying than people in non-power positions. The participants of Carney’s study were instructed by a computer to steal a $100 bull. If they could convince an interviewer they hadn’t taken it, they could keep it. She found that lying bosses displayed fewer involuntary signs of dishonesty and stress. On all measures, liars with power were hard to distinguish from subjects telling the truth. In essence, Carvey’s study tells us that if you give people power, they’ll be more comfortable lying. Watch out for interaction where you’re not in the power position and keep a skeptical outlook.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Networking Tips

Finding a new job is not always easy and often depends on who you know. People with whom you have formed relationships can become walking, talking advertisements for you. There are many techniques for building up your networking including joining organizations, holding positions on non-profit boards, and becoming a resource for others. Although informational interviews, follow ups or personal recommendations are traditionally part of networking, social networking can be utilized in a similar manner to broaden and develop contacts. Whether you are networking in person or online you need to be on top of current events. These days everyone listens to NPR, so how are you going to be original, interesting and memorable? is a fairly new website with intriguing bits of information and conversation starter. This site provides great conversation ideas for that silence in a conversation.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rationality is important, but it’s not enough!

Everyone handles negotiations differently. In fact some people see everything as a negotiation while others view very few aspects of life up for negotiation. In my family we were always given choices (probably because we were little Montessori kids). Water the plants or clean the dishes. Get a weekly salary for a list of tasks or get paid by the number of tasks you could complete. Pretty much we were taught to be open and honest about our wants and needs. The underlying factors behind my families motives were fairly clear. Expectations were set and decisions were easily resolved.

However, to this day I have never pictured myself as a negotiator. I have friends who tell me to play hardball with potential employers, shoot for a high salary and expect them to counter. They even suggest telling family members one story so that they will not react badly to another. I have struggled with these common negotiation techniques and have even tried a few.
A recent article by Rebacca Clay in the Monitor on Psychology (May 2010) brought to light the true genius of my negotiation skills. She writes about Daniel Shapiro, a PhD from Amherst who specializes in negotiations. Shapiro has toured with past presidents and travels the world helping governments negotiate. Years ago he started to wonder “how you bring helpful, positive emotions into the negotiating process?” His research is showing that negotiators who focus on appreciation, affiliation, autonomy and emotions build trust, respect and foster honesty so that “many of the defenses start to fall away and opponents start to focus more seriously on the real underlying issues” not emotional dynamics.

So the next time you are in a debate put down your guard and be honest. Tell your future employer what you would like, honestly! Then, SURPRISED when they hand it over!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Be Aware of Shaming Others

Within psychology the terms shame and guilt are often used interchangeable however recent research publish in the Journal of Self & Identity (Wolf, Cohen, Panter & Insko, 2009) empirically illustrated that shame and guilt proneness are distinct from each other regardless of their similarities. Wolf et al (2009) further revealed that individuals experiencing shame focus on how they are being evaluated by others, while individuals experiencing guilt focus on how their behavior has affected others. Shame proneness was negatively associated with self-esteem and positively associated with personal distress and neuroticism. Guilt proneness was positively associated with empathic concern, perspective taking and subscription to conventional morality. These results illustrate that employees whom are publically shamed are more likely to withdrawal from work while individuals who feel guilt try to actively fix the situation. Companies that “make examples” of deviant employees make reduce deviance across the organization but they should beware of the impact they have on the individual that will feel shame after the fact.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mandela's Way

Stengel’s book Mandela’s Way is a pleasant and quick read that clearly illustrates 15 principles of life and leadership as modeled throughout Nelson Mandela’s life. Stengel describes how the Mandela after prison was a patient leader that empowered others, deliberately thought about the long-term outcomes, adjusted his own behavior to appeal to his rivals and gain followers and always acted with integrity. Mandela’s Way is an inspiration book that will inspire genius, integrity and humility in leaders today.

Some of my favorite lessons include Courage Is Not the Absence of Fear (i.e., confront your fears don’t hide from them), Know Your Enemy (i.e., understand their needs, wants, culture) and Lead From the Back (i.e., empower others)…This really is a quick read so I encourage you to go get it or download it today.

#12 Love Makes the Difference
Do what is best for others…
When you love you don’t see faults but focus on assets…
#13 Quitting is Leading Too
You don’t have to comment on everything…
When faced with evidence back down…
Accept others decisions when you have included them in the decision making process…
#14 It’s Always Both
Answers and situations are not always black or white but shades of gray…
Sometimes you need to see many different perspectives to help all sides win and see solutions that were not always apparent.
#15 Find Your Own Garden
Find something away from the world that gives you pleasure
The Gift
Realize that you are a part of a brotherhood of human beings. You do not operate, lead or succeed as an individual. You are a piece of a puzzle where “me” is always subordinate to “we”.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Conforming to the Green Movement

Keeping up with the Joneses, changes as readily as the times. In the 1960’s suburban neighborhoods and Sear’s products was all the rage. If you live on the Upper East Side on Manhattan, Dolce and Gabbana is a must and if you are an American in 2010 GREEN is in.

A recent series of studies conducted at the University of Minnesota and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 98, No. 3) illustrated just how fake people can become to keep up with the Joneses of their time. In one experiment, participants were asked to select from 2 equally priced items which they would purchase (eco friendly or not cars, household cleaners). Participants were more likely to purchase the GREEN options because they were more desirable and status-evoking. However a second study illustrated that participants were more likely to select non-green and more indulgent products in private but would select GREEN products in public.

I found this study intriguing for a couple of reasons. First of all my husband often asks me why I respond to the compliment “I like that sweater, shirt, etc.” with “Oh, I got it on sale.” After thinking about the answer for awhile I came to the conclusion that if I do find it on sale I am not as ashamed of purchasing an expensive item for myself. You would never hear me say ‘Oh thank you, I got this Burberry bag at full price.” I guess a NORMAL response would all depend on your environment and what is acceptable. Secondly, the entire green movement is great. I like it and try to implement many green practices into my life. That said I hate that I may be conforming to a popular trend. In this case I think conforming may be good for the ego and the environment.

What do you find yourself doing that conforms to social standard even if you do not nessessarily believe in it or understand why you are behaving in such a way?

Also see
Novotney, A. Envy, it seems, really can turn us green. Monitor on Psychology, 41 (5). 10.
Griskevicius, V. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98 (3).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Leading with the Brain in Mind

Businesses everywhere are faced with change. Innovation, creativity and success aren’t possible without change. So, how do we make it work and why does it fail so often. Recent research in neuroscience integrated with organizational psychology theory may show us the way. In general people resist change. In many studies of patients who have undergone coronary bypass surgery, only one in nine people, on average, adopt healthier day-to-day habits. Leaders that take into account the complexities of the human brain may have a leg up in the race on change. They understand that change is pain and expectations shape reality.

Change is Pain: People resist change because it is actually painful to their brains. Familiar information and actions activate the basal ganglia involving a minimum amount of energy whereas new and unfamiliar information activates the prefrontal cortex, an energy-intensity area of the brain. Furthermore, changes from routine to non-routine activate amygdale creating the feelings of fear and anger.

Expectations Shape Reality: Cognitive scientists have illustrated that individual’s attitudes play a more central role in human perception that was previously understood. Think of the placebo effect. Research participants actually feel differences because they believe they are receiving a drug when really it is a sugar pill. Similarly, employees can change their perceptions of a change process simply by changing their mental idea or how it will turn out. When looking at attitudes concerning racism research indicated that racists individuals whom experience a life changing event that counters their original attitude toward another ethnic group will drastically alter their perceptions. Organizations that can create a moment of insight can create complex new connections for employees thus, increasing the likelihood of lasting change.

So whether you are at work or going out with new friends try to maximize the aspects you are familiar with (such as bringing along a friend you like as support) and focus on your attitude before you go (tell yourself “I am going to meet interesting people tonight”).

Rock, D. (2009). Managing with the brain in mind. Strategy & Business, 56.
Rock, D., & Schwartx, J. (2006). The Neuroscience of Leadership. Strategy & Business. 43.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Experiences Make Us Happier

Do you feel more satisfaction from that great shirt you purchased last year or the family vacation to Europe or the Grand Canyon? Travis Carter, PhD and Thomas Gilovich, PhD recently published research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggesting that your satisfaction with your trip will get better over time, while buying a shirt, painting or TV will ultimately leave you disappointed. They illustrated that experiential items provide a greater long term happiness than material items because experiences are more subjective in nature and can’t be compared where as material items can be compared to what others buy.

So take that trip or get a massage the next time you are looking for a happy pill and men take those ladies on a vacation instead of buying them cloths or jewelry. Just say there is research behind your choice.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Yes, Intelligence Matters

Recent research on the recognition of ethical issues indicates the general mental ability (GMA) is the most significant predictor of recognition correlating r = .24. Recognition of emotions in others (a factor of emotional intelligence) was a close second, significantly correlating with recognition of ethical issues by r =.23. Book smarts vs. people smarts. Interestingly enough we found that individuals with low GMA were still able to accurately recognize ethical issues when they had high emotional intelligence scores!

For organizations accessing for ethics and/or integrity the key may be in the books. Look at those Thurston and Watson scores to help predict employee’s ability to recognize ethical issues.
** This research is unpublished but under review.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Be a Proactive Ethical Leader

Ethical leadership specifically includes social influences including “personal interactions and interpersonal relationships & the promotion of such conduct to followers through communication, reinforcement, and decision-making” (Brown, Trevino & Harrison, 2005, p.120). Ethical leadership practices make them proactive not reactive. The following are tips for becoming an ETHICAL LEADER.

1.Talk about your expectations. For example, discuss how you would expect your direct reports to behave if they knew about insider trading or even damaging gossip within the work group. Setting these expectations early and reviewing them often allow others to know what to do if issues arise.

2.Follow Through: Leaders that set up codes of ethics or policies but do not enforce them are more detrimental than not having a policy in the first place. So stick to it and enforce the rewards and punishments as planned.

3.Model Behavior: Our research indicates that the majority of employees are in Kohlberg’s cognitive moral development stage 2-3 indicating that they follow social and group norms more than anything else. Thus, modeling ethical behavior can directly influence the individuals and groups below you to behavior in an ethically congruent manner.

4.Look around You: Our research illustrates those individuals with high emotional recognition and regulation or the self and others (Factors are taken from the MEIA) are more likely to recognize if an ethical issue is present. So stop and think about your own and others emotions and feeling.

* Participants were 220 full-time, executives in a retail-focused multinational corporation. The participants were: incumbent senior level executives. 56% male, mean age of 41(range 30-60). Forty two percent of the participants managed 1-3 employees, 28% managed 4-6, nine percent managed 7-9, and 22% of the participants managed ten or more employees. Participants were located in US offices including New York, Madison, L.A. and St. Louis. Approximately half of the participants (54%) had previously taken a course in business ethics and 100% reported English as their primary language. Executives were assessed on Ethical Recognition, Personality traits, Emotional Intelligence, Cognitive Moral Development and General Mental Ability.

**Other great resources in the following articles. Tett, R. P., Fox, K. E., & Wang, A. (2005). Development and validation of a self-report measure of emotional intelligence as a multidimensional trait domain. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 859-888. Trevino, L. K. (1986). Ethical decision-making in organizations: A person-situation interactionist model. Academy of Management Review, 11, 601-617. Trevino, L. K., & Brown, M. E. (2004). Managing to be ethical: Debunking five business ethics myths. Academy of Management Executives, 18, 69-81.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big Fish/Small Pond - Small Fish/ Big Pond

When selecting graduate programs should you go for the best ranked school you can gain acceptance to OR go to a lower ranked school where you know you’ll be at the top of your class? I recently attended at lecture series on self efficacy. The professor discussed recent research examining law students at top ranked law programs and lower ranked law programs. Initial LSAT scores were considerably higher for all students whom attended the higher ranked law programs. However, results indicated that only students in the top 2/3rds of either highly or lowly ranked programs passed the bar. Although the students in the highly ranked programs in the lower 1/3 of their class have considerably higher LSAT scores they were unable to pass the bar indicating that self efficacy (i.e., confidence) may have a key role in ultimate success. I found this discussion really interesting because it suggested people should work toward the “big fish in the small pond”.

That said I just read Bedeian, Cavazos, Hunt and Jauch’s (2010) article in the Academy of Management Learning & Education entitle “Doctoral degree prestige and the academic marketplace”. Bedeian et al. (2010) illustrated in a group of 171 PhD holders that doctoral origin prestige had a direct effect on the prestige of initial academic appointment regardless of initial publication quality. Whoozers! Bedeian et al. (2010) research suggests you should go for the most prestige program you can get into.

What do you think? What did you do and how did it turn out?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Asset-Based Thinking

When faced with a problem how do you tackle it? Do you identify what is wrong, vent about why it is bad and try to generate solution to fix it? This is the technique that most people use to problem solve. However, Kathryn Cramer, PhD and Hank Wasiak offer a different approach in their book Change the Way You See Everything Through Asset-Based Thinking.

Cramer and Wasiak discuss the optimization of focusing on individuals, teams and organizational strengths or assets to problem solve. Stop for a second and visualize a problem you are having. Now identify the worst part of the problem at #1 and continue to identify the best outcome or asset up to #5. Now, how will you minimize #1 and optimize #5? They suggest that individuals, teams and organizations can actually concur more problems if they focus on optimizing strengths instead of venting deficiencies.

The second aspect of asset-based thinking is based on DESIRE. Cramer and Wasiak discuss the longevity of desires. Recent research has illustrated that fear only provokes change for approximately 90 days while desire can evoke lasting change. Help your employees identify their desires by asking them what they want to happen?, How will they get there?, and Why is this important to them? Help they work toward their desires through your team’s or organizational goals.

Start building off your assets TODAY!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Servant Leadership

Organizational leaders are often seen as inspirational beings that direct others toward goals and objectives that have been set for them. Research has illustrated that there are many different types of leadership. Some types of leadership rely on rewards and punishments (i.e., transactional) while others rely on position or title (i.e., legitimate). Servant leadership is distinct from all of these forms of leadership in that its sole purpose is to develop and improve the lives of its followers. Servant leaders want to serve others first and are leaders because they have made a conscientious choice to help others through leading.

Greenleaf (1970) states that "The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?"

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Putting HR at the Executive Table

Overall participants felt that their HR departments have a “seat at the strategic corporate table”. This is a drastic change from HR department’s positions only five years ago. This is extremely important to progress and value within organizations. HR is an active participant in driving the business toward its goals and contributing to the competitive advantage of the organization. The webinar focuses on a case study in Universal Weather and Aviation and specifically how their HR department is a key party in driving strategic direction. To link to the recorded webinare click here.

Self-Control Instantly Replenished by Self-Affirmation

Self-Control Instantly Replenished by Self-Affirmation

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Get Yourself Out There

How many times have you been asked “so how are things going?” and you give a general response like “good”? This could be a bigger mistake than you think. In the current economy getting your ideas and accomplishments out there may be your ticket upward. Take the time while brushing your teeth, driving into work/school and think about you elevator pitch. Practice what you would tell someone you just met about your current research, findings, projects or accomplishments to catch their attention. Most importantly you need to let them know why your work is important. Focus on how your work/research is going to solve some problem. Know where you want your work/research to go. Be clear about your interest in using your research to find a job, work with a new client or get a grant. Be excited about your own work but try not to use too much “smart jargon”. Be clear and concise. Go sell it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Opportunities In Psychology

The need for assessment psychologists is growing. Psychological assessments were originally popular in clinical settings but today they can be found in many areas of psychology including organizational psychology. Organizational psychologists use psychological assessments for pre-employment screening, development and selection. Getting the right talent on the bus shouldn’t be left up to intuition. When you bring in the precise measurements, then at least you’re resting the data you’re getting on something that is reliable and trustworthy. Psychological assessments can also be used in career planning helping guide individuals toward or award from specific career paths. Helping individuals identify these paths can save them time and money in the long run. Without an accurate assessment, it’s impossible to establish appropriate goals for executive development.

Assessment Psychology Resources:
APA Div. 5 (Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics)
Society for Personality Assessment:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Just a thought about education...In the current economy more and more people are turning back to education to get a step ahead in the work force. After meeting with the Senior Associate Dean & Director of Executive Programs at one of the top ten universities in the nation I learned that MBA enrollment has doubled as well as EMBA enrollment.

So what do you think? Will more education get you promoted? If too many people have advanced degrees will it widen the economic gap?

Another trend that we see is an increase in certificate programs. Do you think Leadership or Human Resource certificates will help individuals in organizations?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Coaching Plateaued Salespeople in a Flat Economy

Dr. Beane and Mr. Lena provide insight into the management and improvement of your sales force in today's struggling economy. They provide several tips of how to increase your sales force efficiency by teaching them how to respond and interact with clients.

To view a replay of the webinar click here.
To view the pdf of the power points click here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Challenge for Lent

How often do you set a New Years goal or give up something for Lent but after a couple of days you just can’t commit? I for one have tried some goals that were more difficult than I had imagined at the time. One year I gave up eating after 8pm so I could (lose weight) and be reminded of what God’s sacrificed for us. Another year I attempted to stop biting my nails. I used several techniques for both such as setting small goals, rewarding behaviors after a set time and even tried adverse conditioning methods. In this post I would like to cover some techniques that I believe are the most effectively for shaping behavior. I’ll use ‘nail biting’ as the example throughout.

Small Goals: Work on not performing the behavior for a couple hours. If the behavior is already less frequent (ex. Snapping at a spouse) work on staying calm for three days or a week at a time.

Rewards: Before you start trying to change any behavior determine how you will reward yourself. When I was working on not biting my nails I would set a reward schedule (ex. After week 1 I would get a manicure, after week 2 a new shirt, etc.). You need to pick rewards that matter to YOU, if they aren’t really reinforcing your behavior they will not motivate you to change.

Adverse Conditioning: AC involves the pairing of painful or adverse stimuli with the behavior. I used to put bitter (NO BIT) nail polish on my finger. Whenever I would forget and bit them there would be this really bitter taste that would immediately make me stop biting. When training my dog not to bark at the door I would shack a tin can full of pennies. Pairing the loud noise with his bark quickly stopped the behavior.

I hope you find these helpful as you work toward you New Years or Lent Goals.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Do you really know yourself?

Why does it so often seem that your spouse, mother or friend seem to know you better than you know yourself? In hindsight do you feel that your parents really did know what was right for you? Well recent psychological research indicates they just might know some things about you better than you do.

Simine Vazire, a PhD at Washington University in St. Louis recently illustrated that individual are more accurate in assessing one’s own internal traits, such as anxiety, while friends, spouses and parents are better gauges of intellect-related traits, such as intelligence and creativity. He even found that strangers are equally adept as our friends and ourselves at spotting the extrovert in us all, a psychology domain known as “extroversion.”

We may not be the best experts of our own behavior as researchers originally thought.
Vazire says, “Personality is not who you think you are, it’s who you are. Some people think by definition that we are the experts on our personality because we get to write the story, but personality is not the story – it’s the reality. So, you do get to write your own story about how you think you are, and what you tell people about yourself, but there still is reality out there, and, guess what? Other people are going to see the reality, regardless of what story you believe.”

Vazire’s results could have drastic implications for self report assessments used for selection, development and promotion. To date many of the assessments used in assessment centers ask individuals to rate how they believe they would perform on a task, behave in a given situation or perferr to act at a party/meeting/conference. Although psychologists are well aware of the issues of self-report measures Vazire’s study makes a case for other rated assessments and possibly the increases use of 360 degree surveys that can illustrate the differences between self and other perceptions.

Vazire’s study is published in the February 2010 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

For more information on this study click here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Supreme Court Ruling in Ricci v. Destefano

On June 29, 2009 the Supreme Court ruled 4-5 in favor of the New Haven’s Fire Department’s decision to toss out promotional tests because of possible disparate treatment. Sixteen white and one Hispanic firefighter took the New Haven Service Board (CSB) to court for reverse discrimination. The 17 plaintiffs had taken and successfully passed the departments promotional assessment but were later told that the test was no longer going to be considered a factor for promotion because none of the black applicants passed the assessment.

The CSB needed to illustrate that there was legal motive for discarding the exam. I will not go into the details concerning adverse impact cases at this point but you can consult Gaurdians of New York v. Civel Service Commissions, 1980; Gillespis v. Wisconsin, 1985 or US v. City of New York, 2009 for several examples of such cases.
After reversing the lower court ruling Justice Kennedy ruled that the CSB took appropriate action.

This case has been all over the news because of the possible changes from its outcome. As IO psychologists the major take away we should examine is the importance of the validation process in measurement development (Police Officer v. City of Columbus, 1990) and being aware of potential reverse discrimination cases and/or disparate treatment cases in the future.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Career Counseling Youth

I spent the weekend interviewing high school seniors for full ride scholarships to a medium sized private university. Interviewing these students was like a flash back in time; a time when you think you know what you want, where you are going, and that you are awesome. I consistently hear students state they wanted to go into a certain field while describing the contents of another field completely. For example, “I want to go pre-med because I shadowed a doctor in my town and truly enjoyed helping them with the personal aspects of their recovery including their moods, emotions and family life.”

It made me think about pre-college career counseling. Could you imagine if you had someone or a group of people sit down and give you honest feedback about the discrepancy between what you thought you wanted to do and what was sparking your interest in possibly a different area? From our example, it was clear throughout the interview that this student was truly interested in clinical psychology and/or social work but was going to work through medicine to achieve those paths.

I have assisted with several career appraisals for college graduates and executives switching fields but it made me think more and more about the younger generations that we aren’t tapping into. Although I believe assessments may help guild this process, I think a more clinical approach may better identify younger individual’s true interests.

What do you think? Would you have appreciated career feedback in high school? In hindsight would you have gone a different path than you did in college?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reflections on McCall, M.W. (2010). Recasting Leadership Development. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice

Literature in the area of leadership development is consistently illustrated the benefits of experiential learning verse standard HR systems (McCall, 2010). The authors suggest that true leadership development starts with selection. If leaders are selected who 1) believe leadership is critical to the business, 2) accept that individuals can be taught to lead, 3) believe individuals learn through hands on experience and 4) that they can have a futuristic perspective of the benefits of modeling leadership behavior.

The major factors that may be holding business and executives back from implementing experiential leadership development include possible failures, bottom line focus, and the preserved value of PEOPLE. McCall (2010) plays devil’s advocate for the reader in identifying the counter arguments and suggesting potential solutions. For example, many executives have seem unprepared individuals get tossed into a project only to fail. McCall’s potential solution includes having leadership that identify learning differences in subordinates and cater to their learning needs. Some subordinates many need more modeling than others.

Furthermore, we can see similar suggestions reflected in the popular business literature including Outliers and Good to Great. Good to Great by Jim Collins emphasizes that success full organizations work to get the right people on the bus so together they can move in the right direction. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell stress the importance of practice. The authors illustrate that he most successful individuals have over 10, 000 hours of practice in their area. Imagine what an individual with over 10,000 hours of hands on experience could do by the time they are in a TRUE leadership experience.

The take away:

1) Individuals should be selected from the start that illustrate the potential and motivation to learn to lead and lead others.

2) Organizations should hold current managers accountable for creating experiential leadership development for their high potential employees.

3) EXPERIENCE = Success

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Conscious Competence Ladder

The Conscious Competence Ladder is a learning model used to identify what an individual’s competence level is on a learning scale. The Conscious Competence Ladder of learning infers that an individual will climb the ladder as they acquire and build expertise in a new area.

Level 1 – Unconscious Incompetence
At this level the individual does not understand or realize that they are lacking in a competence area.

Level 2 – Conscious Incompetence
At this level the individual realizes that there are skills and knowledge that they need to acquire and that there are others that are competent in this skill.

Level 3 – Conscious Competence
At this level the individual has acquired new skills and knowledge, is putting it into practice and is consciously refining this skill/knowledge.

Level 4 – Unconscious Competence
At this level the individual has become unaware of their skill because it is performed in an automatic way.

Attempts have been made to add a Level 5 to the Conscious Competence Ladder. Level 5 has been described in several different ways. One way is as “conscious competence of unconscious competence”, which describes a person’s ability to recognize and develop unconscious incompetence in others. Nonaka (1994) indirectly describes a possible Level 5 as “reflective competence”, which is the appraisal of one’s own skills and knowledge. Within “reflective competence” an individual searchers for a depth of information that builds off their existing competency base.

If you were to imagine a Level 5 what would it be?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Individual Differences In Negative Tolerance

I had an interesting thing happen to me today…My husband asked how a recent meeting with my boss had gone? My initial reply was "we don't have time now to get into it." (it was 8:10am and I had to get to work) but he insisted that I tell him. So, being the chatty women I am I started telling him about the words that were said and the meaning I inferred. The promises I was told that I know in my heart will not come true. After approximately one and a half minutes my husband (still lying in bed) picked up his blackberry and started reading his email. I stopped, looked at him and asked "why did you stop listening to me?" His response really got me thinking "because you are being negative!"

Wow…I walked out (not mad) and thought I am being negative but what surprised me more was his lack of tolerance for my negativity. In general I am a very optimistic and positive person. My psychological assessments usually read that my biggest downfall is that I think positively about too many people and should try to balance out my optimism. But lately I have realized that my own tolerance for negativity is low (or high). There are several people in my workplace that complain about everything. After approximately 7 months I realize that it is affecting my attitude. I feel guilty even saying this because it insinuates that I only want to surround myself with positive people. Well...When I think about it I do.

As a research I started contemplating "what are the individual levels of tolerance for affect?" Research indicates that people have individual dispositions toward positive and negative affect (they aren't mutually exclusive). Individuals with high positive affect are more creative, social and optimistic. Individuals with high negative affect are more logical, and systematic. But what is the tolerance level for these differences.

Going back to my own test dummies (my husband and I) it is interesting. Myself for example…I have high positive affect and have been tolerating others negativity for several months without it effecting me. After 7 months it has built up and is starting to but I am constantly coming up with solutions to create a more positive environment even if it involves talking to the negative individual less and/or changing my psychological perception of how my day will go.

My husband on the other hand has high negative affect (he is extremely logical and a little pessimistic). I would count on the fact that he has a much lower tolerance for negativity than I do because I bring him down quicker. I wouldn’t be surprised if he liked me because I am positive and that this morning’s events were his lack of tolerance of negativity.

Just think about it. In general do you have high positive/negative affect? What is your tolerance for negativity at home/work?

To test you positive/negative affect click here. On the 4th page of this document is the PANAS, a well known and respected measure of positive and negative affect. The scoring for this measure is on page 5.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dissertation Process

I have finalized my idea which I may share later....Wrote up my proposal...and now going through the dreadful process of dealing with a professor that has too many other priorities. Ahhhhh! Who out there shares my frustrations? When I have a client at work or a project at work it never takes this long to get feedback (more like 5 minutes instead of 2 months). I just can't wait to have that PhD and be done with this silly journey.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dogs in the Board Room

I have been researching the psychological and organizational benefits of pets in the workplace. It is incredible how pets can lower your blood pressure, help reduce stress, increase social interaction and increase task performance. Seriously, you look at your dog feel love but never really think of him/her as a health-emotion-work improver.

Now, that said I think I might need to start forcing my company to let me bring my dog into work just so I can get over this hump of a month I have been having.

I know that there are a few challenging to having pets in the workplace (i.e., allergies) but just being able to take a 10 min walk (instead of the smoke breaks so many take) or have him/her sit on my lap for a minute really would make my smile more, take on more challenging projects and just feel better about my day.

Get your office to let the dog in the boards room. For great companies that do check out Nestle Purina, and Dominos.

Friday, January 29, 2010

How To Maintain Trust...

As a graduate student one of the main trends you see in the life cycle literature it that organizations that conduct layoffs ultimately die. In our current economy this is just NOT the case. Layoffs and downsizing have become expected proceedures in business.

It is not ever easy to conduct layoffs or deal with the aftermath. Check out Dr. Pam Franta's free webinar that address just this issue. She shares an approach to restructuring that conveys compassion for those affected, minimizes fear for those still onboard, and fosters renewed trust and commitment among employees moving forward.
  1. Specifically, you will discover proactive strategies on how to:
  2. Prepare those affected with an innovative process to help optimize future employment opportunities
  3. Manage anxiety by keeping interactions with remaining employees positive
    Incorporate two‐way communication to regain commitment and trust for the future.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Old Disseration Ideas

The Influence of Servant Leadership on organizational citizenship behaviors, commitment and job satisfaction: A Longitudinal Investigation

Abstract: This study examined the relationship between servant-leadership and employee job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and organizational citizenship behaviors. Utilizing a mixed methods approach to the study, three survey instruments were administered to the participants. The instruments measured servant leadership as perceived by non-supervisory employees, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and other rated organizational citizenship behaviors. Demographic data for gender, age, education, and years in the organization were variables utilized in the analysis of the response data. Quantitative methods were applied to obtain statistical measurements of the response data. Qualitative data were obtained via in-depth interviews with the participants who ascertained that their supervisors demonstrated servant-leadership characteristics.
Research Question:

Q1: How do employee’s perceptions of their leader effect their organizational citizenship behaviors, commitment and job satisfaction?

Q2: Do servant leaders predict the variability of employees OCBs, commitment and job satisfaction?