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!