Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stop Bullying Before it starts with a SMILE

Want to stop help to bullying? A recent study at Vanderbilt University found that children who perceive that their fathers don’t spend enough quality time with them are more likely to bully other children. So, what can you do? Go home after work, smile when you enter the door and spend some time with your kids. Just think what you’ll be doing for so many kids.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Do you believe in the Crate & Barrel method?

Companies like Crate & Barrel and Enterprise Rent-A-Car have passionately believed in hiring from within. Employees are hired directly out of college and work their way up the corporate ladder (if they don’t burn out first). Although infrequent some knowledge gaps are brought in as external hires. Promotions are based on past results and the use of assessment is unheard of or even frowned upon.

Enterprise in 1975

What do you think are the issues with this approach?
What are the advantages?
Does your company use this method?

Early days at Crate & Barrel

Monday, October 24, 2011

Interventions increase EQ and decrease stress

The below article was recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. This article sparked two major thoughts. I have historically believed that individuals can change their behaviors but not their attitudes (there are exceptions). This article suggests that these participants were able to increase their emotional intelligence as well as sustain it for over a year. In addition they were able to make an internal chemical changes  (i.e., cortisol levels). This illustrates a deep change that is far beyond just a behavioral change. Secondly, this study illustrates the power of training and that techniques and interventions can be used to help people reduce stress and decrease cortisol levels without the use of medication.

So use you brains, follow your hearts and get off the meds.

Kotsou, I., Nelis, D., Grégoire, J., & Mikolajczak, M. (2011). Emotional plasticity: Conditions and effects of improving emotional competence in adulthood. Journal of Applied psychology, 96(4), 827-839.
This study aimed to investigate (a) whether it is possible to increase emotional competence (EC), as measured by two versions of the TEIQue - self-report and informant report; (b) whether this improvement results in better mental, physical, and social adjustment; (c) whether this improvement can be maintained 1 year later; and (d) whether these benefits are accompanied by a reduction in stress-hormone secretion (i.e., cortisol). One hundred and thirty-two participants were randomly assigned to an EC-enhancing intervention (in group format) or to a control group. Participants in the intervention group underwent a specifically designed 15-hr intervention targeting the 5 core emotional competencies. Results reveal that the level of emotional competencies increased significantly in the intervention group in contrast with the control group. This increase resulted in lower cortisol secretion, enhanced subjective and physical well-being, as well as improved quality of social and marital relationships in the intervention group. No significant change occurred in the control group. Peer reports on EC and quality of relationships confirmed these results. These data suggest that emotional competencies can be improved, with effective benefits on personal and interpersonal functioning lasting for at least 1 year. Moreover, improvements in EC emerged with a strong coherence among self-reported and informant measures.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ethical Issues at Work…Now What?

Review the Evidence: Avoid jumping to conclusions. Keep notes about the situation including conversations and situations where you suspected unethical work behavior? Keeping track of what you see can help you form a conclusion and provides invaluable documentation if you decide to report the situation.

Seek Help: Get a second opinion from an outside source or someone you can trust. Although be wary of who you confide in, and be wary of politics.

Confront the Problem: In some cases you may want to talk directly to the person. Don’t make accusations. One drawback of confronting the person involved is that they may get you more involved in the ethical issue. In some cases, the evidence will lead you to take it directly to authorities.

Extricate yourself: If you believe the unethical behavior is continuing “get out”. Careers will recover with a switch but they won’t recover from unethical practice if you before a part of it. Leaving isn’t a decision to be made lightly. It may be difficult to find another job. While jumping ship may require an awkward conversation or revised career plan, sometimes you have no choice but to leave.

Blow the Whistle: After you’ve decided to leave you have to decide if you’ll report the issue. Whistle blowing can be hurtful to the messenger in many cases. A serious analysis of the pros and cons must be conducted before reporting an ethical issue if you think if could hurt you or possibly a client. As difficult as turning in a former boss or coworker may be, it is occasionally necessary. If something really horrible is going on and you simple walk away, you’re compromising your own sense of professional responsibility.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Decreasing your EQ with Botox

It is no surprise that emotional intelligence is an important factor in day-to-day life. Executives and stay at home mom’s alike are starting to understand how EQ may be as important as IQ in their own success, as well as the success of their direct reports and children. Most people wouldn’t go out and purposely try to decrease their EQ, right?

A recent study from the University of Southern California and Duke found that women and men who received muscle-deading agents like Botox were unable to recognize the emotions of others. When we see a face we unintentionally mimic others facial expressions. Individuals with Botox were unable to mimic others facial expressions; unable to cognitively recognize their emotions.

Wisdom comes with age. So, don’t try to backtrack your face cause you may be losing more than just a few wrinkles.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Following the Heard

You’ve most likely heard about people following the lead of other. Experimenters who walk into a park and look up only to see how many people will quickly start looking up to find what they are looking at. But recent research from Northwestern University recently illustrated that humans tend to remember information better if they think their peers will also see the same information. Think about the last time you watched a movie or a sports program and conscientiously thought I need to pay attention because tomorrow at work people are going to be talking about this. We’ll as a woman I have done this a lot with sports. I always think “I better know this to be able to talk to the guys”.  Social norms and expectations influence far beyond just remembering. Cialdini demonstrated throughout hotel chains that social norms can be used to influence behaviors. By changing the language on bathroom cards hotel guests were 50% more likely to reuse their towels if they were told “most Americans”, 70% more likely to reuse if they were told “most guests  in this hotel”, and 98% more likely if they were told ‘ 8 of 9 guests in this room reuse their towel”.  So jump on the bandwagon for a good cause but be aware of why and who you are following.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What’s Stressing You Out:

Comprehensive Stress Management

Surprisingly or NOT American’s are more stressed out in 2010 than in 2009. Between work- family conflicts, a downed economy and illnesses (H1N1) Americans are unhappy. Money consistently remains the #1 cause of stress closely followed by work and the economy. These stressors are revealing themselves in everything from irritability to indigestions and teeth grinding. Unfortunately, the American Psychological Association reports that stress doesn’t just affect the stressed individual but their family members too. Children of stressed parents reported increased depression, headaches, stomach aches and trouble falling or staying asleep. The APA further recommends that stress should not be looked over but should be confronted and prevented. Americans should work to recognize their personal distress style (whether that includes a flexible work schedule to weekly yoga sessions), discover what your organizations work/family policies are and don’t be afraid to make the ‘business case’ for a policy that you think should be created. Also be smart and take care of yourself. You’ll be less effect at work if your exhausted, unhealthy, and unhappy. Eat smart, get sleep and recognize that a happy worker is an effective worker.  What techniques, policies or coping mechanisms to you use to stay sane in 2011?

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Ok I am totally excited and freaking out because tomorrow at 9am I will be defending my disseration and finally be a PhD...well cross your fingers.

Thank you to all of my friends and family that have been incredibly supportive over these last several years... thank goodness it is over.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Changing our Expectations

People often inaccurately predict how an event will make them feel. For example, researchers found that when people are questioned about their predictions afterward, they tend to revise their recollections to better reflect their actual mood. In essence humans don’t like to be wrong so we unconsciously self-correct. Humans also want to be happy and generally remember events as positive.  Problem vacations end up being repeated as learning experiences or adventures instead of the problem of negative experience they were. Isn’t great what the mind can make up do and believe.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Women and Work

I personally have difficulty with this topic. I am not currently a mom but hope to be one someday. However, I love my job, I love going to work and I care about work as a measure of my personal worth and success. Balancing children and work seems almost impossible without help and even at that (as a psychologist) I want to be the one adding in the development of my children not someone else. So, recent research from the University of North Carolina concerned me even more. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 69 studies and found that going back to work within a child’s first year can lead to behavioral problems and lower academic performance later in life. However, mom’s that went back to full time work after three years had children with academic excellence and decreased performance problems (income level does effect this too). Unfortunately, I don’t live in Spain where maternity leave can last as long as you need…so how do woman do this.

Anticipated work-family conflict: effects of gender, self-efficacy, and family background.: An article from: Career Development Quarterly