workplace

workplace

Ben Dattner shares an article published in Harvard Business Review that reveals the source of most conflicts in the workplace. 

Conflict happens everywhere, including in the workplace. When it does, it’s tempting to blame it on personalities.  But more often than not, the real underlying cause of workplace strife is the situation itself, rather than the people involved. So, why do we automatically blame our coworkers? Chalk it up to psychology and organizational politics, which cause us to oversimplify and to draw incorrect or incomplete conclusions.

There’s a good reason why we’re inclined to jump to conclusions based on limited information. Most of us are, by nature, “cognitive misers,” a term coined by social psychologists Susan Fiske and Shelley Taylor to describe how people have a tendency to preserve cognitive resources and allocate them only to high-priority matters. And the limited supply of cognitive resources we all have is spread ever-thinner as demands on our time and attention increase.

As human beings evolved, our survival depended on being able to quickly identify and differentiate friend from foe, which meant making rapid judgments about the character and intentions of other people or tribes. Focusing on people rather than situations is faster and simpler, and focusing on a few attributes of people, rather than on their complicated entirety, is an additional temptation.

Stereotypes are shortcuts that preserve cognitive resources and enable faster interpretations, albeit ones that may be inaccurate, unfair, and harmful. While few people would feel comfortable openly describing one another based on racial, ethnic, or gender stereotypes, most people have no reservations about explaining others’ behavior with a personality typology like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (“She’s such an ‘INTJ’”), Enneagram, or Color Code (“He’s such an 8: Challenger”).

 

Key points include:

  • The problem with personality or style typologies
  • The right approach to resolving conflicts at work
  • Using personality testing

 

Read the full article, Most Work Conflicts Aren’t Due to Personality, on HBR.org.

 

Amanda Setili offers a concise post to help team leaders provide feedback that motivates their team.

It amazes me how motivating I’ve found the feedback from the sensor I use while kiteboarding, which tells me how high I jump and how my jumps compare to other kiters around the world. That got me thinking about how when I change my technique or equipment, I can immediately see the impact on my results.

How, I wondered, can we make feedback at work this helpful, and energizing?

That thought led me to create six principles that can transform feedback from annoying to amazing: 

1) Feedback should come from the work itself: The best feedback comes from the work itself, rather than from an employee’s supervisor. Make it easy for employees to see the results of their work, every day. For example, funnel customer comments directly back to the employees involved.

2) Feedback should be close to constant: Employees need frequent feedback, so that people can see how they’re doing and so they can adjust course as conditions change. Think daily… rather than weekly, monthly or annually. That’s one reason you should design the work so that feedback comes directly from the work itself, with no intermediary (point #1, above) — as a manager, you won’t have the time to personally give feedback to every team member every day.

 

Key points include:

  • Frequency
  • Guidance towards goals
  • Going beyond results

 

Read the full post, Six Ways to Use Feedback to Energize Your Team, on LinkedIn.

 

 

If your home office is a little lacking in motivational and inspirational energy, Susan Meier’s new project may help you redesign a creative space. The project she co-founded with photographer Hallie Burton showcases the inspiring home workspaces and the stories of those who work there. This post profiles the home office and insights of art director Marcus Hay. 

What do you do?

I’m an art director or creative director, and my main focus is creating imagery for photoshoots. I also do interior design and prop styling. It’s a mixed bag of different fields, but they all interrelate, and I use the same skill set throughout the different areas of my work. 

Tell us about the space where you work.

I work in the living area. It’s a small space. I used to have to move around with my computer to wherever the light wasn’t hitting, so that I could see what was going on on the screen. I finally got blinds installed last week, and it’s been a godsend, because I can actually sit at my designated “desk” now, which is the dining table. It’s a very simple Saarinen tulip table, and, for me, it’s perfect. I like to work on a desk that’s white, because everything kind of pops off it. It feels clean and harmonious. I regularly clear it, and it becomes a blank canvas each time I start a new project. I have foamcore pin boards with inspiration swipes and paint swatches and sketches. And then of course I love my sketchbooks. I love working with pen and ink, so I have a good collection of brushes and ink pens and black India ink, which is my go-to. I try to have everything so it can fold up and be put away at night.

How would you describe your creative process?

When I art direct a photoshoot, everything you do has to consider what the ethos of the company is and what impression they want to leave on their customer. Then I delve into research, and that could be Pinterest, books, movies, anything. It’s a gradual process of pulling together inspirational swipes, textures, color combinations.

It’s largely digital, but because I do have a large collection of things, so it can be very tactile. It’s an organic process. My job is to bundle everything up in a package, so it becomes a visual language that everyone on the photoshoot is going to understand. Then you hope the weather behaves.

 

Key points include:

  • What helps Marcus be most productive
  • The most important elements of his work environment
  • How his workspace has changed as a result of the pandemic

 

Read the full post, The Interior Soul., on workspace-studio.com.