Monday, January 09, 2012

Feeling "Sandwiched in Your Work? There are Tools to Ease the Pressure.

It’s not getting any easier for managers to manage. The younger generations want agile, open, engaging tech-savvy workplaces where legacy bureaucracies reign. The front-line is seldom satisfied. An economic environment in perpetual turmoil yields no promises for stability. Politicians and bosses from above don’t always consult and make good policy or strategy. Managers are truly the “sandwich generation” no matter their age.

But, good news: the fog around what works in management is less dense. Precision tools with a proven track record are beginning to proliferate.

Here are two top tools from 2011:

The Three to One Rule – Three Positive Emotions to One Negative

If you want employees to be open to change, generate creative ideas on the fly, make good decisions and generally be more productive, put away your negative, anxious self (even if you have good reason to be so). Sprinkle positive ideas and comments three times as often as negative. The latter spread faster than the former. Positive emotions that are genuine also build trust.

The Progress Principle – Small Wins

Black holes and snails leave burned out people in their wake. There is nothing worse for morale than a team having worked night and day on a project only to see it stalled somewhere up the line. Our brains like rewards. The size doesn’t matter. No rewards – funkiness sets in.

Managers who take pushing the fly wheel seriously also continuously re-generate team energy.

Both of these tools radiate results in all directions. Like compound interest, such multi-purpose instruments are cheap ways to develop increasing returns.

For more information, check out these researchers on YouTube:

Barbara Fredrickson, Positive Emotions and Teresa Amabile, The Progress Principle.