Build Your Leaders

Archive for May, 2011

Make Your Office a Place of Connection

May 22nd, 2011

Personalize your office. I’m a big believer in personalizing your office. Personalizing your office is a form of self-disclosure, and as such it promotes connection. Like verbal self-disclosure, though, you have to be careful not to go too far. Too many personal items in your office can hurt your credibility. According to a University of Michigan study, those who displayed numerous personal items are viewed as significantly less professional than those who keep their offices formal. So how much is enough? Researchers suggest no more than four personal items should be visible in an office.

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Be Happier at Work

May 9th, 2011

Green your office. I worked in the suburbs only once. I hated the commute (I always lived in the city), but I loved looking out on a green forest. When I worked in downtown Atlanta I would keep fresh flowers on my desk. It made me feel good.

According to a survey of office workers in Texas and the Midwest, employees who worked in offices with either green plants or windows offering views of green spaces felt better about their jobs and the work they performed.

The study, conducted by Dr. Tina Marie Cade, an associate professor of horticulture at Texas State University, discovered that employees who worked near live interior plants or a window view of greenery reported significantly higher job satisfaction. They also thought far better of their bosses and coworkers than those who were confined to a windowless cubicle. Plant-exposed employees also considered themselves happier in life overall, while all of the respondents who said they were “dissatisfied” with their quality of life were plant-deprived—though it remains to be seen whether happier people are simply more likely to fill their offices with plants, as opposed to the plants providing the happiness.

Cade found no statistically significant differences among categories like age, ethnicity, salary, education levels, and position, but she did find differences in gender. While plant-exposed men consistently reported higher job satisfaction than plant-deprived men, Cade found no job satisfaction variation among women in the two groups.

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Know Thyself

May 2nd, 2011

Understanding projection. In my workshop “Engineer Your Career,” I talk about the psychological term “projection.” Usually about a third of the workshop participants have heard the term before. Projection can provide a wonderful mirror for self-discovery when you glance into it. Here’s how it works.

Projection occurs when, rather than acknowledging or accepting negative traits or positive virtues, your ego projects these traits onto other people. When you fall in love, you project your hidden, positive qualities onto another person. And when you vehemently dislike someone, you project your hidden negative qualities onto that person.

People who are rude and insensitive work my last nerve. I have been forced to admit that when I am under stress, I can be rude and insensitive without even knowing it. On the other hand, I have always been attracted to creative people. Several years ago, when I began to explore my creative side through painting and clay, that attraction lessened. I reclaimed my projection.

Pay attention to projection and you’ll begin to reclaim lost pieces of your true self.

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