• Friday, October 22, 2010

    Authenticity

    When I cruise the internet, I get lost and spend hours looking for new and interesting websites and blogs.  On occasion, I run into one that I consider outstanding . . . BlogHer is one of them.  You can reach the website by going to the sidebar of my blog . . . I have included the "Own Your Beauty" link.  Every month they target a different topic . . . this month is "Authenticity."  Check them out!


    The following article comes directly from their website . . . No, I'm not "stealing" their content . . . I don't want to lose the content by just placing a link here and losing the content when they change their website pages.  (It has happened way too often, making my blog posts useless . . . just wanted to explain why I do it!)


    In the years that I have adopted the lifestyle of "Simple Abundance," other than being grateful for simple little things every day, being authentic is up there on the list of importance as far as quality of life.


    Usually this type of post goes on my Peace, Love, Happiness blog, but I thought posting this here is of great importance to women everywhere.  If these type of topics interest  you, please visit my other blog!


    The awesome ladies at BlogHer
     have given us 12 tips to authenticity:

    1.   Where is the list of fine performing arts that includes “art of listening,” I ask you?
    2.   I’m suspicious of anyone who tells me they are an expert. Students teach me more.
    3.   Confidence is the heartbeat of beauty. The trick? To get there we have to fail and change. The courage to  fail is irresistible to me.
    4.   Are you hurting? Tell people. You will feel so GORGEOUS when you stop isolating yourself and open your heart.
    5.   Take three hours a week for self-exploration: Make a regular date with yourself relax and things that will let your mind wander. Don’t expect major breakthroughs each time; it’s total time spent that helps you subconsciously approach the world differently.
    6.   Don't compare: There’s a big difference between being inspired by others and emulating them. Your accomplishments may be similar to others’, but your path is unique and equally valid. Your job is not to be better than anyone, but to best meet your own purpose.
    7.   Try not talking: Just observe others for a day. You’ll be amazed at how much connection you’ve missed, and how much more comfortable people are around someone who can let conversations unfold.
    8.   What are you always telling yourself you'll do “someday?" Consider doing it now. Note I didn’t say do it, but consider doing it. Asking yourself to consider it takes the pressure off acting right away -- but the seeds are subconsciously planted.
    9.   Don't be afraid to ask questions. Nothing exudes more confidence than freely admitting you don't know everything. People figure you must be really smart if you're willing to admit when you're dumb.
    10. Everything you choose to share should be the truth. But you don't have to share everything. You can be authentic and still have boundaries. In fact you probably should!
    11. You have the opportunity to live your values with every dollar you spend. Vote via the ballot box and your wallet.
    12. The corollary to living your values is: Do the best that you can, until you can do better. None of us is perfect. But we should never do nothing because we can't do everything. I was a vegetarian for seventeen years before I finally successfully went vegan.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    The photoshopped image of life . . . what is real anymore?




    Everyone has true beauty that is their own . . . something . . . even if it is inner beauty.


    Society has imposed "model images" . . . from the pages of magazines that have been photoshopped . . . of what we should look like that aren't even real in themselves. Blemishes are digitally removed, images of models are altered so they appear thinner . . . I could go on and on.


    It should not have surprised me when I read an article and learned that the magazine Men's Health has been accused of photoshopping their model's muscles to appear larger . . . bodies made to look better defined.


    It is all a false sense of beauty in a society where so much emphasis is placed on "appearances" . . . yet, if you look around, the majority of that same society falls way below what society deems as "ideal." Is it any wonder why there are so many depressed and paranoid people walking around this world feeling inadequate?


    Focus on what is real and authentic . . . look at ourselves and others differently, treat each other kinder by celebrating strength, courage and morality.


    Talent is a gift that is many times overlooked by appearances . . . an overweight person on "American Idol" is treated differently than the person whose appearance is deemed "ideal". 


    Perhaps Mama Cass would not have had a chance at a successful singing career in this day and age. Even with her tremendous singing talent, she is most remembered as a member of the group the Mamas and the Papas who choked on a chicken sandwich.


    We are a cruel and arrogant society as a whole . . . fueled by the media with new tricks of altering images through the technology of graphic software, aka "photoshopping" . . . computer generated commercials . . . and don't forget cosmetic surgery. It is fake, fake, fake!!!  Does anyone know what is "real" anymore?


    Focus on the positive approach of finding what is beautiful and unique about yourself . . . a person's true beauty, uniqueness and authenticity is indeed something to celebrate. 




    God gave every one of us gifts
    that are uniquely ours.

    Have you found yours?











    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Love that red . . . add some color to your decor


    The splashes of red caught my attention in this bedroom . . . for me, there is something about red with black.


    HGTV's website has an inspiring and informative section called "Color Guide" with ideas that don't have to cost a lot of money.  It is loaded with "how-to's" on all sorts of things for making little changes around the house that can make a huge difference.


    Click here to go to the page . . .



    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    Psychologically Unhealthy Work & Management – A Human Rights Violation?

    Some recent events have underscored how pervasive workplace unhappiness and psychologically unhealthy management are in companies today. Some receive more media attention - like the flight attendant who made a dramatic exit from his job via the plane's emergency slide, with a couple of brews in hand; or the Connecticut worker who, upon resigning his job, shot and killed eight co-workers.

    The dramatic and the violent examples overshadow the far more frequent cases of men and women who suffer daily, often in silence or frustration, in work that's either boring to a debilitating degree, as I wrote about in a previous post; or under management that's psychologically damaging. Examples of the latter are numerous, and mounting. A typical one is the woman who goes home crying every night because of a tyrannical, abusive boss. She feels trapped, needs the job, especially in this economy, and doesn't know what to do. Or the senior executive who's on the verge of being fired because he's alienated so many with his narcissistic, arrogant attitudes and behavior. "Everyone I work with is either a jerk, an incompetent, or an ass," he told me, indignantly. "And now I'm being told that I need some coaching to change my ways?"

    The emotional damage from an unhealthy management culture is nothing new. Twenty years ago, in Modern Madness, I described how careers and companies can create emotional conflicts for people who are not otherwise disturbed. But today, I think we may need to look at unhealthy management and workplace practices as a violation of human rights. Read on, and at the end of this post I'll give some questions for help assessing the health of your own workplace.

    There's no question, management practices can damage the mental health of a company's employees. When unhealthy management and leadership harms employees, it also harms their work performance. Most everyone is familiar with the damaging effects of abusive, hostile, arrogant and narcissistic bosses; of manipulative or deceitful leadership behavior -- often directed by senior management towards each other; workaholic demands that result in burnout and diminished productivity; intimidation and threats, subtle and overt; public denigration and humiliation; destructive political maneuvering and closet discrimination.

    The list goes on. Typical consequences for individuals include depression, rage, severe stress or anxiety, withdrawal, paranoia and, increasingly, lawsuits.

    As a consultant to business leadership and a psychotherapist for 30 years, I've helped people at both ends of the spectrum -- from the mailroom to the corporate suite -- deal with the consequences. Moreover, I've seen an increase of such practices and their consequences since the economic meltdown began in September 2008.

    Unhealthy leadership and the culture it spawns typically disseminates downward. It drains away high-performing, energized, engaged employees, including the innovative teamwork companies need to stay nimble and competitive -- especially today. Moreover, an unhealthy management culture fuels emotional conflicts among employees who weren't overtly troubled prior to working in that environment. Or, it exacerbates prior emotional conflicts that were previously dormant or well-managed. That's what I documented in Modern Madness.

    But defining unhealthy management as a human rights violation would underscore the principle that men and women should have the right to both a physically and psychologically healthy workplace. It will spur more companies to recognize the link between successful business and a healthy workplace culture.

    Some might argue that such practices are less severe than, say, exploitative child labor or unsanitary, environmentally toxic working environments. Or, that you can leave a job if you don't like how you're being treated (Yeah, right -- try that in this economy). But similar arguments were also put forth about racial and gender discrimination by companies, and we've since expanded our view of workplace human rights to include protection from those.

    I think the primary obstacle to thinking of unhealthy management as a human rights violation is something different. It's rooted in a socially conditioned perspective about the link between work and mental health. That is, companies that do acknowledge a link at all between emotional disturbance and the workplace tend to think of troubles that people bring with them to the office. For example, depression, alcohol and drug problems, severe anxiety, uncontrollable anger, and acute family crises. Of course, many people experience conflicts like these for reasons largely unrelated to the workplace, and they do impact job performance and workplace relationships.

    But these are in the category of how the person impacts the workplace. I find that the more pervasive and insidious conflicts today are those resulting from how the workplace impacts the person.

    Why Companies Should Pay Attention

    Data about the latter has been growing. Over 10 years ago the World Health Organization elevated the status of "workplace stress" (a broad term including the impact of unhealthy management) to that of a "worldwide epidemic." Today, the impact of an unhealthy workplace environment on the employee is estimated to cost American companies $300 billion a year in poor performance, absenteeism and health costs.

    Similarly, a report by the International Labor Organization back in 2000 found that work-related emotional conflicts were already costing the U.S. about 200 million lost workdays each year. Such conflicts are also one of the most common health problems in EU countries. A European survey found that 28% of workers reported emotional conflicts caused by work. Similar data have been reported by Canadian businesses. And in Japan, a survey found the percentage shot up from 53% in 1982 to 63% in 1997. All of these numbers are likely to have grown in the years since they surveys were conducted.

    They may be just the tip of the iceberg. Workers often cite the physical symptoms, such as headaches, chronic pain or digestive disorders as their reason for taking leave, when untreated mental health problems are the underlying cause. In fact, research shows that emotional conflict can weaken the immune system and make people more vulnerable to a host of illnesses.

    So companies have a clear stake in defining emotionally harmful management practices as a human rights issue. By not taking steps to create more positive, healthier environments they undermine the performance and commitment of workers through the lost workdays, diminished productivity and less innovation. That generates higher costs to the organization, not to mention hurt the company's reputation -- including its ability to attract and retain high-quality talent and, eventually, it's success in the global marketplace.

    Some companies have been addressing these problems. But mostly, it's after they arise, and as an "add-on," not as a necessity or practice reflecting the human rights of employees. Examples include wellness programs, employee assistance programs, and classes for dieting and stress-management. These are helpful. But they fall short of what companies could do at the front end: reducing the emotionally harmful organizational cultures and management practices that hurt employees and the business in the first place.

    Some movement in this direction has recently begun, but it's mainly pushed by the threat of new laws. Eleven states have introduced legislation prohibiting workplace abuse by management. Model legislation, developed by Suffolk University Law School professor David Yamada, defines the scope and features of the more visible end of the spectrum - abusive, bullying, demeaning behavior.

    Of course, some executives will respond only after getting a wake-up call. Then, they realize that their companies are losing their competitive edge or market share and part of the reason is that they're increasingly perceived as undesirable place to work. Reactive behavior is better than none at all, but companies would be wise to become more proactive, and deal with this problem at the front end.
    The fact is, a positive, healthy management culture will help the company stay competitive and retain the best employees. That kind of environment supports the innovation, cutting-edge thinking, and the psychological and cultural competencies needed for success in this fluid, globalized economy.

    In Synch With Today's Employees

    Leaders who do become proactive are more in synch with surveys and research showing that men and women across generations -- from 20-somethings to baby boomers -- will commit themselves to organizations that practice positive, healthy management -- such as collaboration, teamwork, a clear reward and recognition system, and transparency at all levels. They want companies led by open-mined but confident people who embrace the often-unsettling tension that accompanies new terrain and new challenges. In fact, the successful executives use that tension to energize and lead, as Robert Rosen has written in Just Enough Anxiety, based on studies of 250 CEOs and other senior executives.

    Similarly, a survey of 8000 workers across all age groups and occupations by Concours Group found that the most productive, energized workers gravitate towards companies that provide opportunities for ongoing learning, growth and creative challenge. They want their work to have a positive impact on something more meaningful than just the narrower rewards of money, position, or power. They also want the service or product they work on to have a positive impact on people's lives.

    A 2007 survey by MonsterTRAK found that 80% of those surveyed said they want a job that has a positive impact on the environment. 92% said they would choose working for a "green" company. Other research shows employees working at companies with corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs are the most satisfied. They stay at their jobs longer and are more content with senior management then their peers at companies with lackluster CSR programs, according to a survey conducted by Kenexa Research Institute.

    And among those entering the corporate pipeline, a 2007 Hill & Knowlton survey found that three-quarters of top MBA students say corporate reputation will play a critical role in deciding where to work. They cite quality of management and social responsibility among the key drivers of where they look. While the current economic and career climate creates some fears and uncertainties about the choices one is facing, the direction of this overall thrust is nevertheless clear.

    Defining unhealthy management practices as human rights violations would raise the bar for corporations regarding their management conduct. It would encourage them to build the kinds of companies that people will continue to gravitate towards -- ones committed to practicing respect, fair treatment, openness, and collaboration; along with support for continuous learning and growth of skills, knowledge and talent.

    In fact, companies who make it through the current economic recession in the best shape and best positioned for success will be those whose leaders believe in and support an energized work force, high quality of goods or services, ethical conduct, and socially responsible and environmentally sustainable practices. And, that all of those rest upon the foundation of the management culture. A healthy one is both good...and good for business.

    How Healthy Is Your Workplace?

    Ask yourself, does It provide:

    • Support for workers' well-being, through wellness programs, exercise, stress management, flextime and other programs; not surface gestures like free coffee and soda.

    • A positive, fun work environment, which makes you look forward to going to work.

    • Clear paths for new learning and career advancement.

    • A safe and nontoxic office environment and building, including "green" equipment and furniture.

    • Open communication and feedback, up and down.

    • Team-oriented work cultures.

    • Commitment to diversity in hiring and promotion of employees, including differences of gender, racial/ethnic group, and sexual orientation.

    • Transparency and high ethical standards, demonstrated in practice, not just by a "mission statement."

    • Positive, supportive leadership and management practices, including corporate citizenship, ethics and corporate responsibility practices.

    • Employee recognition and reward programs, fairly applied.

    dlabier@CenterProgressive.org
    Web Site: Center for Progressive Development
    Personal Blog: Progressive Impact
    © 2010 Douglas LaBier

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