Highly engaged, but with yesterday?

Happy, committed and engaged people really do perform better at work, although there is – or at least one would hope – a difference between love and enthusiasm. I’m enthusiastic about Ajax FC, prawn toasts and historic monuments – I’m nothing if not single-handedly diverse - but none of these are relationships that I’m seeking to actively consummate. But what we might call ‘the happiness industry’ seems insistent on wanting to see the L-word as often as possible.

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Taking it on-board, not taking it on the chin

Where feedback is concerned, there is a shared responsibility that underpins the efforts of both giver and receiver: the genuine intention to support the future creation of better work. Giving it is a responsibility to be wielded with intelligence, and receiving it opens up options and avenues that may previously have been closed to us.

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What makes the grunts disgruntled?

One of the long-standing conundrums of life in the workplace is the gap that exists between managers’ perceptions and those of their employees. Some middle-managers also find themselves having to act as buffers between a 'bad boss' and the staff who report to them. Middle-managers may not be natural born tailwaggers, but they do share something with puppies: treat them badly for long enough and they’ll stop loving or respecting you.

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Challenging or Competing? Taking issue with Gavin Kilduff

By its very nature, the whole concept of ‘fierce rivals’ implies an absence of loyalty, other than to the notion of defeating your opponent at any cost. Having constant competition (albeit that it is not quite synonymous with rivalry) could foster greater in-group cohesion if the group has collectively bought into the notion that they are competing intentionally and that a collective benefit can be gained (ie they relish the competition). The critical difference is of intention.

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Mental and Physical Rooms: removing obstacles for your creatives

Where and how we work are closely related to each other, and impact similarly closely on our outputs. Job design – how the content and structure of what we do during the day optimise opportunities, play to and extend our strengths or avoid problems further down the line - is often a topic of HR and L&D debate. Yet the environments in which these jobs play out are often given less attention: the design of ‘the workplace’ – one of the most over-used words of our time? – is often seen as having moved from being an issue that either still belongs in the estates and facilities remit, or which is now influenced by an idea of branding: office design as visual branding.

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Slow, slow, quick-quick, slow …

In a society that doing otherwise is effectively daring to signal that we're dispensable, how should we respond. Certainly it was hard to avoid the feeling that Steve, a self-employed man looking to parlay a commitment to festival organisation into an events management business, had chosen to be busy as often as possible. It’s also telling that the most shocking sentence uttered was his statement that you shouldn’t “allow the outside world to demand 100% of you”. Giving 95% is our era’s equivalent of blasphemy.

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Self-Improvement Breakthrough or Category Error: Silent Co-Running

What’s interesting is the – so far, not explicitly explored – contrast with ‘silent coaching’, which draws on our willingness and desire to improve and our natural tendency to compare ourselves with others. And beyond that, establishing evidence as to when active encouragement works best, and when there is a more powerful effect to be achieved by quietly setting a good example.

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Jumping the duck: the merit of involving others

Part of me can't help wanting to have the audacity to re-write Gandhi. Surely the management/leadership mantra should be “Let them be part of the change that you want to see”? If engaged employees are more committed to behavioural change and the benefits that it promises to bring, taking steps – through finding ways of actively involving them – to enhance their engagement is surely a positive way forward.

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Apprentice 2013, The Final: Never mind the botox …

The tension in my living room is electrifying. Well, it’s not every day you find out you have a bumblebee colony in your back-garden, is it? Only an hour to go, and I can go back to watch them woozily float in and out of their nest, paralytic on nectar, and quietly congratulating myself on allowing them to live in harmony with nature. A quick whizz through The Apprentice Final and I can go back to doing something positive about sustainability …

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