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Harvard Business Review: How to Thrive When Everything Feels Terrible

Part of WiFi (What I Find Interesting) Wednesday.


Harvard Business Review: How to Thrive When Everything Feels Terrible

Read How to Thrive When Everything Feels Terrible by Christine Porath and Mike Porath, from Harvard Business Review, October 30, 2020.

There has never been a more apropos headline I have needed to read than this one.

Research has shown that simply being in a negative environment – which can be as simple as being around rude people – can impact our work and productivity. Researchers Christine Porath and Mike Porath share how addressing this environment can positively impact our work.

“Negativity can have toxic effects. In fact, Christine’s research has shown over and over that we falter when exposed to negativity or rudeness. Witnessing rudeness interferes with our working memory and decreases our performance. Mere exposure to rude words reduces our ability to process and recall information. We tend to shut down, stop communicating, and cease being helpful to others. Dysfunctional and aggressive thoughts (and sometimes actions) skyrocket.

“Fortunately, Christine’s research also shows that there is a productive way to counter those effects. It’s called thriving — the psychological state in which people experience a sense of both vitality and learning. Thriving individuals are growing, developing, and energized rather than feeling stagnated or depleted.

“When people feel even an inkling of thriving, it tends to buffer them from distractions, stress, and negativity.

By Christine Porath and Mike Porath, from Harvard Business Review, October 30, 2020.

I don’t know about you all, but I could use an inkling or more of thriving right about how. The authors describe how to change our mindset, with four highlights below:

Avoid negativity

“Pay attention to what you’re ingesting: what information you chose to read, the media you consume, the music you listen to, the people you choose to spend time with, and the people you look up to. Negativity seeps into our pores through these sources. So make simple choices away from negativity and toward positivity.”

Watch out for what you say out loud

“Negative language is particularly insidious and potent. Be mindful of what you’re thinking and saying. Yes, those around you influence you and your mood, but we have more control over our thoughts and feelings than anyone else. And what we say out loud also carries significant weight. According to Trevor Moawad, a mental conditioning coach who works primarily with elite athletes, it’s ten times more damaging to our sense of thriving if we verbalize a thought than if we just think it.”

Practice gratitude consistently

“There is lots to be said about the benefits of gratitude. Gratitude reduces our stress, makes us happier, and helps us reach our goals. Routinely feeling grateful increases the social support we receive, which further reduces stress and its negative effects. It’s especially powerful when practiced alongside neutral thinking.”

Seek out positive relationships — inside and outside of work

“Christine’s research found that de-energizing relationships — in which one person possesses an enduring, recurring set of negative judgments, feelings, and intentions toward another person — have four to seven times greater impact on an employee’s sense of thriving than energizing, positive relationships. To offset these effects, surround yourself and spend more time with energizers — the people in your life who make you smile and laugh, and lift your spirits.”

In what ways are you planning to adopt a thriving mindset? What can you change in your own life to combat the negativity that we encounter in the workplace and at home?

Continue reading How to Thrive When Everything Feels Terrible by Christine Porath and Mike Porath, from Harvard Business Review, October 30, 2020.


WiFi Wednesday

Higher Ed Jobs: Take this Assessment: Is Your Institution a Welcoming Place for Leaders of Color?

Read Take this Assessment: Is Your Institution a Welcoming Place for Leaders of Color? by Russell S. Thacker, from Higheredjobs.com, November 10, 2020.

I worked at mostly predominantly White institutions for decades and understand that creating change is more than just hiring more POC or adding diversity statements. The institution must address its culture and how it either protects White supremacy or is working to dismantle it. The author, Russell Thacker interviewed Black provosts for a previously published article, and one of the provosts added the following:

“One Black provost told us, “I think a critical part of the work is on the other side of the equation. That is to make sure that the institutions that are predominantly White are doing their self-analysis to make sure they’re not increasing barriers and missing unique opportunities to cultivate strong relationships with talented African-American scholars and administrators… The work has to be done equally.” Institutions need to ensure they are also taking the right steps to make themselves welcoming and inclusive places for Black and other leaders of Color.

“What exactly can institutions do to better balance the equation for upcoming administrators of Color? As this provost stated, a “self-analysis” may be needed from time to time. Institutions can assess themselves by answering these questions on how they are doing in closing the three most common gaps faculty and administrators of Color have in moving into leadership roles: information, opportunity, and experience.”

By Russell S. Thacker, from Higheredjobs.com, November 10, 2020.

Thacker suggests the following questions be part of this self-analysis. They are broken into the following types of questions:

First, is our institution closing the information gap?

  • Does our institution provide opportunities to learn about senior leadership positions?
  • Are we giving rising leaders an accurate picture of what these roles entail?
  • Are pathways to senior positions clear and unambiguous for rising leaders of Color?

Next, is our institution bridging the opportunity gap?

  • Does our institution have a mentoring program for faculty and staff of Color?
  • Are promising future leaders of Color encouraged to apply for opportunities?
  • Do search committees participate in bias training prior to the search?

Finally, is our institution addressing the experience gap?

  • Does our institution recognize the value of diverse professional and academic experiences in considering new leaders?
  • Is our institution making mid-level leadership experiences available to faculty and staff of Color?
  • Are we encouraging promising faculty of Color to stay on the tenure-track to qualify for the highest roles?

Accumulating social capital, such as knowing how to achieve these institutional roles, is a much a part of social and racial equity work as hiring more people of color. These questions offer a start for addressing how people of color recruited into an organization experience leadership development and recognizing their power and experiences.

Continue reading Take this Assessment: Is Your Institution a Welcoming Place for Leaders of Color? by Russell S. Thacker, from Higheredjobs.com, November 10, 2020.


WiFi Wednesday

Inside Higher Ed: Disability as Diversity

Read Disability as Diversity by Lilah Burke, from Inside Higher Ed, November 12, 2020

I spent two decades working in diversity education and multicultural affairs in higher education and I can attest to the challenges of including disability in our diversity work. Some of the challenges included how people with disabilities saw themselves as either included or excluded from their peers or how how limited or broad the ideas of disability were talked about among administrators and students.

I understand these challenges and appreciated the author’s perspective. She offers some suggestions such as,

“Offices for diversity and inclusion could incorporate efforts at improving campus climate for students with disabilities. Administrations could hold listening sessions with disabled students and carry out their recommendations. They could bring disability scholars to talk on campus or add Braille to dining hall menus.”

By Lilah Burke, from Inside Higher Ed, November 12, 2020

But these are low-level ways to build inclusive communities. Existing offices should examine how their disabled students thrive within the community rather than being simply accommodated.

Emphasis on Intersectionality

Additionally, more academic studies need to address the intersectionality of race and ability and how people from all types of backgrounds experience this impact based on their disabilities.

“For some scholars and activists, a shift in higher ed would require greater societal changes and acknowledgment of the intersections between disability and other identities. The disabled community is not a monolith, and how people experience a disability is filtered through their race and other characteristics, and vice versa. For example, both Black and disabled individuals are overrepresented among victims of police killings, creating unique implications for people who are both Black and disabled.”

By Lilah Burke, from Inside Higher Ed, November 12, 2020

Continue reading Disability as Diversity by Lilah Burke, from Inside Higher Ed, November 12, 2020


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