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There’s a Trick To Improving Your Mood—But You Probably Don’t Want To Do It

Conventional wisdom holds that mood and motivation supercede action: The better we feel and the more motivated we are, the more likely we are to act.

While this is certainly true in a lot of situations, there are some situations in which it’s not. Sometimes when we are feeling down and unmotivated, the best thing we can do to change our mental state is to change our physical state. Mood follows action.

In acute situations, this could be as simple as forcing yourself to exercise, run errands, or get dinner with a friend when you’re feeling particularly low. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps individuals through anxiety and depression, places an immense focus on the “behavior” part of the equation. That’s because it’s hard, if not impossible, to control our thoughts and the subsequent feelings they generate, but we can control our behaviors.

If your thoughts and feelings are telling you “you suck, be low, stay in bed,” good luck trying to convince yourself otherwise. You can’t talk or think your way out of that jam. But if you force yourself (again, I use force because in these situations, you really have to force yourself) to...

Women With Postgrad Degrees Are More Likely to Report Experiencing Sex Discrimination at Work

According to a new Pew Research Center study, 42% of working women in the US say they’ve faced gender discrimination at work. This discrimination includes experiences like earning less than male counterparts, being the target of sexual advances, receiving less support from leaders, and getting passed up for promotions. Conducted months before the #MeToo movement surged, the survey polled a nationally representative sample of 4,914 adults, including 4,702 who are employed at least part time.

Unsurprisingly, women were far more likely than men (42% versus 22%) to say they’ve experienced at least one of eight specific forms of gender-based discrimination at work. But the experience was not equally distributed among women. While the influence of race, ethnicity, and political party on perceived workplace sexism have been well documented, an intriguing finding of this survey is that women with postgraduate degrees were the most likely to say they have experienced gender discrimination.

“While 57% of working women with a postgraduate degree say they have experienced some form of gender discrimination at work, for example, the same is true for 40% of women with a bachelor’s degree and 39% of those who did not complete college,” reports...

The Best Compliment You Can Give, According To Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep, known to many as the Queen of Hollywood, is no stranger to praise. She’s received more Academy Award nominations than any actor (20 in total), and three Oscars and eight Golden Globes under her belt.

But according to Streep, there’s one compliment that’s been uniquely meaningful in her life. It’s praise that she first received from her mother, which she revealed at the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston, on Dec. 7. The magic phrase? “You are capable.”

Speaking with feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Streep explained that even women who whole-heartedly believe in gender equality often wind up internalizing social biases about their own potential.

“It’s that little feeling you get when the pilot comes on in airplane, and it’s a woman’s voice,” Streep said. “I feel thrilled—but I can feel in the cabin there’s a little shift, and we all clip our seat belts a little bit tighter.”

Until we get rid of that knee-jerk bias—that tiny, repressed instinct that makes us think, if only momentarily, that men may actually be more qualified to pilot a plane than women—true equality will not be possible. That’s...

How To Make Feedback a Developmental Opportunity

Many employees cringe at the thought of getting feedback from their manager. Who wouldn’t blame them? It tends to be overly critical, given with haste and without care, and confusing. So often, the feedback given is often useless to the receiver.

Wouldn’t it be great if your feedback could have the potential to help others grow and develop?

There are some simple steps you can take to make sure the feedback message has been received and will be put to good use as a learning tool.

Be direct: Say what you need to say in a direct, brief way. Don’t beat around the bush, and don’t embellish. Simply state what you’ve observed in a way that will be understood by the receiver. To decrease defensiveness, speak from the first person: “I noticed...” or “I was told...” rather than “You did not...” or “You were wrong when…”

Don’t be judgmental: While you’re being direct and to the point, avoid stating judgments about the feedback you’re giving. Being non-judgmental and neutral in your feedback may help the person you’re counseling be more open and less defensive.

Listen without interrupting: Once you give the...

Got A Boss Who Denies Reality? A Behavioral Scientist’s Guide To Tactful Truth Telling

‘Tis the season for holiday parties at the office.

While they’re great for building workplace camaraderie and team spirit, when was the last time a colleague - perhaps fueled by too much alcohol - said something so ridiculous that it made your jaw drop? Perhaps a desk mate went into something political, claiming that George Bush is behind 9/11 or that Barack Obama is a Muslim from Kenya? Or maybe your boss voiced science denialism, arguing that the Earth is flat or the Apollo moon landing was faked?

Just as disconcerting as the conspiracy theorist in your midst is hearing a boss or colleague blatantly deny a business reality, such as evidence that a favored product flopped or a decision was absolutely the wrong one.

So what do you do when someone you work with – even the CEO of the company – tells you something that’s demonstrably false?

Dealing with truth denialism - in business, politics and other life areas - is one of my areas of research, and I recently published a book on the topic. Here are some tips to navigate that Christmas office party or one-on-one with a boss in denial.

To reality deniers, facts and photos won’t...