Why the presumption of good faith can make our lives civil again

Taking time for thoughtful consideration has fallen out of fashion, writes Emily Chamlee-Wright. How can we restore good faith and good judgement to our increasingly polarized conversations?

  • The clamor of the crowd during a heated discussion can make it hard to tell who is right and who is wrong. Adam Smith wrote that the loudness of blame can stupefy our good judgment.
  • Equally, when we're talking with just one other person, our previous assumptions and knee-jerk reactions can cloud our good judgment.
  • If you want to find clarity in moments like that, Emily Chamlee-Wright recommends practicing the presumption of good faith. That means that we should presume, unless we have good evidence to the contrary, that the other person's intent is not to deceive or to offend us, but to learn our point of view.
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Do these 3 things to be a stronger manager

Creating a healthy, cohesive work environment leads to better productivity.

  • One of the main responsibilities a manager has is to create an environment where employees can be more productive.
  • The quality of work increases when people feel like they are a part of a team working towards a goal bigger than themselves.
  • Three tips for creating that kind of work culture are learning to delegate, understanding the jobs of the people you manage, and connecting with as many employees on a one-on-one basis as possible.

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3 benefits of working remotely

The standard face-to-face team is inefficient for employees and employers alike.

  • A common misconception is that remote teams are not as productive. That is simply not true.
  • While there are pros to having everyone in a centralized location and on the same schedule, a major benefit of having employees work remotely is that it saves time and money.
  • Having a remote team also gives companies more freedom to hire employees based on skill, not proximity.

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Are you distracted at work? Don’t blame technology.

Distraction at work is a symptom of cultural dysfunction, not a symptom of technology, as many people claim.

  • After hearing so many people blame email and Slack as causes of distraction in the workplace, Nir Eyal went to the Slack offices and discovered it to be a focus-driven office with excellent work-life boundaries. Tech isn't the problem, he concluded. The root cause of workplace distraction is cultural dysfunction.
  • Companies that have a healthy workplace culture create psychological safety for their employees to voice concerns and complaints. When issues can be resolved—without fear of punishment—employees are able to return to work rather than sit and seethe.
  • Importantly, leaders must also model indistractibility by giving undivided attention to people in meetings and not working 24/7, which Eyal describes as a "terrible" cycle of reaction. Reacting to emails and meetings all day long doesn't give people the time to be reflective—to focus and do their best work.
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How to make a smoother entrance into any room or conversation

Sometimes, the more understated you are, the more positively you'll be received.

  • Knowing how to enter can make or break you, according to business psychologist and advisor Dr. Melanie Katzman.
  • You don't own the room or conversation by dominating it. Instead you're better off asking permission, acting respectful, and taking the time to consider what interests the person with whom you're interacting.
  • Who can you look to as an example? Somewhat surprisingly, professional clowns.
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