Erin Meyer explains the keeper test and how it can make or break a team.
- There are numerous strategies for building and maintaining a high-performing team, but unfortunately they are not plug-and-play. What works for some companies will not necessarily work for others. Erin Meyer, co-author of No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, shares one alternative employed by one of the largest tech and media services companies in the world.
- Instead of the 'Rank and Yank' method once used by GE, Meyer explains how Netflix managers use the 'keeper test' to determine if employees are crucial pieces of the larger team and are worth fighting to keep.
- "An individual performance problem is a systemic problem that impacts the entire team," she says. This is a valuable lesson that could determine whether the team fails or whether an organization advances to the next level.
Here are 5 ways to make your workplace better and your workforce happier.
- "Productivity of work isn't the responsibility of a worker yet of a manager," said famed management consultant Peter Drucker.
- Psychology tells us again and again that emotionally intelligent leadership, which recognizes the humanity in others, is a driving force of productivity.
- Here are 5 simple but effective ways to increase performance and make a positive impact in your workplace.
Customized employee appreciation gifts<p>Employee appreciation gifts can be an excellent incentive to drive your employees to work harder. But don't just issue standard mass-produced gifts that are the same for everyone. If you offer <a href="https://www.gs-jj.com/" target="_blank">specially customized employee appreciation gifts</a> instead, then your employees will think of them on a more personal level.</p> <p>For example, if your employees are big baseball fans, you could reward them with baseball trading pins that have their names on them. Perhaps you know of an employee who has been open with you about their desire to quit smoking. You could give them a motivational PVC patch with a message about strength as a way to encourage them toward their goal.</p> <p>Personalized gestures show employees that you care about their individual interests, struggles, wants, and desires. That gives them greater motivation to do better in the workplace.</p>
Encourage employee feedback<p>Your team will have a better attitude about their workplace if they feel like they can make a valuable contribution to its organizational structure and how it's being run. If employees have no say in the rules and procedures of their workplace, they could quickly develop resentment toward their managers.</p> <p>Consider having an employee feedback box in the workplace. It is a box where employees can submit workplace suggestions and criticisms to their employers anonymously. They can fill out a suggestion form and slip it into the box. Then you can review the suggestions and address them accordingly. </p>
Acknowledge accomplishments<p>Managers often get too narrowly focused on telling employees what needs to be done in the workplace. That's why managers need to acknowledge the accomplishments of their employees because it reinforces the great job they are doing.</p> <p>If employees never hear any compliments or acknowledgements regarding their positive contributions to the workplace, they might start not to care as much anymore. It will cause their work performance to decline drastically. So, always give praise to your employees when they complete their tasks successfully or make an outstanding contribution.</p>
Encourage break time<p>Managers who force their employees to keep working long hours without a break are doing a disservice to their company. If employees don't get a break after a certain period, their productivity in the workplace will diminish. You need to encourage your employees to take periodic breaks to rest and recharge themselves mentally and physically. </p>
Offer more work flexibility<p>The digital age is called the "age of convenience" for a reason. Several research studies show that employees are more productive if their employers give them the flexibility to work from home. </p> <p>It is easier for someone to get out of bed and hop right onto their computer to get to work. Employees want this kind of flexibility, especially if they have to watch their children at home and cannot afford a babysitter. If you can offer them this kind of flexibility, then it will ease their stress and let them be more focused on their work.</p>
Psychologists W. Keith Campbell, (Ph.D.) and Carolyn Crist explain why narcissists rise to power and how to make sure your support is going to someone making effective, positive change.
- Pathological narcissism is rare. It impacts an estimated 1 percent of the population.
- Narcissism is tied closely to leadership emergence, as narcissists tend to initially be confident, charismatic, and charming. Leadership is a natural goal for narcissists because it feeds their motivational goals of status, power, and attention.
- Psychologists W. Keith Campbell, (Ph.D.) and Carolyn Crist explain why narcissists rise to power.
Why do narcissists become leaders?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9b57f7dfe6d697143730e52d749988c5"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KzoH3xox-G0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>"Leadership is a natural goal for narcissists because it feeds their motivational goals of status, power, and attention." - <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/new-science-narcissism/202010/how-narcissism-and-leadership-go-hand-in-hand" target="_blank">Psychology Today</a></p><p>Leadership can be a complex topic to discuss, as the psychology of leadership can be classified in two distinct ways: leadership emergence (the rise to power) and leadership effectiveness (what happens once the person has power). </p><p><strong>Narcissists initially appear charming and confident, making them great for leadership emergence.</strong></p><p>Narcissism is tied closely to leadership emergence, as narcissists tend to initially be confident, charismatic, and charming (then later perceived as vain or arrogant). However, narcissism may not be great for effective leadership. Once someone rises to power and gains trust, it doesn't always mean they are going to be effective at being a leader to those people. </p><p><strong>Many positions are self-elected, and narcissists will jump at this chance. </strong></p><p>Education, politics, and businesses are typically set up to allow potential leaders to self-elect and move forward with their own goals. Even when leaders are selected by committees or groups, they may be more inclined to go with a high-visibility, confident, high-profile candidate over someone who exudes leadership qualities in a more muted way. </p><p><strong>Many systems favor loud, narcissistic individuals over quiet, effective leaders.</strong></p><p>"Sometimes it feels like our systems are set up to select these narcissistic individuals," explain W. Keith Campbell, (Ph.D.) and Carolyn Crist in <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/new-science-narcissism/202010/how-narcissism-and-leadership-go-hand-in-hand" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Psychology Today</a>. "The democratic election process can also feel like a popularity contest, where the biggest ego wins. Even this year, candidates have created polarized followings on social media."</p><p><strong>People desire a leader who promises stability and direction during challenging times.</strong></p><p>Narcissists who come to power during chaotic and difficult times often quickly gain the support of their followers because they make promises of stability and have a clear direction in mind. The problem with this is that it can lead to detrimental leaders, such as Adolf Hitler. Hitler rose to power during a time when Germany's economy was struggling to recover after the First World War, promising to rebuild and strengthen the country.</p><p><strong>Narcissistic leaders may be able to temporarily convince you everything is being handled effectively. </strong></p><p>Followers who believe their leader acts in their best interest are more likely to be happy with that leadership. When you have a leader who is repeating over and over that they are making effective, meaningful, positive changes (even if they aren't), people are more inclined to believe it. </p><p>"We've seen this over the years at many levels of the government—from the presidential suite all the way down to the local mayor's office," explains Campbell and Crist.</p><p><strong>How do we avoid electing and supporting narcissistic, ineffective leaders in the future? </strong></p><p>Campbell and Crist have a few ideas about that in their book "<a href="https://www.amazon.com/New-Science-Narcissism-Understanding-Psychological/dp/1683644026" target="_blank">The New Science of Narcissism</a>" - the main takeaway being this: <em>"Our best bet is to watch how they act and treat others and then respond accordingly when they look for the next position of power."</em></p>
Even kids get that a real leader puts others' interests first.
The question at hand<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ1MzMxMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMTU3NTM2MH0._okYAx-Fuhe1rjM-a34qNPfMdjEByAoG3xLtTSrJ_14/img.jpg?width=980" id="6622e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="884ef940533f214b0f6a174b7166e39e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="children sitting on grass" />
Credit: Charlein Gracia/Unsplash<p>The study was authored by cognitive development post-doc <a href="https://cdc.ceu.edu/people/maayan-stavans" target="_blank">Maayan Stavans</a> of Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and psychologist <a href="https://psychology.biu.ac.il/en/disendruk" target="_blank">Gil Diesendruck</a> of Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel.</p><p>Children have to learn how to function socially by developing a sense of what they can expect in their interactions with others. When dealing with an adult, certainly the adult assumes a leadership role. However, in groups of children, leaders also emerge. The researchers were interested in exploring how kids feel about, and what they expect of, their leaders.</p><p>We understand how this works for adults with decades of social experience. "In leadership hierarchies," says the study, "individuals show respect and defer freely to those who take charge."</p><p>Grownups will generally accept two types of leaders:</p><ul><li>Authoritative leaders accept the power to give orders and make decisions for a group, and members of the group are expected to obey them.</li><li>Prestige leaders are awarded disproportionate benefits, and are not concerned with commanding others.</li></ul><p>The study investigates, on the other hand, what constitutes leadership for a person who is not yet fully socialized and is also likely to be at an especially pragmatic — "Who will feed me? Who will keep me safe?" — stage of life. Young children may thus serve as a sort of tabula rasa through which we can discern signs of how grownups <em>really</em> feel, or maybe <em>should</em> feel, about leadership and authority. </p>
The study<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ1MzMxNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNDcwNzEzNX0.akU5b25NSM4I5mGGEtYQMlQX6DWLknhacyni5MmIaOA/img.jpg?width=980" id="8f95c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4d63004deff687de5b08b0cf384d1eda" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="experiment setup with toys and bowls" />
In the experiments, the person with a hat is the leader.
Credit: Stavans, et al./Child Development<p>The researchers tested 5-to-6-year-old children in particular for a couple of reasons. First off, kids of this age are known to be aware of social hierarchies and leadership roles. Second, they're capable of tracking the contributions of individuals within a group and will withdraw from situations where others aren't doing their part.</p><p>The researchers conducted three experiments. 48 children from local secular Israeli kindergartens participated in the first experiment, 40 in the second, and 48 in the third. In all of the experiments the participants were led through onscreen stories that presented amusement park scenarios exploring:</p><ul><li>pairs, or dyads, of kids where one member was an authoritative leader</li><li>entitlement dyads with a prestige, or "entitlement," leader</li><li>egalitarian dyads of co-equal children</li></ul><p>The story narratives involved the need to contribute coins to activate rides — the children were given physical coins to make the contributions feel more tangible. Decisions were also to be made regarding who got to go on rides, and on which rides.</p><p>Children were allowed to influence the stories at times, and were also presented "actual" narratives onscreen to which their reactions were recorded. For each story, the kids assessed how fairly and effectively the protagonists and/or leaders in a dyad served the attainment of that group's common goal.</p><p><strong>Experiment 1 </strong></p><p>In the first experiment, when children experienced egalitarian relationships, they expected that both members would contribute an equal number of coins — kicking in either more or less than one's equal share was unacceptable. For dyads with leaders, those leaders who contributed more than their equal share of coins were seen as acceptable. Leaders who offered fewer were deemed unacceptable. This suggests that to these children, leaders are expected to sacrifice toward a common goal, and that entitlement leaders are not qualified to lead.</p><p><strong>Experiment 2</strong></p><p>The most significant finding of the second experiment was that when one member of a dyad was identified as a leader — without the <em>type</em> of leader being specified — the children assumed that the person was an authoritative leader, with decision-making power and a greater measure of responsibility for achieving the goals of a dyad.</p><p><strong>Experiment 3</strong></p><p>In this experiment, kids were shown supposedly egalitarian relationships were one dyad member kept more coins for themselves. The children adjudged that person to be an entitled leader, and they were none too pleased about it.</p>
Leadership to the young<p>"These findings show that children view leaders as more responsible (not more entitled), relative to non-leaders," Stavans told <a href="https://www1.biu.ac.il/indexE.php?id=33&pt=20&pid=4&level=1&cPath=4&type=1&news=3560" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Bar-Ilan University</a>, </p><p>She adds, "Because children were not asked about familiar kinds of authority figures, such as teachers and parents, nor about situations in their everyday lives, their responses reflect sophisticated ideas about leadership applied to novel protagonists and situations. While impressive, we have yet to understand how children come to think leaders have increased responsibility, at what point do they begin to represent leaders' increased entitlement (as adults do!), and how dependent are these representations on context."</p><p>The authors hope that they study can provide some guidance for adults when dealing with the young ones in their charge. First, by themselves being the leaders children expect. Second, the study highlights a need to help children who eventually begin to convey entitlement upon leaders to understand that these entitlements are valid only when they are rewards for a leader whose responsibilities have been fulfilled.</p>
Educators have proven that they can "turn the aircraft carrier" when they need to, but the system needs to match their efforts.
- For many people in the world, the idea that education is not changing at the same rate as the rest of the world became more apparent at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Grant Lichtman argues that the hierarchical systems that govern education and other organizations (military, political, business, etc.) don't work in times of rapid change, and thus need to be overhauled.
- "What has started to replace that are vastly more distributed systems of leadership," Lichtman says. This results in more timely decision making and a more collaborative environment with more room to try new things, more freedom to fail, and the opportunity to take ownership of and learn from those failures.
- Lichtman stresses that things like civil discourse and empathy should be made a priority in the curriculum. "We as educators and we as parents should be focusing enormous amounts of effort on helping our students to understand things like the nature of truth, objective reality, who to listen to, what is the difference between an expert and a person who just has a large social media feed?"