Why Leaders Should Shine a Light on Fear

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Fearful BusinessmanAs a leader of technology teams, I’ve seen a lot of fear in the eyes of employees. Every day, companies outsource entire departments overseas; every minute, hard-earned technology skills become obsolete; and every second, senior leadership cancels a major project and disperses a team. I recall an especially memorable team meeting when fear stalked the room. A critical project had fallen badly behind schedule, and I needed everyone’s ...

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Start Capturing the Benefits of Team Negativity

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Angry DavidOutspoken and aggressive, David Weiss, a web developer at General Engines, has always voiced strong opinions about the look and feel of the company’s website. When his manager, Nancy Colletto informs his team that she cannot approve their urgently needed budget request, David loses his cool. Turning red in the face, he shouts, “This company doesn’t give a damn about the customers who visit our website. They’ll take ...

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Beginners Mind: A Source of Innovation

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Beginners Mind and InnovationSome people approach each situation with a beginner’s mind, which is an attitude of openness and lack of preconceptions, even when they’re a highly accomplished professional. These people are more innovative than others, and you can facilitate this attitude in a team.

A great example of this comes from a team I work with that writes software to run the operations of a trucking company, which I’ll ...

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An Easier Way to Boost Employee Engagement

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Boost employee engagement thru team emotionsWhat if employees that we call “disengaged” are really just stressed, burned out, or simply bored with the routine. Then the remedies would be entirely different than the ones we’re trying.

What we commonly diagnose as an employee’s lack of engagement may really be due to primal emotional issues, which are best remedied at their source. Stress, ...

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Combat Negativity by Bringing the Positive to Life

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Enliven the PositiveDoes it seem like some people choose to be negative? In many ways it’s our basic nature, but it has damaging consequences to our creative and cognitive performance. Here’s a remedy for shifting a team’s emotions from negative to positive, but it requires understanding a bit about our conscious minds.

Understand Conscious Awareness

Our conscious minds are attracted to the emotional. Our cognitive and emotional systems constantly process a ...

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Enhance Creativity by Taking a Break

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Take a BreakIf you’re engaged in creative problem solving, you’re more likely to be successful when you have some downtime in which your brain is focused on something else. So allow for breaks, but understand that not all breaks are created equal. Here are three tips for taking effective breaks when you’re engaged in solving problems that require creativity.

1: Get the Timing Right – Creative problem solving requires insight, ...

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Why are Creative Solutions Sparked by Positive Emotions? – A Hypothesis

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Heart Rhythms - SquareCreative thinking is a bit like playing with Legos. Our brain reaches out and pulls in disparate pieces and creates relationships that form something new. These pieces aren’t usually in our conscious mind, but rather are pulled from different parts of our memory, our subconscious mind, and even our intuition. They come together and enter our conscious mind, ...

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Which Emotions Facilitate Creative Problem Solving?

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Emotion Quadrant Diagram Some problems can’t be solved by methodical, logical thinking, but rather they require insight to relate things in a non-typical way or see novel ways of using them. When our emotions are in a particular zone (as depicted in green on the diagram), we are better at solving problems requiring creative insight.

A simple example of a problem requiring creativity is the “candle task” in which a ...

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