Is Self-Actualization All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Is Self-Actualization All It’s Cracked Up to Be?In the 1960s, psychologist Abraham Maslow popularized a hierarchy of individual needs that culminated in what he characterized as a basic human desire for self-actualization.  His theory was premised on an understanding of people as wanting to reach both personal fulfillment and a connection with the external world.  He saw self-actualization as an end state in which people found meaning in their lives and used their personal self-fulfillment in positive ways as they lived within their environments.  But clearly, his focal attention was on the individual more than on the society in which the individual operated. Continue reading

Yes You Can

Yes You CanAs hurricanes played out in the US over the past weeks, heartwarming stories also emerged about people who took the initiative to help others, even risking their own health and well-being to be of service to those who needed their aid.  There was a 13-year-old boy who floated an air mattress around his neighborhood, rescuing neighbors.  And a nun who got out a chain saw to get a tree off someone’s car.

But heroism doesn’t need to be big or risky.  In fact, the simplest of acts can be the most meaningful when people need it the most.  Again and again, in the face of fears and tears, people called and texted each other, and when the water receded, what stood out for the survivors were the messages that said, “Yes, you can.  You are capable.  You are resilient.  I believe in you.” Continue reading

Hearken Ye…..

Hearken YeIn the September 12 New York Times, OpEd columnist David Brooks wrote a refreshingly apolitical opinion piece that is a worthwhile reflection on aspects of leadership that are as pertinent today as they were in the stories that formed the Old Testament.  It’s worth a read for this reason alone. Continue reading

Rules of Civility

Rules of CivilityOverheard in a workplace conversation from an older worker to a younger one, “Please compliment your parents for having raised a very well-bred young man.”  The young man had not done anything terribly special.  But he had asked the opinion of the older man, had said, “thank you” when advice had been offered, and had added how he might apply that advice. Continue reading

De-Politicizing the Work Environment

De-Politicizing-the-Work-EnvironmentThis letter to a national news columnist describes an employee’s stress over what he describes as near-constant political discussion at work, not surprising, perhaps, given its prominence in the media.

The columnist offers advice to the employee about how to even-handedly discuss with fellow employees a preference to not hear the political rhetoric, and even to force the attention of the company’s Human Resources department if he feels the situation is stressful enough. Continue reading

If I Only Had the Nerve

If I Only Had the NerveFor the Tin Man it was a heart, for the Scarecrow a brain, and what the Cowardly Lion wished for was nerve.  He wanted the courage to stand up for himself, for things he believed in.  He wanted to be able to roar in the face of blustery bullies like the Wizard of Oz or the Wicked Witch of the West.

There are times these days when it can feel a little like we’re all Cowardly Lions, when roaring has unacceptable consequences. Continue reading

A Spoonful of Empathy

A Spoonful of EmpathyWe’re in a world right now of ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’, of super-charged words like ‘hate’ and ‘bigotry’ and ‘distrust’ and ‘fake’.  Of people calling each other out instead of bringing each other in.  Of pointing fingers in lieu of pointing the way.

We tend to put this negativity in a corner as a political phenomenon that can somehow be walled off from our workplaces.  But take a look around you and ask yourselves some simple questions. Continue reading

The Gift of Uncommon Caring

The Gift of Uncommon CaringThe final implementation date for the customer software was just a few weeks away.  The problems were mounting and everyone on the team was putting in long hours.  The stress level was high.  Maria kept a careful eye on her team members.  She began to be concerned about signs she saw in Elizabeth, who was short with her colleagues and was making some errors. Continue reading

The Gift of Uncommon Skills

The Gift of Uncommon SkillsWant to give your employees a gift that will last a lifetime?  Give them skills that transcend their current job.  In fact, give them skills that transcend any one job – that are valued no matter what job they are in.  Help them to be the value players no matter where they play.  In so doing, you also make them more valuable to you and your own organization, because you benefit from their enhanced abilities in these timeless talents. Continue reading

The Impossible Dream

The Impossible Dream“Tilting at windmills” – a phrase made famous by the off-kilter actions of knight-errant Don Quixote in ‘Man of La Mancha’ – signifies a misdirected idealism.  Indeed, crazy Don Quixote saw the beautiful in everything, no matter how much trouble it got him into, no matter how others derided his optimism. Continue reading