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What’s happening in the world of work: The Saturday edition of the Daily Rundown highlights the business trends, perspectives, and hot topics you need to know to work smarter. Read on and join the conversation.
Like wine, leaders’ brains can improve with time: Our brains begin to shrink by the time we hit our 20s, diminishing our ability to learn new things and slowing our reaction times. But such developments force the brain to develop workarounds. This adaptation — called the Scaffolding Theory of Aging and Cognition — gives older employees an advantage at solving interpersonal and abstract challenges, the kind of problems CEOs often face. What’s the sweet spot age for such qualities? The mid-50s, Quartz reports. 7 out of the top 10 Fortune 500 firms in 2018 were led by people in that age group. • Here’s what people are saying.
We should all keep a ‘kudos file’: Many of us are primed to cast aside the praise we receive and hold onto the criticism instead. But holding onto and internalizing positive feedback encourages healthy emotions, improves our relationships and boosts job satisfaction, write researchers Laura Morgan Roberts, Emily Heaphy and Brianna Barker Caza. One way to keep the praise alive? Start collecting it. Create a physical or digital collection of kudos you have received. Revisit that file from time to time, looking for patterns that may help you discover new opportunities. • Here’s what people are saying.
But sticking to strengths alone can backfire: Having employees focus solely on areas where they are strong may allow managers to avoid uncomfortable feedback sessions, but it does a disservice to employees and companies alike, argues the Center for Creative Leadership’s Craig Chappelow and Cindy McCauley. Avoiding weaknesses altogether encourages employees to believe that those weak spots are not important. It also ignores the fact that the needs of a company (and entire industries) will change over time. • Here’s what people are saying.
You Asked: “How do you get past the mental block of a failure in your career?” —Sarah Emerson, information technology security analyst at SWIFT
- “Success can be measured by your resilience over failure. Everyone experiences failure and tragedy. You will get fired, lose people you love and likely have periods of economic stress. I’ve had a marriage fail, had businesses I started go bankrupt and lost the only person who (at that point) I knew loved me, my mom … all before 40. But the ability to mourn, and then move on forces you to learn how to adapt and identify where your strengths lie. A key component of success is your ability to mourn, and move on.” — Scott Galloway, professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and author of “The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning”
- “My heart goes out to you. Whether you got laid off, fired or your business went bankrupt, it sounds like a healthy dose of self-compassion — which is providing yourself the same kindness and understanding you would give a good friend — may help you move forward. It’s easier to move past our failures when we allow ourselves a compassionate environment in which to accept them. If our own brain harshly criticizes us for falling short, we get paralyzed and are afraid to try again, which keeps us stuck. You can’t get past a mental block in a punitive environment. And while moving on doesn’t necessarily mean choosing the easiest or most pleasurable path, you can always choose the kindest.” — Ellen Hendriksen, clinical psychologist and author of “How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety”
- “It takes a lot of work to systematically think through what caused a failure and what to do about it. The good news is that with practice, you’ll learn something useful and your daily attitude will become stronger. You begin to see that one failure is just one data point; one among many millions that will define your career, or your life. You come to understand that who you are is really defined by the average of all those data points. Not just a single project or incident. That puts failure in perspective and reminds you to keep learning so that you’re always improving your average.” — Todd Dewett, management expert and president of TVA, Inc.
Looking for career advice from the pros? Submit your questions in the comments with #YouAsked and we’ll take care of the rest.
It’s time to broaden your job search: Job seekers may feel disappointed by headlines highlighting demand for workers in sectors outside their area of expertise. But our skills can often be translated across industries, psychologist and business advisor Melanie Katzman tells LinkedIn’s Andrew Seaman. Katzman recommends that job seekers deconstruct their resumes to see which of their skills may apply to other sectors. The presenting and persuasion chops you may have honed in sales could prove essential in the fundraising world, for example. It all comes down to how you make your case to hiring managers, at every step of the process. • Get more job seeking tips from LinkedIn’s Get Hired newsletter.
One last idea: Many of us sacrifice our short-term health and happiness based on the belief that pain in the present will be justified by future rewards. But entrepreneur Tom Gozney tells Fast Company’s Stephanie Vozza that we’re better off making the time to care for ourselves each step along our journey.
“The truth is, the sprint never ends, the terrain just changes. It’s important to prioritize what’s important both at work and in your personal life, as it’s the cumulative effect of focus that truly reaps rewards.”