Entries with tag leadership .

4 Ways to Create a Culture of Intrapreneurship

Lately, you may have heard the relatively new term, intrapreneur.  If you're unfamiliar with the concept, the word defines a person within an organization who uses skills traditionally associated with entrepreneurship—like innovation and problem-solving—and applies them at the company they work for.

Essentially, it's a way for employees to engage in entrepreneurial-like behavior while avoiding the risk that entrepreneurs typically experience.  As you might imagine, companies love having this type of innovator on board at their organizations.  If you'd like to foster a culture of intrapreneurship at your company, you can do so by:

  1. Rewarding Proactive Behavior.  Employees are far more likely to be proactive problem solvers if they know that behavior is valued in their organization.  If you have layers of bureaucracy in place that makes proactive behavior all but impossible, we encourage you to start thinking of innovative ways to change that.

  2. Making Room for Creativity.  Firms that foster intrapreneurship tend to allow their employees greater flexibility.  For example, at 3M and Google, employees are allowed to spend 20% of their working hours pursuing personal projects related to the business.  In fact, these personal projects led to the creation of Post-It notes and Gmail.

  3. Accepting Micro-Failures.  In an innovative environment, there will be times that failures occur.  However, rather than berating employees for making mistakes, aim for an understanding attitude.  By accepting that failure is an occasional byproduct of risk, you create a culture where employees are more comfortable implementing new ideas.

  4. Acting on Ideas.  Sitting around and coming up with great ideas can be an enjoyable pasttime.  However, it's important to realize that if you're a company that truly wants to foster intrapreneurship, it's not just enough to devise useful ideas.  At some point, you need to act on them.  To do this, growth strategist Matthew Toren at business.com suggests you develop a structure to move ideas from the generation stage all the way to commercial realization. 

4 Easy Things You Can Do to Improve Your Life

All too often, it seems like the actions that would most improve our lives are time-consuming or require lots of discipline.  Not so with this list.  Check out our suggestions for some very simple things you can do to quickly improve your life:

  1. Keep a Gratitude List.  Each morning spend 5 minutes writing down 5 things you appreciate about your life.  Once you've completed the list, reread each item and say, “thank you,” silently to yourself.  This activity will help you to begin each day in a happier frame of mind.

  2. Save Automatically.  If saving money isn't your thing, we're going to make it simple for you.  Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account to occur after every paycheck.  That's it!  By putting money aside for a rainy day, you'll feel more confident about your ability to save for big-ticket items, as well as feel prepared should an unexpected emergency arise.

  3. Clean for 5 Minutes a Day.  It's not uncommon to let cleaning go by the wayside when we get busy.  However, if you commit to cleaning for just 5 minutes each day, you'll find that you can easily make the time for it, your home will stay neater, and frequently, you'll be inclined to work beyond 5 minutes because you're in a groove.

  4. Quit Complaining.  When we complain, we're fueling negativity.  Instead, try to go cold turkey on complaints.  For extra credit, consider taking the Complaint Free Challenge designed by Will Bowen.  The challenge consists of wearing a rubber bracelet on your wrist and not criticizing, complaining, or gossiping for 21 consecutive days.  If you find yourself doing so, move the bracelet to your other wrist and begin again from day 1.  While this may sound easy, Bowen reports that he moved his bracelet so often, he broke 3 of them before going 21 days without a complaint. However, by choosing to stop thinking negatively, you'll experience greater happiness and success in your life.

3 Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence or EQ can be defined as the ability to identify and manage our emotions and the emotions of others.  And although EQ may sound like a skillset that has more to do with our personal relationships than our careers, research indicates that isn't the case.  By and large, studies have shown that emotional intelligence is a better indicator of success than intelligence and relevant experience.

Having said that, you may be wondering how you can develop this skill if you don't feel that it comes naturally to you.  Fortunately, there are ways to increase your emotional intelligence:

  1. Pay Attention to Your Body's Signals.  For people who have a hard time discerning their feelings, body cues can be especially useful.  Notice when your muscles feel tight, you have “butterflies” in your stomach, or your palms begin to sweat.  These are all important indicators of how you're feeling emotionally.

  2. Ask Yourself “How?” And “Why?”  Check in with yourself throughout the day by periodically asking yourself how you feel and why you feel that way.  This is a good opportunity to notice your feelings rather than trying to suppress or deny them.

  3. Take Responsibility for How You Feel.  This can be a challenge even for people who typically have a high EQ.  Rather than attributing your feelings to others, own them and acknowledge that you are responsible for how you feel.  Although many people find this concept difficult to accept, it's easier if you think about how differently people respond to being cut off in traffic.  Whereas some people might be inclined to shrug and think, “That person must really be in a hurry,” other people might begin yelling and honking their horns repeatedly.  As you can see, a bad driver isn't responsible for a person's feeling of rage—if the driver was, then we'd all experience road rage when we were driving rather than just some of us.  By owning your feelings, your ability to manage them will improve, ultimately increasing your EQ.

Are You a Good Listener? 4 Ways to Tell

What if we told you there is something simple you can do that will improve your relationships, increase your productivity, minimize mistakes, and boost your confidence?  There is!  You'll experience all of these benefits merely by becoming a better listener.

There's a good chance you already believe you excel at this skill. Interestingly enough, most people think that they are above average listeners.  However, according to a study of 3,492 individuals done by authors Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, there are 4 characteristics that really distinguish great listeners from the rest of us.  In their Harvard Business Review article, they identified the following 4 traits of great listeners:

  1. They Ask Good Questions.  While we often think of good listeners as those who silently nod while someone's talking, they actually aren't the best listeners.  In reality, people who ask probing and insightful questions—essentially, those who engage in 2-way communication—are perceived as the best listeners.

  2. They Build Self-Esteem.  Rather than reacting passively or worse, critically to others, good listeners make people feel supported.  They create a safe environment where people feel encouraged to share.

  3. They're Cooperative.  Bad listeners were often seen as competitive.  For example, they seemed to merely be listening so they could point out flaws in logic or take the time to formulate their response.  By contrast, although good listeners may disagree, they leave the impression that they're trying to help, rather than just win an argument.

  4. They Made Suggestions.  Zenger and Folkman reported being surprised by this, because all too commonly, people will complain about someone who “didn't listen but instead jumped in and tried to immediately solve the problem.”  They theorized that good listeners are either making suggestions more skillfully or alternatively, people are more appreciative of suggestions that come from a great listener. 

Need to Make a Decision? Try Being Humble

Do you enjoy thinking in new ways?  Are you curious and open to new experiences?  Do you question your own opinions, believing there's a possibility they could be wrong?  If so, there's a good chance you score high in what researchers refer to as Intellectual Humility or IH.

IH essentially refers to how strongly (or not) we cling to our own opinions.  People with high IH tend to be flexible thinkers and more willing to believe their opinions could be wrong.  By contrast, people with low IH are less easily swayed and more inclined to hold tightly to their viewpoints, regardless of evidence.  As you might imagine, those with high IH are more open to changing their mind about an issue than people with low IH.

In the Thrive Global article, Why Humble People Make Better Decisions, writer Drake Baer reports on Duke University research that explains how IH affects decision making.  To scientifically test this issue, researchers asked 400 people to report how often they flossed.  Once they had this information, study participants were asked to read one of two essays that advocated flossing.  The first essay used strong scientific arguments given by dental experts, whereas the second essay relied on weak anecdotal evidence.

After the study was complete, researchers drew 2 main conclusions:

  1. People with high IH rated the first essay as much stronger than the 2nd one.

  2. People who didn't floss frequently were more likely to change their minds about flossing, but only if they were rated as having IH.

The takeaway?  Believing that you don't know everything—and (gasp!), may even be wrong on some topics—can help you make better decisions in the future.  But what if you already know you know everything?

That's when lead researcher, Mark R. Leary, encourages you to think about statistics.  As he puts it, “Probabilistically, wouldn't it be strange if your views were always the right ones?  Wouldn't it be odd if everything you believe is true?”