Career & Success

Emancipating ourselves from emotional repression at work

Are your emotions always yours? If you think so, you’d better think again. In a recently published book, I argue that emotions are often used by organizations to manipulate and repress workers.

“So what?” you might wonder . . . Are organizations not supposed to explore ways to control the behaviour of their staff so that it supports the bottom […]

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    The effects of good looks on professional success: It’s complicated

The effects of good looks on professional success: It’s complicated

Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, and profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, and chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference: beauty demands to be noticed; it speaks to us directly like the voice of an intimate friend. If there are people who are indifferent to beauty, […]

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    Endless online distraction is hurting leaders’ ability to make decisions

Endless online distraction is hurting leaders’ ability to make decisions

Complexity has become our enemy. Complexity coupled with the ridiculous levels of distraction that now exist make us exhausted and feel that we are not on top of our game. Often that is true: we make things too complicated and the vast amount of noise that surrounds us confuses things.

The onslaught of social media in its many forms means […]

Flourishing at work is all about relationships

StoryCorps 2009/2010, by Alejandro De La Cruz, under a CC-BY-NC-2.0 licence
Pressing deadlines, endless meetings, micro-managing bosses. . . workplace stressors often leave employees feeling mentally drained and physically exhausted. But can we go from languishing to flourishing at work? Our recently published paper says: Yes! The key is to form positive work relationships. Based on over 200 stories we collected from […]

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    Serving on corporate boards plays a vital role in the career success of executives

Serving on corporate boards plays a vital role in the career success of executives

Image by Unsplash, under a CC0 licence
When Warren Buffett retired from Coca-Cola’s board in 2006, he said he no longer had the time for all of the retreats, travel, reading, meeting prep time, and committee meetings that were necessary for the role. In addition to the time requirements, board service also comes with reputational risks. For example, the current board […]

Success isn’t just about salary and title

The way social mobility is currently understood is leading us down an economic and social cul-de-sac. New research released by Professor John Goldthorpe showed that social mobility in this country stalled in the latter part of the 20th century and earlier part of the 21st. This builds on work released this year by the Sutton Trust showing unequal access […]

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    A good professional reputation is in the eye of the beholder

A good professional reputation is in the eye of the beholder

Build a good reputation. This is an adage-like career advice in the business world. And, of course, being known for being good at something surely helps. Reputations will get your foot in the door in the uncertainty-laden fields of careers and businesses. When we make a judgment about someone, we are quick to look for what they have achieved […]

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    Helping colleagues brings many benefits, but it may carry a cost

Helping colleagues brings many benefits, but it may carry a cost

“Do unto others.” The Golden Rule. As children, society socializes into us the value of helping others. Indeed, from an evolutionary standpoint, such activities were necessary to ensure the survival of the tribe in a hostile world. As it pertains to the workplace, helping others is no less important.

Although few job descriptions would list “helping co-workers” as an explicit […]

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    In sports, as in business, limited attention affects risk-taking behaviour

In sports, as in business, limited attention affects risk-taking behaviour

People typically focus on the left-most digit of a number and pay only partial attention to other digits. This is why most prices in supermarkets are just below unit values (such as 99 cent or 3.99 pounds). In World Cup alpine ski events, this human tendency to pay only limited attention to certain digits makes athletes liable to take […]

How to de-clutter your career

Devotion to a cause is the cornerstone of a successful career. But if we’re going to keep that commitment burning, we need to have the conviction that with enough willpower, we can get better at what we do, and overcome the inevitable setbacks.

The American psychologist Carol Dweck (see video below) explained the difference between a growth mindset, that makes […]

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    People feel much better when they get right back at an abusive boss

People feel much better when they get right back at an abusive boss

Imagine that your boss is abusive toward you. He or she regularly yells at you, belittles you in front of your co-workers, or prevents you from forming productive relationships with others at work. Interacting with a hostile boss is likely to leave you feeling scarred and defeated. You may experience dissatisfaction with your life or job, symptoms of depression, […]

Adult education can substantially improve careers

Precarious employment is a core concern in modern societies and an increasing trend worldwide. It is increasing among all occupational levels, including the traditionally protected, skilled and often highly unionised workforces of large firms. Is this a path of no return? Previous analyses have focused on the social structure to answer this question, and researchers have been devoted to […]

Is flirtation an effective negotiation tactic?

When I teach negotiation skills, my students and I explore a variety of strategies for reaching agreement, but we almost never mention flirtation. This may be because there is very little research on flirtation as a negotiation tactic – but it may also be because, as we found in one of our surveys, negotiation students do not consider flirtation […]

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    Students’ university degree classification affect their pay later in life

Students’ university degree classification affect their pay later in life

Since the early 1960s, with developments in the field of human capital research, analysis of the returns to education has established robust evidence of a strong positive association between earnings and years of schooling or level of qualification attained. But there has been little analysis of how returns vary according to the level of academic performance – for example, […]

There’s a wage hierarchy based on sexual orientation

It is now well accepted that gender is a major source of differentiation in the labour market. On average women earn less than men, even when they have similar education, and work full-time and in identical occupations. Until recently, little information was available on how sexual orientation factored into people’s work experiences. The availability of new data has allowed […]

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    How investment analysts frame information matters to their careers

How investment analysts frame information matters to their careers

Institutional Investor’s All-American ranking is the Oscars of sell-side securities analysis. Sell-side analysts work for investment banks or independent research firms to gather, interpret, and disseminate knowledge about a particular industry. Unlike buy-side analysts, who make actual investment decisions, sell-side analysts offer their audience of institutional investors – such as chief investment officers and portfolio managers of money management […]

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    Advice for 20 somethings: don’t go job hopping and explore your education options

Advice for 20 somethings: don’t go job hopping and explore your education options

When we read about youth, titles like Generation X, Generation Me and Arrested Adulthood tend to paint an alarming picture of the younger generation in their 20s as directionless, floundering, and less likely than previous generations to become mature and productive citizens. In contrast, books like The Boomerang Age and Emerging Adulthood argue that more recent socio-demographic trends indicative […]

Why those water cooler chats may be good for your career

Should you be spending time at work interacting with your colleagues? In my recent working paper “Learning Spillovers in the Firm,” I show that the answer to this question is yes.  Specifically, I show that learning from more educated colleagues is an important determinant of wage growth.

To show this, I first put together a unique data set, matching all Swedish workers […]

There may be some truth to the ‘gay jobs’ stereotype

There is an unusually high concentration of gay or lesbian workers in certain occupations. For example, both gay men and lesbians and are overrepresented in psychology, law, social work, and university teaching. And there are real occupational patterns behind some popular stereotypes, from the gay flight attendant to the lesbian truck driver.

Where does this kind of occupational segregation come […]

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    To change your professional behaviour, you need outside stimulus

To change your professional behaviour, you need outside stimulus

In my 35 years as an executive coach, I have seen some of the world’s most powerful leaders struggle with changing their behaviour. I have come to believe that no one, no matter how determined or passionate, can do it without structure. You might wake up every morning sure that you will spend your day listening better, being more […]