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Hillary Clinton Didn't Take Sick Leave Because Nobody in America Takes Sick Leave

Hillary Clinton, who was diagnosed with pneumonia after being taken ill at an event last week, was doing what millions of American do every year: trying to power through sickness and keep working.

That Americans work when they’re unwell is down to two factors: a culture of “battling through,” and a massive lack of support for the sick.

The US is one of very few developed countries that doesn’t guarantee sick pay. In the OECD group of rich countries, only Canada, Korea, Mexico, Ireland, and Portugal offer as little (pdf, p.127). The US spends less on supporting sick workers compared to other similarly developed countries; though other countries that offer much more support spend less than twice as much.

Germany, for example, offers continued wage payment to workers for the first six weeks they are sick.

Some US employers offer sick leave as part of employee benefit packages, and some states have passed laws guaranteeing some support for those who can’t work because of illness. From 2017, president Barack Obama has ordered that any company that does business with the federal government must offer its employees up to seven days of annual paid sick leave.

But...

It’s Time for Agency Leaders to Reset the Relationship With Their IGs

  • By Mallory Barg Bulman and Carlos Otal
  • September 15, 2016
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The relationship between inspectors general and federal executives can get testy at times, but that does not mean leaders should view the IG as the enemy.

Leaders—particularly those new to an agency—should draw on the IG’s knowledge for an inside view of their organization. Most IGs span administrations and can be a good source of information for managing major agency risks. 

“We know the department very well, including where the bones are buried and where the traps lie,” said Mary Kendall, acting IG at the Department of the Interior.

Yet relationships between leaders and IGs can tend toward the adversarial, and it’s not hard to understand why.

The IGs’ job is to conduct thorough audits and investigations, which can lead to reports that bring an agency’s dirty laundry to light. The issues unearthed and made public can lead to political fallout, affect employee morale and raise questions about the agency’s stewardship. In addition, the IG’s need for independence and impartiality can intensify the perception that the IG is antagonistic to agency leadership.

This relationship is explored in a new report, “Walking the Line: Inspectors General Balancing Independence and Impact,” by the Partnership for...

In Overvaluing Confidence, We’ve Forgotten the Power of Humility

‘If I only had a little humility, I’d be perfect,’ the media mogul Ted Turner supposedly said sometime in the 1990s, in a moment of narcissistic exuberance. While Turner has been much humbler since, today’s breed of tech entrepreneurs often display a similar arrogance.

Why be humble? After all, Aristotle said: ‘All men by nature desire to know.’ Intellectual humility is a particular instance of humility, since you can be down-to-earth about most things and still ignore your mental limitations. Intellectual humility means recognising that we don’t know everything – and what we do know, we shouldn’t use to our advantage. Instead, we should acknowledge that we’re probably biased in our belief about just how much we understand, and seek out the sources of wisdom that we lack.

The internet and digital media have created the impression of limitless knowledge at our fingertips. But, by making us lazy, they have opened up a space that ignorance can fill. On the Edge website, the psychologist Tania Lombrozo of the University of California explained how technology enhances our illusions of wisdom. She argues that the way we access information about an issue is critical to our understanding and...

Women at the White House Have Started Using a Simple Trick to Get Heard

The challenges of a job at the White House are tough and manifold, but at least one of them—the challenge of getting heard—has historically been tougher for women.

For one thing, there are fewer of them at the table: all presidents so far have been men, and among their top aides man have to date heavily outnumbered women. But another factor that weighs on how much women’s ideas get heard and credited isn’t confined to politics. Across sectors, and both in and outside work, women get interrupted more often than men—by people of both genders.

The interruption disparity, backed up by decades of research, is now so recognized there’s a word for it: manterrupting.

But at the White House, one former staffer explained to the Washington Post, women started using a simple rhetorical technique to stop interruptions and reinforce points made by other women. When a woman made a good point, another woman would repeat it, and give credit to the originator. This made the idea harder to ignore, or to steal. The women called the technique “amplification.”

“We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it,” one of president Barack...

The Real Problem For Bureaucracies On Social Media

It's a question that comes up a lot when organizations consider how to use social media most effectively: "How should we present our identity to the public?"

Here are the typical options, along with the pros and cons:

A single account where nobody knows who is talking (a.k.a. The Wizard of Oz): The benefit of this approach is that the organization does not risk its brand on the reputation of any one individual. On the other hand, social media is all about individuality and authenticity, so having an unnamed entity issuing messages is incongruous, to say the least. 

A single organizational account explicitly populated by a staff, with messages identified by name: This approach humanizes the brand, but there is a lack of consistency in terms of "voice."

An individual account in the corporate name where the person is identified as a brand representative: This approach can be extremely successful, but if a popular social media representative leaves the team, that unique individuality is suddenly absent, creating an identity problem for the brand.

An individual communicating as themselves, who is understood to be synonymous with the organization: This is typically the scenario when a senior executive communicates...

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