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The Countries Where People Are the Most Emotionally Complex

Think of the last piece of big news you got. How did you feel about it? Happy? Sad? Angry? Worried? Excited? Grateful? A little bit of all of the above? Experiencing multiple emotions at once may make it seem like you don’t actually know just how you feel about something—that you’re ambivalent, or indecisive, or wishy-washy. Psychologists would say it just means you’re emotionally complex. And according a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, emotional complexity varies a lot between countries.

There are two definitions of emotional complexity that researchers tend to use. One is called “emotional dialecticism,” which just means feeling positive and negative emotions at the same time. The other is “emotional differentiation,” which is when someone is able to separate out and describe the discrete emotions they’re feeling. 

In the study, Igor Grossman and Alex Huynh of the University of Waterloo and Phoebe Ellsworth of the University of Michigan explored how emotional complexity manifests in different cultures. In a random sampling of 1.3 million English web pages from 10 different countries, they tracked how many times a positive emotion word appeared within two words of a...

In Order to Change Habits, You Need to Change How You Think About Yourself

Every January, there are a slew of articles about how to commit to New Year’s resolutions. But many of these stories simply scratch the surface when it comes to habit formation, focusing on performance, appearance, and external motivation. In her latest book, Better Than Before, author and happiness guru Gretchen Rubin explains that the secret to developing successful habits cuts deeper, beginning with acute self-awareness and a willingness to let go of one’s identity.

“If you change your identity (the type of person that you believe that you are), then it’s easier to change your actions,” Rubin writes.

She opens her chapter about self-knowledge with a quote from Oscar Wilde: “One regrets the loss even of one’s worst habits. Perhaps one regrets them the most. They are such an essential part of one’s personality.”

The way we think about ourselves is essential to how we behave.

Rubin cites research from Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweckon voting. Dweck and her co-authors discovered that those who had to consider whether they were “voters” (which connected the action of voting to identity) rather than if they’d be voting, turned out in higher numbers to the polls...

Managers Are Baffled About How to Handle Their Robot Underlings

A lot of people today are worrying about robots taking over our jobs. But the more pressing question is actually how we will manage our robot employees.

Many industries are already incorporating artificial intelligence into their daily operations. The financial industry uses robo-analysts to offer clients investment advice. Smart glasses are helping field workers access data and instructions as they repair equipment. And agriculture is benefiting from drones that can treat crops and spot signs of disease and drought.

There’s just one problem. Accenture’s recent analysis of the managers who will have to implement this significant change suggests that they’re not sure just how to handle their robot underlings.

For one thing, many of the tasks that managers devote the bulk of their time to today are prime candidates for automation: planning and coordinating workflow, monitoring employees, reporting on progress toward goals, and maintaining standards. Artificial intelligence will increasingly free managers from these time-consuming tasks to focus on work that is more uniquely human. Such “judgment work” requires complex thinking, analytical interpretation, and higher-order reasoning. That means managers will be able to focus on the more creative and interpersonal parts of their jobs: helping staff work through...

Boost Your Team’s Performance by ‘People Planning’

When “getting ahead” on your job means finding ways to strengthen team performance, having a strategy to find ideas to do so is like gold.

That was the discussion when Judy met Dan for coffee recently, and the conversation soon focused on where they were with their respective companies and what it takes to be “on the fast track.”

“I’m happy,” Judy admitted. “Just got my third promotion and I’m supervising four people.”

“That’s great,” Dan smiled. Then his voice dropped as he added, “I feel stuck. I’ve applied for several promotions and they tell me I was a finalist each time but didn’t get the job. I volunteer for special projects and try to make creative suggestions – but twice when I’ve been given the go-ahead on a suggestion to management, I got no cooperation and the idea flopped.”

“I see how that would be frustrating,” Judy responded. “I remember you got all-A’s in business planning courses, but maybe you need more ‘people planning.’ You saw how to ‘fix’ processes and convinced management on your ideas, but you didn’t start with the people actually doing those jobs. Do you think they felt...

One Solid Way to Fail, But Not Fall, in 2016

I was thinking about the pressure we're all under walking back into the office after New Year's.

Vacation is over, the resolutions are made and it feels like there are just so many of them: "Eat clean," "learn to construct a computer," "get my college degree," even "work hard and get that promotion." 

But as we all know, trying to do too many things, or making theoretical commitments without an actual plan for implementation, is only a recipe for failure. So perhaps it is wiser to make just one resolution you can keep.

If you're thinking about making a professional change for the better, you might want to consider this paradox: Some employees make a lot of mistakes but don't seem to suffer any consequences, while others seem to land in hot water for the slightest infraction.

After more than two decades of observing workplace interaction and reading about same for work and for pleasure, I think I have pinpointed what makes the crucial difference.

If you master this skill, in small increments over time, you will see a positive impact on your career. I call it "the Zelig principle."

Briefly, Zelig was the main character...