team building

Losing Our Empathy: How to Team-Build When People Could Care Less

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May 15 @ 10:58 pm CDT

Blame it on a 24-hour news cycle, social media, corruption, the increased use of profanity, or savage political campaigns, but one thing has become very apparent, we have lost what connects us to each other — our empathy. Whether we’re arguing about politics or vaccinations, guns, or abortion, or which lives matter most, our society has been unable to successfully cooperate or community-build for quite some time now. In my line of work, this means more clients calling with concerns about teambuilding and inclusion. Employers are observing increased conflict and lower tolerance. Young employees are less likely to stick around in a setting like this, so the lack of empathy is also contributing to turnover. Empathy is the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel and how they see things from their point of view. Empathy leads to compassion and the desire to care for or help someone else. And our empathy is currently missing. New scientific research revealed adults today are caring less for others and more about themselves — and this has negatively influenced youth and young professional development. According to the research from Indiana University, declines in empathy among young people started happening in the early 2000s alongside a rise in mental health problems. Both outcomes are believed to be directly associated with burn-out. With the mainstreaming of technology, shifts in parenting and education, and a greater social emphasis on competitiveness, testing, and success, children were facing challenges earlier generations didn’t face. Researchers believe this generation’s self-care and care for others was backburnered to focus on personal success and survival. Here and now, children are observing communities in conflict, even during a global pandemic. Time will tell how this experience will influence their development, but the research indicates the conflict and lack of compassion is already more prevalent among adults than at any other time in history. The questions at the top of mind right now for many leaders and teams is:…

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crisis

Crisis At Work: Students Lack A Good Work Ethic

May 15 @ 10:58 pm CDT

There is a crisis in the workforce today: youth are not learning a good work ethic during their school years. This especially applies to inner-city schools where funding is limited. Here’s an example: The Urban Poverty and Family Life Study did a survey of 179 Chicago employers in 1988 and found that they shied away from hiring inner-city kids because of a poor work ethic, low job dependability, a bad attitude, lack of basic skills, and low interpersonal skills. A 2004 study by “Entrepreneur” trade journal confirmed that this is still the case with inner-city kids. Clearly, this is very damaging to the workforce and places the foundations of our economic system in peril. But how can we remedy it? I think that in order for any solution to be viable, there must be two things in place: high expectations, and practical lessons. It is an unwritten rule that kids will achieve—in general—what you expect them to achieve. When I was in high school, my parents set the expectation that I wouldn’t get involved in drugs or underage drinking—and I never did. However, if they had ever doubted that I could resist those pressures, I’m certain I would have given in. Of course, high expectations aren’t enough. You also need a program in place that will teach and reinforce behavior. After all, we don’t learn by osmosis, but by practice. One program that can be a good model is “Voyager: Direction for Learning and Careers” at Thomas Edison High School in Minneapolis. It was started in 1994 by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce and is currently only offered at Edison. Of the approximately 900 students at Thomas Edison, about 85% participate in the free and reduced lunch program, and many come from single-parent, working families. The students represent about 30 cultures and speak 30 to 40 languages. Many are second-generation Americans. The Voyager program is a two-year leadership program that prepares students for the working world by…

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