No Hard Feelings Book Summary - No Hard Feelings Book explained in key points
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No Hard Feelings summary

Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy

The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work

4.3 (143 ratings)
21 mins
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    No Hard Feelings
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    It’s possible to build a healthy emotional culture at work through small, positive actions.

    Would you rather work in an office where people say a cheery “hello” to one another in the hall, and share the occasional moment of joy or sadness? Or one where people appear enthusiastic at their desks but head off to the bathroom for a long, lonely cry.

    A healthy emotional culture in the workplace makes a difference. For example, a study by Kim Cameron, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, found that organizations that discourage compassion and gratitude have higher staff turnover rates. Meanwhile, research from Barry Staw, a professor at Berkeley, showed that employees whose managers are rude are more likely to make poor decisions, and they forget important information more frequently.

    The good news is that it doesn’t take an organizational overhaul to encourage emotional expression in the workplace. In fact, small gestures can be particularly important. Take the example of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group’s 10/5 rule. The hotel’s employees are taught that if they walk within ten feet of someone, they should smile and make eye contact. Within five feet, they offer a friendly “hello.” The 10/5 rule has been implemented at hospitals, and it seems to make not just customers, but also employees happier.

    Another way to build a positive emotional culture is to cultivate a sense of belonging.

    Doing so is a good investment because, as a 2017 New York Times article noted, a feeling of not belonging among employees is one of the highest predictors of turnover. Google’s own research shows that employees who get a warm welcome from their managers on the first day at the office are more productive a full nine months later.

    So try taking an idea from IDEO, the design consultancy where Duffy, one of the authors, works. The company gives each of their new hires a first-day enterview, in which everyone who interviewed the new recruit shares exactly why they are pumped for him or her to join. And they go one step further: after filling out a quirky onboarding survey a few weeks before her start date, Duffy made a pleasant discovery on her first day of work – a pack of her favorite snacks waiting for her on her desk! A simple touch, but one that made her feel positive about her new workplace from day one.

    Of course, while we all have a part to play in building a healthy emotional culture at work, leaders have a special responsibility. Let’s examine this in the next blink.

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    What is No Hard Feelings about?

    No Hard Feelings (2018) is a guide to understanding, expressing and managing your emotions in the context of your working life. All too often, we buy into the idea that emotions don’t belong in the workplace. But the reality is that your work life is full of emotion. From feeling frustrated with irritating colleagues to the misery of being unmotivated, these blinks are a practical guide to help you navigate how you feel about work.

    Best quote from No Hard Feelings

    A reasonable goal for organizations and individuals is to encourage some level of emotional expression.

    —Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy
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    Who should read No Hard Feelings?

    • People who’d like a little guidance on managing emotions in the workplace
    • Employees who are frustrated, angry, stressed or nervous at work
    • Leaders who’d like to build a safe and productive working environment for their teams

    About the Author

    Mollie West Duffy is a senior organizational designer at IDEO, a design and consulting firm in New York. She helps businesses to think about how to redesign their organizational structures, processes and culture to become more adaptive, creative and successful.
    Liz Fosslien is responsible for content at Humu, a company that uses machine learning and nudges to make work better. Most recently, she organized and facilitated workshops on how to create inclusive cultures for executives at Google, LinkedIn, and Nike.

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