Weekend Reading: June 2018

Weekend Reading: June 2018

Happy Friday! We’ve compiled our favorite articles and essays from the last month for you to browse and enjoy over the weekend.

What makes a team exceed expectations? Brett Steenbarger, a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at SUNY Upstate Medical University, argues for three tested and research-driven strategies that enable teams to function at the highest level in creativity, innovation and productivity. In addition to “distraction-free concentration” and opportunities for mentorship, Steenbarger’s Forbes piece highlights the importance of psychological safety – for groups and individuals:

A prerequisite of creativity is open-mindedness and the freedom to play with ideas. If such play will be squelched, those opportunities to excel and exceed expectations fly out the door. Lahti describes safety as the ‘fulcrum of innovation, creativity, and action.’ It is the soil from which performance outcomes can grow. Note that this is as true for individuals as for groups. Research in cognitive therapy finds that the presence of perfectionistic, self-critical thoughts contributes to stress, anxiety, and mood decline. When we become our own harshest critic, we create our own unsafe spaces and we are no longer free to think and act freely.”

Elsewhere on the Internet:

U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivered a stirring lecture about the value of poetry in the age of technology, published in full by The Washington Post.

An op-ed in USA Today argues for human connection and the embrace of uncomfortable conversation in the wake of Starbucks’ day-long anti-bias training.

In Forbes, John Feldman makes the case for proactive relationship-building in the workplace as an antidote to the 40% of American adults who report suffering from loneliness.

In the New York Times, a father ruminates on the reading habits of his son Cal, who has cerebral palsy, exploring the ways in which we each bring our own wisdom to the books we read.

Conflict is good, says Adam Kahane in Strategy+Business: innovative thinking and problem-solving occur when we sit patiently with our differences “without insisting that they be resolved.” For another perspective on Kahane, see our colleague Karen Nestor’s blog post this week.

Image: Rene Magritte, The Cultivation of Ideas, 1927, [Fair Use] via WikiArt.org

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Maredith Sheridan

Maredith Sheridan

Maredith Sheridan is a Development Communications Associate at the Cleveland Orchestra and a part-time member of the Books@Work team. She continues to write posts for our blog.