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How Does Self-Image Impact Employee Performance?

Recent Blog Posts - 08-21-2014 16:19

For many professionals, achievement in the workplace serves as the ultimate self-esteem booster. Called out for a job well-done by your leader? Big boost. Got a promotion? Even bigger boost. And with each small accomplishment comes a small amount of satisfaction in knowing that we're making progress toward the pinnacle of our professional lives. After all, history tells us – our positive, healthy self-image coupled with a hard work ethic can lead to more job satisfaction, which in turn leads to success both inside and outside of the office.

It's an easy connection to make – the better your performance at work, the higher your level of self-esteem may rise. In fact, according to Ellen McGrath of Psychology Today, "Research has shown that the more roles people fill, the more sources of self-esteem they have. Meaningful work has long been one of the important ways to feel good about oneself." But what if your working environment doesn't provide the boost you need to succeed?

Unfortunately, in a shaky economic climate the workplace has become less reliable for the self-image boost we're all seeking. "Where work has traditionally been a source of self-esteem, that link is now endangered," McGrath explains. "The one thing that is most likely to suffer damage in today's workplace is precisely what most of us hope to get there – self-esteem."

The Impact on Employee Performance

Anne Ward, a doctoral candidate in NCU's PhD in Business Administration with a specialization in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, asserts that the ties between self-image and performance are more important to your organization than you might think. "Employee performance is important to improving bottom line revenue," she explains. "Someone with high self-esteem will be satisfied with work performance and be more productive."

Leaders within your organization may understand the importance behind this link, but in an environment that proves difficult to manage your own self-esteem on a daily basis, how can leaders help their team members struggling to overcome hurdles?

Ward emphasizes that leaders should remember to be sensitive to the fact that there are a variety of factors both inside and outside of work that may be affecting self-image in the workplace. "[Remember], low self-esteem can harm the unit or organization, as these team members do not respond well to stressors, which makes them feel even worse," she explains.

"When you have a team member that has low self-esteem, find an area where they have high self-esteem and try to emphasize that area to help them be successful at work," suggests Ward. "Increase their self-esteem through [providing opportunity for] real accomplishments and positive feedback." This exercise may include opportunities both inside and outside of work.

Tips on Improving Self-Image

Looking for ways to improve your own self-image or ideas on how to help impact employee performance? Henrik Edberg provides these tips (and more) in his blog, How to Improve Your Self-Esteem: 12 Powerful Tips:

  • Say stop to your inner critic.
  • Use healthier motivation habits.
  • Write down three things that you can appreciate about yourself.
  • Stop falling into the comparison trap.
  • Spend more time with supportive people (and less time with destructive people).

Visit the Positivity Blog for more tips and details on how each of these can help you and your team members make positive change in your personal and professional life.

Ultimately, a positive self-image contributes to your level of contentment both inside and outside the workplace. Remembering to take each workplace or life challenge in stride can help you achieve a work-life balance that promotes happiness as well as productivity.

Blog Categories: career-advicelifestylepsychologytips-to-improve-your-lifeBlog Tags: Employee PerformanceSelf-ImageSelf-EsteemWorkplace PerformanceWorkplace Achievement
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents

Recent Blog Posts - 08-19-2014 16:01

Teachers see students on a regular basis for an entire school year, a 20-week semester or parts of four school quarters. In addition to being an instructor, teachers often play the role of life coach, guidance counselor and/or parental figure.

Learning Starts at Home

The truth is, teachers would secretly like to ask parents for assistance in educating their children. Dori Hicks is entering her 20th year as a kindergarten teacher at Signal Hill Elementary School in Signal Hill, California. She says the one thing she wishes she could tell parents is that educating children doesn’t begin at the entrance of the schoolhouse.

“Learning starts at home and needs to continue. Every book you read and every experience you provide as a parent helps your child grow,” she shares. “Parental support and involvement in learning is a strong indicator of student success.”
In addition, Hicks suggests that parents become more involved with homework.

“Spending time to practice spelling words and math facts sends a message to your child that learning is important and that you value their effort and hard work,” she explains.

Parents Need to Lead By Example

Eddeane Casares is entering her 15th year of teaching and her 14th year at Walt Disney Elementary School in Anaheim, California. She echoes Hicks’ sentiments.
“I would really like to tell parents that children follow by example. If the parents spend all their time looking at [their] Smartphones, the students will do the same – in and out of class,” she explains. “If parents want their children to succeed at reading, they should read themselves. If parents want their children to be successful in math, don't provide the excuse that they were never good at math.”

Hicks also expresses that the model of leading by example comes into play when parents interact with teachers.

“Children watch how you talk about school, and the way you speak to their teachers. There are so many instances where I’ve had to deal with students who were rude after seeing their parents being rude,” she reflects. “The respect you display is imitated by your child. If they see you listening and being respectful, they will follow suit. If they see you with your arms folded, shaking your head, pointing fingers and being aggressive, they will imitate that as well.”
Casares also recommends that parents develop and enforce expectations of success in the classroom.

Rewards are Important to Reinforce Success

“Keep having engaging conversations. Don't be afraid to turn off the television or take away their video games when they are not performing well,” Casares explains. “Also, don't reward them for accomplishing what you already expect of them. Reward them for going above and beyond.”

Remain a United Front with Teachers

If she were only allowed to give parents one piece of advice, Hicks says she would pitch parents on creating a united front with instructors.
“Teachers want to help parents help their children succeed in school. We want to equip parents with tips on the study skills and techniques that will help make homework and studying a painless process,” she explains.
Hicks says one of her frustrations is that many times, parents do not actively participate in their child’s education process, and end up blaming the teacher for not having done their job.

“It’s more than just asking your child if they have homework and if they did it. Being an active parent means going over the homework with [your] students,” she expresses. “It means going to Back-to-School Night, and following up with the instructor throughout the school year. It means working with the teacher to get the best out of [your] student. Parents have a huge impact on their child's journey in school. We (teachers) need you by our side!”

Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Are You a Micromanager? You May Be Surprised!

Recent Blog Posts - 08-18-2014 10:03


Here’s a scenario: You received that well-deserved promotion to manager of the department in which you worked for two years. Two of your peers now work for you and you’ve hired two more. All the right employees are in place. At least you thought they were; but something went awry because that critical deadline was missed. That’s never going to happen again on your watch.

Oftentimes there’s a tipping point at which your leadership style could wane, then shift from macro- to micromanagement. You’re a newly promoted manager who is charged to lead his peers; you hired additional team members; your team missed a critical deadline. You feel out of control. At that point in time, after the critical deadline was missed, you decided to take charge.

Do you feel like you’ve gone from leader to micromanager? Here are some common characteristics of micromanagers to help you decide.

You may be a micromanager if you:
  • • Avoid delegating.
  • • Fill your time with details, missing the big-picture, long-term plan.
  • • Monitor and assess every step of a business process.
  • • Dictate projects are done a certain way regardless of effectiveness or efficiency.
  • • Override other’s decisions.
  • • Require unnecessary and frequent reports.
  • • Restrict the flow of information among employees.

Even a few of these tendencies might suggest that you are one of those types of managers—at least for now. Micromanagers often start out as strong leaders, which is why you were promoted (or hired) in the first place. You’re still that leader who can first weigh the potential outcomes of controlling all the details all the time, and then alter his or her behavior to empower the team members to have some comanagement responsibilities. It is time to rethink your decision to micromanage the group.

What are the potential outcomes of micromanaging?

The outcomes of micromanaging a team could possibly include overseeing a group of workers that is hesitant—even paralyzed—to do their job. Their lack of information or inability to make decisions on their own could restrict those on the team from completing a project correctly and on time because you aren’t there every minute managing the details. In the meantime, who’s doing your job to provide the company’s big picture to all persons who report to you, and who is driving the strategy to achieve the big-picture goals?

How to revert back to your role as a leader

Refocus on the overall corporate plan and the integral part your department plays in that plan. Be the leader you were hired to be, which probably excludes doing day-to-day, project-oriented tasks that could be done by your team members—the qualified people who once were your peers before you got promoted or those you were hired to lead.

Lead your team by being a proactive communicator with your group and coworkers. Manage up-front directives and share information. Listen to your team members. Those who feel unheard will often become disengaged from the group, leave your department, or even quit their job. And that not-listened-to team member just might have been your best contributor to the overall directives.

We don’t start out our careers choosing to be a micromanager. We often learn how to be one through personal experiences we’ve had with previous managers—even mentors, family, and friends.

If you’re looking to hone your leadership, there are a number of free online resources available. One idea is to use your favorite search engine and search “free leadership training.” Additionally, seeking higher education is a great place to start if you're trying to implement newer, better ideas and methods of leadership. Organizational behavior, strategic management, accounting for your decision making, and managing changes in turbulent, dynamic environments are just a few of the areas of study offered when earning a degree in business management. With the knowledge gained from an advanced degree, a rewarding career in team leadership is within reach.

Additional Sources on Micromanagers:


Blog Categories: career-advice
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Celebrities Aren’t Immune to Depression

Recent Blog Posts - 08-12-2014 16:33

by Meghan Krein

“What could he possibly have to be depressed about? He has absolutely everything anyone could ask for.” It’s a common misconception: assuming just because someone appears to have everything going for them – whether it be wealth, a successful career, or the perfect family – they’re not subject to problems with mental health.

This week, according to CNN, we learned actor Robin Williams, 63, was found dead at his home in Northern California. The reported cause is asphyxia and police are handling it as a suicide. Williams’ media representative, Maria Buxbaum, told CNN that Williams has been “battling severe depression as of late.” CNN also reported that Williams had checked himself into rehab for substance abuse problems, including recently this summer.

What is Depression?

So what is depression? The National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH] describes it as a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors. Clearly, we all feel sad at times, but when someone is clinically depressed, it interferes with their life and the lives of their loved ones. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has shown that the brains of depressed individuals differ from those of non-depressed individuals. The parts of the brain controlling mood, thought processes, sleep, appetite and behavior are affected.

Types of Depression:
  • • Major Depression — severe symptoms that interfere with sleep, work and overall ability to enjoy life. An episode can occur once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, several episodes occur.
  • • Persistent Depressive Disorder — depressed mood, lasting for at least two years.
  • • Psychotic Depression — severe depression, in addition to some form of psychosis.
  • • Postpartum Depression — experienced by some women after giving birth while going through hormonal and physical changes in addition to overwhelming thoughts of caring for a newborn.
  • • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — characterized by the onset of depression in the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight.

NIMH reports that major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, with 6.7 percent of U.S. adults diagnosed each year.

Other Cases of Celebrities Battling Depression

No matter how common, it still seems to shock us to our core when a celebrity reveals a mental illness or commits suicide. At the same time, more and more have recently been coming out to share their mental illness with the public, in hopes of lessening the stigma.

According to PsychCentral, the pressures of public life often make coping with mental illness more difficult. Denial and the need to fulfill high-profile demands can be compounded by the fear of shame and scrutiny. Many celebrities fear consequences that may come with admitting something isn’t right and seeking help.

Actor Owen Wilson not only had comedy in common with Williams, but also a history of depression and substance abuse. In 2007, according to People, Wilson attempted suicide at his home. But, with the support of his family and friends was able to recover.

Postpartum depression hit actress Gwyneth Paltrow after the birth of her son, Moses back in 2006. “I felt like a zombie,” she told Good Housekeeping, “I couldn’t access my emotions.” Initially Paltrow didn’t know what was wrong, “I thought postpartum depression meant you were sobbing every day and incapable of looking after a child.”

Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression

Although we often see celebrities in the light of perfection, it’s important to note they are human and may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, including depression. Some symptoms of depression, according to NIMH, include:

  • • Feelings of persistent sadness, anxiety or emptiness
  • • Feelings of hopelessness
  • • Irritability
  • • Loss of enjoyment in activities that were once enjoyable
  • • Lethargy
  • • Trouble concentrating
  • • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • • Suicidal ideation
  • • Psychosomatic pains

If someone you know is suffering from depression, remember never to dismiss feelings or to judge and offer support. If you are feeling depressed, don’t wait to get help. And try to be active and patient with yourself. A helpful resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.


Blog Categories: psychology
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Three New Post-Master's Certificates Now Available at NCU

Recent Blog Posts - 08-12-2014 10:35

Northcentral University's School of Psychology introduced three new post-master's certificates, designed specifically for professionals in psychology who are interested in further enhancing their skill sets to include new needs in the fields of mental and behavioral health.

New concentrations offered include:

Geropsychology and Elder Care

Designed for individuals who are passionate about working older adults and their families, this specialization provides coursework that prepares students for career opportunities in health facilities, mental health clinics, numerous government agencies, and community organizations.

Addictions and Rehabilitation

A complement to the existing Addictions post-master’s certificate, this specialization is geared toward providing a knowledge base of case management, clinical supervision, rehabilitation needs of special populations, and evidence-based practices in addiction rehabilitation. Students will gain the skills necessary to help prepare them for a career in addiction rehabilitation.

Trauma and Disaster Relief

Designed with the needs of victims, survivors, relief workers, and bystanders of trauma and disaster in mind, this specialization is geared toward individuals who have a desire to help remedy the emotional and behavioral issues that may accompany such tragedy. Students will gain the skills necessary to work with individuals who have witnessed natural disasters, accidents, abuse, physical injury, bullying, and other traumatic events.

In the ever-changing field of psychology, specialized certificates are a great way to add new skill sets to your knowledge base. Professionals in psychology looking for the opportunity to gain specialized knowledge are a great fit for the post-master's certificate, which requires a minimum of just 18 credits for completion. For more information, visit ncu.edu or call 866.776.0331. 

Categories: NCU Recent blog posts