Love Hormone Oxytocin May Increase Life Satisfaction, Empathy

A recent study links neurochemical oxytocin with empathy and life satisfaction in older people. INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

A new study published in the journal Frontier in Behavioral Neuroscience shows that older individuals tend to release more oxytocin in response to social situations that arouse empathy. A larger oxytocin response was also associated with greater levels of helping behaviors and increased satisfaction with life.

These findings may explain why older individuals donate more to charity and perform more social work.“People who released the most oxytocin in the experiment were not only more generous to charity but also performed many other helping behaviors. This is the first time a distinct change in oxytocin has been related to past prosocial behaviors,” said Dr. Paul Zak, the study author and a professor at Claremont Graduate University.

Oxytocin and social behaviors

Oxytocin is a hormone responsible for uterus contractions during childbirth, lactation, and reproductive behaviors. Oxytocin also modulates the transmission of signals between brain cells and is involved in modulating social behaviors. Experiments in humans suggest that brain oxytocin reduces anxiety and promotes trust, cooperation, empathy, generosityTrusted Source, and social bonding.

Studies have shown that older individuals tend to donate more money to charity and are more likely to engage in volunteer work than younger people. A potential explanation for this increase in prosocial behaviors could be greater empathy in response to social situations in older people than in younger people.

Given the association between oxytocin and empathy, the study’s authors wanted to understand whether oxytocin mediated increased prosocial behaviors in old age.

Oxytocin and age

The present study’s authors recruited 103 individuals between 18 and 99 years old. Researchers divided the participants into three groups: young (18 to 35 years), middle-aged (36 to 65 years ), or older (over 65 years) adults.

They asked the participants to watch a short emotional video of a father narrating his feelings about coping with the imminent demise of his two-year-old son with terminal brain cancer.

The researchers collected blood samples from the participants before and after watching the video to measure oxytocin levels. Previous studies have shown that changes in blood and brain oxytocin levels tend to be correlated, allowing the researchers to estimate changes in brain oxytocin levels using blood samples.

The researchers found that older individuals showed a larger increase in oxytocin levels after viewing the video than younger individuals.

Oxytocin and kindness

After viewing the video, the participants were given a monetary reward for participating in an unrelated study and the option to donate part of the reward to a medical charity.The researchers found that individuals with a larger increase in blood oxytocin levels were likely to donate a greater fraction of the reward money.

Furthermore, older individuals donated a larger fraction of the reward money to the charity. Surveys conducted during the study revealed that older individuals also spent greater time volunteering and donated more to charity in the previous year.

Notably, a small increase in oxytocin levels in older individuals was associated with a similar donation amount as younger individuals with a larger oxytocin response.

The study also found that aging resulted in a more profound increase in donations to charity in older individuals with a smaller oxytocin response than a larger one. The findings suggest that aging and oxytocin response levels together influence the amounts donated to charity.

Satisfaction with life and religiosity  

Consistent with other studies, the researchers found that older individuals were more likely to participate in religious activities and had a greater sense of satisfaction with life. Studies have shown that older, more religious adults engage more in charity and volunteer work and express greater life satisfaction.

The researchers found that a larger oxytocin response to the video stimulus was associated with a greater sense of satisfaction with life, participation in religious activities, and increased levels of empathy and gratitude.

Study limitations

The authors cautioned that the study only correlates oxytocin release and prosocial behaviors and other traits. The findings are especially relevant since there is a bidirectional relationship between oxytocin release and prosocial behaviors, with engagement in prosocial behaviors associated with a subsequent increase in oxytocin levels.

The authors also noted that the study involved a small number of participants residing in California. Hence, more research involving a larger number of participants representing the broader demographic needs to be conducted.

Intranasal oxytocin

Other studies also suggest that using intranasal sprays to deliver oxytocin can improve mood and cognitive function, especially in older men. Although there is an interest in the therapeutic use of intranasal oxytocin, the effects of oxytocin vary by context and among individuals.

Dr. Natalie Ebner, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida, noted in a lecture, “There is a lot of evidence that oxytocin doesn’t always work the same way. It depends a little bit on what kind of situation you are in, if it’s a positive social situation it does one thing, if it’s a hostile situation suddenly it increases aggressivity. So there are a lot of interesting manipulations we can do by looking closer at contextual factors and we’re starting to see a lot is that not everyone responds in the same way.”

Source: ‘Love hormone’ oxytocin may increase life satisfaction, empathy


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The sequence of amino acids in oxytocin, with a proposal for the structure of oxytocin”. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 205 (2): 949–957. doi:10.1016/S0021-9258(18)49238-1. PMID 13129273.Lee HJ, Macbeth AH, Pagani JH, Young WS (June 2009).

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Want A Pay Raise? Switching Jobs Has Much More Upside Amid Soaring Inflation, Report Finds

A new report from Pew Research Center finds that 60% of workers who changed jobs between April 2021 and March of this year reported an increase in their wages, as adjusted for inflation, significantly more than the 51% of job switchers who said they saw wage gains the year before. It really does pay to change jobs. During the second year of the pandemic, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis, half of workers who changed jobs saw their pay increase nearly 10%. The median worker who stayed put saw an inflation-adjusted loss of almost 2%.

It’s long been thought that changing companies leads to bigger bumps in pay than asking for a raise from the same employer. Now, a new analysis of government data confirms that conventional wisdom—but appears to suggest a growing gap in the fortunes of those who stay put versus those who switch jobs, as high inflation and record turnover rates amid the Great Resignation have shaken up the job market.

Sixty percent of workers who changed jobs between April 2021 and March of this year reported an increase in their wages, as adjusted for inflation, significantly more than the 51% of job switchers who said they saw wage gains the year before, according to a new report released Thursday from Pew Research Center that analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. Among workers who stayed with their employers, the share that reported an increase in real wage gains fell from 54% to 47% over the same period.

The difference was stark: During the second year of the pandemic, half of the workers who changed jobs saw their pay increase 9.7%, while the median worker who stayed in the same job experienced a loss of 1.7%.

In addition to Pew’s analysis of government data, it also surveyed 6,174 U.S. adults about their job search plans, which could reveal concerns about a slowing economy. While 22% of workers surveyed shared plans to search for a new gig within six months, a greater share—37%—said they expect finding a job to be difficult.

“That’s the feeling on the ground, which may or may not contradict what we hear about labor shortages,” says Rakesh Kochhar, who led the research on Pew’s analysis. “But it may be some insight into what lies ahead, or what people are thinking lies ahead.”

Kochhar says the difference between the two groups reporting real wage gains during the first year of the pandemic was not statistically significant. He speculated more workers who switched jobs during those early months may have done so involuntarily, which could explain why more of their new jobs didn’t pay more.

But as the Great Resignation took hold, the benefits for job switchers appear to have grown. The findings are another indicator of how the tight labor market has continued to hand workers a bigger payday while employers struggle to hire.

“Across the board, workers are going to their bosses asking for more money,” says Ben Cook, CEO of the job negotiations firm Riva HQ. “But it’s often difficult to get large percentage increases at your current role, so that’s driving workers to seek other opportunities.” Over the past year, those other opportunities were often coming with a 10% or more jump in pay, according to Cook, who says he believes newfound confidence among employees has had the most impact on the increased turnover rate.

The Pew analysis of government data found that 2.5% of workers, on average, quit their jobs each month in the first quarter of 2022, a rate that suggests some 50 million workers could switch jobs this year. Its survey of U.S. adults also found that Black and Hispanic workers, young adults and those without a high school diploma were more likely to change jobs in any given month, as well as that about half of job switchers also change industries or occupations in a typical month.

The report closely follows the Federal Reserve’s announcement of another move to cool inflation, raising interest rates Wednesday by 75 basis points for only the second time since 1994.

The Fed’s aggressiveness, plus uncertainty in Ukraine and other factors, including Thursday’s report that GDP shrank 0.9% in the second quarter, have stoked fears of a recession. Layoffs in tech have accelerated—Shopify shed about 10% of its workforce earlier this week, for example—and venture-capital funding for startups has slowed. But U.S. employers added 11.3 million jobs in May, and that rate, while down from previous months, still exceeds the pre-pandemic norm.

“We’re not seeing a profound, pervasive decline in labor market activity at all — that’s what you’d normally see in a recession,” says Julia Pollak, chief economist at the online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter.

In a survey published in April of 2,064 U.S. adults who had started a new job within the past six months, Pollak’s team at ZipRecruiter found that 69% of new hires who voluntarily left their old jobs ended up with a higher salary under a new employer..

“We can see in the data that this was not a Great Resignation out of the labor force,” she says. “This Great Resignation was really the ‘Great Trading-Up.’”

While most workers who quit their jobs in 2021 did so for higher pay, others stepped down primarily to escape burnout, which surveys show has reached more than half of American workers.

Whatever the reason for changing jobs, higher pay is often a helpful byproduct. Take Bethlehem, New Hampshire, resident Ashley Willumitis, who a year ago swapped her job as a school admissions director for a program management role at a software company.

“One of my friends actually said to me, ‘if you’re going to be miserable at work, can you at least make some more money?’” recalls Willumitis. The 35-year-old, who earned less than $50,000 in her education job, has more than doubled her paycheck, enabling her partner to step away from work for a break.

After quitting, she met with a career coach and therapist, and first took up a low-stakes marketing job where she practiced shutting off her computer at the end of the work day and letting emails sit more than a few minutes before responding, freeing up more time for activities she loves, like biking.

“You gave your whole self to it and didn’t necessarily make a ton back,” Willumitis says, referring to the way she used to think about work. “It was through having some other people point out my skills to me that I realized I could not only make more money elsewhere, but arguably work a lot less.”

I’m an editorial intern on the Leadership and Communities team, covering founders, small business and Under 30. Previously, I worked in business development for a startup

Source: Want A Pay Raise? Switching Jobs Has Much More Upside Amid Soaring Inflation, Report Finds

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Worried About Inflation? Here Are 5 Money Moves to Make This Year

Everything is more expensive right now, and you’ve done what you can to cut back your spending. You brew coffee at home, you don’t walk into Target and you refuse to order avocado toast. (Can you sense my millennial sarcasm there?)

But no matter how cognizant you are of your spending habits, you’re still stuck with those inescapable monthly bills. Although we can’t swipe these off the table for you, we do have a few money moves you should make right away…

1. Stop Overpaying at Amazon

Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Amazon or Target and are about to overpay? That’s exactly what this free service does.Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.

Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.

In the last year, this has saved people $160 million. You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.

2. Get Up to 40% Cash Back When You Pay For Stuff

Chances are you do some of your shopping online. Whether it’s pet food from Walmart, a new outfit from Macy’s or even a flight home for summer vacation, you’re probably leaving money on the table. A free website called Rakuten has the hookup with just about every online store you shop, which means it can give you up to 40% cash back every time you buy something.

We spoke to one Penny Hoarder reader, Colleen Rice, who has earned more than $526.44 since she joined Rakuten. For doing nothing. Seriously. Rice says she uses Rakuten for things she already has to buy, like rental cars and flights. It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account and start shopping. All you need is an email address, then you can immediately start earning cashback at your go-to stores through the site.

Your cash will be deposited directly into your bank account or via a check in the mail every few months. Talk about money for nothing.

3. Get Paid Up to $140/Month Just for Sharing Your Honest Opinion

If you’re turning blue in the face waiting for a raise at work, it might be time to quit holding your breath and start speaking your mind to someone who wants to listen. Brands want to hear your opinion to help inform their business decisions on everything from products and services to logos and ads — and they’re willing to pay you up to $140 a month for it.

A free site called Branded Surveys will pay you up to $5 per survey for sharing your thoughts with their brand partners. Taking three quick surveys a day could earn up to $140 each month. It takes just a minute to create a free account and start getting paid to speak your mind. Most surveys take five to 15 minutes, and you can check how long they’ll take ahead of time.

And you don’t need to build up tons of money to cash out, either — once you earn $5, you can cash out via PayPal, your bank account, a gift card or Amazon. You’ll get paid within 48 hours of your payout being processed, just for sharing your opinions. They’ve already paid users more than $20 million since 2012, and the most active users can earn a few hundred dollars a month. Plus, they’ve got an “excellent” rating on Trustpilot.It takes just a minute to set up your account and start getting paid to take surveys. Plus, right now, you’ll get a free 100-point welcome bonus just for becoming part of the community.

4. Buy an Apartment Building (Even if You’re Not Filthy Rich)

The uber wealthy 1% have access to exclusive, lucrative real estate investments that seem totally out of reach to the rest of us. But not anymore.  A company called CalTier lets you invest in commercial real estate — specifically, multi-family apartment complexes across the country — for as little as $500.

Traditionally, you’d need a six-figure income or a million-dollar net worth to invest like this. Instead, CalTier lets you invest like the big wigs in the real estate world, even if you’re not rich. Investments in multi-family housing have outperformed the S&P 500 for the last 20 years* — and it’s expected to grow another 33% this year alone.

CalTier also gives you a 30 day money-back guarantee. And if you have any questions along the way, you can talk to a real human to get them answered. Ready to join the ranks of wealthy and institutional real-estate investors?

It’s easy to open a free account and get started here.

5. Cancel Your Car Insurance

Here’s the thing: your current car insurance company is probably overcharging you. But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies looking for a better deal. Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.  EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.

Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance.

Source: Worried About Inflation? Here Are 5 Money Moves to Make This Year – The Penny Hoarder

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What Stagflation Is, and How To Prepare For it

Runaway inflation has raised fears that the economy is headed towards a return of stagflation but a host of Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs and HSBC believe there remains opportunities for investors to safely navigate this tricky backdrop. Stagflation is a term coined in the 1970s to refer to a combination of high inflation and high unemployment. Recent surveys show economists and fund managers see increased risks of stagflation on the horizon. There are steps you can take now to get in a better financial position in case stagflation or a recession does happen.

The next big risk to the U.S. economy may be summed up in one word. And no, it’s not necessarily recession, though economists are evenly split on the risks one is coming. Instead, 80% of economists in the same survey named stagflation as the greater long-term risk to the economy, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. The next biggest risk they identified was deflation, with 13% of respondents.

Moreover, a recent Bank of America global fund manager survey found fears of stagflation are the highest they have been since June 2008. Stagflation is “by far and away the most popular description of what the economic backdrop will be in the next 12 months,” according to the report.

What is stagflation?

Stagflation is a term coined in the 1970s when there was simultaneous high inflation and economic stagnation or high unemployment, according to Jonathan Wright, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University. While there were some nasty recessions back then, many economists aren’t expecting a return to anything like that now, he said. “The sense in which you had stagflation in the 1970s is not one that I think is at all in the cards,” Wright said.

However, high inflation is prompting the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates — known as tightening monetary policy. With that, it is “quite likely” the unemployment rate will rise “a fair bit” from the 3.6% it is at now, Wright said. The result may at least be a mild recession, he said. Stagflation may happen if a recession sets in before inflation has gone down to where the Fed wants it to be, Wright said.

For example, if unemployment were to go up to about 5% and consumer price index inflation were also at above 5% in 2023, that would be a kind of stagflation, though not to the degree we experienced in the 1970s, he said. “It certainly would mean that the job market would be a lot less hot than it’s been,” Wright said. In the near term, the labor market may cool simply by having fewer vacancies, he said.

How likely is stagflation?

Despite surveys sounding the alarm on stagflation, not everyone agrees it’s inevitable. “It doesn’t seem like a high probability,” said Josh Bivens, director of research at the Economic Policy Institute. To have stagflation, you need both high unemployment and high inflation at the same time, which Bivens does not see as likely.

“If we had a situation where unemployment rose pretty sharply, I actually think that would likely cause inflation to start coming down pretty sharply,” Bivens said. A more likely scenario is that if we end the year with a series of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, we could be in a recession by 2023, he said. “If that happens, I just expect inflation to relent pretty quickly,” Bivens said.

How can you prepare for a recession or stagflation?

A combination of inflation and shrinkflation, where product companies reduce the contents of everything that we buy, is making it so people’s money just doesn’t go as far now, said Ted Jenkin, a certified financial planner and CEO of oXYGen Financial in Atlanta.

Now, stagflation is also a possibility that clients are asking about, Jenkin said. “I think it’s inevitable that we’re going to hit a recession,” he said. “Whether this is a mild recession or we go into stagflation will be the big question.” Consequently, now is a great time to revisit your personal financial plan. “This is the absolute time for people to batten down the hatches and beef up the foundation of their financial house,” Jenkin said.

Try to aim for at least six months’ worth of emergency expenses in case a downturn does happen, he said. Also make sure you have prepared a recent budget to see if there are places where you can cut back. Additionally, take a look at any adjustable-rate debt you may have — credit cards, mortgages, student loans — and see if you can pare those balances down or refinance them. Now that interest rates are poised to go up, those balances will become more expensive.

Moreover, it’s a great time to invest in yourself to be more marketable professionally if layoffs become the norm. “Make sure you’ve really brushed up on your skills and competencies or education so that if the job market gets tighter, you’re marketable,” Jenkin said.

By: Lorie Konish

Source: What stagflation is, and how to prepare for it

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What Does It Mean to Be a Manager Today?

A year into the pandemic, the implications of how Covid-19 has changed how people will work from now on are becoming clear. Many employees will be working in a hybrid world with more choices about where, when, and how much they work. For midsize companies specifically, Gartner analysis shows that 46% of the workforce is projected to be working hybrid in the near future.

To better understand the impact of Covid-19 on the future of work, we surveyed 3,049 knowledge workers and their managers across onsite, remote, and hybrid work contexts, as well as 75 HR leaders, including 20 leaders from midsize companies. Except where indicated, our findings come from these 2021 surveys.

Managers used to be selected and promoted largely based on their ability to manage and evaluate the performance of employees who could carry out a particular set of tasks. Within the last five years, HR executives started to hire and develop managers who were poised to be great coaches and teachers. But the assumption that coaching should be the primary function of management has been tested since the pandemic began. Three disruptive, transformative trends are challenging traditional definitions of the manager role:

Understanding Midsize Businesses

Normalization of remote work. As both employees and managers have become more distributed, their relationships to one another have also become more asynchronous. Gartner estimates that in more than 70% of manager-employee relationships, either the manager or the employee will be working remotely at least some of the time. This means that employees and their managers will be less likely to be working on the same things at the same time. Managers will have dramatically less visibility into the realities of their employees’ day-to-day and will begin to focus more on their outputs and less on the processes used to produce them.

Acceleration in use of technology to manage employees. More than one in four companies have invested in new technology to monitor their remote employees during the pandemic. Companies have been buying scheduling software, AI-enabled expense-report auditing tools, and even technologies to replace manager feedback using AI. While companies have been focused on how technology can automate employee tasks, it can just as effectively replace the tasks of managers. At the extreme, by 2024, new technologies have the potential to replace as much as 69% of the tasks historically done by managers, such as assigning work and nudging productivity.

Employees’ changing expectations. As companies have expanded the support they offer to their employees in areas like mental health and child care during the pandemic, the relationships between employees and their managers have started to shift to be more emotional and supportive. Knowledge workers now expect their managers to be part of their support system to help them improve their life experience, rather than just their employee experience.

When managerial tasks are replaced by technology, managers aren’t needed to manage workflows. When interactions become primarily virtual, managers can no longer rely on what they see to manage performance, and when relationships become more emotional, they can no longer limit the relationship to the sphere of work. These three trends have culminated in a new era of management where it’s less important to see what employees are doing and more important to understand how they feel.

Radical flexibility requires empathetic managers

To be successful in this new environment, managers must lead with empathy. In a 2021 Gartner survey of 4,787 global employees assessing the evolving role of management, only 47% of managers are prepared for this future role. The most effective managers of the future will be those who build fundamentally different relationships with their employees.

Empathy is nothing new. It’s a common term in the philosophy of good leadership, but it has yet to be a top management priority. The empathic manager is someone who can contextualize performance and behavior — who transcends simply understanding the facts of work and proactively asks questions and seeks information to place themselves in their direct reports’ contexts.

Empathy requires developing high levels of trust and care and a culture of acceptance within teams. This is a lot to ask of any individual: that they ask questions that produce vulnerable answers without compromising trust, diagnose the root cause of an employee’s behavior without making assumptions, and demonstrate the social-emotional intelligence necessary to imagine another’s feelings.

Empathy isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. In fact, in that same survey, 85% of HR leaders at midsize companies agreed that it’s more important now for managers to demonstrate empathy than it was before the pandemic. Further Gartner analysis shows that managers who display high levels of empathy have three times the impact on their employees’ performance than those who display low levels of empathy. Employees at organizations with high levels of empathy-based management are more than twice as likely to agree that their work environment is inclusive.

Creating a new workforce of empathic managers is especially difficult for midsize companies. While larger companies can earmark billions of dollars for learning and development for massive workforce transformation, smaller companies are more fiscally constrained and don’t have the same resources. Midsize companies also often don’t have the scale to create a managerial class within their workforce — they need managers to be both managers and doers.

Midsize companies need to find solutions to develop more empathic managers without massive investments and continue to have those managers work rather than just manage. This will require organizations and their HR functions to develop their managers’ skills, awaken their mindsets to manage in new ways, and create the capacity across the organization to enable this shift. Here’s how to adopt a holistic strategy that invests in all three of those strategies.

Develop empathy skills through vulnerable conversation practice

Asking managers to lead with empathy can be intimidating. Many managers understand empathy conceptually but aren’t sure how to use it as a management tool: Are these questions too personal? How do I create a trusting relationship with my direct reports? Is caring acceptable at work? How do I talk about social justice?

It goes against deeply ingrained assumptions that we should keep work and life separate. Managers need opportunities to practice — and, crucially, room to make mistakes — in order to learn to lead with empathy. Unfortunately, only 52% of 31 learning and development leaders polled in May 2020 report that they’re increasing their focus on soft skills.

To build empathy, Zillow creates cohorts of managers across the organization who engage in rotating one-on-one conversations with their peers to troubleshoot current managerial challenges. These conversations offer frequent, psychologically safe opportunities to engage in vulnerable conversations focused on how managers can commit to specific actions to care for themselves, as well as support the well-being of their team.

Managers are able to practice their empathy with their peers, asking specific questions to understand their challenges and articulating their own circumstances in response to probes. Importantly, these types of conversations offer managers the opportunity to fail — and in a safe space — which is an opportunity rarely given to figures of authority. They also help managers feel less isolated by practicing empathy with peers, who are less likely to pass judgment.

Empower a new manager mindset by creating a network of support

According to our 2021 survey of 4,787 global employees, 75% of HR leaders from midsize companies agree that managers’ roles have expanded, yet roles and teams are not structured to support well-being.

Goodway Group, a fully remote company since 2007, knows that the best business results and purpose for work happens within teams and that distributed teams face greater challenges with communication and shared visibility. Goodway created a dedicated role, the team success partner, whose responsibilities include fostering trust and psychological safety and supporting team health. Managers work with team success partners to respond to the unique challenges distributed employees are facing; this includes facilitating remote psychologically safe remote conversations and supporting new team member assimilation.

Managers’ motivation to be empathic increases when they have a support system that makes it clear that the burden isn’t theirs alone and when organizations invest in roles designed to support them.

Create manager capacity for empathy by optimizing reporting lines

Managers are already overburdened by the demands of the evolving work environment, and actions that drive empathy are time consuming. While 70% of midsize HR leaders agree managers are overwhelmed by their responsibilities, only 16% of midsize organizations have redefined the manager role to reduce the number of responsibilities on their plate.

Recognizing the pressure on managers to maintain team connectedness in a remote environment, leaders at Urgently, a digital roadside assistance company, rebalanced their managers’ workloads. When managers have a team size they can handle, they’re able to dedicate time to fostering deeper connections and responding with empathy. Moving to a hybrid environment creates complexity; one key part of the solution is to help managers prioritize their workload to focus on fewer, higher-impact relationships with individuals and teams.

Organizations that equip managers to be empathic by holistically addressing the three common barriers — skill, mindset, and capacity — will achieve outsized returns on performance in the post-Covid-19 world.

By:Brian Kropp, Alexia Cambon, and Sara Clark

Source: What Does It Mean to Be a Manager Today?



In the field of management, strategic management involves the formulation and implementation of the major goals and initiatives taken by an organization‘s managers on behalf of stakeholders, based on consideration of resources and an assessment of the internal and external environments in which the organization operates. Strategic management provides overall direction to an enterprise and involves specifying the organization’s objectives, developing policies and plans to achieve those objectives, and then allocating resources to implement the plans.

Academics and practicing managers have developed numerous models and frameworks to assist in strategic decision-making in the context of complex environments and competitive dynamics. Strategic management is not static in nature; the models often include a feedback loop to monitor execution and to inform the next round of planning.

Michael Porter identifies three principles underlying strategy:

  • creating a “unique and valuable [market] position
  • making trade-offs by choosing “what not to do”
  • creating “fit” by aligning company activities with one another to support the chosen strategy

Corporate strategy involves answering a key question from a portfolio perspective: “What business should we be in?” Business strategy involves answering the question: “How shall we compete in this business?”

Management theory and practice often make a distinction between strategic management and operational management, with operational management concerned primarily with improving efficiency and controlling costs within the boundaries set by the organization’s strategy.

Interorganizational relationships allow independent organizations to get access to resources or to enter new markets. Interorganizational relationships represent a critical lever of competitive advantage.[40]

The field of strategic management has paid much attention to the different forms of relationships between organizations ranging from strategic alliances to buyer-supplier relationships, joint ventures, networks, R&D consortia, licensing, and franchising.

On the one hand, scholars drawing on organizational economics (e.g., transaction costs theory) have argued that firms use interorganizational relationships when they are the most efficient form comparatively to other forms of organization such as operating on its own or using the market. On the other hand, scholars drawing on organizational theory (e.g., resource dependence theory) suggest that firms tend to partner with others when such relationships allow them to improve their status, power, reputation, or legitimacy.

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