Adam Grant

Learning to unlearn: Insights from Wharton Professor Adam Grant’s new book


“Why am I more interested in feeling right than getting it right?” A twelve-year-old Adam Grant reflected on this question after a movie quote argument with his best friend. When they watched the clip back—and discovered the friend had been right—Adam took more than 24-hours to admit that he was wrong.

We all encounter this desire to be right—in ourselves, our relationships, and our organizations. However, we may be missing out on incredible opportunities when we reflect on a question like Adam’s and challenge our own thinking.

Throughout his experiences as a University of Michigan-educated organizational psychologist, a Wharton School of Business top-rated professor, a bestselling author, and an influential thought leader, Adam has remained curious about what happens when we unlearn and rethink. His most recent book, Think Again, invites readers to unlock the unparalleled wisdom of knowing what we don’t know.

Adam recently sat down with his friend and fellow scholar, Michigan Ross Associate Professor Julia Lee Cunningham, as part of the Michigan Ross Center for Positive Organizations’ Positive Links Speaker Series. Together they reflected on how individuals and organizations can practice unlearning and rethinking to become better leaders.

1. Think like a scientist.

Adam’s colleague Philip Tetlock has outlined three modes of communicating our opinions:

1. Preacher mode: Defending your view and persuading others to adopt it.
2. Prosecutor mode: Attacking those views that don’t align with your own.
3. Politician mode: Only listening to others who share your views.

When we adopt one of these three modes, we firmly hold that our opinions are right, and others are wrong. However, if we operate from scientist mode, we acknowledge that our world is dynamic and we are “as motivated to find reasons why [we] might be wrong as reasons why [we] might be right,” as Adam explains. When we think like scientists, we recognize the possibility that we developed our opinions for a reality that may or may not exist anymore. Such a recognition frees us from letting our opinions become our identity and unlocks an opportunity to evolve with the existing world.

2. Create a challenge network…that includes yourself.

Scientists work hard to surround themselves with people who challenge them. Adam argues that we all need challenge networks to make us aware of our blind spots, just as much as we need support networks to propel us forward.

Adam regularly identifies people in his life that he considers part of his challenge network. He asks them to continue challenging his beliefs, even if he hasn’t always taken their criticism well in the past. He also makes himself an active member of his challenge network by adding “rethinking time” to his calendar. During this time, he revisits his formerly held opinions—maybe by rereading a chapter from an old book or listening to a past podcast episode—and asks, “Do I agree with my past self?” Creating intentional opportunities to challenge ourselves allows us to harness a confident humility—having conviction in the beliefs we hold but creating space for them to change with new information.

3. Enable brave spaces.

Leaders can help others develop confident humility by enabling spaces where people feel psychologically safe but take intellectual risks. Adam recalls a moment with his students when he switched from prosecutor mode to scientist mode. He created a mini-podcast assignment where each student was asked to disagree with a learning from the class, citing relevant management and psychology evidence. He was blown away by the students’ arguments. The assignment helped turn Adam’s classroom into what Julia refers to as a “brave space”—a space where taking risks and challenging one another is welcomed as an invaluable learning opportunity. Defining a brave space up front enables people to “require less bravery to [take intellectual risks],” says Adam.

4. Lead from your values.

If we switch into scientist mode and challenge our past thinking, we will likely find ourselves changing a formerly held opinion. How can we articulate our rethinking without being labeled a “flip-flopper” or having others doubt our integrity? The answer lies in the difference between values and opinions.

“It’s actually frightening to me that anyone would make their opinions part of their identity,” says Adam. When you’re truly in scientist mode and constantly gathering new information, your opinions may need to change to remain aligned with your values.

Adam illustrates this with a well-known historical example. Abraham Lincoln ran for office on the platform that he would not abolish slavery because he had two values that seemed to compete: maintaining democracy and freedom for all. If abolishing slavery would tear apart the Union (which he expected it would), he wouldn’t do it. Eventually, he found a policy that could advance both priorities and, well, the rest is history. If we gather new information while rooted in our values, we can unlock novel solutions instead of being attached to a specific course of action.

“Being wrong is not nearly as bad as staying wrong. The faster you are to recognize you were wrong, the faster you can move to getting it right,” Adam says. When we regularly challenge our thinking in our constantly changing world, our unlearning can unlock new insights, new opportunities, and better lives.


About Adam Grant

Adam Grant has been Wharton’s top-rated professor for seven straight years. As an organizational psychologist, he is a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, and live more generous and creative lives. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers and Fortune’s 40 under 40.

He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of five books that have sold millions of copies and been translated into 35 languages: Think Again, Give and Take, Originals, Option B, and Power Moves. His books have been named among the year’s best by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal. His New York Times article on languishing is one of the most-shared articles of 2021.

Adam hosts WorkLife, a chart-topping TED original podcast. His TED talks on original thinkers and givers and takers have been viewed more than 30 million times. He received a standing ovation at TED in 2016 and was voted the audience’s favorite speaker at The Nantucket Project. His speaking and consulting clients include Google, the NBA, Bridgewater, and the Gates Foundation. He writes on work and psychology for the New York Times, has served on the Defense Innovation Board at the Pentagon, and has been honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He has more than 5 million followers on social media and features new insights in his free monthly newsletter, GRANTED (sign up at the bottom of this page).


About Riverbank

This story is a collaboration between the University of Michigan’s Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) and Riverbank Consulting Group, whose purpose is to energize and engineer organizations to unleash potential. It is based on the Center’s Positive Links Speaker Series.

Adam Grant shares ‘Mario Kart Theory of Peak Flow’ in TED talk


Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) faculty affiliate Adam Grant explains “How to stop languishing and start finding flow” in a recent TED talk.

The TED talk builds on Grant’s wildly successful New York Times article on languishing, which he calls the “neglected middle child of mental health.” Grant defines languishing as a sense of stagnation and emptiness that falls somewhere between thriving and depression.

In his TED talk, Grant explores how a feeling of flow, or being fully engaged in a real-world activity, can help employees counter languishing. He cites his own experience of achieving flow by playing Mario Kart with his extended family during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant tells the TED audience how his sister, who lived across the country, suggested their families connect online via gaming.

“Soon, we were playing every day with a video call running at the same time. After a couple weeks, I stopped feeling so blah. I was living ‘Zen and the Art of Mario Kart,’ ” Grant says. “Our kids were waking up asking what time we would play. They were excited. They loved it when I would gloat about an impending victory, only to be bombed by a flying blue shell and then just sit there, watching all three of our kids drive past me to the finish line in tiny go karts. We had so much fun that we started a new Saturday night tradition after the kids were asleep — adult Mario Kart.”

Grant says the experience helped him formulate what he playfully calls his “Mario Kart Theory of Peak Flow.” The theory suggests that the ideal conditions for achieving peak flow include mastery, mindfulness, and mattering:

  • Mastery: Grant cites research that suggests workers’ happiness is strongly influenced by making progress on projects, even if it’s just small wins.
  • Mindfulness: But, achieving mastery requires undivided attention, Grant says. He notes that after one Fortune 500 company instituted a quiet time policy for employees, when their work couldn’t be interrupted during set hours, productivity increased 65%.
  • Mattering: While mastery and mindfulness can get you into a flow state, Grant says, mattering — knowing you make a difference to other people — is what catapults the experience to peak flow. Grant cites an experiment he conducted with a group of fundraising callers working to secure alumni donations for a university. Callers assigned to meet with just one student whose scholarship was funded by their work subsequently nearly tripled their weekly revenue. Grant says that, instead of focusing on the monotony of making calls, they became absorbed in the meaningful purpose of funding tuition.

While creating the conditions for peak flow — mastery, mindfulness, and mattering — can boost workplace productivity, Grant says his Mario Kart theory is just as applicable at home.

“The antidote to languishing does not have to be something productive,” Grant says. “It can be something joyful. Our peak moments of flow are having fun with the people we love, which is now a daily task on my to-do list.”

Grant is the Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management at the University of Pennsylvania.

Flexible work is here to stay, Adam Grant writes in The Wall Street Journal


Adam Grant

Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) Faculty Affiliate Adam Grant writes about “The Real Meaning of Freedom at Work” in The Wall Street Journal.

Grant says the taste of freedom and flexibility workers got while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired what he calls the Great Resignation, wherein employees required to return to the office full-time are quitting in droves. But, Grant says, the demand for enhanced freedom and flexibility at work began long before the pandemic.

“More than a decade ago, psychologists documented a generational shift in the centrality of work in our lives,” Grant writes. “Millennials were more interested in jobs that provided leisure time and vacation time than Gen Xers and baby boomers. They were less concerned about net worth than net freedom.”

Grant, who will be CPO’s Positive Links speaker in November, says the heightened desire for freedom and flexibility at work extends beyond the option to work remotely. It also includes workers being able to choose their people, their purpose, and their priorities.

“Flexible work is here to stay, but companies that resist it may not be,” Grant says.

Grant is the Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management at the University of Pennsylvania.


Access to the full article requires a WSJ subscription.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know


Please note, this fireside chat was not recorded.


Adam Grant
The Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management and Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
Author, Think Again

About the talk

Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn. In our daily lives, too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. We listen to opinions that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard. We see disagreement as a threat to our egos, rather than an opportunity to learn. We surround ourselves with people who agree with our conclusions, when we should be gravitating toward those who challenge our thought process. The result is that our beliefs get brittle long before our bones.

Join us for a virtual fireside chat with Adam Grant, Wharton’s top-rated professor and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take. He’ll share his bold ideas and rigorous evidence from his new book, Think Again, that reveals we don’t have to believe everything we think or internalize everything we feel. Learn how to let go of views that are no longer serving you well and prize mental flexibility, humility, and curiosity over foolish consistency. Questioning your opinions and opening other people’s minds can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life.


About Grant

Adam Grant has been Wharton’s top-rated professor for seven straight years. As an organizational psychologist, he is a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, and live more generous and creative lives. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers and Fortune’s 40 under 40.

He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of five books that have sold millions of copies and been translated into 35 languages: Think Again, Give and Take, Originals, Option B, and Power Moves. His books have been named among the year’s best by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal. His New York Times article on languishing is one of the most-shared articles of 2021.

Adam hosts WorkLife, a chart-topping TED original podcast. His TED talks on original thinkers and givers and takers have been viewed more than 30 million times. He received a standing ovation at TED in 2016 and was voted the audience’s favorite speaker at The Nantucket Project. His speaking and consulting clients include Google, the NBA, Bridgewater, and the Gates Foundation. He writes on work and psychology for the New York Times, has served on the Defense Innovation Board at the Pentagon, and has been honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He has more than 5 million followers on social media and features new insights in his free monthly newsletter, GRANTED (sign up at the bottom of this page).


Host

Julia Lee Cunningham, Center for Positive Organizations Faculty Co-Director; Associate Professor of Management and Organizations


Positive Links Speaker Series Sponsors

The Center for Positive Organizations thanks Sanger Leadership Center, Tauber Institute for Global Operations, Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, and Diane (BA ’73) and Paul (MBA ’75) Jones for their support of the 2021-22 Positive Links Speaker Series.


Positive Links Series Promotional Partners

Additionally, we thank Ann Arbor SPARK and the Managerial and Organizational Cognition (MOC) Division of the Academy of Management for their Positive Links Speaker Series promotional partnerships.


See all Positive Links events

‘Joy shared is joy sustained,’ Adam Grant writes in The New York Times


Photo: Matheus Bertelli on Pexels

Adam Grant

A New York Times account is required to access this article.

There’s a Specific Kind of Joy We’ve Been Missing,” writes Center for Positive Organizations faculty affiliate Adam Grant in The New York Times.

The opinion piece explores collective effervescence — the energy and harmony people feel when they come together in a group around a shared purpose.

“Collective effervescence is the synchrony you feel when you slide into rhythm with strangers on a dance floor, colleagues in a brainstorming session, cousins at a religious service or teammates on a soccer field,” Grant writes. “And during this pandemic, it’s been largely absent from our lives.”

As the United States returns to some semblance of normalcy, Grant encourages us to rethink our understanding of mental health and well-being in the context of our recent isolation.

“We should think of flourishing less as personal euphoria and more as collective effervescence,” Grant writes. “… You can feel depressed and anxious alone, but it’s rare to laugh alone or love alone. Joy shared is joy sustained.”

Grant is The Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management and a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Adam Grant writes about ‘languishing’ in The New York Times


There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing,” writes Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) faculty affiliate Adam Grant in The New York Times.

The article explores languishing, the “neglected middle child of mental health” that falls somewhere between depression and flourishing.

“Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021,” Grant writes.

“As scientists and physicians work to treat and cure the physical symptoms of long-haul Covid, many people are struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic,” Grant writes. “It hit some of us unprepared as the intense fear and grief of last year faded.”

Languishing can dull motivation, disrupt focus, and increase the odds people who experience it will cut back on work. Grant writes that one way to combat a sense of languishing is to carve out time to pursue small, meaningful goals.

Grant is The Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management and a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Adam Grant examines anti-racism on WorkLife podcast


Photo: Benjamin Child on Unsplash

Adam Grant

Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) faculty affiliate Adam Grant discusses “Building an Anti-Racist Workplace” with guests on the WorkLife podcast.

The episode features a conversation between Grant and psychologist John Amaechi—who shares powerful insights on inclusion. Several additional experts also weigh in on the science of racial privilege, allyship, and opportunity at work. The episode’s key takeaway is that an organization’s culture is defined by the worst behavior it tolerates.

“Privilege is a hard concept for people to understand because normally when we talk of privilege we imagine immediate, unearned riches and tangible benefits for anyone who has it,” Amaechi says. “But white privilege, and indeed all privilege, is actually more about the absence of inconvenience, the absence of an impediment or challenge. And as such, when you have it, you really don’t notice it. But when it’s absent, it affects everything you do.”

Dolly Chugh, a professor at New York University Stern School of Business and former CPO Positive Links Speaker Series guest, is one of the experts who joins Grant and Amaechi for the conversation. She urges individuals to adopt a growth mindset when it comes to allyship at work.

“We’re going to make mistakes, and then recovering from those mistakes by learning from them, owning them and doing better the next time. It’s a dynamic learning perspective rather than an either or, good person perspective,” Chugh says. “I’m on a mission to get people to let go of being a good person so that they can become better people.”

Grant is The Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management and a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Adam Grant encourages us to ‘Think Again’ in new book


Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) faculty affiliate Adam Grant encourages people to reconsider their assumptions in his new book Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know.

Grant’s timely book suggests that learning to question your opinions and open other people’s minds can be beneficial at work and in life.

He recently talked with NBC’s Harry Smith for a Sunday Today spotlight on the book.

“I think too many of us prefer the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt,” Grant tells Smith. “We want to get in the habit of reconsidering. It doesn’t mean we always have to change our minds. But, I really believe that if knowledge is power, that knowing what you don’t know is wisdom.”

Think Again has garnered significant interest:

Grant is The Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management at the University of Pennsylvania.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know


“Think Again is a must-read for anyone who wants to create a culture of learning and exploration, whether at home, at work, or at school… In an increasingly divided world, the lessons in this book are more important than ever.” –Bill and Melinda Gates

The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking: learning to question your opinions and open other people’s minds, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life

Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn. In our daily lives, too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. We listen to opinions that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard. We see disagreement as a threat to our egos, rather than an opportunity to learn. We surround ourselves with people who agree with our conclusions, when we should be gravitating toward those who challenge our thought process. The result is that our beliefs get brittle long before our bones. We think too much like preachers defending our sacred beliefs, prosecutors proving the other side wrong, and politicians campaigning for approval–and too little like scientists searching for truth. Intelligence is no cure, and it can even be a curse: being good at thinking can make us worse at rethinking. The brighter we are, the blinder to our own limitations we can become.

Organizational psychologist Adam Grant is an expert on opening other people’s minds–and our own. As Wharton’s top-rated professor and the bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, he makes it one of his guiding principles to argue like he’s right but listen like he’s wrong. With bold ideas and rigorous evidence, he investigates how we can embrace the joy of being wrong, bring nuance to charged conversations, and build schools, workplaces, and communities of lifelong learners. You’ll learn how an international debate champion wins arguments, a Black musician persuades white supremacists to abandon hate, a vaccine whisperer convinces concerned parents to immunize their children, and Adam has coaxed Yankees fans to root for the Red Sox. Think Again reveals that we don’t have to believe everything we think or internalize everything we feel. It’s an invitation to let go of views that are no longer serving us well and prize mental flexibility over foolish consistency. If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.

Adam Grant shares tips on how to find joy while working remotely with WBEZ


Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) faculty affiliate Adam Grant talks with WBEZ in the episode “Why Work From Home Causes Stress In More Than Just Zoom Calls — And How To Overcome It.”

Grant notes that the world is conducting a mass experiment in remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic and offers tips for how managers and employees can work from home more effectively.

One key strategy Grant advocates is practicing gratitude.

“I know many people are feeling FOMO, the fear of missing out, right now on all the things that could be happening in their lives,” Grant says. “But there’s also such a thing as JOMO: the joy of missing out.”

His gratitude list, for example, includes wearing sweatpants to work, skipping his commute and having fewer awkward interactions with strangers.

Grant is The Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management and a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

How to be a remarkable boss during lockdown


Managers need to adapt to coronavirus conditions. Here are some ideas for how to do that.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, I have received hundreds of emails offering advice, tips, and tools for managers leading teams in this new era of work. One thing is clear: Now is an important time to be extra mindful and intentional as leaders. And there has never been a better time to enact practices that support a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

Among all the advice streaming through my inbox, five particular practices stood out. They have always been essential management skills, but their interwoven practice now holds outsized potential for impact: support of emotional expression, presence, inquiry, listening, and self-care. I offer them as an opportunity to expand our mindset of leadership as we learn to grow, respond, and improvise with and beyond the coronavirus into our new future of work.

1. Support emotional expression

The experience of the pandemic will reverberate in different ways for each employee. You will observe grief, overwhelm, fear, anxiety, hypersensitivity, and much more. These emotions will change from day to day, week to week, or even hour to hour! I know mine have these past many weeks.

Expressing emotions at work has always been a challenge. Many employees fear being overly vulnerable and sharing too much information, only to have it backfire, leaving them embarrassed and perhaps even the target of judgment. But in this time, when the usual lines between work and life have been greatly blurred, emotions are so obviously present. They’re in need of acknowledgment and support.

Emotions are natural human responses to one’s environment and the expression of emotion is a natural, healthy, and even vital practice. “Our emotional responses shape our experience of the world,” says Eve Ekman, senior fellow at the Greater Good Science Center and creator of a popular workshop titled Cultivating Emotional Balance. “Emotions can feel profoundly enriching and painfully unbearable.” In both cases, these divergent emotions may be masked in the workplace with a quietude, a weak smile, or even laughter.

Thus, our role as managers is to discover the emotions within our teams and give them a safe place to be expressed. Most emotions can be fully expressed within seconds. Unexpressed, they remain lodged in our bodies and can cause long-term harm to ourselves and others.

Providing emotional support does not mean that you need to become a therapist or counselor.  It does, however, mean moving beyond the polite “How are you?” to a more meaningful exchange and opening that may ignite their sense of belonging and hopefulness. If more emotional support seems prudent, professional resources are readily available.

2. Be exquisitely present

In a recent LinkedIn post, researcher and writer Adam Grant reminds us that loneliness is widespread, especially in American culture. “Americans have fewer friends at work than we did in the past—and we’re less likely to have them over for dinner and go on vacation with them than people in many other countries.”

Social distancing can easily amplify already-widespread feelings of loneliness. Thus, connection is more imperative now than ever, even as it becomes a creative but constrained endeavor. Freelancers and contract employees know how easy it is to feel disconnected from the workplace—and now, almost all of us who once worked every day in an office know what it feels like to not have a water cooler.

This requires leaders to be even more mindful of our employees—pay closer attention, notice more, build high-quality connection. We must be exquisitely present and create the space for our employees to feel fully seen, heard, and appreciated during these challenging and unusual times.

3. Practice embodied inquiry

Being present with our teams is just one ingredient in supporting their thriving. We must also inquire to understand what they value and what they need. This requires skillful inquiry.

Many years ago, I had the privilege of meeting Melissa Peet. At the time, she was the director of integrative learning and knowledge management at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. She now runs an organization called the Generative Knowledge Institute.

When I met Melissa, I was intrigued by materials she was creating around generative practices, and particularly a practice she called embodied inquiry. This is the notion that each of us has within us a wealth of resources to successfully navigate change. By asking the right questions, we support and “allow the hidden knowledge, aliveness, and intelligence that is embedded in people’s lived experience to come forward.”

Asking questions from the heart gets below the surface level, provoking answers that are energy-producing and intrinsically self-motivating. So, for example, instead of asking for a stale report on work they’ve done, you could ask employees to describe recent accomplishments they are particularly proud of. Or, rather than asking about goals and objectives, you can ask, “What are you most looking forward to learning during the quarantine period?”

You can tell if you are in embodied inquiry when the employee lights up in front of you and you can see the discovery process unfolding before you. In those moments, it is easy to see how important our questions are. “We live in worlds our questions create,” says David Cooperider, one of the founders of Appreciative Inquiry.

4. Listen generatively

The necessary partner to inquiry is listening, and both practices flourish under exquisite presence. In tandem, inquiry and listening work to bring out the highest and best potential future for our teams.

When an embodied question is asked, we need to be fully present to hear and support the answer. This is an unordinary kind of listening. Otto Scharmer, author, MIT researcher, and founder of the Presencing Institute, divides listening in four levels:

  • Downloading: Transferring information that is already largely familiar, listening only to reconfirm what you already know.
  • Factual listening: Paying attention only when the information is different from what you know. This new information is added to what is already known.
  • Empathic listening: Hearing with an open heart. Empathizing and seeing through someone else’s eyes; able to understand and respect the other person from where they are.
  • Generative listening: This means listening to create, without your personality getting in the way of results. By connecting to your own intuition, you are able to see and support the other person’s highest future possibility.

From Scharmer’s model, it is easy to see how everyday listening does not provide the necessary conditions for another person to become more alive. Empathic and generative listening are high-order practices, a kind of bespoke listening, attuning so well to another that you lose yourself in their experience, what they are living and struggling with, and able to imagine what is possible for them.

5. Take care of yourself

Finally, we managers are not immune to this crisis and cannot support those who work with us without ensuring our own cups are full.

Being present to our teams during times like this takes a certain energy, and we must be mindful to regularly fill our own cups so we can sustain our presence over time. Tend to yourself by being honest about what you are feeling and experiencing; being vulnerable and modeling emotional expression; setting boundaries when needed; seeking out your own support; and practicing compassion.

I am also a big proponent of self-awareness and self-care. Take as much notice of yourself as you do of others, and be sure to reward yourself with activity that nourishes you.

As we look to continue our lives in quarantine or lockdown, and eventually return to social activity and to work, new waves of experience and emotion will capture us and require attention. Being a remarkable boss means being poised for these waves and ready to respond with aplomb. You’ve got this.


This article was originally published in Greater Good Magazine.

Silver linings, home tours, video conference bingo: Reimagining virtual meetings for connection


Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) faculty affiliate Adam Grant interviews CPO co-founder Jane Dutton in the TED article “The secret to making Zoom meetings meaningful for you and your coworkers.”

The interview explores how virtual meetings can be reimagined in the pandemic age to encourage high-quality connections. Dutton defines a “high-quality connection” as, “a shorter-term interaction you have with someone virtually or face to face, in which both people feel lit up and energized by the connection.”

Dutton encourages teams to try creative conversation prompts, experiment with playful activities and get comfortable blurring the boundary between home and work life. Dutton cites research by CPO faculty affiliate Ashley Hardin that demonstrates shared personal knowledge has a humanizing affect.

“There’s this idea that we need to put on our professional masks and we don’t want to blur the boundary between the professional and the personal, but her research suggests there’s not a lot of downside to letting people know more about you,” Dutton says.

Dutton is a CPO core faculty member and the Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Emerita Professor of Business Administration and Psychology at the University of Michigan.