Workplace Success – What You Need to Know This Week

Nov 18, 2014
4 Min Read

Here are three stories people are talking about this week to help you be more successful at work.

1. Why some superstars struggle to bond with their teams

New research featured in the Harvard Business Review finds that even in collegial, well-run workplaces, high performers are perceived as different and can be subjected to negative behavior from their coworkers, like sniping or lack of cooperation. “Average performers worry that you’re making them look bad,” reports HBR. “If they can bring you down a notch, they can alleviate (or at least they think they can alleviate) their negative feelings by reminding you what an ‘acceptable’ level of performance looks like.”

The researchers note that “benevolent high achievers” – those who are sensitive to what’s fair for others and put others’ needs ahead of their own – don't receive nearly as much of these negative feelings: “Practicing thoughtfulness and cooperativeness really does work to defuse your colleagues’ impulse to take you down.”

2. Having a bad boss can make you sick

Having a bad boss can make you sick, reports the Washington Post in a round-up of research demonstrating that bad bosses are linked to an increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, sleep problems, anxiety, overeating, and more. What’s more, the longer you work with a bad boss, the worse the health effects become. (We’re defining bad bosses here are bosses who are hypercritical, unfair, inept, hostile, or harassing.)

It’s one more reason to vet a prospective boss before taking a job, and to appreciate the good ones. And it’s further fodder for managers of other managers to make sure that the managers beneath them are managing fairly and effectively.

3. Americans are taking less vacation time than ever

Americans are taking less vacation time than at any other point in the last four decades and collectively lost a total of 169 million days of paid time off last year, surrendering $52.4 billion in benefits, according to a new report from Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association. These were vacation days that were earned but went untaken, and which couldn’t be rolled over or paid out.

Last year, American employees took an average of 16 days of vacation, compared to an average of 20.3 days in 2000.

Of course, the travel industry has an incentive to encourage workers to take more vacation time – but so do employers, who benefit from having a rested, refreshed workforce.

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