"Pay-cations", Personality Types, Leadership-Speak and More

A Summer “Pay-cation”

This gives a whole new meaning to the term “paid vacation.”

SteelHouse, a leading marketing and advertising company based in Culver City, California, actually pays its workers $2,000 a year to go on vacation — wherever they want, doing whatever they like — a strategy that Chief Executive Officer Mark Douglas said rejuvenates employees and, ultimately, makes them more productive.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘You have three weeks’ vacation,’ like most companies do,” Douglas told Business Insider. “It’s another thing to say, ‘You have cash, and if you don’t go on vacation and spend this money, the money literally goes to waste.’ It’s another level of saying this is real.”

Some employees have said they don’t want the time off, but they would be happy to accept a $2,000 bonus in lieu of the vacation. Douglas, however, politely rejects such a proposal, explaining that they’re missing the point.

“I actually want you to go somewhere and enjoy yourself,” he said.

The idea is to get employees away from the workaday grind for a while, so they can obtain a more proper work-life balance and, in the process, recharge their batteries. Then, when they return to work, their batteries fully charged, they’re eager to do their jobs and are more productive than ever, according to Douglas.

The strategy has the added benefits of attracting elite talent to the company and fostering loyalty among employees. Douglas said SteelHouse experiences almost zero turnover, and it’s hard to argue with results like that.

Personality Perspective

A new study suggests that your personality type — your tendency to be an introvert or an extrovert — may have more impact on your career success than you think.

“Personalities can play a major role in who gets promoted, praised and paid more,” Shana Lebowitz wrote for Business Insider in May, citing a forthcoming article in the journal Applied Psychology. According to the article, the extroverts have a clear advantage over their less outgoing colleagues in at least four ways:

They’re more motivated — and more confident — when it comes to seeking potential rewards.

They tend to be more positive, which protects them from negative workplace factors — burnout and low morale, for example — and makes them more adaptable in new work situations.

Schmoozing comes more naturally to extroverts, giving them a leg up toward becoming leaders.

They receive higher marks for their job performance.

Lebowitz points out that these are tendencies, but they’re not necessarily hard and fast rules.

“If you’re a people manager,” she writes, “be aware of the fact that you might be rewarding your reports for classic extroverted behaviors — and try to broaden your understanding of what defines a great employee.”

The Internet Unsavvy

A relatively new form of technology has reshaped the world over the past quarter-century and continues to do so. This transformative technology is called, ahem, the internet.

It may surprise you to know that about 10% of Americans still do not use the internet, according to the latest survey analysis from the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. That number has changed little during the past four years, but it’s a far cry from Pew’s results in 2000, when 48% of American adults said they did not use the internet.

Not surprisingly, one of the key factors in determining internet usage — or lack thereof — is age. Approximately 27% of adults 65 and older said they do not use the internet, while the percentage for adults ages 18 to 29 is, well, zero. Older Americans are starting to come around, though — a year ago, the percentage of seniors not using the internet was 34%, so more of them are getting online.

The most recent analysis didn’t offer explanations for lack of internet use, but a 2013 survey listed the three most-cited reasons:

Simply didn’t want to go online and/or didn’t think the internet was relevant to their lives (34%).

The internet is too difficult to use and/or they’re too old to learn (32%).

The cost of computer ownership and/or internet service is too expensive (19%).

Don’t Follow the Leader — Be the Leader

Do you know the right things to say as a leader? Most strong leaders do. But here’s something else strong leaders have in common — knowing what not to say.

Writing consultant Wanda Thibodeaux (TakingDictation.com) cited four phrases that a leader should never utter:

1. “I’m too busy for that.” According to Thibodeaux, listeners interpret this statement as “I’m too busy for you.” Find a more positive response, perhaps even pointing them to someone else who might be able to help, but don’t diminish their value by saying you’re too busy.

2. “You’re not right for this.” A leader should be able to see the individual’s potential and help develop it, rather than slamming the door outright. Saying “You’re not right for this” could indicate that you’re not right for leadership.

3. “It’s your fault.” Pointing the finger of blame is a me-first journey on the low road, she said. Besides, as a leader, you’re accountable for those who report to you, and blaming them does nothing in the way of working toward a solution.

4. “I don’t care.” Thibodeaux described this attitude as toxic. If workers see that you don’t care, why should they care? Spoiler alert: They won’t care, and even worse, the reason they won’t care is because they’re following the leader.

Savoring Sunday

It’s a well-known fact that not all days of the week are created equal.

Weekdays can crawl like slugs, inching forward. Ever. So. Sloooowly. Meanwhile, weekend days — despite having the exact same number of hours (24, if you’re keeping score at home) — tend to flit by like hummingbirds.

So, how can you make your weekend seem, well, not so weak?

Here’s a tip from popular women’s blogger Joanna Goddard (“A Cup of Jo”), who discovered this trick by accident: Instead of winding down Sunday night — which gives you more opportunity to dread Monday morning — plan something fun.

Goddard wrote that her perspective changed when a friend invited her to a movie one Sunday evening. She found herself looking forward to the movie all day, she and her friend had a blast together, and on Monday morning she realized “my weekend had lasted forever.”

According to Goddard, the Sunday evening movie became a weekly ritual, and it magically transformed her outlook on weekends.

“It changed everything,” she wrote. “I realized: No matter what else I do all weekend, the anticipation of a Sunday night hang — and the afterglow — stretches out each day and takes away the Sunday scaries. Instead of anticipating work, your mind is busy gearing up for an evening adventure.”

What will you be doing Sunday night?

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