The Reality of Microaggression

The Reality of Microaggression
A microaggression is, in theory, a form of unintended discrimination. Many people, including people of color, women, and other underrepresented groups, might argue that microaggressions are sometimes more insidious. The aggressor may truly not know the impact of their words, but sometimes it’s more cunning and manipulative. Microaggressions are often best understood when they are perpetrated against people of color because it happens so often. These include when someone is asked where they ... Read more
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Frances Perkins: The Architect of our Social Safety Net

Frances Perkins: The Architect of our Social Safety Net
Frances Perkins was the first female member of a Presidential cabinet in the United States and today is the 135th anniversary of her birth. She served as Secretary for Labor from 1933 to 1945 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A social worker by training, Perkins was a staunch advocate for workers’ rights and was the chief architect of New Deal legislation including the Social Security Act. She chaired the President’s Committee on Economic Security in 1934 and was relentless in her ... Read more
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Things New Nonprofit Professionals Should Consider (Part One)

Things New Nonprofit Professionals Should Consider (Part One)
You’ve graduated from college and/or grad school and landed your dream job making a difference at your local nonprofit. You’re ready to change the world – and you will! Here are two factors to consider which will lead to your long-term success in the rewarding world of nonprofit work. Know what you need in supervision. Supervision is one of the most crucial elements of your success as a new nonprofit professional. It’s important to think about what you need from the start. The easiest way ... Read more
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Do You Know a Good Leader When You See One?

Do You Know a Good Leader When You See One?
My earlier post identified leadership as the good, the bad, and you. I wrote about six behaviors typical of bad leaders. While the opposite of my six observations of the bad are a place to start, there will be no getting off easy for me. Here are my top six qualities of good leaders. You work hard to build trust and earn respect. Sure, your team will trust you at the start, and your leadership role comes with some built-in respect. But strong leaders work continuously to prove themselves. ... Read more
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Leadership Lacking

Leadership Lacking
This past weekend I attended the opening Little League game for a local team. It was only the first day of spring, miserable weather, and the plowed field was surrounded with piles of snow. The people in the bleachers were bundled up and cold. The players on the field were colder still. Yet, there was an aura of excitement for an activity that both the kids and parents were looking forward to after a long winter in the northeast. The head coach spoke to the group before the game started. He ... Read more
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Leadership: The Good, the Bad, and You

Leadership: The Good, the Bad, and You
For simplicity’s sake, we can boil leadership down to: the good, the bad, and you. This is the first of three posts to cover all three. When the topic of leadership comes up, most people think first about “bad bosses” — they skip right over the good, to the bad. So here goes, I’ll use this first post to explore bad leadership. Really, is there anything left to write about bad leadership? I’ve been known to say that every problem within an organization can be tied back to a lack of ... Read more
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Stress Carriers

Stress Carriers
We all know one or two of them. They may be a friend, relative or co-worker. What they have in common is that they scatter stress like Tinkerbell scatters fairy dust. They are stress carriers. They often appear friendly and helpful, but they have a knack — and perhaps the intention — of making others feel inadequate or upset. They also are skillful at shifting their work or worries to others smoothly that you are left wondering how it happened. It is easy to recognize a stress ... Read more
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Stepping Out and Stepping Up for Opportunity

Stepping Out and Stepping Up for Opportunity
At 2am four years ago, I responded to a general post seeking volunteer tennis coaches. I was about to finish graduate school and had coached sporadically for seven years, so I thought this could be a fun, interim experience. For the next two hours, I emailed back and forth with Vi, the person who posted the ad. She had just started a new NGO that delivered tennis programming to kids who live on the Southside of Chicago. I naturally was curious about this person who was up so late at night ... Read more
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The Walls Have Ears

The Walls Have Ears
Today, thanks to cell phones, we are constantly surrounded by conversations. People talk while they are walking, shopping, and eating. It seems like there are no longer filters on language used or content discussed. If nearby, you can listen to the intricacies of a legal matter or the intimacies of a personal relationship. This same behavior can be observed in the office. Though a conversation you’re having may seem harmless, it can have damaging effects. For example, perhaps you use ... Read more
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Beware the Lemmings

Beware the Lemmings
The lemming is a small rodent that mostly lives in the Arctic. Folklore has it that lemmings follow each other even when it results in their jumping off cliffs in what some describe as mass suicides. The lemming analogy is a cautionary tale for a “group think” mentality and can be applied to several situations in the workplace. New employees are more susceptible to becoming lemmings than others who are better informed. Frequently, an established worker volunteers to help the new person get ... Read more
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