Employees require a certain amount of energy and motivation to be engaged and feel fully committed at the workplace.
According to a recent study of 1.2 employees at 52 organizations,
most of them Fortune 1000 companies, there’s cause for concern. Most
employees start out with high levels of engagement and enthusiasm, the
study finds. But after six months on the job, their morale declines
sharply—and it continues to deteriorate for years.
If you’re losing good employees to apathy and disengagement, it’s
critical that you regain their enthusiasm. Otherwise, you stand to lose
your best people—the ones who will always have options—as they head for
your competitors, leaving you with the dregs.
Poor employee engagement and retention are leadership issues, and it
takes leadership to fix them. And that process begins with knowing what
employees need that they aren’t getting. Here are some of the most
Lack of autonomy If your smartest and most talented
employees are not allowed to make decisions on their own, if everything
has to be decided from top down, they’ll quickly lose their motivation.
Empower them to make decisions and have faith in their judgment.
Lack of professional development. Opportunities for
learning and development are an instant boost to employee
motivation—especially among the best. Employees like to feel that
they’re are expanding and refining their skills. Providing opportunities
for people to attain new knowledge and share it with others is one of
the best ways to revitalize a stagnant workplace.
Unrealistic workloads. It’s important to keep
expectations and demands reasonable. If your employees feel pressured to
work longer, stay later, and work most weekends, they will soon become
disillusioned, stressed and lacking in motivation. On the other hand, an
employee whose workload is too light or not varied enough may quickly
lose interest. Set reasonable, realistic expectations and check in from
time to time to make sure workloads are still where they should be.
Lack of flexibility. If your workplace doesn’t honor work-life
balance, even the most enthusiastic employees will burn out before you
know it. Encourage time off, flexible work options and other solutions
to keep employees happy and focused.
Lack of communication. Communicate to your
employees, and do it often. Because not only does clear communication
throughout the organization make for an efficient workplace, it also has
a major impact on employee morale and confidence.
Feeling undervalued. An employee who feels that
their efforts are not recognized or appreciated will soon begin to lose
energy and commitment. That’s why it’s so important to celebrate
successes and give credit where it’s due. Try to make sure that every
achievement and effort is rewarded, even if it’s just with a simple
Leaders are often surprised that their best employees are
demotivated—and even more surprised when they leave—but if the issues
listed above aren’t being handled well, it’s only to be expected.
The signs are always there when there’s a problem; the questions for
you as a leader is whether you’re watching and what you’re going to do
Lead from within: To retain and keep your best employees, do what it takes to keep them motivated and inspired.
On September 14, just a few days after former National Security Advisor Ambassador John R. Bolton was comfortably disappeared from the administration, Iran inflicted major damage on a massive oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia, Macron, in short, has
First Things has been running
a fascinating and provocative series of articles that question the
principles and beliefs of most of its readers. In May, it published “Why
I Became Muslim” by one Jacob Williams, a Brit who grew up Anglican and
then converted to Islam. More recently, the magazine published “Catholicism Made Me Protestant,”
a reflection by Onsi A. Kamel, who grew up a “non-denominational,
baptistic evangelical,” then seriously considered Catholicism before
returning to Protestantism, though one more self-consciously Reformed.
Perhaps as a coup de grace First Things could next publish a piece entitled “How First Things Made Me Stop Reading First Things”
(kidding!). In seriousness, the controversial series is welcome,
because however much such pieces incite annoyance or anger, they help
clarify weaknesses (or perceived weaknesses) in Christianity and
Catholicism. If we don’t take the time to understand why our critics
disagree with us, how will we ever dialogue with them? Yet a response to
Kamel’s criticisms of Catholicism is still warranted, and I’d like to
Kamel has three main criticisms of Catholicism. First, the Church
does not have the best claim to the Church Fathers, given that there are
“discrepancies” between Catholic apologists’ conception of Holy
Tradition and the tradition Kamel encountered. Sometimes, he observes,
the Church Fathers say things that sound much more Protestant than
Catholic. Moreover, many Reformation-era Protestants quoted the Church
Fathers at great length.
Then there’s Bl. Cardinal John Henry Newman. Kamel argues that
Newman’s theory of doctrinal development “tells against Rome’s claims of
continuity with the ancient Church.” Yet, Kamel claims, one only
perceives doctrinal development as congruous if one is already committed
to Rome’s doctrinal claims. In Kamel’s case, he found, not continuity,
but contradiction. He also finds Newman’s arguments regarding private
judgment to be problematic. While “Newman castigates Protestants for
refusing to ‘surrender’ reason in matters religious,” Kamel asks “if my
reason was unfit in matters religious, how was I to assess Newman’s
arguments for Roman Catholicism?” In effect, says Kamel, Newman’s attack
on Protestant private judgment cuts both ways, thus undermining
Finally, “the infighting among traditionalist, conservative, and
liberal Catholics made plain that Catholics did not gain by their
magisterium a clear, living voice of divine authority.” Indeed, notes
Kamel, someone has to do the interpreting of magisterial documents; and
these interpretive authorities, it often seems, are in disagreement with
one another. Every new, additional magisterial document only compounds
Thus Kamel remained a Protestant, though now one conservant not only
in low-church evangelicalism, but a broader Reformed Protestant
tradition that includes “Martin Luther, John Calvin, Richard Hooker,
Herman Bavinck, and Karl Barth,” among others. These Protestants, says
Kamel, “out-catholic the Catholics,” because “their answers [are] not
only plausible, but more faithful to Scripture than the Catholic
answers.” Sitting in his dorm room, Kamel “discovered justification by
faith alone through union with Christ,” that first and foremost of
Lutheran doctrines. “Luther transformed my understanding of
justification: Every Christian possesses Christ…. Christ had joined me
I would first like to examine Kamel’s underlying presuppositions. His
paradigmatic approach is visible especially in his assertion that
Protestantism is “more faithful to Scripture.” Such thinking, as I’ve argued elsewhere,
presumes the Protestant doctrine of perspicuity, or the clarity of
Scripture. This doctrine—though it is diversely understood within
Protestantism—typically teaches that individual Christians using
ordinary means (e.g. a good translation of Scripture, prayer, listening
to biblical preaching) will be able to divine the Bible’s true meaning.
Yet presuming one paradigm when evaluating another paradigm is to a priori
stack the deck in favor of one’s own position. It’s also
question-begging, because it presumes something (Scripture’s clarity)
that Catholicism doesn’t. It’s no surprise then that he found
Catholicism to be wanting—he evaluated it on Protestant terms.
And how reliable are those terms? It’s not a little ironic that Kamel
memorializes his discovery of “justification by faith alone” given the
only place “faith alone” appears in the Bible is in James 2:24: “You see
that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” The
Lutheran/Reformed paradigm thus must apply an extra-biblical exegetical
framework to try and harmonize Luther’s famous dictum with passages like
the above. Even more problematic, Protestants have come to disagree not
only with Luther, but with each other, about Scripture’s “plain
meaning” on the very essentials of the Christian faith, including which
persons truly “possess Christ.”
Now for Kamel’s particular critiques of Catholicism.
First, as for the Church Fathers, anybody using Google can find
quotations from them that sound more Protestant than Catholic. The
Catholic Church has always taught that Tradition appeals to the consensus of
the Fathers, recognizing that there could be significant division among
them on particular topics. How Kamel could determine Protestantism has a
better claim to the Fathers than Catholicism I cannot fathom, given the
among them on such un-Protestant teachings as apostolic succession,
episcopal juridical/interpretive authority, Petrine primacy, baptismal
regeneration, the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist, and Marian
devotion, among others.
On to Newman. Newman’s theory of doctrinal development does not
undermine Catholicism’s hermeneutic of continuity. The passing of time
and generations necessitates both change and a subsequent interpretation
of that change. This is something, pace Kamel, that
Protestantism needs to do as well. There was no complete biblical canon
without it, for instance, nor an explicit formulation of Christ’s person
and nature. The teachings of the Church on these concepts, and many
others, developed over centuries. All Christians must make sense of such
Kamel also misunderstands Newman’s argument regarding private
judgment. Newman’s point is not that an individual’s reason cannot be
used to evaluate any religious arguments. Of course, one needs
reason in order to evaluate arguments regarding the existence of God, or
which religious tradition has the best historical claim to authority.
Otherwise, how would an individual be able to reason that the Catholic
Church had the authority to bind his conscience? Indeed, the motives of credibility
appeal precisely to reason. Rather, recourse to an individual’s
personal reasoning is insufficient in theological matters regarding the
authoritative interpretation of Scripture and/or that require divine faith.
Thus, even if a person reads Scripture and accurately intuits a
conception of the Holy Trinity, such an interpretation couldn’t be
normative, because that person lacks interpretive authority. Only the
institutional Church founded by Christ possesses this.
Finally, Kamel’s criticism of Catholic infighting says more about
human nature than about the Church. If everyone in the pews, or even all
the bishops, agreed on every particular of the Church, it would suggest
the institution was more a cult (i.e., the bad kind) than a human
organism that has stood the test of 2,000 years. Of course, the
disagreements regarding Catholic teaching, even among the hierarchy, are
disheartening. But they can also be embellished, particularly by her
detractors. In truth, the Church has explicitly–defined
methods for determining the interpretation of Scripture, Tradition, and
magisterial documents. Many inter-Catholic disagreements stem from a
lack of familiarity with these methods.
We should carefully observe the reception of Kamel’s article among
Protestants. Will they gush over its succinct rhetorical power? If so,
as was the case with Roman but Not Catholic—a widely celebrated
Protestant polemic against Catholicism—it will once again prove the
lackluster character of Protestant apologetics writ large. I reviewed the book last year, and the response of the two authors, Kenneth J. Collins and Jerry L. Walls, was, to put it charitably, sadly instructive.
Alternatively, if we observe Protestants acknowledging the kinds of
deficiencies in Kamel’s argumentation I’ve cited above, it would
intimate a most welcome development within conservative
Protestantism—one that is willing to acknowledge its paradigmatic biases
and misreadings of Catholicism and try harder at dialogue. As a former
Reformed Protestant, and one deeply invested in this ecumenical project, I pray it’s the latter.
Pay, prestige and the opportunity to serve all come with being a
leader. Know what else does, too? Pressure. Lots of it. Most of it not
There’s pressure to perform, conform, make money, keep the boss happy
and do more with less. The demands come from every direction in the
organization — up, down, across –as well as from within. We feel the
pressure in discussions with the boss, at performance-review time and in
interactions with our colleagues or direct reports.
Fearing the shame of failure, leaders find ways to deal with the
pressure. Some coping methods can evolve into counterproductive
practices that, over time, sabotage our performance and morale.
Pressure mistake No. 1: Having all the answers
People tend to look to the leader for solutions when problems arise.
The leader feels pressure to have answers — and gives them, every time.
This “do-as-I-say” cycle eventually kills engagement and fuels egotism.
Inclusive leaders avoid the all-knowing trap by balancing giving
answers with asking questions. Even if they know the answer, effective
leaders ask questions to build their staff’s critical thinking skills
and bring them into the solution. They involve.
Pressure mistake No. 2: Not admitting to being wrong
Academia, business and culture reward us for being right. Admitting
to messing up, on the other hand, can bring criticism, which marks us as
Well-rounded leaders recognize that no one gets it right 100% of the
time and that being a true leader involves accepting responsibility and
blame, no matter how uncomfortable or unflattering. Accountable leaders
refuse to fall back on the lame acknowledgment that “mistakes were
made.” They own up.
Pressure mistake No. 3: Settling for the quick fix
The perceived need for a speedy resolution tempts leaders to fix
symptoms and ignore root causes. The quick-fix approach may appease the
big bosses who demand a solution now, but it often creates bigger
problems down the road. Serving the urgent at the expense of the
important rarely turns out well.
Effective leaders steer clear of the quick-fix approach. They take
the time to ask “the five whys” to identify root causes and resolve
problems once and for all. They check it out.
It’s the rare person (right?) who wholeheartedly embraces being the
cantankerous old coot who happily points out every flaw, real or
perceived. More common are leaders who mistake the act of disagreeing
with being disagreeable. Out of a fear of not being liked, they avoid
giving feedback or pushing back on really bad idea. They confuse
nonproductive conflict with productive conflict.
Legitimate leaders recognize that conflict is inevitable and not
something negative to be ignored or conquered. Instead, they see
differences as opportunities to be addressed together through trust,
compassion and acceptance. They engage.
Pressure mistake No. 5: Not knowing when to quit
The perils of quitting too soon are easy to recognize. That awareness
is often missing, though, in recognizing that the time to let go
happened long ago. Quitting a job, letting a poor performer go or
pulling the plug on a project riddled with problems may feel like
negative actions given all the time, effort and money that have been
invested. They aren’t.
Effective leaders make a conscious effort to not let a fear of loss
get in the way of potential gains. Calling it quits doesn’t mean
conviction, character or commitment are lacking. Rather, knowing when to
quit signals the presence of courage and smarts. They let go.
Pressure can prompt us to turn a strength — like being
knowledgeable, persevering or quickly solving problems — into a
weakness. Being good at these things probably got you the leadership
role. Be a wise leader and don’t let an overused strength become the
reason you fail.
in the throes of summer break with your kids, or just want to work
ahead? Either way, I wanted to throw out a few ideas for things you can
be doing on your blog now to prepare for the fall.
That’s the hard part about being a
blogger and a mom…all the times that we need to be preparing for the
blogging busy seasons are the same times we’re busy with our kids.
I never feel like I’m fully prepared for the fall/holiday blogging busy season…but I try my best!
My summer blog revenue is usually the
lowest of the year. Instead of working hard to increase income when I’d
rather be outside with my family, I focus on increasing revenue for the
fall and winter months by thinking ahead.
To me, as long as I am getting paid
fairly for the time I’m spending on my blog, I don’t care if the revenue
comes now or in 5 months. I just want it to arrive eventually!
Want to join me on this quest for boosted blog income later on this year? Let’s get started!
3 Simple Blogging Projects to Do NOW for More Revenue This Fall
Here are three things I like to do to
get my blog prepped for the upcoming season in the limited time that I
have between summertime family moments:
1) Write Some Christmas / Other Holiday Content
If you have never given holiday
traffic a try, I highly recommend it. When you strike just the right
topic, your traffic can soar and give you a nice bump in ad revenue!
I know it seems silly, but working
way ahead on holiday content is imperative if you’re using an indexed
based method of distributing your content (like Google or Pinterest).
Your content needs time to get
indexed in those search engines. If you can publish it now, rather than
waiting until November, you’re going to have a shot at getting found
this Christmas. But if you wait too long to publish, your hard work
won’t be found until the following Christmas.
So, post something this summer and
backdate it to last December to get it out there. For me, this means
publishing it then scheduling it out on Tailwind. Finally, once the holiday season gets closer, start repinning it.
For example, I like to add a Christmas printable or two to my blog post database each year. Those always bring great traffic for me and are super easy to produce.
2) Brainstorm a Black Friday Post
If you have any kind of audience that
you can reach on demand, whether it’s your Instagram audience (which I
am just now getting into myself), or maybe your mailing list….use it!
Everybody (or almost everybody) in the U.S. loves Black Friday deals.
I always wait until the last minute
to put together my Black Friday post and email, but this year I’m
brainstorming it in August so I’m not busting my tail to get it together
the week of Thanksgiving.
Don’t overthink this – just put
together something around a theme that you think your audience would
like. This early on, I will just write the intro and blog post
placeholder. Then I leave a space to put the deals in list form down the
When the time is right, you can just add in the deals.
If you’re collecting deals from
fellow bloggers in your niche, I recommend emailing them ahead of time
to ask for their discounts, when ready. You can go ahead and list their
products without a price, then add in the actual amount once it is
For instance, if I was going to list deals for moms of toddlers, I could ask Becky Mansfield if she is going to run a sale on her potty training book.
If she is planning to do that, I’d list the book image and a quick
description in my post now then add the sale price/discount code when it
goes on sale.
Simply put — I am setting myself up for success.
Another idea could be a roundup of
all the Amazon deals that your audience might like for that day.
Although that one would be harder to prepare ahead of time.
Lastly, you could go the easy route.
If you have several products of your own, list only the deals you’re
offering on your own products.
Full disclosure: I didn’t understand
what gift guides entailed for the longest time. Come to find out they
are literally just lists of toys or gifts that you think someone might
like to buy for a specific person.
You could go as broad as “Best Toys
for Christmas 2019” or as specific as “Amazing Gifts for the Camping
Enthusiast in Your Life.” Anything goes as long as it fits with your
I try to add a couple of gift guides per year which helps keep my Amazon income elevated during the holidays.
– If you brainstorm and do a bit of outreach you can probably get some
sweet FREE gifts for your family just by promising to review the items
on your blog (in the form of blog posts, Instagram stories, YouTube
I’ve done this in the past for toy
companies, but only when they contacted me. This year I’m reaching out
for the exact toys we want.
Well, there you have it!
Three small projects you can work on now that will result in a great
injection of revenue later this year….right at the time of year when you
might need some extra cash!
I know it seems weird to think that
far ahead because it’s the middle of summer here in the US. When it’s
hot, the last thing I want to do is think about is winter. But we need
to think like magazine editors!
When investigative journalist Sheila Coronel and her team began counting drug-related killings in the Philippines last year, they encountered a problem: Many of the people who had been killed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs didn’t show up in police records or media reports. In some cases, even the local priests hadn’t heard about their deaths. One priest told the reporters he’d only learned about a homicide when he smelled a rotting corpse and followed the stench to it.
How many other killings had gone unreported? Coronel and her team wondered.
Everyone who has been murdered should be remembered. – Patrick Ball
analyzed the data reporters had collected from a variety of sources –
including on-the-ground interviews, police records, and human rights
groups – and used a statistical technique called multiple systems estimation to roughly calculate the number of unreported deaths in three areas of the capital city Manila.
team discovered that the number of drug-related killings was much
higher than police had reported. The journalists, who published their findings last month in The Atlantic,
documented 2,320 drug-linked killings over an 18-month period,
approximately 1,400 more than the official number. Ball’s statistical
analysis, which estimated the number of killings the reporters hadn’t
heard about, found that close to 3,000 people could have been killed –
more than three times the police figure. Recommended reading
Ball said there are both moral and technical reasons for making sure everyone who has been killed in mass violence is counted.
moral reason is because everyone who has been murdered should be
remembered,” he said. “A terrible thing happened to them and we have an
obligation as a society to justice and to dignity to remember them.” Patrick Ball explains a new model for multiple systems estimation to some visitors to the Human Rights Data Analysis Group. i HRDAG
first began applying data analysis to human rights violations in the
early 1990s when he traveled to El Salvador with Peace Brigades
International, a group that accompanies local activists. A Salvadoran
church asked Ball for help indexing files and he ended up creating a
database of crimes reported to the non-governmental Human Rights
Commission. Ball was able to compare that database with the career
histories of Salvadoran military officers to determine who was in charge
in a particular area when a crime took place.
Since then, the
Human Rights Data Analysis Group has used statistics to estimate the
number of killings in conflicts around the world, including the civil war in Syria, and to calculate the number of homicides
committed by police in the United States. Ball also served as an expert
witness in the genocide case against Guatemala’s General Efraín Ríos
Montt and had to leave the country when he and other witnesses faced
Although Ball has worked with journalists in the past,
his collaboration with Coronel and her team was his first experience
being closely involved in a journalistic investigation. Ball said he
sees an opportunity for more collaboration between reporters and
“I always urge journalists not to try to do statistics on their own,” he said. Sheila Coronel goes through records of drug-related killings in the Philippines. i Sheila Coronel
lot of the work that investigative journalists do is trying to figure
out the magnitude of the wrongdoing,” she said. “There are limits with
what we can do with documents and data given the lack of documents and
the lack of data. I think machine learning and statistical modeling
provides a way for us to be able to get a bigger grasp of the problems
we are investigating.”
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