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Has cynicism infected your organization?



Jason* began coaching me just as his organization was coming out of a year-end crisis, exacerbated by the sudden departure of his team leader. He told me that things at work had become “shockingly ugly,” with temper tantrums, power struggles, and meetings that escalated into vilification and public reputation killing. Top management didn’t get involved, choosing to put off “staff issues” until everyone had achieved their year-end goals. On top of his increased workload, Jason took it upon himself to act as a peacemaker between his tense colleagues, only to find himself caught in the crossfire. Feeling resentful, angry, and unsupported, he began to distance himself from his co-workers and became increasingly afraid of work. By the time he approached me for coaching, he was demoralized, distant, and burned out.

Jason’s story highlights one of the most basic but least understood aspects of burnout: workplace cynicism. Recently, I have witnessed a surge in the number of workers suffering from this frustration and loss of confidence in their organizations. Leaders must be aware of the causes and effects of cynicism in the workplace and take steps to create an anti-cynic culture.

The dangers of cynicism in the workplace

While Jason’s situation was a perfect hurricane of acute stressors that led him to burnout quickly, in most cases burnout develops as a result of long-term uncontrollable stress in the workplace, and the stories of most employees are much less dramatic. However, this does not mean that their experiences are less painful or consequences any less urgent. Cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal pain, insomnia, depression symptoms, fatigue, impaired immune function, and headaches are among the many negative effects associated with burnout. ineffective.

Here is how some of my clients, conference attendees, and research participants described their current work experience:

“I’m just calling at this moment. My plan is to get through this until my wife gets a promotion and then leave.” —Jochen, product manager

“What’s the point in trying? I don’t feel like everything I do has any meaningful meaning.” —Adriana, employee of a non-profit organization

“The work we do doesn’t matter in the end. We keep arresting the bad guys, but the prosecutor’s office isn’t doing their job, they’re just putting the bad guys back on the street. It’s completely demoralizing.” —Tony, police sergeant

“Parent/guardian expectations of teachers have reached impossible and unethical heights. It drains my energy and motivation to do what I used to love.” —Malinda, eighth grade teacher

Although there is no single universally accepted definition of burnout, experts generally agree that it is workplace syndrome is characterized by three main features: 1) energy depletion or exhaustion, 2) a cynical or negative attitude towards one’s work, and 3) a decrease in professional performance or a feeling that you are no longer productive or can not work at your best.

This second attribute, workplace cynicism, may be the least understood aspect of burnout due in part to its complexity. Unlike exhaustion and performance impairment, whose causes and effects are relatively simple, cynicism can be caused by a number of factors in the workplace and can be expressed in a wide range of emotional states and behaviors.

V early research on burnoutcynicism has been called “depersonalization”: a state of excessive detachment from the people you serve. However, this is not just a sense of distance, but such a mental and emotional alienation that the people around you begin to lose their individuality and humanity. Social service providers who see their customers as a featureless stream of cases or managers who view their employees as data points on a spreadsheet are examples of employees suffering from depersonalization.

More Recent Research expanded the experience to include negative or inappropriate attitudes towards clients, customers, or your work; irritability at work; loss of idealism; dismissal or dismissal from work. When cynicism sets in, it can look like demotivation, pessimism, rejection, detachment, indifference, hopelessness, anger, numbness, inefficiency, a sense of impasse, or loss of trust.

However it manifests itself, it is important to remember that cynicism in the workplace is not due to some character flaw or the fact that a person is “glass half empty”. It comes from the working environment, not from the person. In fact, many experts view cynicism and depersonalization in the workplace as a form of defensive coping: distancing and withdrawing is a self-defense measure that creates a buffer between the employee and the emotional and energy depletion that their work causes. Even the defenses of ruthless optimists can be broken when they are under a lot of stress, especially when that stress continues unabated.

Cynicism is dangerous for both individual and organizational health. It can quickly take over our thoughts, leading to overwhelming negativity, irritability, and pessimism. Things at work that once brought us energy and joy now seem dull or overwhelmingly difficult, and relationships can sour when we become withdrawn, distrustful, or even, as we saw with Jason and his colleagues, uncharacteristically belligerent. Research has shown that employees in the grip of cynicism have less trust in their peers, leaders, and organizations, perform worse, earn less, and have higher employee turnover. “As Cynicism Evolves,” Burnout Experts Christina Maslach and Michael Leiter tell us that “people go from trying to do their best to doing the bare minimum.” Low engagement alone has cost the global economy $7.8 trillion in lost productivity.

Cynicism can also spread quickly through teams and organizations through a phenomenon known as “emotional contagion.” Employees are more likely to “pick up, accept and repeat” negative and critical attitudes close employeesmaking everyone more stressed, less efficient, and more vulnerable to burnout.

Of the three components of burnout, cynicism is the most important. the most powerful predictor employees’ intentions to quit. And really, it’s not surprising—when cynicism steals your motivation and prevents you from seeing the path to improvement, it’s much easier to give up than it is to try to change your work environment. Indeed, the loss of happy, highly engaged, and deeply motivated employees—either through layoffs or poor performance—is one of the most tragic consequences of workplace cynicism.

How to Create an Anti-Cynical Culture

No matter how terrible all these sounds, is even deep-rooted cynicism can be improved—and better yet, prevent it from infecting your organization in the first place. Here are some strategies to help reverse existing cynicism and create an anti-cynic culture at work.

Take care of yourself first.

Leaders must have self-awareness to control their emotions and behaviors, and self-regulation to project the positive emotions and behaviors they would like to see in others. If you find negativity, cynicism, or indifference creeping in, take small, effective countermeasures to reconnect with optimism and hope. Limit your consumption of news or social media, write down what you’re grateful for, talk to a trusted advisor about your negative feelings, spend more time in nature or with loved ones, and focus on the good in people rather than their flaws. by all means begin to loosen the grip of cynicism.

To help change his negative attitudes, Jason compiled a list of his co-workers’ strengths and likings that allowed him to reconnect with positive memories and discover new ways to connect with his team.

Stop the cycle of negative emotional contagion.

If you find others displaying cynical attitudes and behaviors (e.g., negative attitudes, eye-rolling, gossip, accusations, etc.), address this immediately to stop the negative emotional infection from spreading. Set up a one-on-one meeting to reframe your expectations and figure out what’s driving this behavior—deep, empathetic listening can often involve cynical feelings. With the participation and participation of the employee, make changes to the conditions in the workplace that may be causing this behavior.

Encouragement and practice of empathy.

Unlike cynicism, empathy (often called the antithesis of cynicism) encourages us to look at things from other people’s points of view, rather than from a limited perspective where we expect the worst from the people and experiences we encounter. Create empathy at work by getting to know your employees, welcoming their points of view, and listening to their voices. Don’t ignore or put off their concerns—act on them.

Develop trust.

Employees at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% more productivity, 76% more engagement, and 40% less burnout than low-trust companies . Create an atmosphere of psychological safety where employees are free to talk about their feelings and ideas and make mistakes without fear of shame or repercussions. (It also encourages innovation.) Resist the desire for micromanagement, which indicates a lack of trust.

Practice transparency.

A Deloitte Poll found that nearly half of cynical employees cited a lack of transparent communication as the top reason for leaving. No one likes to be left in the dark, especially when it comes to decisions that affect them, so share important decisions with employees and keep communication channels open. When failures or mistakes happen, acknowledge them and treat them like an organization, rather than sweeping them under the rug.

Give employees more control.

Cynicism and negativism often arise from feelings of helplessness and lack of autonomy. If employees feel they have no control over when, where, and how they work, it undermines their sense of agency and their energy—and their hope for things to get better. Offer flexible working hours and arrangements whenever possible. Encourage employees to share ideas and help set direction, and give them ownership of your results.

Get rid of uncertainty and ambiguity.

Uncertainty is one of the main causes of stress and anxiety, and ambiguity about goals – what you are doing and why – can lead to employees feeling aimless and devalued. Make sure your mission and your team and individual mandates are clear and achievable, and let employees know what they can expect from you.

Try microdoses of positivity.

Changing the culture of an entire company can be an impossible task, but you can bring microdoses of positivity into your work life that will help relieve stress and increase connection, engagement, and morale. Say thank you face to face. Buy lunch for your team. Celebrate victories together. Spontaneously announce that work is over at 3:00 pm and invite the whole team to play bowling or pool.

Or try practicing Jason by occasionally leaving a thank you note on someone’s desk. His team members felt accepted and appreciated, and the warm feelings allowed them to take off their emotional tone at work and begin to heal broken relationships.

. . .

One of the best things about emotional contagion is that it works both ways, so it’s just as easy to spread feelings of empathy, trust, appreciation, and genuine idealism. In a work environment where positivity has gone viral, cynicism has no chance.

Editor’s Note: Names have been changed to protect privacy.

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New bar exam puts DEI over competence



NextGen aims to “eliminate any aspect of our exams that may contribute to disparity in achievement” by testing fewer areas of law and less in-depth study of each subject.

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2,000-year-old financial report found on Pilgrimage Road in Jerusalem



Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority have unearthed remarkable financial records dating back 2,000 years on the Pilgrimage Road in the City of David, the main street of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period.

The discovery sheds light on the commercial activities of the time and provides a glimpse into the daily life of the city’s inhabitants.

An inscription found on a small stone tablet engraved with letters and numbers is believed to be a receipt or payment instruction related to commercial transactions during the Second Temple period. It was discovered in an area known for its booming commercial activity. The find was recently published in the peer-reviewed archaeological journal Atiqot.

Excavations in the City of David funded by the City of David Foundation unearthed an inscription consisting of seven partially preserved lines. The lines include Hebrew names followed by letters and numbers. At the end of one line, the name “Shimon” appears, followed by the Hebrew letter “mem”. Other lines contain characters representing numbers, some of which are followed by the Hebrew letter “mem” or the letter “resh”, abbreviations for “money” and “quarters” respectively.

According to Nakhshon Santon, director of excavations at the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Professor Esther Eshel of Bar-Ilan University, other similar Hebrew inscriptions have been documented so far in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, all the names and numbers of the markings are carved on similar stone slabs and dated. to the early Roman period. However, this is the first inscription found to date within the city of Jerusalem at that time.

Researchers believe that the inscription was originally engraved on a limestone slab that was used as a crypt, a burial chest that was commonly used in Jerusalem and Judea during the early Roman period. Although ossuaries are usually located outside the city, their presence in the city suggests the possibility that local artisans or shops sell them as goods.

The Pilgrimage Road was an ancient vital artery that connected the City of David south of the Temple Mount to the gates of the Second Temple. In addition to being the main route for pilgrims, the road was also a center of commercial activity. The main street was lined with shops, market stalls, and businesses catering to the needs of pilgrims and visitors. Merchants and artisans set up their establishments along the road, offering goods, food and various services to passers-by.

The ongoing excavation project, led by the Israel Antiquities Authority and supported by the City of David Foundation, continues to unearth new archaeological finds that contribute to a greater understanding of Jerusalem’s history.

According to the researchers, the use of receipts for commercial purposes at that time shows a striking similarity to modern practice.

“A remarkable discovery on the Jerusalem Pilgrimage Route reveals another aspect of Jewish life in the 2,000-year-old city. The unique excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the area make the City of David a key center of the global historical life of the Jewish people. narrative,” said Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu, Israel’s Minister of Heritage.

Eli Escucido, director of the Antiquities Authority, described the excavations along the Pilgrimage Route as a “flagship project”, saying: “Many of the discoveries unearthed during the excavations shed light on the central importance of this road even during the Second Temple period. With each discovery, our understanding of the area deepens, revealing the key role this street played in the daily lives of the inhabitants of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been remastered by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from the syndicated feed.)

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