|April 29, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Management, Research|
A case study on the return on investment of emotional intelligence on productivity and work environment found a predictive relationship between emotional quotient (EQ) scores and individual performance. Amadori, a European meat supplier, embarked on an initiative with Six Seconds focused on improved management and staff development through an overhaul of the organization’s leadership style. The study showed that managers who scored in the top 25 percent in EQ also scored higher in individual performance (47 percent of the variation could be explained by EQ) and that the sites with high EQ executives also had higher levels of employee engagement. As employee engagement was predictive of performance outcomes including motivation, retention and productivity, the factory sites with managers skilled in emotional intelligence experienced better organizational performance.
The adage claims that leaders are born not made, but the literature on the usefulness of emotional intelligence in business and its inclusion in leadership development materials, plus performance results like those in the study above, illustrate how even “born” leaders must be developed. Good leadership can be taught in the form of theories and tools but – as other bloggers have wondered – whether it can be learned effectively is another matter entirely.
A while ago I observed a project debriefing that was one of the most tense and awkward sessions I had ever experienced. The team delivered a successful end product and yet the tone of the meeting was anything but positive. On the surface, the group assembled appeared to be a healthy, functioning team, but cracks began to show as the session continued with member affect ranging from mildly detached to downright apathetic. The facilitator-coaxed feedback was not acknowledged by those who needed to hear it most, rather much of it was dismissed and those brave enough to allude to issues that could have been handled better were chided as unprofessional. I later heard that several members of that department had left the organization of their own accord.
Was it a low EQ, poor leadership development, or maybe just sheer stubbornness that kept the leader from acknowledging the team that day? A little empathy and a modicum of self-awareness could have gone a long way in healing a fractured team that, despite internal conflicts, had succeeded. In the end it was the organization that really lost – both in talent and in the time spent replacing and training a new team. With all the talk about servant leadership and emotional intelligence, even in nonprofits who consider themselves more people-than-profit-driven, are apologies viewed as surrender? Do we secretly fear that empathy equals “doormat”?
Leadership is tricky. My first foray into it, on the smallest scale in the most benign of conditions, was a spectacular failure. For years after that experience, I successfully evaded any opportunity that even hinted of “leading” outside of my favorite type of project – the one person kind. I was not a leader, I pshawed – nope, never would be either, that mantle was for others far grander, smarter and more charismatic than I. It was a safe little pigeonhole to hunker down in, and I did so for years until circumstances demanded change. My ongoing path from pigeonhole dweller to “follow me” has been a spiral not a steady ascent, and would not have happened without the people I met along the way who were (and still are) exceptional leaders. Some simply made an impression, others became mentors if not outright catalysts for transformation, and at the risk of heading completely into tweeness, I have to admit that I learned more from being a part of their teams than I ever could have hoped for at the time.
Leaders can be made. Or perhaps, as with Dorothy, we had the power all along, we just need the right tools, lessons, and people to help give it shape, focus and flight.
|April 19, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Health, Research||
A research study on youth-focused marketing in and around fast food eateries has concluded that such advertisement is most prevalent in middle-income and Black neighborhoods.
While fast food consumption among adults and caloric consumption among children have both declined, the study found 22 percent of fast food restaurants engaged in direct marketing to youth, most often in Black communities (31 percent) and mid-level-income areas (30 percent), followed by near-low-income areas, and White and Latino neighborhoods (all at 24 percent). Of the eateries that aimed indoor and outdoor ads at children, 38 percent offered “kids meals”. Other marketing findings and the larger implications for health policy are included in the December 2012 brief, Child-Directed Marketing Within and Around Fast Food Restaurants, available online at the Bridging the Gap website.
Businesses must market to their target audiences in order to be successful, but awareness of the prevalence and nature of such messaging to youth can encourage family discussions about the impact of too much unhealthy eating, and setting limits for trips to fast food restaurants.
Report Citation: Ohri-Vachaspati P, Powell LM, Rimkus LM, Isgor Z, Barker D and Chaloupka FJ. Child-Directed Marketing Within and Around FastFood Restaurants—ABTG Research Brief. Chicago, IL: Bridging the Gap Program, Health Policy Center, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2012.
|April 2, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Children and Family, Juvenile Delinquency, Research, Youth Development||
For over a decade The Urban Institute has tracked the long term impacts for families relocated by the Chicago Housing Authority to make way for their removal of public housing complexes throughout the city. The relocated residents report better housing and neighborhood quality since the move. For youth however, the improved living environment does not appear to have had a transformative effect on their lives.
According to the brief, Chronic Violence: Beyond the Developments, follow-up data from 2011 indicate that children in the new housing (voucher-enabled private rentals or refurbished public housing) were not attending higher quality schools and were still living in neighborhoods with nearly half of the residents below the poverty line. Parental reports of negative behavior and delinquent activity were similar to the baseline data of youth in the public housing complexes. In addition, academic performance remained a concern, with approximately 33 percent of the teenagers not in the appropriate grade for their age and about 66 percent unengaged in school or work activities.
Authors Chantal Hailey and Megan Gallagher discuss the presence and patterns of neighborhood violence as a continuing factor risk factor in the lives of these families, even after relocation, specifically the impact it has upon youth in the form of continued exposure to trauma, a nomadic lifestyle, and avoidance or isolation. The researchers at The Urban Institute recommend intensive case management services for the relocated families in Chicago, with the hope that such intervention would improve future outcomes.
The impact of neighborhood violence on youth can be devastating, both in perceived and actual threats of physical harm, the psychological toll of anxiety, and the impact of traumatic events on a child’s development. It should be noted that research identified similar problems for youth in “rough” neighborhoods from a sample that included families above the poverty line. Addressing the long-lasting impacts of community violence in a meaningful manner is challenging as both the context of the violence witnessed and gender differences in coping techniques may lessen responsiveness to standardized interventions “proven” in another city. The mixed perception of the outside “experts” (school officials, teachers, social workers, counselors, police, etc.) by community members may also serve as a obstacle in forming a partnership to reduce youth and adult violence. There is not a single policy nor intervention that will be able to neutralize or remove every risk factor, but based on the results of various initiatives across the country, a combination of behavioral interventions and police strategies may prove effective going forward.
|March 17, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Research, Youth Development||
The recently released brief Participation of Children in School Music or Other Performing Arts from the Child Trends Data Bank takes a look at trends in the level of student arts activity over the past two decades. Some of the highlights include,
- The percentage of 10th and 12th grade student participating in performing arts at school between 1991 and 2011 varied little, while the participation rates of 8th graders increased in 2011 after a decline since 1991.
- Participation in arts activities by boys drops off in the higher grades (grades 10, 12).
- Students of parents with a higher level of education are more likely to be active in arts activities, although the gap in participation is larger in the 8th grade data than the higher grades.
Student participation in school arts activities may be a telling child indicator due to its correlation with future academic accomplishments. A report from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) found that high-school youth with a high level of involvement in the arts (though classroom instruction or lessons, event attendance, and/or participation) were three time more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than peers without such involvement. Their grades in college were also more likely to be higher. Other NEA research indicates a strong relationship between arts education and involvement as a student and participation in the arts as an adult – specifically attendance at arts events.
What impact, if any, do you think arts involvement has on future success?
|February 24, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Education, News, Research||
The topic of college costs is back in the news as demands for increased accountability and transparency are once again catching momentum in Washington and beyond. While the value of a college education may not be adequately measured by economic formula alone, the combination of sticker shock and a slow economy could result in a more cautious, or arduous, decision-making process for families. With the average cost for one year of tuition and fees at a private 4-year university now costing over three times what it did my salad days, researching what you get for your considerable investment is understandable, if not expected, in 2013. The twist is that the actual draw for students may not be at all related to academics.
Beth Akers of the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings Institution asks some interesting questions around increased non-instruction spending in higher education in relation to the rising costs of tuition, board and fees for students in two and four-year institutions. While discussions of the value and accessibility of a college education (without having to take on $50,000+ in loans) may appeal to most with teenage children, Ms. Akers notes that a recently released paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the realities of market demand show that but for the the top tier of students, amenities greatly overshadow academics. Data from the 1990’s through 2004 indicate that students not headed to high-level academic institutions are swayed by and, more importantly, will pay for nicer dorms, gyms and activity centers.
So, the best way to attract the majority of college-bound youth is with a wide range of recreational offerings and top of the line facilities in which to house them. Colleges know this and it would be counter-intuitive for them to stop giving prospective students exactly what they want. My question — what, if any, impact will the recession have on this trend? A study from The Higher Education Research Institute reports that over 2/3rds of freshman entering a college or university in 2012 were significantly influenced by the current economic climate, and nearly 60 percent were not attending their first-choice due to affordability concerns. Further, the impact of the cost of a particular institution on student decision-making was ranked as “very important” by approximately 43 percent of incoming freshmen last year, up from 31 percent in 2004. Is the market changing?
What are your predictions for college recruitment and marketing over the next 10 years?
|February 6, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Health, Policy, Research||
A report released earlier this year from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families details the state of Medicaid eligibility and enrollment in the country, as well as what may need to occur to put Medicaid-related provisions in place as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Some of the highlights include,
- The eligibility level of children and pregnant women remained stable as of January 2013, possibly in part to expanded coverage directives under the ACA and a reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 2009. However, the trend of little coverage for other adults and parents continues.
- 37 states now have an online application for Medicaid or CHIP – an increase of 12 percent since January 2012, while 36 states currently provide online accounts. More than half (28) of the states in the nation have made it possible for families to renew their coverage online, an increase of 40 percent since last year’s report.
- Overall, families were not burdened with extra cost requirements via the states in the past year. Premium adjustments were few, with 9 states increasing the copay requirement.
The report Getting into Gear for 2014: Findings from a 50-State Survey of Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal, and Cost-Sharing Policies in Medicaid and CHIP, 2012–2013, and a webcast from the January 2013 briefing are available at the Kaiser Family Foundation website.