Planners’ Picks — September 26, 2023

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

We’re dishing out kindness in the workplace, unlocking positivity, and focusing on the fun part this week in our newsletter. Oh; we’re also talking about those jerks we work with. Enjoy!

:: Image of the Week

A pink card with a cartoon pear and a rainbow. The pear is talking: 

"Hey You. Mistakes and cock ups are part of being human. Stop letting them define you. Thanks."

Don’t be so harsh on yourself. We are all imperfect, even though our social media profiles beg otherwise. Take the advice of this pear and don’t let your mistakes define you. This card art featured on Katie Abey’s website:


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

Unlocking Positivity: The Science Behind a Gratitude Mindset

As we navigate the complexities of life, it is essential to find tools and mindsets that promote overall well-being, one of which is cultivating a gratitude mindset. Rooted in psychology and underpinned by the leading research in neuroscience, the science behind this mindset points to numerous positive effects on emotional and mental health. This conversation uncovers the essence of gratitude, its impact on our brain, and evidenced benefits resulting from its regular practice. Furthermore, we seek to appreciate the applicability of this mindset to our daily lives and ways to seamlessly integrate it for the ultimate fulfillment and health.

Learn all about unlocking positivity with this article from “That Gratitude Guy,” David George Brooke.

An Attitude of Gratitude

This was posted on LinkedIn by Emily Elrod:

Myth: Practicing gratitude can make us complacent.

Reality: Gratitude mobilizes us to do better for ourselves and the world.

Research studies easily debunk this myth by showing us that those who have an effective gratitude practice are more likely to set and stick to goals, feel more energetic and motivated to make changes, and practice pro-social behavior:

A study led by lead researcher Robert Emmons demonstrated that those who recorded 5 things they were grateful for weekly were 20% more likely to reach a goal they had set.

A study of adolescents suggested that those who practiced gratitude at the age of 10 were performing more pro-social activities and giving back to their communities by the age of 14.

We see this as a connection to our purpose and values: when we actively recognize the things that pull at our heartstrings, we are more likely to gravitate towards these things and away from those that don’t. Remaining aware of our triggers – both good and bad – puts us at an advantage to practice true positivity.


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

Jerks at Work: a Conversation with Amy Gallo about Interpersonal Conflict at Work

This might be the most important thing you could possibly listen to about improving work culture and interaction.

It is the third installment in Dan Harris’ Work Life series. In other episodes, they cover topics like imposter syndrome, whether mindfulness really works at work, and whether you should actually bring your whole self to the office.

Today’s episode is one that many of us struggle with: interpersonal conflict at work. Our guest is a true ninja on this topic. Amy Gallo is a workplace expert who writes and speaks about interpersonal dynamics, difficult conversations, feedback, gender, and effective communication.

Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review and the author of a new book, Getting Along, How to Work with Anyone, Even Difficult People. She’s also written the The Harvard Business Review Guide to Dealing With Conflict, and she cohosts the Women at Work podcast.

In this episode, they talk about:

  • Why quality interactions at work are so important for our professional success and personal mental health
  • Why Gallo believes one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to dealing with difficult people in the workplace
  • Why avoidance isn’t usually an option
  • What the research tells us about work friendships
  • Why we have a tendency to dehumanize people who have more power than us
  • Why passive aggressive people can be the most difficult to deal with
  • The provocative question of whether we are part of the problem when work conflict crops up
  • And, a taxonomy of the eight different flavors of difficult coworkers, including the pessimist, the victim, the know-it-all, and the insecure boss — with tactics for managing each.

You will taste parts of your daily life in many of their examples, and be able to put names to each category they describe.

Focus On The Fun Part

Do you know how to make work fun?

“When you’re doing something hard, focus on the fun part. Many people make a subtle mistake, which is they emphasize how difficult it is to do something. They tell themselves writing is hard or running is hard or math is hard. And so on. The dominant thought in their mind is that this is hard to do. And it is true these things (and many others in life) can be challenging.

Meanwhile, people who thrive in a given area are often emphasizing a completely different aspect of the experience. They are thinking about how it feels good to move their body rather than telling themselves exercise is hard. Or, perhaps, they aren’t really thinking much at all. They may slip into a trance during their run, a meditative rhythm.

But what they are almost certainly not doing is repeating a mental story about how hard it is to do the thing. Their dominant thought is about some element of the experience they enjoy. They are working hard, but with the fun part in mind.”  – James Clear in his weekly 3-2-1 Newsletter

The Real Reason People Won’t Change

Every manager is familiar with the employee who just won’t change. Sometimes it’s easy to see why—the employee fears a shift in power, the need to learn new skills, the stress of having to join a new team. In other cases, such resistance is far more puzzling. An employee has the skills and smarts to make a change with ease, has shown a deep commitment to the company, genuinely supports the change—and yet, inexplicably, does nothing. It’s a psychological dynamic called a “competing commitment,” and until managers understand how it works and the ways to overcome it, they can’t do a thing about change-resistant employees.


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

The 7 Essential Traits of Emotionally Fit Leaders

A therapist and founder argues that leaders should train for emotional fitness just as they train for physical fitness.

When it comes to success as an entrepreneur or business leader, it’s not just physical stamina and mental horsepower that matter. As Richard Branson recently pointed out when someone asked him if IQ or EQ matters more, “being emotionally intelligent is more important in every aspect of life — and this includes business.”

A host of studies shows that the ability to understand and manage emotions is more predictive of many types of real-world success than impressive academic credentials or a high IQ score. Find out the seven essential traits in this recent article.

How to Find Fulfillment in Your Work with Job Crafting

Everyone wants a fulfilling career. Job crafting is an evidence-based approach to help you do just that. In this transformative course, renowned organizational psychologist, executive coach, and culture change consultant Erin Shrimpton offers valuable insights on how to reshape your experience of work, redefine tasks to make them more meaningful, and tap into your flow state for enhanced productivity. Learn how to harness the power of human connection to elevate your sense of fulfillment and foster a stronger sense of belonging within your organization. Explore ways to unleash your potential and craft a personalized routine that aligns with your unique strengths and aspirations. It’s time to revolutionize your approach to work and unlock a truly fulfilling career.


:: Resources on Communication

Mastering Active Listening: 3 Body Language Tips for Effective Communication

Have you ever been in a conversation where it felt like the other person wasn’t fully engaged or present? Or perhaps you’ve struggled to convey your thoughts effectively because your body language didn’t align with your words. If you’ve experienced these challenges, worry not – we’ve got you covered. In today’s blog post, I am going to share three game-changing body language tips that will not only make you an active listener but also supercharge your communication skills.


:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

The Economy of Kindness: How Kindness Transforms Your Bottom Line

It’s been proven that kindness in the workplace has a stunning ROI. Kindness decreases stress, reduces employee burnout, and builds increasing levels of happiness and satisfaction in the workplace.

Imagine a company culture where employees feel valued, recognized, and empowered enough to go the extra mile for customers and colleagues; where the leadership is able to be authentic, transparent, and connected to their team. The Economy of Kindness: How Kindness Transforms Your Bottom Line provides real-life examples of companies that have employed kindness as their secret weapon to build and maintain their organizations.

Author Linda Cohen reveals how clear communication and compassion are just two of the superpowers corporations are using to excel in adversity.

Watch Linda speak about kindness in the workplace here:


:: Upcoming Events

Employee Resource Fair – Union South

October 3, 2023
10:00 am-4:00 pm
Union South Varsity Hall

CSN will once again be displaying at the Employee Resource Fair at Union South on Tuesday, October 3. Please encourage your employees to come to the fair for details on benefits, HR classes, and other perks of being a UW-Madison employee. Stop by the CSN booth to say hello to some of our planning committee members too! More details at:

New LTD Course for Managers and Supervisors

Coaching Employees for Retention and Career Development provides managers and supervisors with the skills to retain and develop employees through coaching.

Upcoming class dates are:

  • 10/2/2023 (12:30-3:30 p.m.) in-person
  • 11/8/2023 (9:00 a.m.–noon) in-person
  • 12/12/2023 (8:30-11:30 a.m.) virtual


Also, see the Manager/Supervisor Compensation Resources, to support employees through compensation-related best practices.