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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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There's a new way to give tough love.

The “sandwich technique,” also known as a “compliment sandwich” or “feedback sandwich,” has been a tool for delivering criticism since the 1940s. But it really became something of a workplace staple after 1984, thanks to Mary Kay Ash’s book “People Management.”

The idea seems sound enough. The deliverer of the criticism would first offer a compliment to the recipient, followed by the actual feedback, then another bit of praise. This should theoretically allow the criticism to be received without bruising any ego or hurting any feelings. Everybody wins.

But according to organizational psychologist and bestselling author Adam Grant, the compliment sandwich “doesn’t taste as good as it looks.”

In various interviews, podcasts, social media posts and even a Substack article, Grant has chalked up the compliment sandwich ineffectiveness to two major shortcomings.

One being that people are simply too familiar with it. So whatever compliment is given, no matter how genuine it may be, people know what’s coming next and they begin “waiting for the other shoe drop.” Knowing the compliments are obligatory can actually make someone take the criticism ever more personally.

Two: the opposite can happen. Because people tend to remember the first and last parts of a conversation, the criticism might be downplayed or outright buried underneath the positive feedback. This goes especially for narcissists, Grant notes.

Luckily there is a kind, yet efficient way to give some tough love. And it all boils down to one simple sentence:

“I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.”

The phrase comes from a 2013 study conducted by researchers at Stanford,who were able to increase a student’s openness to criticism by at least 40% just by using those 19 words.

As Grant explains, this strategy works because it conveys an intention to help a person become the best version of themselves. “It’s surprisingly easy to hear a hard truth when it comes from someone who believes in your potential and cares about your success.”

Of course, using the exact words isn’t mandatory. The point is focusing on helping someone improve, rather than attacking or patronizing them.

To that point, Grant also has a few other helpful pointers, like not assuming a position of superiority, asking if the person is open to feedback first (Grant attests they usually welcome it) and lastly, keeping the language transparent, not manipulative.

At the end of the day, most people want to grow, become better people, and live up to their potential. Remembering that one little truism can go a long way.

Breastfeeding can be a challenge all on its own. What happens when you add working to the mix?

Compared with the rest of the industrialized world (and much of the rest of the world, actually), the U.S. makes working parenthood difficult. As the only developed nation with no guaranteed paid family leave, many new parents find themselves having to return to work within a handful of weeks after having a baby.

[rebelmouse-image 19346022 dam="1" original_size="1796x1478" caption="Image by The DataFace, LLC." expand=1]Image by The DataFace, LLC.


And when you're a breastfeeding parent, that also means having to figure out how to pump breastmilk while balancing job duties. Sounds simple enough — if you've never pumped before. At best, it's a lot of work and not the most fun way to spend a break. At worst, an employer who is exempt from the federal requirements to provide time and space to breastfeed can make it darn near impossible to pump at the office. Even with time and space, some are never are able to pump efficiently.

For many, breastfeeding and working is doable, but difficult. But there's one thing that is proven to make it easier.

When coworkers are supportive, people have greater success with breastfeeding while working.

According to researchers at Michigan State and Texas Christian University, support from colleagues is a major factor in parents feeling confident that they can continue breastfeeding. In fact, surprisingly, coworker support has an even stronger effect than the support of family and friends.

One of the researchers' studies found that around 25% of participants decided to breastfeed while working because their employers created a breastfeeding-friendly environment. And about 15% said that direct support and motivation from supervisors and coworkers inspired them to keep breastfeeding after going back to work.

The study data showed that simply going back to work was enough to make many folks decide to stop breastfeeding, but those who chose to continue cited colleague support as a primary factor.

"In order to empower women to reach their goals and to continue breastfeeding, it's critical to motivate all co-workers by offering verbal encouragement and practical help," said Joanne Goldbort, an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at MSU, who collaborated in the study. That means accepting that breastfeeders will need extra "breaks," encouraging and supporting them in taking those breaks, and providing a clean, quiet, private space for them to pump.

We've seen progress in the past decade, from laws supporting breastfeeders to better breast pumps.

Thanks to provisions of the Affordable Care Act, federal law mandates that employers provide time and a clean place to pump — a place that is not a bathroom. Not all employers are bound by that law, but it's a good start. And recently, the final two states passed laws protecting the right to breastfeed in public anywhere in the U.S.

In addition, technology keeps getting better and better. Those of us who breastfed a decade or two ago had no choice but to use pumps that were basically the human equivalent of a commercial milking machine. While they got the job done, they were cumbersome, uncomfortable, loud, and not particularly dignified.

Now there are pumps that you can wear inside a bra, with no tubes, no electrical hookups, and no bottles connected. I recently found out about this Willow breast pump and was blown away by how much better it is than what I had available when my kids were babies. While on the pricey side, it's whisper-quiet and can be totally hidden inside your clothing, so you could pump while working and no one would ever know. Mind. Blown.

Willow Testimonial Mashup

Chances are, you’ve heard the buzz about Willow. Now watch what women are saying about their personal experiences with it and how it’s a must-have and a game changer. www.willowpump.com

Posted by Willow Pump on Sunday, July 1, 2018

With more and more working parents in the picture, we have to be creative and flexible when it comes to balancing breastfeeding with work.

There is a lot more America could do to help make breastfeeding easier for working parents. But until we catch up with the rest of the world in providing guaranteed paid leave, we'll have to approach breastfeeding and working as individual employees, employers, and coworkers.

The more we can voice our support for breastfeeding and make it easier for folks who work to get the time, space, and support they need to pump, the happier and healthier our communities will be.

Actor David Schwimmer was so disturbed by a video series a friend sent him a few months ago, he knew he had to do something.

That friend was director Sigal Avin, and those videos were part of a series of sexual harassment PSAs she'd produced in Israel, Schwimmer explained to "The View" co-hosts on April 5, 2017.

Avin had sent the videos to get Schwimmer's feedback, but — after seeing the potential effects the PSAs could have in the U.S., where an estimated 1 in 3 American women have experienced sexual harassment at work — the pair decided to create a similar series stateside.


"The current climate right now in this country ... it feels like women and their advocates are fighting for basic human and civil rights," Schwimmer explained. "Sigal and I thought, we need to explicitly state that sexual harassment and sexual assault is not permissible and also give a face to it."

They produced the six-part series — starring Schwimmer, Cynthia Nixon, Emmy Rossum, and Bobby Cannavale — which you can watch here (the PSAs will play consecutively):

During his interview on "The View," Schwimmer touched on one particularly crucial point about sexual harassment as it exists in the workplace.

Most of us can recognize explicit sexual violence — "everyone's seen the guy jumping out of the bushes," Schwimmer noted — but predatory men often take advantage of power structures in the workplace, pressuring women into uncomfortable, and even dangerous, positions. It might not be as obvious, Schwimmer said, but subtlety doesn't matter.

It's vital that men understand this "gray area," as Schwimmer put it, still qualifies as sexual harassment. It's just as unacceptable.  

"I really hope that men see these films as well, so they can learn, 'Oh, that's not appropriate behavior,'" he said.

Watch Schwimmer's interview discussing his PSA series, "That's Harassment," on "The View" below:

March 28, 2017, was a big day for small white men with too much power.

(Then again, when is it not?)

Instead of listening or responding to her points, Bill O'Reilly stopped in to "Fox and Friends" to make a racist joke about Rep. Maxine Waters' hair. Barely hours later, Sean Spicer told respected White House correspondent April Ryan not to shake her head during a press briefing.


It's infuriating. And as a black woman, I know men (and women) like O'Reilly and Spicer are not anomalies.

We are constantly told what to wear, how to style our hair, to soften our voices, and how to behave by people who have no right to make those decisions.

But it's never about the hair or the facial expressions. It's the need to control, denigrate, and dismiss black women.

If we don't fit into their idea of blackness or womanhood, then we're described as "difficult," "a poor fit," or the old standby "angry." That makes it a lot easier to fire us, keep us from getting promoted or paid fairly, or not hire us in the first place. Score one for white supremacy.

Photo (cropped) by WOCInTech Chat/Flickr.

Time and time again, we've reminded the powers that be that we are not here for their bullshit.

What Waters and Ryan experienced was an all too common occurrence. Like many black women, educator and activist Brittany Packnett had had enough.

"I felt like, 'You are not going to come for these respected, important, committed black women,'" Packnett says. "I felt very much like they were coming for ... two family members and that there has been entirely enough of that."

She added, "I also was sort of simultaneously realizing that there would be ... the assumption that these were exceptional events. But black women know better."

So Packnett started the hashtag #BlackWomenAtWork and invited black women to share their experiences.

Listen to black women. Trust black women. And believe black women when we tell you: This happens all the time.

1. It happens to doctors.

2. It happens to attorneys.

3. It happens to professors.

4. It happens in meetings.

5. It happens with co-workers.

6. It happens with managers.

6. It happens when you're just trying to get your work done.

7. It happens when you're auditioning.

8. It happens when you're interviewing.

9. It happens to women who are in too vulnerable a position to do anything about it.

10. It happens everyday, and it is exhausting.

11. It happens every day, and it feels awful.

But in struggle, there is solidarity. There is resilience. There is hope.

Maxine Waters, the legislator who inspired the hashtag, even got in on the social media groundswell. She also had an inspiring call to action on "All In With Chris Hayes" last night.

After the hashtag's overnight virality, many black women returned to Twitter this morning renewed, energized, and more determined than ever to confront this daily injustice.

12. Because black women won't be defeated.

13. Won't be denied.

14. And will never stop grinding, pushing, and working...

15. ...to show you what we're made of.

For Packnett and many others involved in activism and resistance work, this hashtag is just the beginning.

All of us have a responsibility to create inclusive work environments where everyone, particularly women and femmes of color, have a chance to succeed. Reading and listening to the stories black women shared last night is a great starting point.

"I hope people recognize that black women deserve dignity in the workplace whether they're a congresswoman or a domestic worker and everything in between," Packnett says. "I hope people who read this have a duty to not let this be their workplace, to not let this be their team. And to not let these stories be invisible."