Ethical issues and e-mail accounts in the workplace

Globe and Mail_ethical

The widely publicized data breach of extramarital affairs website Ashley Madison last summer not only exposed the e-mail addresses of about 33 million of its users, but also the surprising number who registered for the site using a company account.

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Source: Globe and Mail
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How do you handle the unexpected?

We can plan everything down to the last detail but there are ALWAYS issues that arise that we need to be prepared for. This is where the differences between a good leader and a great leader come into play – how do you handle the unexpected circumstances? Some panic and don’t know what to do and then others thrive on the challenge. What do you do?

How you react, depends on the severity of the situation. It could be an employee handing in their resignation right in the middle of an important project; it could be the printer not working when you are on a tight deadline; or you just found out that your department has been cut and you need to tell half your team that they no longer have jobs. Here is a good one: you find out you are expecting and then you find out there are TWO, that you’re having twins! How do you handle that news?! True story for my assistant Lisa.


Initial thought – panic! How are we going to afford this? Do we have a big enough house? There are more complications during a twin pregnancy! How much weight am I going to gain? How am I supposed to be responsible for not one baby but TWO? – And the list goes on as you can imagine! But here is the thing when you are dealing with unexpected situations… it doesn’t matter what you did, it’s happening and you have to deal with it. They didn’t plan on having twins; in fact it is something that was completely out of their control!

Getting news like that, even though it’s such a blessing and an exciting time, it can also be terrifying which is a completely normal feeling. We all fear the unknown and becoming a parent is one of the most terrifying moments – it’s amazing but also terrifying.

Learning to deal with the expected is something that you get better at with practice – we learn as we go. Just like becoming a parent, it’s all about trial and error, figuring out what works best for you and your family.

Here are 5 tips that can help you during your next unexpected panic attack!

Take a deep breath and re-evaluate the situation
Even if you need to act fast, the best thing you can do is take a step back, take a deep breath and re-evaluate what just happened. If you make a decision on the spot, it could be rash and without thought. Try not to panic, especially in front of your team – if you panic…they will panic.

As difficult as it may be, it’s important to stay positive
Think back to when you were in an unexpected situation before. No matter what the outcome was, you survived. You know that you are capable of dealing with it, and you need to trust and have faith in yourself. And if last time it didn’t work out or you reacted poorly, learn from it. Think of it as an opportunity, an opportunity for you to shine, to prove to your team why you are the leader and let them learn from you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Asking for help doesn’t show weakness. You need to stay focused on the bigger picture and that is to overcome this unexpected situation to the best of your ability. If that means reaching out to your team or even your boss, then do it. Utilize their skills, because working together as a team is always better than working alone. Even if it’s just for advice, bounce off your ideas, you never know what it could lead to.

Take action
Now that you have taken a step back and re-evaluated the situation, you have stayed positive that you will overcome this, you reached out for advice and support; it’s time to put your plan of attack into place. You must keep in mind that it may not work or other issues could arise, but again have confidence in yourself and your team that you will overcome this. A good idea is to write out a list and check things off as you go – this will help you stay focused and could also be a good resource for next time, because there will be a next time!

Lesson Learned
Now that you have dealt with whatever was thrown your way, take a moment, regroup and discuss, as a team, what happened. Ask questions such as how did the unexpected problem come up in the first place, how do you think it was handled, do you think there was anything differently you would have done, and most importantly was it managed in a timely fashion with little repercussion?

MOST important lesson to take away: accept the unexpected.

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is.” – John Allen Paulos

Source: Skills You Need
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Fast Company

This is shaping up to be a year of opportunities. There are over 100 occupations that have more openings than have been filled by qualified candidates, creating a job-seeker’s market. No wonder we’re able to , apply via social media, and work from anywhere in greater numbers than ever before.

With that kind of flexibility available, those thinking about making a leap to another position or career should keep Glassdoor’s latest report in mind. The job posting and review platform just released its ranking of the 25 Best Jobs in America.

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Source: Fast Company
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This Changes Everything!

This changes Everything.png

An epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change.

Inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller This Changes Everything, the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South
India to Beijing and beyond.

Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 12 PM on CBC-TV

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Source:  CBC
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Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe

What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests, it’s someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility.

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Canada’s job quality fell while self-employment rose in 2015

self-employment rose in 2015

Canada’s labour market withstood the shock of the oil slump last year, but troubling trends showed a decline in the quality of jobs.

More than half of the 158,000 new positions created last year were in the self-employed category, according to Statistics Canada’s monthly labour report. The private sector did very little hiring and employment among prime-age workers shrank.

The country added 91,500 new self-employed jobs last year, most of which were in finance, real estate, insurance and leasing.

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Source: Globe and Mail
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Canada adds 22,800 jobs in December, unemployment rate unchanged at 7.1 per cent

Stats Can

The Canadian labour force received a boost of 22,800 net jobs in December, thanks to a big gain in part-time work, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal agency’s latest jobs survey found that positions in the more-desirable category of full-time employment actually fell in December by 6,400. The economy added 29,200 part-time jobs in December.

The national unemployment rate for December remained unchanged at 7.1 per cent.

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Source: CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
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The skill to sharpen in 2016: Leadership

Beautiful young woman with colleagues in the background

It’s estimated that 3.6 million baby boomers are going to retire in 2016. This means businesses will be replacing a lot of senior leaders and managers. If you aspire to hold a leadership role, now is the time to sharpen your skill set.

Here are nine ways to do just that throughout 2016, no matter what stage you’re at in your career:

  1. Work on your soft skills. Effective leaders are expert communicators and listeners. They’re self-confident and self-aware. While technical skills and experience are important, you won’t progress very quickly until you master these soft skills.
  1. Develop the right mind-set. Leaders have can-do attitudes. They’re focused on the success of all, and they give credit where it’s due. In a nutshell, if you’re not a team player — become one!

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Source: The Seattle Times
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A Harvard psychologist says people judge you based on 2 criteria when they first meet you

Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy

People size you up in seconds, but what exactly are they evaluating?

Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy has been studying first impressions alongside fellow psychologists Susan Fiske and Peter Glick for more than 15 years, and has discovered patterns in these interactions.

Interestingly, Cuddy says that most people, especially in a professional context, believe that competence is the more important factor. After all, they want to prove that they are smart and talented enough to handle your business.

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Source: Business Insider
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Kevin O’Leary’s leadership ambitions supported by almost a quarter of Conservative voters in a new poll of possible candidates


The rules have yet to be set and no candidates are formally in the race, but Peter MacKay and Kevin O’Leary are essentially tied in support for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership, a new poll suggests.

O’Leary, a bombastic businessman who has parlayed his strict capitalism into a media career on both sides of the border, openly mused last week about following Donald Trump’s lead and making the jump from reality TV to politics. MacKay, a long-time Cabinet minister under former leader Stephen Harper and one of the architects of the “unite the right” movement at the end of the last century, is also thought to be pursuing a bid.

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Source: National Post – Canadian Politics
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BusinessView: Canadian Labour Force Reality Check: Positive Unemployment Numbers Hide Concerning Trend; Labour Force Participation Hovers Near 15-Year Low


The latest Statistics Canada numbers confirm a concerning and consistent trend in Canada’s economy. Canada’s Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) continues to hover around 15-year lows, with relatively fewer people in the workforce.

Throughout 2015, Canada’s LFPR hovered just above the 15-year low of 65.6 per cent – a number last seen in May, 2000. December 2015 Statistics Canada numbers reported a LFPR of 65.9 per cent.

Some economists have attributed the lower participation rate to demographics and retiring baby boomers; while others argue there is no cause for concern and that Canada’s LFPR rate is in line with long-term historic averages.

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The Chronicle Herald’s newsroom union votes to strike


The newsroom union for Canada’s largest independently-owned newspaper has voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking should a collective agreement not be reached next week.

The Halifax Typographical Union, which represents 61 newsroom employees at the Chronicle Herald, now can walk off the job as of 12:01 a.m. Jan. 23

Union members met Saturday afternoon in the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union offices for the vote. The union announced on Twitter 98.3 per cent voted for “strike action if necessary to secure a fair contract.”

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Source: CBC News – Nova Scotia
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Do you listen to those voices inside your head?

The way you talk to yourself makes a difference

Do you ever catch yourself having a conversation with, well, yourself? I know I do! Especially when I am in a position of trying to figure something out or trying to make a decision. It’s important to have positive self-talk but what happens when those negative thoughts get in there? How do you handle negative self-talk?

I Can, I can't
Self-talk is our inner dialogue that triggers an emotional response. It is supposed to give you confidence, to make you feel better about yourself, build self-esteem and make you feel in control, not put you down and make you feel crappy about yourself.  Self-talk does affect your personal judgement and how you perceive yourself. When you find yourself in a negative situation, how can you control your self-talk to not turn against you?

Let’s say you get some unpleasant feedback from your boss about that project you have been working on. What is your first reaction going to be towards this information? Are you going to tell yourself that you did a poor job; that you aren’t worthy of even having a job; that your boss doesn’t like you; and that they are going to fire you? Do you think that type of thinking is going to help your situation or make it worse? Or are you going to re-evaluate what your boss told you, take it into consideration and next time blow them away and knock that project out of the park!

We all have bad days and we all get down on ourselves – what we need to learn is how to control those negative thoughts and turn them into positive, motivational thoughts. Your boss is just trying to help you out so you can do better and grow. If they really didn’t care about you and your work, they wouldn’t have said anything to you and would have just let you keep failing. Take what they said into consideration and that it’s a sign for you to improve and grow as a person.

So how can we turn that negative self-talk into positive self-talk and get you back on the right path?  A good way to start is by trying to analyzing your reactions using the EXPEL model.  There are 4 steps to this model that can help you analyze what happens when negativity takes over.

EXPEL Model 2

Step 1: Explain

Go over the situation, the facts, with yourself. What really happened and not what you think happened in your mind at the time. Try to put your personal feelings aside. Try to explain the situation to yourself when you aren’t so emotional.

Step 2: Pinpoint

Determine what sort of mind frame you were in at the time of the situation. How were you feeling – mad, frustrated, ignored? Tap into your emotional response, doesn’t have to be logically. You just want to understand what was going on with you at the time of the situation.

Step 3: Evaluate action

How did you handle the situation? Do you think it was the right way or is there a better way you could have handled it? Here is where you can learn and take away from what happened. Next time you find yourself in a similar situation, try and remember this – either to not make the same mistakes or if you handled it the best way you think you could have, remember what you did.

Step 4: Link to self-esteem

On a personal level, how did you feel when it was all over? Were you happy with the outcome? How you behaved? Did it give you confidence or did it make you feel crappy because you know that you could have done something differently?

It helps to write this all down. Click here for a printable EXPEL Model chart.

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Welcome to Guelph, Ont., pop. 121,688 and Canada’s jobs powerhouse


It’s a cute city, crime is low and there are a lot of university kids. And, notably, it leads the country on the jobs front.

Guelph has generally had lower unemployment. But a rejigged ranking of Canadian cities by BMO Nesbitt Burns puts it in top spot, with jobs growth of more than 9 per cent in December compared with a year earlier, an employment rate of 72 per cent that’s the best in the country, and a jobless level that is among the lowest and now down almost a full percentage point from late 2014.

“Guelph tops the list with robust job growth, population inflows, a puny 4.2-per-cent jobless rate and the highest share of the population that is working,” BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic noted as he released the rankings after Statistics Canada’s latest labour market report on Friday.

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Source: BMO Ranking
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Deal with Ontario corrections workers includes ‘essential service’ designation

correctional workers come to agreement

With a strike deadline only hours away, Ontario inked a new contract with its correctional workers that acquiesces to the union’s chief demand – that the 6,000 employees be designated an essential service.

The deal, struck at 4:20 a.m. on Saturday between Queen’s Park and the province’s correctional, probation and parole officers, also punts the union’s wage concerns to binding arbitration and defers talks regarding staffing issues to future meetings.

The essential-services title comes with potentially massive financial implications. In Ontario, essential-service workers, such as police and firefighters, don’t have the right to strike. Instead, outstanding issues between the union and the employer go to binding arbitration. The process has led to generous pay raises for many emergency-service workers, even in times of relative austerity in the province.

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Source: Globe and Mail
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Ottawa correctional officers prepare for ‘long, nasty strike’

Off-duty correctional officers picket outside the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre

Correctional officers at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre are protesting as the province installs portable living quarters for managers outside the jail as a contingency plan for a looming strike.

Correctional officers across the province have been without a contract for more than a year and will be in a legal strike position at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday after the latest round of negotiations were unsuccessful. Contract talks are expected to resume Friday.

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Source: CBC News – Ottawa
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A New Year already, here’s to 2016!

happy new year 2016

What a year it has been for the MCI team! It has been a year full of new beginnings, learning experiences, and tremendous growth. Growth is an important part of our office mandate. We encourage all of our team members to pursue professional development because we truly believe that people are a company’s MOST valuable asset and that any investment in people is an equally good investment in the company. Our team has also grown in size and we welcomed some new, amazing and talented team members!

It has been such an exciting year and we have no doubt that 2016 will be even better!

From our team to yours, we wish you a very Happy New Year full of excitement, success, and laughter!

All the best in 2016,

Janet's signature - single

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Liberals take first step towards repealing Tory bill that would force unions to disclose financial records


The federal government has taken its first step towards repealing a controversial law that would have required unions to disclose finite details of their spending.

The government says it is waiving requirements for unions to track every dollar of spending so it could one day be publicly disclosed by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The rules were contained in a Conservative private member’s bill passed in June over objections from unions, police associations, the federal privacy commissioner, the Canadian Bar Association and seven provinces who called it unconstitutional and argued it would cost millions for the federal government to enforce.

Bill C-377 required unions to disclose all transactions over $5,000, reveal the details of officers or executives who make over $100,000 to the Canada Revenue Agency, which would publicly post the information to its website.

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Source: National Post
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90 Leadership Quotes To Learn By 2016


What is leadership? They are people who doing things right, right? Not exactly. All leaders make mistakes and learn from it fast before they ware them down. A good leader is someone with the ability to inspire or influence others towards their goals and vision. Here are 90 great quotes you should learn by 2016:

1. “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” — Peter. F Drucker

2. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

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Source: Alex Noudelman – Digital Marketing Executive – Educator
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Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre workers 1 step closer to strike

Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre

Workers at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre are one step closer to striking after they joined colleagues across Ontario in voting against a tentative agreement with the provincial government.

The officers have been seeking a new contract as part of province-wide negotiations with the Kathleen Wynne government.

In addition to a wage increase, correctional workers want the province to grant them binding arbitration by declaring theirs an essential service, according to Denis Collin, an OCDC correctional officer and president of OPSEU Local 411.

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Source: CBC News – Ottawa
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Rideau Carleton Raceway Slots workers locked out

Rideau Carleton Raceway

OLG Rideau Carleton Raceway Slots workers say they are locked out due to a labour dispute, leading to reduced hours at the South Ottawa gambling site.

The shutdown began at 10 p.m. Tuesday and continued Wednesday. A recorded message on the RCR Slots phone line says the facility will be open from noon until midnight daily, rather than 24 hours a day, until the dispute is resolved.

Workers at the raceway itself are not on strike, so the harness race track remains open.

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Source: Ottawa Sun
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What ‘ingredients’ are needed in order to create that perfect workplace environment?

happy holidays

The holidays are an important time of year for organizations to show their appreciation to their employees for all of the hard work that they have accomplished over the past year. It doesn’t have to be that “big bonus” or a “fancy party” – what really matters is getting the team together to celebrate. Everyone getting together on a Friday afternoon for a potluck lunch is more than enough.

You need to have the right group to be able to do this with. Which means, as a Leader, you need to create that perfect workplace environment. But how? It’s not always easy – it takes time and an authentic Leader – one who truly cares about their employees. This isn’t something that can be done in one afternoon; it’s something you work towards each and every day.

The worst nightmare for a Leader is to have a hard time keeping employees, resulting in a high turnover rate. Think about it, as a Leader it doesn’t look good when you continually have people quitting on you or even worse you have to fire them. As an employee, no one ever wants to work for an organization that has a high turnover rate; it’s a clear sign that something isn’t right.  You know that espresso machine you have wanted to buy? Well would you consider purchasing it if most of the reviews were bad and previous customers would NOT recommend buying it? Most likely not.

So what does it take? What ingredients do you need in order to create the BEST workplace environment that your employees can not only thrive in, but they will never want to leave!

Here are 7 ingredients that you can easily mix into your workplace – our very own “Recipe for Success”.

Compassion – Let them know you care. A simple thank you for staying late or doing a good job when they nailed that presentation, lets them know that you are paying attention to them and that their hard work is not going unnoticed. Maybe the team landed a big client and to celebrate you could have a pizza lunch one day. It’s important to recognize employees on an individual level but also on a group level – everyone doing their part is what makes the organization function.

Communication – Everyone is aware of this one, but in reality does everyone do it? We tend to always communicate the good news and forget about the bad news. If an employee is not working to standards they need to know, otherwise how will they improve? Team meetings are a good way to make sure that everyone is current and up to date.  However, when one person is in need of corrective feedback, you own it to him or her to provide it privately and in a respectful and timely fashion. If you don’t, their stress levels may arise and/or their performance may deteriorate to the point where you have to part ways. Sad for everyone.

Development – By offering professional development you are not only investing in your employees’ futures, you are investing in your company’s future. We’re not saying that you have to offer them university degrees, but online classes or an afternoon in the office with a trainer is more than enough. Check our Coursera for the world’s largest offering of no-cost online courses.

Advancement – It is important for employees to continuously grow and they need to know that they are not in a dead-end position with no way to move up the ladder. They need to be challenged or they will get bored and start looking elsewhere. Knowing that there is room for growth will help with motivation and drive to do the best job they can.

Understanding – Employers need to understand that their employees have lives too and don’t expect them to be on the clock 24/7. A lot of organizations have started to allow employees to work remotely in order to help with those family / personal needs. Over-working your employees will just lead to them feeling burnt-out and not performing to the best of their abilities. Encourage them to take days off, maybe even close up shop for a few days over the holidays to allow them some time to spend with friends and family. Everyone needs time to unwind and relax, especially Leaders, so take your own advice sometimes too!

Positivity – Always try to remain positive, especially when there is negativity around. Even when you have to give some bad news, throw some positivity in there too, for example, “Okay, so you didn’t meet your quota this month, what can we do to change that for next month?” Talk about goals and how you are there to offer support and help because you want to see your employees succeed.

Friendliness – You might be the Leader but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a friend as well. I’m not saying you have to be best friends, but ask your team members how their weekend was, how is little Johnny doing in school – show personal interest. Organize socials and have those Friday afternoon potlucks, and not just around the holidays – a “just because” or “just for fun” is a good enough reason!

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Ikea Canada’s president brings his Swedish values to the workplace

Ikea Canada president Stefan Sjostrand


Stefan Sjostrand took over the reins as Ikea Canada’s president in August 2014, after spending eight years working for the company in the Netherlands, Sweden and France. Prior to that, he worked for companies such as OLW, a Swedish snack brand company, and Weibull Garden, a horticultural and garden supply company.jostrand did seven months of mandatory military service in Sweden and stayed on longer to take on leadership roles. He has a marketing and economics degree from IHM Business School in Malmo, Sweden.

“My dream is to make Ikea the best employer in the country.”

He spoke with Craig Dowden.

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Source: Financial Post
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stop being heardheaded

Failure is the result of inflexibility, but so is success.

Thomas Edison said, “The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” But, he didn’t try the same thing over and over.

The dark side of persistence is inflexibility, stubbornness, resistance, hardheadedness, and a closed mind. When persistence is unwillingness to adapt, you’re doomed.

3 reasons leaders are hardheaded:

  1. History. It worked in the past.
  2. Attachment. They fall in love with their ideas.
  3. Ego. Adapting feels like failure.

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Source: Leadership Freak
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Millennial Leadership

Millennial Leadership

Classic leadership principles still have a place in the workplace, but millennial leaders must learn how to apply them in a diverse and multi-generational environment.

Millennials are today growing into leadership roles. The under 35 crowd represented close to 37 per cent of the workforce in 2014, making them the largest generation in the Canadian workforce, reports Canadian Business. Those born between 1981-1995 (ages 20-35) are the fastest growing segment in Canada’s workforce. On a global scale, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that millennials will represent 75 per cent of the workforce worldwide by 2025.

Research from the Canadian Management Centre, a talent development company, found that the eldest of the generation have been in the workforce for at least 10 years, with many already in leadership positions. As young leaders, millennials have at their disposal many leadership books offering tried and tested leadership tips and principles. Whether it is about political strategy (The Art of War), self-help (How to Win Friends and Influence People) or just learning to be an effective worker (The 4-hour Workweek), many of classic leadership tips outlined in these books still hold true in today’s workforce. Leaders are still expected to practice what they preach, have strong emotional intelligence, motivate their team, communicate and listen well.

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Source: The Hamilton Spectator
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Alberta farms subject to workplace safety rules under new bill

Alberta farms subject to workplace safety rules under new bill

Alberta farms and ranches will be subject to occupational health and safety regulations for the very first time on January 1 if a new bill is passed into law.

Bill 6, the Increased Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act, also makes Worker Compensation Board coverage mandatory for the agricultural sector.

The bill was introduced Tuesday by Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Minister Lori Sigurdson.

“If passed, Alberta would join every other jurisdiction in Canada in applying workplace legislation to Alberta’s farms and ranches,” Sigurdson told the legislature.

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Source: CBC News Edmonton
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Kathleen Wynne unveils new anti-sexual violence ad

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has unveiled the latest ad from the province’s public education campaign about sexual harassment and violence.

The video debuted Thursday at the 2015 Summit on Sexual Violence and Harassment in Toronto, and is the second installment in the province’s multimedia awareness campaign, a pillar of the Wynne government’s goal of ending sexual harassment and violence in Ontario.

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Source: CBC Toronto
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10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders

secrets of great leaders

No one ever became a great leader without first becoming a great communicator.

Great leaders connect with people on an emotional level every time they speak. Their words inspire others to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Great communicators are intentional about it, and there are 10 secrets they rely on to deliver a powerful message. Put these secrets to work in your communication and watch your influence soar.

Click here to get the 10 secrets that can help YOU become a great Leader.

Source: Entrepreneur
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The average meeting in North America starts at 11:00 AM, involves 9 people and lasts 90 minutes*

team meeting

Having team meetings are an essential communication tool – as long as the meetings are efficient, productive, and everyone is there to participate!

Getting participation during meetings is not always easy. Not everyone feels confident enough to speak up in front of their peers with their feedback or ideas.  As the Leader, it is important to create an environment where your employees feel comfortable enough to share their ideas and provide feedback to the rest of their group. Remember what the teacher always said in school, there is no such thing as a bad question. This is true for meetings. There is no such thing as a bad idea – you never know what discussion could come out of it!

In order for a meeting to be successful you first need to understand what results you want to come out of the meeting – as the Leader, what do you want to accomplish? If you don’t know what end results you want, you are simply wasting your time and your team’s time. Think about going into a grocery store with no list. How do you know what you want? Will you just browse each aisle until you can figure it out? Oh boy, that could take forever!

Once you have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish, the next objective is to figure out how you can get your team to participate.

Don’t just stand there and tell them what to do, get them thinking, get them talking, get them to participate in the meeting. At least this way you know they won’t be falling asleep!

Here are some suggestions on how you can get your team involved and get them to participate!

Make it risk-free

Encourage your team to participate and be positive towards their ideas. Try not to criticize them as this will just make them second guess themselves and next time they have something to say – they might just not say anything at all and you could miss out on the next big idea. Promote out of the box thinking; remember no idea is a bad idea! If anything, it gets a conversation going.

 Help people participate

Create a list of questions for your agenda items in case the room is silent. Flat out ask, what do you folks think? And if need be you, can always call on an individual as sometimes it just takes one to get the conversation flowing! Be careful not to select someone who may feel “put on the spot”. Look for someone to make eye contact with you before asking for their input in a situation like this.

Praise and encourage often

Let your team know that their comments and ideas are helpful and to keep them coming. “This is great! Lots of good ideas – keep them coming!” Boost their self-esteem and let them know they are doing a good job.  

Keep side conversations to a minimum 

Sometimes when you get a conversation going, it can be easy to get off track and side conversations can occur. Make sure to keep everyone focused and reiterate the reason for the meeting and why they are all there. If you let it get out of hand, you lose their focus and control of the meeting.  

Learn how to handle uncomfortable silences

Sometimes, out of nowhere, the conversation comes to an abrupt end and you don’t really know how to move on. This would be a good time to recap what was already discussed, refer back to the agenda for what still needs to be discussed. Depending on the length of the meeting, you could even offer a short break, get up and stretch, get the juices back and flowing.


*source: Proceedings of the 34th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences

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Catherine McKenna in Paris for climate change talks ahead of UN conference

Catherine McKenna in discussions with her Mexico counterparts on environmental cooperation

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is in Paris taking part in talks with counterparts from a host of countries before some 80 leaders gather later this month to try to reach a binding agreement on reducing greenhouse gases.

“Canada agrees the science is indisputable, and we recognize the need for urgent/greater action that is grounded in robust science,” McKenna posted to Twitter on Sunday.

“Our main goal is to make sure that all human beings can fulfil a healthy, safe sustainable life.”

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Source: CBC News
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Is your company helping you to prepare to be a GREAT 21st century leader?

The world is full of leadership programs, but the best way to learn how to lead might be right under your nose. In this clear, candid talk, Roselinde Torres describes 25 years observing truly great leaders at work, and shares the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to thrive in the future.

Source: Ted Talks
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Justin Trudeau signals new style in 1st address as Canada’s 23rd prime minister

The new Liberal government's Cabinet ministers

Justin Trudeau has been sworn in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister and introduced a cabinet he says “looks like Canada.”

Making his first public address as prime minister on the steps of the majestic Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Trudeau said his new government will work to earn the trust of Canadians through sound policy-making, better decisions and a strong vision.

Surrounded by his 30 new cabinet ministers, he said the ministry showcases Canada’s talent and diversity.

“Canadians elected extraordinary Canadians from across this country and I am glad I’ve been able to highlight a few of them in this cabinet here with me today,” he said.

Asked why it was important to have gender parity in this cabinet, Trudeau said simply: “Because it’s 2015.”

Click here to see the full list of cabinet committees and members.

Source: CBC News
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Why Your Brain Loves Learning Infographic

why your brain loves learning- infographic

When it comes to the health of our brains, learning is our single best solution. Our brains tend to create shortcuts on the basis of our habits and routines – while these are great for our productivity, they don’t really stimulate our brains to develop. Learning new skills, we rewire our brains and build stronger memory, increase our analytical abilities, power our decision making capacity and stimulate our creativity. Different skills relate to various areas of our brain which are responsible for concentration, balance, motor control, speech or vision – that’s why it’s important to train all of them equally. Sports help to increase the blood flow to your brain, making you more alert and happy. Playing a musical instrument impacts learning, creativity and cognition. Learning a new language helps in developing problem-solving skills. The Why Your Brain Loves Learning Infographic shows how learning new skills is essential to the health of our brains, helping us to live longer and healthier lives.

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Source: E-Learning Infographics
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How 24 Sussex Drive can become the greenest official residence it can be

Canadian prime ministers' residence

The prime minister’s official residence could be transformed into the “greenest official residence” in the world, the Sierra Club Canada’s boss says. But an Ottawa energy strategist warns the reality of renovating such an old property may put the most ambitious environmental goals out of reach.

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Source: CBC News
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Air Canada, flight attendants reach 10-year labour agreement

Air Canada passengers wait to check in at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport in Montreal

Air Canada and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) reached a new agreement for flight attendants.

The 10-year deal, subject to ratification, will affect approximately 6,500 employees at Air Canada and 700 employees at Air Canada rouge.

“This is a win-win agreement that will provide added stability and flexibility while acknowledging the important contribution of our flight attendants towards Air Canada’s future success,” said Benjamin Smith, president of Air Canada’s passenger airlines.

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Source: Canadian Labour Reporter
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To Become a Leader, Think Beyond Your Role

elephant painting a picture

In our jobs, we may give our opinion on an issue from a functional or departmental point of view — in other words, a limited perspective. Or we may give an opinion without fully thinking about the issues and weighing the interests of various constituencies that our boss has to consider in order to make an important decision. We may do this because we don’t have access to additional information or, alternatively, because we believe that broadening our perspective simply isn’t part of our job description.

This kind of opinion giving may be quite appropriate and adequate in any number of situations, but it doesn’t constitute leadership. Leadership requires much more. It starts with taking on a broader perspective in figuring out what you truly believe should be done — that is, as if you were an owner.

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Source: Harvard Business Review
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How companies are using LEGOs to unlock talent employees didn’t know they had

using LEGO to to find creativity in the workplace

This summer, Cambridge University announced a search for a “LEGO Professor of Play, Education, and Learning.” With the support of £4 million ($6.1 million) from the LEGO Foundation, the new professor would lead an entire research department dedicated to examining play.

This is an endeavor that Robert Rasmussen knows all about.

In the late ‘90s, he was asked by then-LEGO Group CEO, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, to explore how LEGO bricks could help a company improve its strategic planning, communication, and creative thinking. Rasmussen, a former math teacher and school principal, was already part of the LEGO family, leading product development for LEGO’s education division, which focused solely on children. What started as a project to be completed in his spare time became a defining career shift for Rasmussen, who is known as the architect of the LEGO Serious Play (LSP) methodology.

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Source: Quartz
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Voting for a government that will create Canadian jobs: Don Pittis

Steve Jobs is watching

With just over a week before the federal election, the latest job numbers will be the economic statistics most likely to stick in people’s minds. However, Don Pittis writes, government plans to improve the Canadian job outlook must be visionary like Steve Jobs, not plodding and short-term. 

In this election campaign every party has promised to create jobs, especially jobs for youth. Boring promises are not enough. What we need is vision.

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Source: CBC News
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What makes employees happy, healthy, and productive?

Is it the impressive salaries and week-long vacations that make a good workplace? Or is it the environment around you that truly makes you enjoy your job?

Think back to your first few jobs when starting out in the workplace.  Most likely they weren’t the greatest; cleaning bathrooms, standing for long periods of times, getting up at the crack of dawn. So what made you stick with them? I bet most of you would say it was the people you worked with who made the job bearable and even fun at times. You might have even met some of your closest friends working there. At the time you probably didn’t realize it, but you ended up learning some pretty valuable lessons about the working world and that it might not be as easy as you thought!

Sometimes it doesn’t matter what sort of work you are doing, it just depends on the environment around you that you are doing it in. So what do YOU value most about the workplace?

Here are some tips that any business can adopt to help their employees be happy, healthy and productive!

Be flexible

Be Flexible

With the use of technology now a days, it is easy for employees to work remotely.  You don’t have to be in the office 5 days a week from 9:00am to 5:00pm. You can work from home some days or even partial days to be able to take care of the kids – seeing them on the school bus in the morning, or making it to that appointment that was just so hard to get. Being flexible with your employees with working hours and having the option to work remotely shows that you care about them and their families and that they are a valuable asset to the team and are not easily replaced.




Good communication is key to any successful relationship, which includes the one between a Leader and their team.  Your team needs to be current with what is going on, not only for their information but it also makes them feel like they are part of the team.  Making them aware of any changes, new ideas, or even letting them know you will be out of the office on Friday, it’s important to have good communication. It also goes the other way. As an employee make sure that you keep in good communication with your Team Leader as well. Let them know if you are having any issues which might affect your work or trouble writing that report they asked for. No one should be kept in the dark.


recognize success

Recognize Success

When we have accomplished something, we like to be recognized for our achievement. And that doesn’t necessarily mean in a dollar amount, but a simple congrats at the next staff meeting goes a long way. Maybe you completed a course and are now certified or were the highest in sales for the month; it’s nice to be patted on the back for your accomplishments.


offer development opportunities

Offer Development Opportunities

As each industry is ever changing, it’s important to always stay current. This also goes for one’s own professional development. It’s important for a company to ensure that their employees don’t fall behind and encourage them to develop their skills. This contributes to the employees’ self-worth and reassures them that the company does care and is interested in them long-term. Employee development could include bringing training into the office, reimbursing for offsite training or education, and networking opportunities, to name a few.


build trust

Building Trust

The most valued attributes in workplace relationships are: honesty, trust and fairness. This point goes back to one of the above mentioned, communication. Regular communication is important to create trust – it helps keep everyone in the loop so there is no wondering what is going on, which could in turn create gossip. You know the saying honesty is the best policy? Well it’s true! It’s just too hard to keep up a lie; it’s tiring trying to keep your facts right and what was said to Sadie, Bob and Joe. Being honest with your team, will not only build on trust but it will also help create better communication.


receive feedback

Give and receive feedback.

If we don’t tell someone that they are doing something wrong, how will they be able to correct it and improve? We don’t always like to hear feedback about ourselves, but it comes with the territory and it’s part of life! What we can work on is how to give feedback in a positive way, rather than negative and make them feel bad about themselves. It’s important to focus on the future and what they can do next time rather than criticise their mistakes of the past. It’s crucial to address issues in a timely manner – the longer you wait the worse it will be. And remember, it’s not easy giving someone feedback, so keep that in mind at your next evaluation!


provdie a sense of purpose

Provide a sense of purpose

Knowing where one fits into a company will help an employee better understand the role they have on the team and will thus contribute to the overall success of the company. Should one feel like they don’t have a purpose they might not strive to get their work done effectively and efficiently, and over time their work ethic may start to deteriorate.  If a defense player on a soccer team doesn’t understand that they need to protect their goalie and not let the other team by, how are they supposed to contribute to the overall success of the team?  When employees know where they fit in and what their role is, they will be healthier, happier and more productive.

Source: E-Learning Inforgraphics 
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Minimum wage going up in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are raising the minimum wage employers must pay their workers

Minimum wage earners in all three Prairie provinces are getting a pay hike.

Starting Thursday, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are raising the minimum wage employers must pay their workers.

The new minimum wage in Alberta will be $11.20 per hour, up from $10.20, while the liquor server wage goes to $10.70 per hour from $9.20.

The NDP government says it’s a first step toward a $15 minimum wage by 2018.

In Saskatchewan, minimum wage is going up by 30 cents to $10.50 an hour.

Manitoba is also increasing its minimum wage by 30 cents to $11 an hour.

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Source: CTV News
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Will a robot take your job?

Baxter the Robot folds a shirt

All the humans in the U.K. are talking about a BBC show, Panorama, that is asking Could a Robot Do My Job? The BBC has also build an interactive site where you can enter your job and see what the odds are of you still having it in a few years. It’s based on a study of American jobs, The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerization? that evaluated jobs on the basis of nine skills:

social perceptiveness, negotiation, persuasion, assisting and caring for others, originality, fine arts, finger dexterity, manual dexterity and the need to work in a cramped work space.

Ultimately jobs that require empathy and interaction with people, like nurses and social workers, are pretty safe. So are those that require creative or original thinking like designers, and those requiring “a high degree of social intelligence” like managerial positions.

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Source: mother Nature Network

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50 Quotes on Leadership Every Entrepreneur Should Follow

Steve Jobs

Every entrepreneur knows that the success of their business ultimately rests on their shoulders. Yes, the product you build and the team you hire are important, but your ability to lead is what carries your company.

With that kind of pressure, it’s easy to feel stressed, lonely and overwhelmed at times. Every great leader has faced a challenge that defined their greatness, which is why we often turn to their advice when needed.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, or team leader, here are 50 inspirational quotes on leadership for when you need a little pep talk.

1. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” –Rosalynn Carter

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U.K. Labour Party picks anti-monarchist Jeremy Corbyn as leader

Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a Solidarity with Refugees march in London

Veteran far-left legislator Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Saturday, a runaway victory that threatens to further divide the party as it struggles to recover from a heavy defeat in elections earlier this year.

Corbyn’s win is one of the biggest political shake-ups in British politics in decades, marking a sharp left turn for his party and a rejection of the more centrist policies of his predecessors.

Corbyn, 66, has drawn vitriol and admiration in equal measure with his old-school socialist views: He wants more taxation for the rich, strongly opposes Britain’s austerity measures, and argues for nationalizing industry.

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Source: CBC News
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Andrew Cuomo to Push for $15 Hourly Minimum Wage in New York

Andrew Cuomo to Push for $15 Hourly Minimum Wage in New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday will propose a $15 hourly minimum wage for all workers, according to people familiar with the matter, which would give the state the highest pay floor of any in the nation.

The push by Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, comes after he moved earlier this year to boost the minimum wage for fast-food workers in the state. The state’s minimum hourly wage across all industries is now $8.75 and is set to increase to $9 at year’s end.

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Source: Wall Street Journal
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What sets you apart from being a good leader to being a GREAT leader?

It has been said that people with high emotional intelligence are happier, more successful (both personally and professionally) and are more successful at work. Why do you think that is? If someone has the ability to understand their emotions and the emotions of others, does that make him or her a better worker or leader than someone who doesn’t understand the emotions of others?

According to Psychology Today there are 3 skills that Emotional Intelligence includes:

  1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others
  2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving
  3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person

So what are some habits that people with a high emotional intelligence have? According to Fast Company there are 7 qualities:

  1. They focus on the positive 

Emotionally intelligent people tend to not spend a lot of time and energy focusing on problems. Rather than get upset and think the worst, they look at a situation with a positive attitude and look for solutions on how to solve the problem. They understand what they are able to control and what they need to do to make the situation better.

  1. They surround themselves with positive people 

Having a negative attitude and complaining all the time is a real downer – and nobody likes a downer. People who have a lot of emotional intelligence can sense when someone has a negative attitude and avoids hanging out with them; they seek out other positive people, who are like them and like to look at the brighter side of life!

  1. They are able to set boundaries and be assertive when necessary 

They might be positive people, but they sure aren’t pushovers! They are confident in their decisions because they can be rational in any situation. They think before they speak and they give themselves time to calm down before making any rash decisions. They understand that emotions can be overwhelming and try not to let them control their actions. Even though they are firm in their decisions, they still demonstrate politeness and consideration for others. They also understand when to say no and don’t take on more than they can handle.

  1. They are forward thinking and willing to let go of the past

We can’t change the past, so why dwell on it! That’s what someone with high emotional intelligence goes by. They don’t focus on the past but rather learn from their actions and apply them to the future.

  1. They look for ways to make life more fun, happy, and interesting

We all know what makes us happy and what makes us sad. People with high emotional intelligence look for opportunities that make them happy and bring them joy. However, they are also considerate of others and it brings them lots of joy to help someone out and to brighten their day.

  1. They choose how to expend their energy and do so wisely 

People with high emotional intelligence don’t hold grudges or anger over how others have treated them. Instead, they look for the positive and create awareness of how to not let it happen again.  “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me,” is the motto that they live by.

  1. Continually learning and growing towards independence 

It’s important to have an open mind and to listen to what others have to say and to try and look at something from all angles. That is what people with high emotional intelligence try to do. They are constantly growing and learning, they are open to changing their minds if they think something else will work better. In the end, they trust themselves and their own judgement, as well as value the input of others.

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13 Signs You’re Actually A Good Leader

Steve Carell from the tv show the Office

One of the hardest things to do is measure our own effectiveness as leaders…especially when we have differing levels of influence.  Often we don’t have a way to actually measure how good we are.  That is why we compiled this list: to help you see if you really are a good leader.

The following are 13 characteristic of a good leader. While reading them and ask yourself, “How am I doing as a leader?”.

1. You Build People Up More Than You Criticize Them

Carlos Sepulveda, previously the CEO of Interstate Batteries, once said, “make sure you give 3 compliments for every piece of criticism.”  This principle is essential. If you are not building others up, then you are failing and limiting your ability to help them with constructive feedback. Nobody wants to be consistently torn down… they want to be built up!

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Source: Inspire More
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Why conservative billionaires have started talking like Bernie Sanders: “We are creating a caste system from which it’s almost impossible to escape”

Ken Langone, a co-founder of Home Depot, appears on the "Mornings with Maria" program, on the Fox Business Network, in New York Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Is there a growing fear among elites that they’ve pushed economic inequality too far. That fear is proliferating, according to a New York Times Op-Ed this weekend by former marketing conglomerate CEO Peter Georgescu. Joined by his friend Ken Langone,, Georgescu warns his fellow 1 percenters that “[w]e are creating a caste system from which it’s almost impossible to escape.” The column raises the specter of “major social unrest” if inequality is not addressed.

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Source: Salon
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The 8 Signs of a Bad Leader


It’s an interesting conundrum. Say you’re a manager, a senior-level executive, or a human resources employee; your job is to be a leader, yes, but also to pick out leaders, to select who will be promoted, given extra responsibility, head up a project or team. How do you know who will make a great leader in a given circumstance?

There are loads of articles floating around about attributes that make great leaders great, but what makes a poor leader? We can all pick them out after the fact (hindsight is 20/20 after all), but what traits set these people apart even before they assume a leadership role?

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Source: Entrepreneur

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Egan: Why Ottawa’s airport cabbies are right

Locked out taxi drivers take protest to City Hall

Strip away the anger and rhetoric, the noise-making and traffic snarling, the bad PR for visitors and travellers, and the conclusion is inevitable: these cabbies are getting royally hosed.

Even Hanif Patni, the president of Coventry Connections Inc., does not dispute the basic narrative. Coventry and the airport authority negotiated a deal that only works if the drivers of 150 taxis eat the higher fees, possibly costing each of them as much as $1,000 more a month.

And, when the union responded with a resounding no in July — seriously, what else could they say? — they were locked out.

To add to the injury, Coventry then invites cabbies from another bargaining unit — remember, this is the same employer — to do the work of the locked-out ones. How could they not be furious? What kind of poisonous workplace is being manufactured?

Here’s another way to look at it.

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Source: Ottawa Citizen
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College football players can’t unionize, U.S. federal agency says

Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter at press conference

The National Labor Relations Board blocked a historic bid by Northwestern University football players to form the nation’s first college athletes’ union, dealing a blow to a labour movement that could have transformed amateur sports.

In a unanimous decision, the board said the prospect of having both union and nonunion teams could lead to different standards at different schools — from the amount of money players receive to the amount of time they can practice — and create competitive imbalances on the field.

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Source: CBC Sports
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