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Things that made us think in 2022

Christy Kallevig is an Extension educator.

A woman in deep thought wearing headphones around her neck and holding a book.

I was once told the only thing that changes us from one year to the next is the people we meet, the experiences we have, and the books we read. This quote, and variations of it, has been attributed to many people. As a big podcast fan, I think we also benefit from the things we hear.

As we ring in the new year, I'd like to share a few books and podcasts that spurred conversations and curiosity with people in our programs and within our leadership and civic engagement team in 2022.

Book covers of The Power of Regret by Daniel H. Pink and Bad Leadership by Barbara Kellerman. Podcast episode thumbnails for Relationships 2.0: How to Keep Conflict from Spiraling on "Hidden Brain" and Brené with Dr. Donald Sull and Charlie Sull on ow Toxic Work Cultures Are Driving the Great Resignation on "Dare to Lead with Brené Brown."

Books

“No regrets!” I am sure we have all heard someone use that phrase, or maybe we ourselves have claimed it as our mantra. Daniel Pink explores the concept in his new book, The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward. He shows that having regrets is not just valuable, but necessary, to propel us forward in life. Through stories, data, and humor, Pink teaches us how regret impacts our brain, influences future decisions and can be harnessed to help us achieve our goals.


One of my favorite Extension programs is Vital Reads, which invites participants to dig into three books and engage in conversation about them. This spring, we explored a few classics on leadership, including Barbara Kellerman’s Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, and Why It Matters. It generated a great deal of conversation both during and after the series, demonstrating its continued relevance despite being published nearly 20 years ago. The examples she offers regarding her seven types of bad leadership are eye-opening, especially how followers allow poor leadership to happen.

Podcasts

Conflict is unavoidable, yet many of us spend a lot of time trying to avoid it. In a recent episode of the “Hidden Brain” podcast, Harvard psychologist Julie Minson offers tips on how to keep conflict from spiraling. Minson, an expert in disagreement and negotiation, focuses on the concept of conversational receptiveness.

If you can truly engage in a contentious conversation and demonstrate this to the other person, Minson’s research shows this can have positive effects on your ability to understand and navigate the conflict. I encourage you to listen to this episode and then check out our self-paced learning opportunity, Navigating Conflict with Style, to learn more about conflict and how to manage it.


The terms “great resignation” and “quiet quitting” were frequently mentioned in articles and news stories in 2022. There are many theories attempting to pinpoint the cause of these trends, but I found research by Donald Sull, Charlie Sull, and Ben Zweig on toxic work cultures to be especially helpful. An interview with Donald and Charlie Sull on Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead” podcast is well worth the listen.

Their research challenges organizations to look deeply into the environments they are creating and seek to retain employees through more ethical leadership and inclusionary practices rather than focusing only on compensation.

Author: Christy Kallevig, Extension educator, leadership and civic engagement

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