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Catching up with Karyn

Lead With Levity: An Interview with Jacqueline Ko Matthews, CEO of PJMint

Jacqueline Ko Matthews is the founder and CEO of PJMint, a digital wealth management firm that delivers better, safer and cheaper comprehensive, advanced quantitative wealth management strategies online to everyday investors. She was the right-arm Investment Executive to former Virginia Governor/current U.S. Senator Mark Warner in his $200m family investment office and played a critical role in establishing the Goldman Sachs Investment Banking Hong Kong office focusing on China, Taiwan and Southeast Asian markets. She worked under then Co-Chairman Robert Rubin who later became U.S. Treasury Secretary.

We’re thrilled to have her insights on Leading with Levity to share with you.

Here are the highlights from our conversation:

Listen to Your Team

“There are leaders who only want people to listen to them. A better approach is to do more listening. Make decisions based on the input of your team members. Solicit multiple viewpoints and have them present you with the pros and...

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5 Reasons To Lead With Laughter

A sense of humor and the ability to laugh are powerful leadership tools. Below are 5 reasons why YOU should add humor and laughter to your Leadership Toolbox.

1. Leaders who laugh are healthier leaders.

Being in charge is stressful. The rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, and other stress-driven health complaints are much higher among leaders than among people who aren't in such stressful roles. Laughter is an all-natural, drug-free way to alleviate stress. When you're less stressed, you make better decisions: laughter can make you a better business strategist!

2. Leaders who laugh are better negotiators.

Humor puts the common bonds of experience and insight individuals have squarely in the spotlight. This strengthens the relationship. This is important when you're negotiating. Most leaders prefer to have negotiations where both parties feel like they're walking away a winner. Knowing what you have in common with the other party and what's important to them is a critical...

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Lead With Levity: An Interview with Insurance Information Institute President Robert Hartwig

Robert Hartwig is the president of the Insurance Information Institute. He regularly advises Congressional committees, business leaders and the media on economic issues related to the insurance industry. We’re thrilled to have his insights on Leading with Levity to share with you:

Here are the highlights from our conversation:

Leadership Styles Change Over Time

"I definitely see myself as a different leader now than I was in years past. Today, I give my staff a great deal of latitude. They’re very good at what they do, and I trust them to do it. In years past, I was more of a micromanager.

"My micromanager tendencies emerged early—with my first small business – a paper route when I was 12—and continued through graduate school and into my early professional career. Working as an expert witness in particular reinforced the tendency to prepare thoroughly. There’s no one in that witness stand with you!

"Over time the industry became much more tech...

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Lead With Laughter: When Things Don't Go Exactly As Planned

One of the signs that someone is a great leader is that their team isn't afraid to approach them when they need help or support. Murphy's Law touches every industry. There's no workplace that's free of difficulties. The way a leader responds to these difficulties has a direct and profound impact on the morale and collective resilience of the organization.

Some of the most fascinating neurological research out there has to do with the way our bodies react in anticipation to an event. The events we're anticipating can be positive - knowing you're going to meet your funniest friend for a drink after work - or negative - telling your boss that a critical report is way behind schedule.

When we're looking forward to something good, we actually begin to experience some of the pleasure of the event before it even happens. Our blood pressure goes down, our circulation goes up, we feel more energized and emotionally resilient.

When we are looking forward to something bad, we experience some...

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Lead With Laughter: Using Humor To Bring The Best Out of Your Team

One of the biggest challenges leaders face is inspiring their team to turn in a top-notch performance all of the time. Motivating people to be creative problem solvers who keep a steady focus on delivering superior customer service is hard work.

If you're really lucky, you'll have some people who are intrinsically motivated to continually come up with original, useful ideas. If you're not so lucky, your role is to create a workplace culture that serves as an external motivation conducive to top performance.

That's where laughter comes in. The use of humor by leadership accomplishes several things in the workplace:

 

Lowers Barriers Between Team Members:

This makes free and easy communication - essential for creative collaboration, plan development and implementation.

Acts As a Form of Permission:

Sometimes it's the funny, offbeat, or ridiculous idea that can be the real game changer for your business. In an environment where laughter is an acceptable response, it's easier to...

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Humor is Power: Leaders and Organizational Culture

Full disclosure: I have always found the traffic in New Jersey to be challenging. For as long as I can remember, the minute I got behind the wheel in the Garden State, something would happen to slow the journey way down. There have been the typical fender benders and weather-related snafus, of course, but there's also always been an added layer of strangeness to my particular journeys: one time, a tractor trailer full of tomatoes tipped over - we're talking marina sauce for miles! - and on another occasion, the delay was caused by approximately 75 million Justin Beiber fans en route to wherever it is 75 million Justin Beiber fans go.

But lately, there have been some traffic problems in New Jersey that have nothing to do with wayward produce or rock stars. As you may have heard, recent traffic problems in New Jersey may have had a political cause. On Friday, Governor Chris Christie held a long press conference in which he apologized for the traffic slowdowns, adding that the...

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Election Day Humor

To err is human. To blame someone else...that's politics!

Here we are, at long last - Election Day 2012!  It's your chance to exercise your right to vote. Please do! To put a smile on your face before you head to the polls, here's some Election Day Humor:

If Obama wins, I will leave the country. If Romney wins, I will leave the country. This is not a political joke, I just want to travel.

The biggest problem with political jokes is that they get elected!

Politicians are like diapers.They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.

What's So Funny About Diabetes: A Note About Political Humor
Political humor is intensely popular - just ask Jon Stewart! Jokes about President Obama or his opponent, Mitt Romney, work well for late night TV stars - but they can be pretty problematical in person. Etiquette experts tell us that it's best to avoid all humor about politics, religion, and any other contentious subject. Humor advocates, myself included, think that political humor...

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Lead with Laughter!

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership.”
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

The secret for effective humor in leadership is to set the tone for humor, while at the same time, set high expectations. Effective leaders understand that there are three primary benefits for using humor with their staff: Stress management, communication, and motivation.

Stress management
“Terminal professionalism” seems to be a sign of the times. But taking oneself too seriously can have some unpleasant side effects. According to a recent Gallup Poll approximately 1 million employees in the US miss work daily due to stress related conditions. Stressed out workers make costly mistakes; sometimes even deadly ones.

Humor is recognized as a healthy coping mechanism (as compared to unhealthy means, such as smoking, drinking, drugs, excessive work, etc). It is by no means the be-all-end-all. Today people need a variety of coping mechanisms to survive and thrive. Melodie Chenevert, author of...

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