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Welcome to Merge's Monthly Mega Minute – a bite-sized, yet substantial and practical, nugget of information that you can use immediately to enhance your professional and personal success.

You must squeeze out a sponge for it to absorb more liquid

Your best employees are enthusiastic, keen and eager to learn. Think of them as sponges, thirsty for knowledge, just waiting to soak up new experiences and fresh ideas. Contrast them with the other kind of employee – you know, the negative ones that are disenchanted, weary, and jaded by past encounters. They are sponges too. But these sponges are saturated and sodden, flooded with negativity borne from past situations. And because the sponges are already full, there is no room for anything else!

Until you squeeze water out of a drenched sponge, it cannot absorb any more. Which is something worth keeping in mind if you're struggling with motivating an uninspired or disillusioned employee. You cannot just create a positive and stimulating environment and hope that such people will absorb the excitement and energy. If they're already full of dissatisfaction and bitterness, then there will not be room for anything else, no matter how much effort you put into it. So think first about what you can do to "squeeze" out the negativity. Take the time to get to know these staff members at more than a superficial level. Find out about past situations that might have created their current mental state. Probe to discover the source of their "baggage". Try and get at the root cause of the liquid deadweight. Only once you have squeezed out some of the liquid will they be able to absorb any more.

What are your ideas or tips on things that leaders can do to "squeeze" out the old? Please share them online at my blog at:

Piss-off factors – when smart managers do stupid things!

Merge's latest column for The Globe & MailWhy do smart managers do stupid things? – posted online on November 4 and in the print edition of the paper on November 7. In this column, Merge addressed "piss-off factors" (or POFs), short-sighted actions taken by managers that only serve to damage productivity and performance, and destroy employee morale. If you haven't read it yet, please do, and join the conversation either directly on The Globe's site or on our blog:

Turning Managers into Leaders

That even if you missed our live online event on October 8, it's not too late to get the recording?

On October 8, approximately 90 people joined Merge in our last online event of 2014 – Leading Employees Who Are Stretched to the Limit. The program was recorded and is now available for viewing as an online video. In one fast-paced, power-packed hour, you'll get the tools you need to help your overextended employees meet their goals AND reduce their stress. To purchase your access, visit our Leadership Store.

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