Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 7th 2015 Contents BG14 COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MAY 2015 • WEEK ONE
The right way to disagree
with your manager
If you disagree with your manager about something,
it s important not to panic or retreat. You can disagree
constructively by showing respect for her point of
view and demonstrating that you care about achieving
the best result for the organisation. You want to show
that you re trying to collaborate, so link your idea
directly with your manager s goals and concerns. For
example, say, "I understand that you re worried about
how this new plan will work. I was too. But when
I did some research, I realised ..." Remember to provide
suggestions that your manager can act on; don t just
list objections. Be specific about how your idea can
prevent pitfalls, and present supporting data to show
that your proposal is fact-based rather than emotional.
And always try to give a range of options. Suggesting
different possibilities signals your flexibility and invites
your manager to be flexible too.
(Adapted from "Managing Up" from the 20-Minute
Let your employees
nap at 3pm
If you want to maximise your employees per-
formance, consider circadian rhythms when setting
assignments, deadlines and expectations. The most
important tasks should be done when people are at
their peaks in alertness (around noon and 6 pm.).
The least important should be scheduled for when
alertness dips (very early in the workday and around
3 pm). But we often flood employees with low-level
tasks (eg, emailing) in the morning, so they can only
get to important tasks later in the afternoon, when
they have to power through to meet an end-of-day
deadline. Instead, consider letting your team schedule
naps around 3 pm. Naps can be a good way to regulate
energy and increase alertness, and evidence even
links them to increased performance. This way,
employees can recharge at a time when they re less
useful for important tasks anyway, and they ll be
more alert during the next high point in their circadian
(Adapted from "The Ideal Work Schedule, as Deter-
mined by Circadian Rhythms" by Christopher M
Measure an employee's
Performance reviews often require you to assess
an employee s performance on some qualitative
aspects of the job. To do this objectively, focus on
measuring behaviors. Aside from questions that are
specific to the position and your company, consider
• Initiative: Does the employee demonstrate ambi-
tion or take initiative to improve processes and prod-
• Ability to ask questions: Does she know when
to ask questions rather than make assumptions?
• Cooperation and teamwork: Is he flexible when
asked to perform a task outside of his regular duties
or work extra hours? Has he volunteered to pitch in
when the team is short-handed?
• Productivity: Does she prioritise job duties effec-
tively and meet deadlines?
• Reliability: Does he consistently demonstrate
dependability and competence?
• Improvement: Has she improved in areas that
were noted on her previous evaluation?
(Adapted from "Performance Reviews" from the 20-
Minute Manager series.)
Don't let searching for more
evidence delay a decision
Something that often gets in the way of our ability
to focus at work is our tendency to keep gathering
information long after we have enough to make a
decision. How can we avoid this "analysis paralysis"
and learn when to stop collecting more information?
The best approach is to develop your
hypothesis or argument early on, so that
your search is focused on supporting or
refuting it. If that doesn t work, give yourself
For example, when working with collab-
orators, aim to have something to send them
by the end of the day. This helps avoid an
open-ended search process. It s tempting
to seek evidence to support every argument,
but don t be afraid to bring your intuition
to the table. And find time for reflection.
Create breaks in the day---maybe during a
commute or while exercising---so you can
make sense of all the information you have.
(Adapted from "Manage Your Team s
Attention" by Julian Birkinshaw.)
Sharing doubts upfront
helps persuade others
If you want to persuade an audience, you
need to show them that you re trustworthy.
In ambiguous or controversial situations,
many people think it s best to sweep small
doubts or uncertainties about their message
under the rug. But evidence suggests that
signaling these doubts immediately before
delivering your argument can actually help
The key is sequencing: Start with a small
weakness or drawback, then use the word
"but" before delivering your main message.
A doctor who says, "No vaccine in the world
is without the occasional adverse event, but
this vaccine is extremely safe and has been
used to protect millions of children,"
strengthens her trustworthiness and cred-
ibility. This message would feel different if
the weakness followed, rather than preceded,
her main point.
(Adapted from "How Doctors (or Anyone)
Can Craft a More Persuasive Message" by
@2015 Harvard Business School Pub-
lishing Corp. Distributed by the New York
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
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