Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 21st 2015 Contents moments of pausing and reflecting. Try to
gain greater awareness by finding a few sec-
onds to focus on your breathing---maybe
before sleep or when doing mundane tasks---
and asking yourself:
• What am I trying to achieve?
• What am I doing that is working?
• What am I doing that is slowing me
• What can I do to change?
(Adapted from "5 Ways to Become More
Self-Aware" by Anthony K Tjan.)
Leaders should be
honest about feeling
Many executives believe that exuding
confidence brings credibility. This is why
they re often loath to appear uncertain; even
when it s impossible to predict exact out-
But research has shown that overconfident
CEOs tend to make overly risky decisions,
usually at the expense of their shareholders.
So firms stand to benefit if leaders start to
accept uncertainty and learn to communicate
it to employees.
Being open about what you re unsure of
helps you avoid bad decisions and allows
others to trust you. Next time you re facing
a moment of uncertainty, instead of focusing
on the best, worst or even most likely pos-
sibility, provide a range of possible outcomes.
Companies already do this in corporate
earnings projections: They provide a range
within which profits are likely to fall. Leaders
should use this technique more often to
avoid the trap of false certainty.
(Adapted from "Smart Leaders Are OK
With Seeming Uncertain" by Don Moore.)
@2015 Harvard Business School Pub-
lishing Corp. Distributed by the New York
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MAY 2015 • WEEK THREE
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
Don't put off
With a seemingly endless number of things to get
done, planning a vacation is often the last thing on
our minds. But not only does taking time away from
the normal day to day give us the opportunity to
have new experiences and to bond with friends and
family, it also helps us reduce stress and gain per-
spective. Studies have even suggested that failing to
take vacation can increase health risks.
So be proactive in your vacation planning. Request
time off at the beginning of the year instead of waiting
to make a plan later. Otherwise, when later comes,
you ll again find yourself delaying because you feel
like there is too much to get done. In 20 years you ll
end up with a lot of "I always wanted to ..." sentiments
instead of a treasure trove of "I m so glad I did ..."
(Adapted from "Are You Proud of How You re Spend-
ing Your Time?" by Elizabeth Grace Saunders.)
Use the right pronouns when
trying to calm your nerves
When you re dealing with a difficult or stressful
task, the way you silently talk to yourself can make
a difference in the outcome.
Researchers found that when people reflected on
intense emotional experiences using their names and
non-first-person pronouns (eg, "you," "he," "she"),
they were more able to control their feelings and
People who silently referred to themselves in the
second or third person or used their own names while
preparing for a five-minute speech were calmer and
more confident and performed better on the task
than those who referred to themselves using "I" or
They also felt better about their performance once
it was over: They experienced less shame and rumi-
nated about it less. Next time you re trying to psyche
yourself up for a presentation or negotiation, substitute
"you" or your name for "I." The results may surprise
(Adapted from "Pronouns Matter When Psyching
Yourself Up" by Ozlem Ayduk and Ethan Kross.)
Expand your network
beyond the usual players
We all know that a network is important for success,
but few of us devote sufficient time to making it
useful. If you leave things to chance, your network
will be too inward-facing and not diverse enough.
You need to learn to network outside your organization,
team and close connections. Here are some practical
steps to start developing a stronger network:
• Visit a startup within your sector. Consider why
incumbents rarely lead the way in new products and
• Attend a new conference.
• Start a LinkedIn or Facebook group.
• Teach a course at a local college. Learn from your
• Go to lunch with a peer from a competing com-
pany. Learn more about your market value.
• Connect with someone you ve lost track of. Ask
this person to help you connect with someone new.
(Adapted from "How to Revive a Tired Network"
by Herminia Ibarra.)
Simple meditation can make
you a better leader
You can t be a good leader without self-awareness.
Knowing who you are lets you better understand
what you need most from other people. One of the
simplest and most effective ways to develop it is to
meditate. Yes, meditate.
Meditation improves your moment-by-moment
awareness by having you focus strongly on inhaling
and exhaling. But it doesn t need to be formal or rit-
ualistic. Greater clarity can also come from regular
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