Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 25th 2015 Contents strategic imperative or challenge.
For example, if your organisation wants
customers to go to the website rather than
call the toll-free number, you can clearly
define the problem, along with any con-
straints or issues that need to be considered.
Once employees understand the problem
and the context, you can invite them to
submit ideas, and then after three weeks
let them vote on the best proposals.
(Adapted from "Get Your Employees to
Make Better Suggestions," by David A Hof-
mann and John J Sumanth.)
Be a less autocratic
Trying to lead a seasoned, highly skilled
team through command-and-control won t
work. These groups need leaders who are
emotionally and intellectually agile, and able
to modulate styles as needed. To be less
autocratic, try shifting:
• From self-awareness to social awareness.
It s not enough to know your own strengths
and weaknesses. You have to know how
your behavior affects people. Ask: what is
the impact of your management style on
others? How do you know what others are
• From directive to inquisitive. When
you re trying to foster creativity, you need
to be less declarative and more curious. Ask:
how much time do you spend listening
rather than speaking? How do you leverage
• From power over to power with. When
you flaunt authority, people will often shut
down or hide, and the team loses momen-
tum. Ask: how do you stimulate the best
thinking from your team? How often do
team members make decisions?
(Adapted from "Learn to Become a Less
Autocratic Manager," by Jeffrey W Hull.)
@2015 Harvard Business School Pub-
lishing Corp. Distributed by the New York
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TIPS & TALKING POINTS
Ask the right questions
before negotiating your salary
One of the most common pieces of advice around
job offers is to never accept the first salary you re
presented. This is bad advice. There s often an oppor-
tunity to negotiate, but some hiring managers gen-
uinely give you what they can offer.
The best way to find out whether your salary is
negotiable is to ask. But don t just say, "Is that number
negotiable?" Dig into what went into calculating the
figure, for example: "Where did the number come
from? What did you count as my years of experience?"
And don t negotiate just to prove that you re a great
negotiator. If something is important to you, absolutely
negotiate, but don t haggle over every little thing.
Fighting to get just a bit more can rub people the
wrong way; and limit your ability to negotiate later,
when it might matter more.
(Adapted from "Setting the Record Straight on Nego-
tiating Your Salary," by Amy Gallo)
Don't overlook your
Somewhere along the way, workers can lose the
motivation to make a difference and create value for
their employers. That s why the employees with the
longest tenures in your company are also the least
likely to be engaged. Retaining long-tenured, highly
capable employees might be challenging, but min-
imizing their turnover is more practical than churning
through new hires.
Plus, experience is a strong driver of performance.
So how can you increase engagement among these
workers? For starters, give them managers who under-
stand them and put them in roles where they can
do what they do best every day. Make sure managers
are helping them find ways to do more of what they re
good at. This means asking about their interests
during regular check-ins and giving them more auton-
omy, stretch assignments and the ability to learn new
(Adapted from "Engage Your Long-Time Employees
to Improve Performance," by James Harter.)
Use 'We' not 'I' to
motivate your team
If you re trying to rise in your organisation and
become a leader, it s important to show that you re
focused on others, not yourself. Pronouns can help.
They re small but potent signals that communicate
a speaker s focus of attention.
When people feel insecure, they are more likely to
focus their thoughts and behaviours inward and use
more first-person singular pronouns (e.g., "I," "my,"
"me") when speaking.
By contrast, first-person plural and second-person
pronouns (such as "we," "us" or "you") are used
when considering the thoughts, feelings and behaviors
of others. So try using "we" more often when speaking
to your team. It will show that you are more focused
on what you can achieve together than on what you
need from them. It can also help shift your perspective
and make you more aware of what others need. As
you work to meet those expectations, you ll become
a better leader.
(Adapted from "If You Want to Be the Boss, Say
'We' Not 'I'," by David Burkus.)
Be specific when asking for
When asking employees to speak up, be careful to
not open the floodgates to a river of ideas that aren t
particularly thoughtful or useful. You want to encour-
age people to give input that is informed and con-
structive. Ask employees to think about issues from
your perspective, factoring in potential constraints,
obstacles and multiple stakeholders.
One way to do this is by creating targeted campaigns
where, for a limited period of time, you encourage
people to come up with ideas that address a particular
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