Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 16th 2015 Contents Encourage a strengths-based
culture on your team
If you re trying to increase your employees
engagement---typically defined as being
involved in and enthusiastic about their work
and workplace---focus on building employees
strengths rather than fixating on their weak-
nesses. A strengths-based culture is one in
which employees learn their roles more quickly,
produce more and significantly better work,
stay with the company longer and are more
engaged. In one study, a vast majority (67 per
cent) of employees who strongly agreed that
their manager focused on their strengths or
positive characteristics were engaged - com-
pared with just 31 per cent of the employees
who indicated that their manager focused on
their weaknesses. The most powerful thing a
manager can do for employees is to place them
in jobs that allow them to use the best of their
natural talents, adding skills and knowledge
to develop and apply their strengths.
(Adapted from "What Great Managers Do
to Engage Employees," by James Harter and
Developing ideas requires
more than a presentation
We often think a one-way presentation dur-
ing meetings is the best way to share ideas.
But presentations are really meant to inform
or persuade an audience. If you re looking to
develop, build upon and get consensus on an
idea, you need to facilitate a conversation. This
isn t easy to do.
You have to encourage people to share
thoughts freely and honestly, which means
you re juggling multiple viewpoints, managing
conflicts and making sure everyone s voice is
heard. One way to make the process engaging
(and easier for you) is to use sticky notes and
flip charts to get people to brainstorm and
build on each other s ideas. This makes par-
ticipation more dynamic and collaborative.
Team members can capture ideas quickly on
sticky notes, post them to a chart on the wall
and rearrange them. Then the entire group
can see all the ideas as they re taking shape
and help organise them.
(Adapted from "Meetings: When to Present
and When to Converse," by Nancy Duarte.)
Check in on your relationship
with your boss
No matter how well you and your manager
work together, never take the relationship for
granted. Ripples can always surface, so you
want to be able to smooth them out quickly.
Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of
your relationship every few months can help
reveal the not-so-obvious problems that fester
when neglected. Ask yourself:
• Do I understand my manager s expecta-
tions for me?
• Is my manager aware of which resources
I need to meet those expectations?
• Am I reliably meeting my commitments?
• How much does my boss know about
what I ve been doing for the past few months?
• How well do my manager and I get along
on a daily basis? Do we trust each other?
about her and execute her goals?
• What could I do to support my manager
(Adapted from "Managing Up" from the 20-
Minute Manager series.)
Many leaders struggle to shift from a neg-
ative state of mind to a positive one. If you re
in a bad mood, and it s hurting your perform-
ance at work, how do you get out of it? First,
Breathing can help you achieve a physio-
logical condition called coherence, which leads
to improved mental clarity, focus, emotional
stability and decision-making.
Second, activate a positive feeling by quietly
focusing on a person, place or thing you are
grateful for. Third, ask yourself a few questions
to reframe your thoughts: What else is possible
here? What really matters right now? What
could I learn in this moment? What does my
What is a more useful/constructive/positive
approach? What is the most desirable out-
come? This will help you re-engage with a
new attitude and course of action.
(Adapted from "4 Steps to Dispel a Bad
Mood," by Alexander Caillet, Jeremy Hirshberg
and Stefano Petti.)
Meetings need a clear
The more prep you do before a meeting,
the more productive it will be. That s why
we re careful to identify a meeting s purpose
(do you need to make a decision, solve a prob-
lem, rally the troops, etc), create an agenda
and invite the right people. But there s another
important step that many forget: identifying
the decision-making process. Choosing a
method ahead of time helps ensure that you
leave with a clear outcome. Here are some
• A majority vote lets every voice be heard,
though some people might not be comfortable
declaring their opinion publicly.
• Group consensus allows participants to
share their expertise and enhances the chance
for buy-in from all parties.
• Leader s choice is usually the fastest
approach, so it might be appropriate to opt
for this during a crisis, for example. But you
may need to work harder to get skeptics on
(Adapted from "A Checklist for Planning
Your Next Big Meeting," by Harvard Business
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JULY 16 • 2015
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
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