Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 20th 2015 Contents with work disagreements is to set things
straight right away.
While dealing with conflict directly is
often the most effective route, there are
times when it s better to do nothing. The
goal of engaging in a conflict discussion is
to reach a resolution.
So it s probably not worth having that
talk if you suspect that the other person
isn t interested in addressing the issue or is
unwilling to have a constructive conversa-
tion. You should also leave a conflict alone
if you yourself don t have the energy or time
to invest in preparing for and having a pro-
And it s probably a good idea to avoid a
conflict discussion if you have little or no
power, such as when you re dealing with
someone above you. Just keep in mind that
this approach won t work if you can t put
the disagreement behind you.
(Adapted from "HBR Guide to Managing
Conflict at Work," by Amy Gallo.)
Agree on scope before
launching a project
Scope creep is all too common in projects
of all sizes, in every industry and sector.
Various stakeholders ask the team to produce
more and more as work progresses, without
understanding the effects on the project s
schedule or budget.
Left unmanaged, scope creep will cause
your project to fail. You ll end up over budget,
missing key deadlines and delivering low-
quality outcomes. To avoid this, you need
to make an agreement with stakeholders
about scope before launching your project.
If you help them understand the project s
goals, you can work with them to list what s
in scope and what s not.
Things are out of scope if they don t
directly support the project goal, or if there s
not enough time or money to accomplish
them. Create "in scope" and "out of scope"
lists together, so once the project is rolling,
you ll know what to focus on and how to
prioritise future requests.
(Adapted from the Harvard Business Review
video "How to Manage Scope Creep," by Ray-
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt AUGUST 20 • 2015
Being busy isn't the
same as being productive
Research has found that people have a natural
aversion to idleness: We ll go out of our way to stay
busy, even if we have to invent things to do. But
being too busy can be counterproductive. Studies
have also shown that we have a bias toward action:
When faced with a problem, we prefer to act, even
if it would be best to pause first or do nothing.
Together, both of these behaviours show that choosing
to be busy is the easy choice. Being productive, by
contrast, is much more challenging. What helps rem-
edy this dilemma?
Take time to step back and reflect on a regular
basis. Reflection helps us understand the actions
we re considering and choose the ones that will make
us productive. Even 15 minutes of planning each
morning can help. So the next time you feel busy,
stop and think about what you actually need to get
(Adapted from "The Remedy for Unproductive Busy-
ness," by Francesca Gino and Bradley Staats.)
speaking less scary
Public speaking is scary: It s a chance to mess up
in front of other people, and the stress can trigger
an evolutionary fight-or-flee reaction. But there are
ways to conquer your nerves. Before your next big
• Prepare thoroughly. Research your topic, anticipate
tough questions and practice your delivery.
• Imagine giving the presentation. How will it feel?
How will you begin? What will the audience look
like? Stay calm and loose. In most cases, people can t
tell that you re nervous. If you stumble, act as though
it didn t happen.
• Get used to looking at blank faces. When you re
talking to someone one-on-one, they give physical
and verbal cues that they re listening. Groups of
people don t always do that.
• Get comfortable with uncertainty. At a certain
point you have to trust that you ve done all you can
to prepare. Remember: The likelihood that your worst
fears will come true is slim.
(Adapted from "Conquer Your Nerves Before Your
Presentation," by Nancy Duarte.)
Avoid the pitfalls of
emotions in email
We all struggle with how to communicate emotion
over email. Without normal cues like tone of voice
or facial expressions, miscommunication can happen
easily. These recommendations can help:
• People overestimate their ability to convey emo-
tions in email. The simplest way to avoid confusion
is to explicitly state the emotion you want to relay.
For example, "I m very happy with this ..." or "I m
• People also read and interpret emotions differently.
Prevent misunderstandings by imagining how your
email will sound to the recipient.
• We tend to trust those who act like us. Mimicking
the style of the person you re emailing, whether
through emoticons, exclamation points or slang, can
help you come across the way you intend.
• It s easy to appear fake or insincere over email.
Sometimes, making an intentional typo can help you
seem warmer and more authentic, especially when
you re in a position of power.
(Adapted from "The Dos and Don ts of Work Email,
From Emojis to Typos," by Andrew Brodsky.)
Know when to leave
a conflict at work alone
You ve probably heard that the only way to deal
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
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