Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 27th 2015 Contents to help highlight your accomplishments at
events, it can give you the confidence you
need to approach others. Just avoid spending
the entire evening talking to that person.
• Preparing a few opening lines. Develop
a few questions to help you kick-start a
dialogue: What s the coolest thing you re
working on right now? How do you spend
most of your time? How did you hear about
• Researching in advance. It s easier to
talk to someone if they don t feel like a
stranger. Looking up speakers and attendees
ahead of time will help you come up with
topics of conversation.
(Adapted from "Networking When You
Hate Talking to Strangers," by Dorie Clark.)
can help employees
learn from mistakes
It can be frustrating when an employee
is not performing well or makes a mistake.
But instead of expressing your stress and
anger and reprimanding the person, a better
approach is to show compassion and curios-
ity.Suspending judgment, taking time to
understand what happened and coaching
the employee for the future will build loyalty
and trust, which can then turn around per-
formance. An angry response, on the other
hand, erodes loyalty and trust and inhibits
creativity by jacking up the employee s stress
levels. So first, get a handle on your emo-
tions. Take time to reflect on how you re
feeling so you can give a more thoughtful,
reasonable and discerned response. You
want to see the situation with more detach-
ment. Then put yourself in your employee s
shoes. Try to empathise with him. Empathy,
of course, helps you forgive. And forgiveness
strengthens your relationship with your
employee by promoting loyalty.
(Adapted from "Why Compassion Is a
Better Managerial Tactic Than Toughness,"
by Emma Seppälä.)
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt AUGUST 27 • 2015
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
Don't default to working
over the weekend
"I ll get that done over the weekend" shouldn t be
our go-to solution for the work we can t fit in during
To preserve the much-needed break that the week-
end offers, try front-loading your week. Since unex-
pected tasks will always come up, no matter how
hard you try to plan your work, you want to fully
book your schedule at the beginning of the week so
you can leave more open space on your calendar as
the week progresses.
Ideally half of Friday should be reserved to tie up
loose ends. You can also avoid the trap of answering
emails on the weekend by blocking out designated
times each day to work through your inbox. And
when you commit to doing something fun on the
weekend, it s much easier to set priorities so that
you can leave on Friday work-free.
(Adapted from "How to Plan Your Week to Keep
Your Weekend Free," by Elizabeth Grace Saunders.)
Watch for signs of an
People have emotional outbursts every now and
then. But if you have a team member who s particularly
prone to them, you should anticipate behavior like
crying or screaming to prevent these situations from
stalling your team s productivity.
Watch for the telltale signs that something is causing
concern. When you notice someone is withdrawing
eye contact or getting red in the face, acknowledge
what you see: "Steve, you ve stopped midsentence
a couple of times now. What s going on?" Listen
carefully to the response, both to what is said and
what you can infer from his body language.
Angry (leaning in, clenched jaw or fists) looks very
different from discouraged (dropping eye contact,
slumping) or dismissive (rolling eyes, turning away).
Finally, ask questions to get to the root of his emotion:
"I get the sense you re frustrated. What s behind
your frustration?" Afterward, you should see some
sort of relief.
(Adapted from "Handling Emotional Outbursts on
Your Team," by Liane Davey)
Facilitate an effective
Before you sit down with your employee for his
performance review, you should write down your
feedback in a way that will facilitate an effective dis-
Record your observations about the employee s
job performance as objectively as possible, and tie
your conclusions to hard data. Provide evidence of
progress (or lack thereof) by connecting accomplish-
ments with established goals: "Derek increased sales
by seven per cent, which exceeded his goal of five
The more information you give, the more likely
the employee will be able to strengthen positive
behaviors and correct negative ones. Include specific
examples. Just make sure you express observations
as neutral facts, not judgments, when giving negative
feedback. For example, instead of saying, "Theo
doesn t know how to talk to difficult customers,"
which infers a lack of knowledge instead of a skill
that can be improved, say, "Theo received five com-
plaints from dissatisfied customers."
(Adapted from "How to Document a Performance
Review," by Harvard Business Review.)
The benefits of networking---meeting new people
and learning interesting new ideas---are invaluable.
But if you, like many others, hate having to initiate
awkward conversations with strangers, find an
approach that makes you comfortable. Try:
• Bringing a friend. When you have a "wingman"
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