Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 24th 2015 Contents Get the feedback
We all need feedback to learn and grow, but
if you re waiting for your annual review to
find out how you re performing, you re not
getting enough of it. How do you make sure
you get the input you need, especially if your
boss is stingy with advice? First, make sure
your boss knows which kinds of feedback you
want. Do you need appreciation or acknowl-
Evaluation or general coaching? Next, ask
for feedback in real time. If you want insight
into your performance on a project, ask for
it sooner rather than later. Use specific ques-
tions that won t result in yes or no answers,
such as "What s one thing I could improve?"
And press your manager for examples. A label
like "You need to be more assertive" is not
very helpful. Unpack the label by asking, "What
kinds of things should I do to be more assertive
(Adapted from "How to Get the Feedback
You Need," by Carolyn O Hara.)
Make sure your team's
work styles are balanced
As a leader, it s important to understand
your work style and the styles of your employ-
ees: Prioritisers focus on goals, deadlines and
facts. Planners ask how the project will be
delivered and completed.
Arrangers want to know who the stake-
holders are and who else should be involved.
Visualisers consider why the project matters
and what the end of the project will look like.
All four types of people bring a valuable per-
spective to the table, and companies need all
four types to remain competitive. Realistically,
your team probably won t have a balance of
all four styles, but you can bring on new mem-
bers or call in outside experts to bridge the
gaps. And if your team is heavily weighted
toward one or two styles, recognise the value
in balancing it. Work style diversity ensures
you ll have people focusing on both the big
picture and the details.
(Adapted from "Your Team May Have Too
Many Prioritizers and Planners," by Carson
A simple chart is a
The most unpersuasive thing you can do is
make a bad chart that frustrates people. Your
credibility suffers if people can t make sense
of your visual. So you want to avoid a couple
pitfalls. First, beware of complexity. If there s
too much information and no clear, salient
point that people can intuit, they tend to shut
down unless they have time to find your nar-
rative. Too many salient points fighting for
attention is often the result of poor design.
So when trying to make a persuasive chart,
keep in mind: "If everything is bold, nothing
is." Next, be wary of unusual chart treatments.
People often struggle with visuals that flout
convention --- for example, if you depict time
going right-to-left, or put values out of order
(very likely, not likely, somewhat unlikely,
somewhat likely). Any time people s expec-
tations are messed with, it requires cognitive
gymnastics to get things straight. If it s too
much of an effort, they ll give up.
(Adapted from "The Persuasiveness of a
Chart Depends on the Reader, Not Just the
Chart," by Scott Berinato.)
Know how to work with
People with low emotional intelligence, also
known as EQ, are generally harder to work
with they can be grumpier, more negative and
more erratic than average. But a few tactics
can help you collaborate with a low-EQ per-
• Be gentle. Just because someone is
unpleasant doesn t mean you have to be too.
In fact, you can become a calming agent for
low-EQ people if you make an effort to act
politely and kindly.
• Be explicit. Avoid social subtleties, or you
will be misinterpreted. Low-EQ individuals
are generally less capable of reading between
the lines, and their ability to decode others
intentions can be limited.
• Do not get offended. People with low EQ
are blunt. They have low interpersonal sen-
sitivity and find it hard to empathize with
others, so they may come across as politically
incorrect or overly direct. The key is not to
take things personally.
(Adapted from "How to Work With People
Who Aren t Good at Working With People," by
Get your team involved in
onboarding a new hire
If you want new employees to perform well,
you have to get them off to a good start. This
means getting help from your team. Assign
them the task of bringing their new teammate
up to speed, and have them share "collective
responsibility" for his success.
Ask one person to act as a sponsor, and
designate her to be the go-to person for when
the new teammate runs into problems. This
is good for the sponsor, who gets an oppor-
tunity to demonstrate leadership skills, and
the new employee, who can get feedback with-
out having to worry about asking his new
manager questions. Remember that the small-
est things count.
You want to make the onboarding expe-
rience memorable in a positive way --- ask
team members to coordinate so the new team-
mate doesn t eat lunch alone the first week.
(Adapted from "How to Get a New Employee
Up to Speed," by Sara Stibitz.)
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt SEPTEMBER 24 • 2015
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
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