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BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt MARCH 2 • 2017
Show empathy for
As a leader, it's your job to create an em-
pathetic environment where everyone feels
valued. Here are a few simple things you can
do to show empathy for your team:
--- Observe, listen and ask questions. Stop
assuming that you know what people are think-
ing and feeling --- you probably don't. There's
always more to learn if you're quiet and curious.
--- Stop multitasking. If you're writing an
email to one person while talking with another,
neither one is getting the best of you. Give your
full attention to the person in front of you.
--- Don't give in to distractions. It's important
to slow down and take a step back from all of
the stress. Practice mindfulness, and encourage
your employees to do the same.
(Adapted from "If You Can't Empathise With
Your Employees, You'd Better Learn To," by An-
After a difficult
on what you learned
You've made it through a tough conversa-
tion. Perhaps you asked your boss for a raise
or gave tough feedback to a co-worker. Now
what? Before you move on, take time to think
through how it went.
Ask yourself: Do you feel proud of how you
managed the conversation? Or do you feel
embarrassed or let down? Did you meet the
goals you set out for the discussion? What do
you wish you had done differently?
This reflection will give you a sense of what
you should do next (perhaps you need to go
back to the person for a follow-up conversa-
tion) and will help you better prepare for future
(Adapted from "Difficult Conversations"
from the 20-Minute Manager Series.)
Write down what
you're feeling to
Research has shown that people who write
about emotionally charged episodes experi-
ence a marked increase in their physical and
When you're going through a tough time or
a big transition, try this exercise: Set a timer
for 20 minutes. Write down your emotional
experiences from the past week, month or
year. Don't worry about making it perfect or
readable; allow your mind to let go.
Use phrases such as "I have learned," "the
reason that," "I now realise" and "I under-
stand." These phrases help you contextualise
your emotions and gain perspective on why
you're feeling a certain way.
(Adapted from "3 Ways to Better Understand
Your Emotions," by Susan David.)
Make sure the
workload on your
team is even
It's important to be fair when divvying up
assignments so no one gets off easy or is over-
burdened. Set aside time to come up with a
plan that's balanced.
Write a list of the work that needs to get
done, and then assign the tasks according
to each team member's specific position and
When you brief your team on their new
tasks, clearly articulate your expectations so
that everyone knows exactly how to use their
skills. Talk to team members one-on-one
about their share of the collective workload,
and check in on their progress.
If a team member isn't carrying his weight,
address the issue quickly and directly.
(Adapted from "Make Sure Your Team's
Workload Is Divided Fairly," by Rebecca Knight.)
Build your own
personal board of
If you're looking to rise through your organ-
isation's ranks, but aren't sure how, consider
creating a personal board of directors. This in-
formal group comprises six to eight people who
can help with your professional development.
There are three types of people you should
First, you need fans---people who support
you and will deliver tough feedback with
Second, recruit potential sponsors---senior
leaders who can advocate for you when it's time
for a promotion.
Third, include at least one critic. These peo-
ple may be the toughest to approach, but they
can be the most valuable. If you enlist their
help, you may be able to shift the relationship
into a positive one and use their criticism to
(Adapted from "To Get Promoted, Get Feed-
back From Your Critics," by Sabina Nawaz.)
Immigrant legacy in business
40%: According to a study conducted in
2011 by the Partnership for a New American
Economy, about 40 per cent of Fortune 500
companies in the US were founded by immi-
grants or their children.
'Connected spenders' are
US$260 trillion: "Connected spenders"---or
those who have access to the internet, tend to
embrace consumer trends and are willing to
spend a lot of their discretionary income---are
expected to spend about US$260 trillion glob-
ally over the next 10 years.
Spotify's 'squad' mentality
2,000: Spotify, the Swedish music-stream-
ing company, is known for fostering an agile
mindset among its workers that can lead to
innovation. One way the company does this is
by organizing its more than 2,000 employees
into "squads" of no more than eight members.
These teams are self-organising and are able to
innovate without being excessively controlled.
Unused vacation adds up
$224 billion: A study commissioned by
the US Travel Association in 2014 found that
American workers had accrued about US$224
billion worth of unused vacation time. Gener-
ally, businesses pay out this unused time off
when employees leave.
Double the users every year
$30 billion: The home-sharing platform
Airbnb has doubled its user base every year
since 2012. The company is now worth about
US$30 billion; which is as much as the largest
hotel chain in the world, Marriott Internation-
al, is worth.
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