When people feel connected to you, even difficult conversations feel less threatening.
Here are three tips to forge stronger bonds with your employees:
Relate whenever you can.
View every interaction as an opportunity to get to know someone a little better. Make a habit of asking employees one question about their work or their personal lives each time you encounter them.
Take note of subtleties.
People seek emotional connection through countless small “bids” for attention—questions, gestures, or looks. Take stock of how much you notice these cues . You might also solicit some feedback from friends and family on how well you listen and respond to social cues in general.
Regularly express appreciation.
Research shows that the ratio of positive to negative interactions is 5:1 in a successful relationship. You don’t need to pay someone five compliments before offering criticism, but do be mindful of the ratio.
Adapted from the HBR Guide to Coaching Your Employees.
If you have to put together an annual budget for your department, your compensation may depend on your ability to stick to it.
Here are three tips for creating a manageable budget:
If you aim to increase sales, make that your overriding concern. Don’t let other issues sidetrack you.
Don’t do it alone.
Include your team members in developing the budget — they may have knowledge about certain line items that you don’t.
Question your assumptions.
A budget should take current data, add assumptions, and create projections. Be careful about the assumptions you make and question how likely they are to come true. When you present the budget, you’ll need to be prepared to defend them.
Adapted from the Harvard ManageMentor Online Module: Financial Essentials.
You don’t have to raise your voice to appear to be yelling. There are many ways to inaudibly be aggressive: sending nasty emails, enlisting others to exert pressure, and escalating disputes to your boss, to name a few. Yelling, even when done quietly, betrays your frustration and anger, and certainly doesn’t encourage real understanding or acceptance of your message.
If you find yourself in a silent shouting match, restart and reframe the discussion. Take a step back and ask the other party to as well. Work backwards by asking questions like: What are our shared goals? What do we want to accomplish? From this defused spot, you have a much better chance of making progress.
Adapted from “Turn Down the Volume on Yelling!” by Ron Ashkenas.
A simple approach can help replace your slow deliberations with fast decisions.
Try this framework:
Know your ultimate objective. The biggest hurdle to fast decisions is criteria overload. Of the seven or eight possible objectives you would love to meet, which one or two will make the biggest impact? Consider which stakeholder you least want to disappoint—which goal would they care about most?
Get a second opinion. Asking one other person can broaden your frame of reference and help eliminate judgment errors. Plus, the act of explaining your situation anew often gives you fresh insights.
Do something. Select one option while letting go of all the other “good” ones. No amount of deliberation can guarantee that you have identified the “right” option, but remember: The purpose of a decision is not choose perfectly, but to get you to the next decision.
Adapted from “Make Good Decisions Faster,” by Nick Tasler.
As of iOS 6, YouTube is no longer a stock app. Conveniently, an official YouTube app was released in the App Store (initially only for iPhone, although a universal update was in the works too); download it here:
Have fun with your iPad!
Women’s leadership programs are helpful in accelerating women’s career aspirations. However, if not done correctly, they can reinforce negative stereotypes and actually hold women back.
Here are two stereotypes to avoid when working through these issues:
Most women make choices and tradeoffs throughout their career. If we expect women to “do it all,” they’ll likely feel overwhelmed by the impossibility. Increase the repertoire of role models so that women see there are different ways to get ahead.
“Woe is me.”
The glass ceiling may be a reality, but by focusing on a narrative that talks about how difficult it is to get ahead, you may be subconsciously setting women back. Be realistic about the challenges, but also share success stories of women who have overcome them.
Adapted from “Stop Stereotyping Female Leaders” by Athena Vongalis-Macrow and Andrea Gallant.
Admitting a mistake can fall flat if you apologize the wrong way. The victim of your screw-up does not want to hear about you.
Instead ask yourself: Who am I talking to, and what is he or she looking for in my apology?
* A stranger or mere acquaintance wants you to offer compensation or some redeeming action. Compensation can be tangible, like paying to repair your neighbor’s fence when you accidentally back your car into it, or emotional, like being extra thoughtful.
* Your colleague or friend wants empathy. When you recognize and express concern over the suffering you caused, the victim feels understood and valued, and trust is restored.
* Your team wants an acknowledgement of the rules and norms you violated.
Basically, you need to admit that you broke the code of behavior of your social group or organization, and that you recognize you let them down.
Adapted from “The Most Effective Ways to Make It Right When You Screw Up,” by Heidi Grant Halvorson.