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Lend an ear

Communication is the cornerstone of an engaged workforce. A company’s workforce represents its most significant investment and ultimately determines the success or failure of the organization. Engaged employees are far more likely to demonstrate the dedication and commitment that are essential to the long-term growth of any company, large or small.* Communication should not be seen as a challenge but a way to enhance the performance of employees in an organization.

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It pays to listen

A team derives strength from the interactions of its members—the degree of fluidity in their communication and the understanding they have of each other. What then is the ideal framework that builds such an environment? Undoubtedly, empathy, and listening skills that bolster it.

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A thumb rule

Listening, an important life skill, is crucial in communicating and building one’s business. It is a skill that defines competence and should be given more importance by leaders.

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A much-needed leadership skill

Seth S Horowitz, author of The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind, in an article in the New York Times, writes, “Hearing, in short, is easy… It’s your life line, your alarm system, your way to escape danger and pass on your genes. But listening, really listening, is hard when potential distractions are leaping into your ears every fifty-thousandth of a second.” When it comes to leaders, listening becomes a more difficult task for they need to be both effective and passionate listeners.

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Celebrate it more often

In an earlier interview with The Smart Manager, author Hap Klopp explained why Silicon Valley companies are a class apart—they recognize the fact that excellence is only achieved via radical action, and that radical action has an incrementally higher probability of failure. They keep ‘failure’ in perspective and do not let it overwhelm them.
It is not something to be averse to—‘failure’ could be the winning mantra if seen as a strategic step along the growth path.

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Stepping stones

John Lunney, Sue Lueder, and Gary O’Connor of Google write in an article on re:Work, “We use postmortems to carefully document and disseminate learnings from any mistakes… A postmortem is the process our team undertakes to reflect on the learnings from our most significant undesirable events… For us, it’s not about pointing fingers at any given person or team, but about using what we’ve learned to build resilience and prepare for future issues that may arise along the way.”* It is this attitude that startups and entrepreneurs need to develop to face failures and bounce back.

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How to tame your ‘victim voice’

Our lives often take unexpected turns—landing us in difficult situations, fighting unforeseen odds. However, rarely do we comprehend that what has led to the crisis could be our own flawed approach and we wallow in self-pity. It takes a lot of courage and self-belief to accept and acknowledge that the fault lines lie within.

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A case for a second chance

A 2016 Harvard Business Review article refers to Pixar’s president Ed Catmull’s view on mistakes. “They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new….and should be seen as valuable.”*
‘Failure’ is a relative term, but there is one aspect that is almost universal: flight from failure. One needs to overcome this temptation—to succeed.

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Fight it young

According to a research study report by Chestnut Global Partners India and SHRM India, chronic, and lifestyle-related health issues are growing rapidly among the so-called ‘Young India workforce’. It is predicted that by 2025, India will have more than 57 percent of the population suffering from diabetes.1 Another study by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that millennials joining the workforce felt more under pressure at work than their baby boomer colleagues, with 28 percent stating that working through stress was expected in their job.2 Arianna Huffington founded Thrive Global to eradicate stress from organizations by providing science-based solutions. In an exclusive interview with The Smart Manager, Dr Marcus Ranney sheds light on workplace stress for millennials and how organizations can enhance productivity by prioritizing individual
well-being.

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Entitlement, a millennial problem?

“It’s easy to measure diversity: It’s a simple matter of headcount. But quantifying feelings of inclusion can be dicey. Understanding that narrative along with the numbers is what really draws the picture for companies.”*
What is the true measure of inclusivity, especially when multiple generations are at work? How can businesses stop lamenting over the lack of sameness and start leveraging the strength of differences?

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