02 Jul 2015 19:00 IST

To talk or not… solving the conundrum for managers

With T-GAME and ISAAC, you’ll have a winning hand

Our company was holding multiple brainstorming sessions to identify growth patterns. The ideas flowed thick and fast. As more and more voices made themselves heard, it became clear to me that the best thing I could do was not to keep on speaking as the “founder” but to listen instead.

The moment I sat back and listened deeply, I learnt so much more. I was able to let go of a whole line of business activity which was sapping the leadership’s energy and took the decision to start a new one that was in sync with our core service. Ever since, we are now a much happier and productive team.

Taking off from this learning, I am writing about five areas where it’s best for young professionals to remain silent and five other areas in which they should speak up — insights which have helped me a great deal.

T-GAME is the mnemonic to remember for silence

‘T’ simply stands for talk less, listen more. It truly helps one gather more information than would have been possible if you hadn’t held back your own words and given your team a chance to speak. It makes the other person feel you care and that his opinion counts, as you take notes or nod attentively. It also shows an important quality — empathy.

‘G’ is for gossip. It’s to be avoided! As a new member there will be many willing to carry stories from the grapevine. Don’t believe them unless you witness it yourself. Remain silent. When someone says, ‘She called him an idiot,’ don’t say ‘Is that so?’ or ‘I agree, he is a bit of an idiot’ or even ‘I don’t think he is an idiot, do you?’ Whatever you say will be rapidly reported back by this same nimble gossipmonger!

‘A’ is for arguments. This is on the ‘avoid’ list too. We never hear of a “cool” argument, do we? It is always a “heated” argument. It definitely creates heat and heartburn. The moment you see the temperature rising, rise from your chair, excuse yourself or say you will discuss this in a few minutes. Walk up to the water dispenser, pretend you have to take an urgent call, whatever, but do not speak while in argument mode. Silence is the only way to ensure you do not regret your words.

‘M’ is for monologue. As an enthusiastic player, you could easily fall into the trap of your own greatness and enjoy the sound of your own voice. Don’t continue to speak beyond a couple of minutes and don’t say the same thing in three different ways. If your audience looks blank, simply ask:‘Would you mind telling me in your own words what we have just discussed, so that we are on the same page?’ And let them talk…

‘E’ is for emotional outbursts that usually happen in haste and are repented at leisure. Don’t fall into that trap — silence is the only tool to help manage rising emotions. What goes up must come down, so the spike will come back to normality; till then let’s not speak. ‘How do you expect me to manage without speaking?’ you ask. ‘I have been hired for this role, for my superior communication skills, you know!’

True, speech is mandatory in some situations so know when to speak up, and to recall when uaw this acronym that also happens to be Sir Isaac Newton’s first name: ISAAC

ISAAC

‘IS’ stands for information sharing. Speak up and give your team succinct picture of the purpose of doing something, a clear idea of how it will look when it is done, and of people’s individual roles.

‘A’ is to acknowledge what the other person says verbally. People need to hear you say you hear them, they can’t guess the way your mind’s working. Make listening sounds, echo their words to them… “So you feel that we will do fine if we use this method? Okay, let’s try it Madhav, I am always willing to trust your judgement.”

‘A’ is to appreciate what someone does for you and vocalize this. In this situation, sign language and silence do not work. In Dale Carnegie’s words: “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”

It doesn’t swell your ego, it only swells potential.

‘C’ is to connect more by speaking to each person on a one-on-one basis. Words are imperative to build relationships. Know the ‘person’ behind the professional, their aspirations, interests, skills and desires. And share your own stories too. Human touch is very essential.

With ISAAC and T-GAME you can speak silently and the world is yours.

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