Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Self Confidence Story

The business executive was deep in debt and could see no way out. Creditors were closing in on him. Suppliers were demanding payment. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy.

Suddenly an old man appeared before him.

I can see that something is troubling you, he said.
After listening to the executive's woes, the old man said,
I believe I can help you

He asked the man his name, wrote out a check, and pushed it into his hand saying,
Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time.
Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.

The business executive saw in his hand a check for $500,000, signed by John D. Rockefeller, then one of the richest men in the world!

I can erase my money worries in an instant!

He realized. But instead, the executive decided to put the uncashed check in his safe. Just knowing it was there might give him the strength to work out a way to save his business, he thought..With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals and extended terms of payment. He closed several big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again.

Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the uncashed check.

At the agreed-upon time, the old man appeared. But just as the executive was about to hand back the check and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man.
Iâm so glad I caught him! she cried.
I hope he hasn't been bothering you. He is always escaping from the rest home and telling people he is John D. Rockefeller.
And she led the old man away by the arm.
The astonished executive just stood there, stunned. All year long he had been wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, convinced he had half a million dollars behind him.

Suddenly, he realized that it wasn't the money, real or imagined, that had turned his life around. It was his newfound self-confidence that gave him the power to achieve anything he went after

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tears And Fears: Dealing With A Crying Colleague

Unless you're on the set of Days of Our Lives, crying is generally something we all try to avoid at work. But, try as we might, it happens, and when it does, it's pretty awkward—not only for the crier, but for everyone nearby.

As a manager, I was faced with the uncomfortable responsibility of calming a crying employee on several occasions, and while never would be too soon for me to want to do it again, I did pick up some valuable insight on handling an upset employee or colleague.

The Golden Rule

Now, as uncomfortable as you might be, the first and most important consideration when you're staring into the welling eyes of a colleague is empathy. I know, sounds obvious. But the first time one of my employees started to cry in front of me—and the entire team—my first reaction was nearly laughter. I was so surprised, not to mention completely unprepared to handle the situation, that all I could think to do was burst out laughing.

Of course, this would've been the absolute worst thing to do, and thankfully, I was able to compose myself by remembering what it felt like the last time I was caught crying. It's hard to know how any one of us will react when put in this awkward position, but remember the golden rule, and start thinking about how you'd want to be treated if the tables were turned. I guarantee being laughed at won't be involved.

Change the Scenery
Having an employee cry in front of the whole team isn't good for the group, and obviously, isn't good for the employee. So, at the first sign of trouble, it's a great idea to guide that person to a more private area. A spare office or conference room works great, but avoid the bathroom at all costs if you plan on having any sort of discussion with your employee. It's fine if she needs to compose herself, but save the talking for a more professional atmosphere that doesn't involve an echo and running water.

The change of scenery approach works even if you're already in a secluded place. I had the unfortunate duty of firing one of my employees several years ago, and when I gave him the bad news, he burst into tears. We were already about as far away from the rest of the team as we could get, so moving to a new room wasn't an option. So, instead, I grabbed some tissue, and asked him to stand up and walk over to the window with me so we could decompress a bit, hoping the movement would help calm his nerves. It worked, and I've used it every time I've encountered this since. Even if it means just turning your chairs around, the change in scenery can help change the emotional context just long enough for your employee to catch his or her breath, and hopefully, will keep the waterworks to a minimum.

Talk Through the Tears

As awkward as it may be—and trust me, it will be—sometimes the best thing to do for a crying colleague is just let her get it out of her system. Turns out, trying to put a lid on whatever emotions triggered the crying in the first place might just make it worse.

My first solo experience with a crying employee came not long after I started as her manager, and I was pretty focused on establishing myself as an authoritative figure. While I certainly wanted to make her feel better, professionally, it felt awkward to have a good old-fashioned chat to find out what was wrong. So, I pulled her into the hallway and gently asked her to take a few minutes to compose herself in a nearby conference room.

Turns out, that was the exact wrong thing to do. She completely fell apart right there in the hallway, and started crying uncontrollably. Horrified (for both of us), I took her to the conference room myself, and sat down with her and let my instincts take over. I asked her what was wrong, and amazingly, that's all it took for her to collect herself.

While the simple act of talking can help calm emotions, it also helps create a bond with your colleague. Although I never did get used to someone crying in the office, this particular employee felt comfortable enough to pull me aside in the future, to chat (and cry) things out away from the group, which made life a lot easier for both of us.

Business As Usual

Last but not least, there's the business of how to react once the tears have dried. Depending on the situation, your employee may be ready to return to his or her desk after regaining composure, and the rest of your team may be a little unsure of how to proceed. After all, while you and your colleague were away, your team was likely coming up with all sorts of conclusions as to what prompted the crying in the first place. Was someone fired? Did someone die? No doubt, inquiring minds will want to know.

Unfortunately for the curious ones, it's none of their business, and unless your employee specifically gives you permission to discuss something with the group, he or she needs to know what was shared with you stays that way. Which means, you need to get the team back to business.

In my experience, doing a quick walk-through, asking for status updates on everyone's projects, and reminding them of upcoming deadlines is a surefire way to get the team back on track. If necessary, find a way to hang around close by all day—nothing fizzles gossip like a manager on the floor.

We all cry for different reasons, so it makes sense that, regrettable as it may be, eventually it's going to happen in the office. So, if it happens to someone on your team, remember we're all human, and do your best to help both of you save a little face (and a few tears in the process).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


By  Vinod Bidwaik

We live in the world of passwords. It starts in the morning when we go in the office. Entry in the office is through your swipe card or thumb impression. It is one type of password embedded technology clubbed with your swipe card or thumb. Once you enter into the office, you laptop or desktop ask the password. You have to enforce to change the password after certain period. Your web based mails have password. Every web site you entered asks registration and you are forced to generate the password. Your ESS (employee self service) has password. Your ERP/SAP access has the password.  You have your Face book account, Gmail account and subsequent passwords.  If you forget the password and you tried to enter the wrong password, your account gets blocked in certain cases. 

In your personal life, you have password for your ATM card, net banking, your housing loan account, D-mat accounts. And if you have multiple accounts, you have numbers of passwords. These accounts and passwords have made the life easy. Everything is on the tip of your finger. Just enter the account and password and have the access to whole world.

But sometimes, it is chaotic. The issue is how to mange and remember these all passwords. People try to make the combination of their beloved persons, birthdates etc. But these can be dangerous when somebody cracks your password, especially in case of your banking account.     

When you forget these passwords, you become anxious. You feel powerless.

We have everything on our laptop. We have access for everything in the world. We feel powerful with this all. We are confident and knowledgeable. We speak on phone, we communicate through e-mails, we update our status on Facebook, and we chat on the communicator. But when we encountered with somebody face to face, we do not have words to share. We have the accounts and password for everything, but we do not have the password for understanding the person seating before us. We know the status of our friend working in another city on Facebook, but we do not know the status of our neighbor who may be in need.

“I share everything on phone and update everything to my wife; she also does the same thing. But when we go at home, nothing is left for sharing, we spend our time watching TV or working on computer.” One of the friends was sharing his experience. “Then, why don’t ask the questions to your wife and kid, at least then will have something. And keep something to share at home.” I suggested.            

We have become so addicted to these smart gadgets that we are losing human interaction and spice in our life. People are either on laptops, ipads, or on phones updating status and checking mails or playing with them. We don’t understand that these gadgets are complementary to make our life simple and not the substitute to the relations.

If we ignore this fact of life, the day will come when somebody will update the status of your death on the virtual community. Virtual community will speak online about you. They will post responses about you. Online community will express condolences on the post.  But you will not have anybody at your bedside. Somebody “hired personnel” from the hospital will do your last rituals.  

Just try to get the password for making life more meaningful and interactive.