A new Acer Chromebook with a touchscreen can be yours for $129 at Walmart

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Save $170: As of Oct. 22, the 11.6-inch Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is nearly 57% off at Walmart, dropping the price to $129 plus free shipping.


Cheap laptops are looking to be a hot Black Friday item again in 2021.

Retailers are already touting deals on Chromebooks near the $100 price point, like Walmart’s monster $170 discount on the Acer Chromebook Spin 311. The laptop, originally $299, is down to $129.

Acer’s Chromebook Spin 311 has earned a flood of compliments from tech publishers and average buyers alike. It looks like a smaller version of another of our favorite Chromebooks for kids (the Chromebook Spin 713), switching out the large, heavy build for a compact frame and 11.6-inch screen.

What really matters is that it’s still an HD touchscreen, and is more than capable enough to handle everyday projects and streaming. Plus, you’ll get up to 15 hours of battery life on one charge.

Chromebooks are probably best known for operating almost exclusively in the cloud. Most anything you do is automatically backed up on Google Drive, and updates are typically automatic. Chromebooks are a particularly smart choice for kids who haven’t gotten the hang of saving stuff yet.

Antivirus software also isn’t a dire need in Chromebooks like it is in other laptops. Not only is malware targeted at Chrome even less frequently than at than Macs (which aren’t as immune as you might think, but we digress), but Google’s operating system was designed to protect itself as well. Every web page or Chrome app runs its own sandbox, essentially ensuring that other parts of the computer won’t be compromised even if that page gets hacked or “infected.” If something bad were to happen, closing the page can often wipe the threat.


Acer Chromebook Spin 311

Credit: Acer

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FaceTime helps Good Samaritan rescue opossum on streets of NYC

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Deborah Altman was walking with a friend in the trendy downtown NYC neighborhood of SoHo when something caught her eye.

It was an opossum huddled in the corner of a building on Grand Street. (Possums and opossums are different animals but the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. It’s confusing.) Seeing the scared helpless animal, Altman, a product manager who lives in Brooklyn, immediately thought of her own dog, who she had rescued as a puppy, and felt compelled to help.

Having rescued a chipmunk last year, Altman knew to contact a wildlife expert and found a list of contacts through the New York State website. When she eventually connected with Michelle Ashkin, a licensed New York State wildlife rehabilitator, she figured her part was over.

“I was expecting that I just needed to make the call and report it and they’d come down and pick it up,” said Altman. But Ashkin is one of only a handful of wildlife rehabbers in the city and gets calls from all over the five boroughs. Because of situations like this, “one of the responsibilities [of wildlife rehabbers] is to help the public when they come across wildlife,” said Ashkin, who has over 20 years of experience. “We let them know what the risks are, and if they want to rescue the animal, guide them how to do it as safe as possible for them and the animal.”

So she asked Altman if she would be comfortable rescuing the opossum herself and bringing it to a wildlife clinic uptown. According to The Humane Society, “rabies is extremely rare in opossums,” and although they sometimes hiss, it’s just “bluffing behavior.” It was clear to Altman that the poor little guy was just lost and scared. So she agreed to do it.

It probably just got lost trying to get a cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery.

It probably just got lost trying to get a cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery.
Credit: Deborah Altman

Since bringing an opossum onto the subway wouldn’t be such a great idea, Ashkin also offered to send Altman money on Venmo for the cost of the cab ride.

To be clear, Altman had stuff to do that day. She had plans. Plans that didn’t include trapping small mammals on busy city sidewalks. But her conscience won over. “I remember being like, ‘If I don’t do it, who else is going to do it.'”

Once Altman agreed to help, she found a discarded cardboard box on the curb, and ran back to the opossum still huddled in the building corner. She called Ashkin back on FaceTime and propped her phone on the ledge of a pillar.

In the past, Ashkin had to rely on verbal descriptions and photos to assess the situation. But six months ago she got a call about an injured squirrel in Queens, and it occurred to her to use FaceTime. “They were able to show me where it was and I was able to see this condition, and I was able to tell them right away what to do,” she said. “It eliminates a lot of guesswork.”

The practice has become “commonplace with many in the field,” said John Griffin, senior director of Urban Wildlife Programs at The Humane Society.

“We have advocated for the use of images and video chat to help with ascertaining injury or orphan status,” he said.

Jessica Zorge of Raptor Tales Rescue in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, told the MetroWest Daily News that she uses FaceTime to confirm if a bird really needs help.

Being able to do that from a distance is important, she said, because if there are “50 people around one baby owl that’s just trying to survive, the parents really can’t get close and feed it and keep it going.”

Back in SoHo, Ashkin began to walk Altman through the steps.

“I felt comfortable saying to her approach it from behind. Take it with your sweatshirt, or whatever you are willing to take it with, and sort of wrap it up and place it in the box.”

After a few nervous attempts, Altman was able to wrap her jacket around the opossum and put it safely and securely in the box. In typical NYC fashion, said Altman, people walking by didn’t seem phased by a woman trying to trap a wild animal. With the opossum contained, Altman hung up and went off to find a cab.

Initially determined keep it a secret to the cab driver, she came clean and explained everything when he flat out asked her what was in the box. To her relief, he was very supportive. “This guy and I talked the whole time,” she said. “About all kinds of stuff — animals and pets and health and healing.”

After a $35 cab ride uptown, Altman and the opossum finally arrived at the Wild Bird Fund, a nonprofit that rehabilitates birds and other wildlife. Staff members thanked her and informed her that they would make sure the opossum was healthy and then release him into the wild in upstate New York.

Throughout the experience, Altman says it was Ashkin’s guidance over FaceTime that empowered her to do it.

“She made me feel comfortable and safe and that I was totally able to just grab a wild animal off the Soho street and get it the help that it needed.”

Ashkin says the technology has been a great tool in not only helping save wildlife, but as a reassuring presence for people who are understandably nervous about handling wild animals. “I think when you stay on the phone with someone, it gives them… a little sense of comfort.”

If you find an animal in need, Ashkin says do not try and move the animal or give it food or drink. And definitely don’t try to keep it as a pet. You might not know what’s wrong with it and could end up doing more harm than good. Instead, you should immediately call a wildlife rehabilitator.

And maybe clear your schedule for the day.

The best Instant Pot and multicooker deals for Black Friday 2021

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UPDATE: Oct. 22 2021, 11:55 a.m. EDT This story has been updated to include the latest deals.

Looking for an Instant Pot this Black Friday but don’t know which one is best for you? Here are the best multicooker deals as of Oct. 22:


If this year is anything like years past, we expect Instant Pots and other multicookers like the Ninja Foodi to be hot items this Black Friday — meaning there will be big discounts as we get closer to the official shopping holiday.

But with big sales comes big demand, and considering the supply chain issues the world is facing in 2021, your best bet to score an Instant Pot this shopping season will be to get one early.

Which Instant Pots will be on sale for Black Friday?

Last year brought us killer deals like a $49 Instant Pot Viva and a $79 six-quart Instant Pot Duo Crisp, and this year we’re expecting similarly good deals on Instant Pots, Ninja Foodis, and other multicookers. The $79 Duo Crisp deal will almost definitely be back, and we’re expecting to see big discounts on the higher-end Instant Pot models too, like the Instant Pot Pro, Pro Crisp, and Smart WiFi.

How to buy an Instant Pot on Black Friday

In years past, shoppers have thrown elbows in stores to snag a deal on an Instant Pot, but that all changed with last year’s completely virtual Black Friday. This year, supply chain holdups mean that in-demand products like Instant Pots might be hard to get ahold of — forcing you to virtually throw hands with other shoppers to snag one.

To help you avoid any virtual fighting, our best tip is to shop these products early. While that may mean you won’t be able to snag the $79 Duo Crisp, there are tons of other early deals that you can take advantage of. Buying early and spending a few bucks extra is definitely better than showing up Instant Pot-less to your holiday gathering.

To help you secure your multicooker this year, we’ve rounded up some of the best early Black Friday deals on them. Don’t fret if a pot you like isn’t on sale yet, this page will be updated frequently through Cyber Monday with the latest prices and stock info to help you upgrade your kitchen with the ideal do-it-all pressure cooker (so be sure to check back regularly).

Instant Pot fanatics will definitely want to upgrade to the fancy-schmancy Instant Pot Pro. It comes with 28 smart cooking settings, five customizable “favorite” program settings, a stovetop-safe pot insert, and a sleek charcoal exterior. This pot is just as good at looking good on your countertop as it is at pressure cooking, slow cooking, and more. Plus, at just $5 above the lowest Amazon price we’ve seen, now is the ideal time to cop one for the upcoming gifting season.


Instant Pot Pro

Credit: Instant Pot

A step up from the base duo model, you’ll get two added functions with the Duo Plus— sterilize and sous vide — that are perfect for the ambitious home cook. It also features a handy cooking progress bar, so you’ll always know exactly what’s going on inside your pot (and know exactly when your food will be ready).


Instant Pot Duo Plus six quart

Credit: Instant Pot

$129.99 is a solid deal for a new Ninja Foodi FD101 — for reference, we saw a refurbished version of this model for the same price at Amazon. With 10-in-1 functionality, the ability to air fry, and a roomy five-quart capacity, this multicooker will quickly become a kitchen workhorse. It fits a four-pound chicken or two pounds of French fries with ease, and comes with a broiling rack to layer up — perfect for making large meals.


Ninja foodi pressure cooker

Credit: Ninja

Other great deals

WALMART

AMAZON

BEST BUY

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This post will be updated continuously throughout the holiday shopping season.

Want to start a podcast? These Blue microphones are on sale.

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Check out these savings on Blue microphones at Amazon of as Oct. 22:


When you’re spending hours on working on content to show the world, whether that’s YouTube videos, Twitch streams, or a podcast, you’re also looking for ways to set your work apart. Sure, having a unique idea can help you stand out, but throwing in some good production value certainly doesn’t hurt.

One simple way to up your game? Getting that sweet, crystal clear sound from a USB microphone. It may seem obvious (especially if you’re in the podcast game), but nice audio is an almost surefire way to give your content a more professional air. And as of Oct. 22, Blue USB microphones are on sale at Amazon.

Though they may look a little fancy at first glance, these mics are made for plugging and playing, so they’re great for beginner content creators and veterans alike. Here are three of our favorite picks from the sale plus what they bring to the table, so you can find the mic that works best for you.

Yes, the most expensive pick on this list is also our top pick, but we promise it’s not without good reason. The Blue Yeti is one of Blue’s top-selling mics and Amazon’s top-selling computer microphone. Here’s why: First, this microphone can capture sound in four different pickups (cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, and stereo), which is especially useful for tailoring how you’re capturing audio for the type of content you’re making. How you might want to record yourself sitting in front of a computer while you stream, for instance, differs from how you and a friend sitting across a table might want to record yourselves a podcast. In either case, three condensers and a gain control knob right on the mic helps your audio come out nice and crisp. And you’ll be able to monitor that easily since you can plug your headphones right into the mic and listen as you record. Basically, the Yeti is an all-around solid choice that’s currently sitting at a pretty impressive price point — and it comes it fun different colors. What more could you want?


a blue blue yeti mic

Credit: Blue

As passionate as you might be about your new Twitch channel, maybe you’re not prepared to drop $100 on a mic, and that’s totally valid. The good news is, you can still squeeze out some pretty good sound quality with the Blue Snowball Ice. This mic uses a cardioid pickup pattern only, which means it’s great at capturing sound from someone sitting right in front of it. In other words, it’ll function well for streamers, podcasters, or even people who want to add a little something extra to their work calls. It has a cool retro-design and an adjustable stand so you can position the mic just how you need it. It may not have all the fancy bells and whistles (or a place to plug your headphones in directly) but this price point offers a much lower threshold of entry to get a sound quality that will be a vast improvement over your computer’s built-in microphone.


black blue snowball ice microphone

Credit: Blue

If you’re not quite ready to grab the Yeti but want something will a little more heft than the Snowball Ice, the Yeti Nano is your best bit. Think Yeti, but a little smaller (both in size and features list). With this mic, you get two pickup patterns — cardioid and omnidirectional — and two condensers to help deliver quality audio. It comes with a headphone output and a desktop app for your gain controls. Plus, if your desk doesn’t offer a ton of space for a new mic setup, no worries — this little guy takes up minimal real estate. As a cool bonus, the mic also comes with the Blue VO!CE software, which lets you mess around with some fun voice modulations. Between these three mics, the Nano’s features and price definitely solidify it as the solid middle ground choice.


gray blue yeti nano mic

Credit: Blue

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Does My Boss Hate Me?

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image

You may have often found yourself thinking: “does my boss hate me?”, “why does my manager always seem to prioritize my coworker over me?”, “why did my boss give me such a terrible evaluation?” and so on. 

It’s easy to spiral and reach the conclusion that your boss really does hate you. 

However, there is a fair chance that isn’t true. 

Your boss’ expectations may just be different from yours. Your line of thinking may not align with each other’s. Or you may just be misinterpreting his or her behavior towards you. 

In attempt to take this burden off your mind—or at least, lessen it—we present to you a few tips that will help you deal with this predicament.  

Understand your manager’s requirements 

First and foremost, it is important to understand what your boss wants, so you can produce results accordingly. Listen to them carefully, ask questions wherever you are not clear on something, and make sure you have a complete grasp of the requirements. If you put in your best work and follow the given guidelines carefully, your boss is likely to be satisfied. And most importantly, your mind will be clear of any self-doubts and you will be confident in the results. 

Ask the 3 whys to understand the motivation of your boss behind a requirement. Why does she want that? Ask her. This will give you a perspective of where that piece of work is going to fit in the larger picture. You will better be able to grasp which bits are important and which are not. Hence, you would be better aligned with your boss that way. 

Take initiative  

However, following instructions and doing how you’re told does not mean that you should shy away from taking initiative. If you propose new ideas and come up with new strategies and suggestions, your boss will be able to notice the amount of interest you have in your work, and will thus will be inclined to appreciate you and see you as a valuable member of the team.  

Don’t take criticism to heart 

If your boss criticizes your work, don’t take it to heart. Remember, they have nothing personal against you. They see potential in you (which is why they decided to hire you in the first place!) and now they want to polish your skills even further—which, in most cases, requires extensive feedback on their part.

Thus, the criticism is not to belittle you, but to build your skillset and bring about improvements in the work you produce. They want to see you do better, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If anything, it reflects on their inclination to see you grow.  

Don’t let your work get affected 

Don’t let negative thoughts or doubts about your manager’s opinions on you affect your work! Put in your best effort at all times, and remember that your hard work will never go waste. There will always be someone out there who will be appreciating it, even if that one supervisor doesn’t. 

Talk to your boss 

In cases when you feel that your boss is putting you down for no reason or showing clear bias against you, it might be a good idea to talk to them. Be open, honest and transparent. Let them know that you think they are being unfair in their approach and propose suggestions on how that particular issue can be resolved. Even if a plausible solution doesn’t work out, at the very least your boss will become aware of your sentiments. 

Exert your presence 

Build your presence in team meetings. Don’t be afraid to speak up. The more you participate, the more reason your boss will have to value you and your input. Drop into your boss’ office from time to time, even if it just to say hello. Try to show him or her that you are investing effort to construct a professional relationship with them—this will encourage them to do the same.  

Introspect 

Introspect. Is there anything you could potentially be doing wrong? Is there any room for improvement in your work? Could you change anything in your own behavior towards your boss? It’s easy to always see oneself in the clear and think the issue is from the other end, but doing some self-reflection never hurts.  

To improve communication and collaboration between your boss and yourself, propose using a test management tool like Kualitee, to your team lead. With this tool, your boss will be able to assign tasks with clear responsibility and timelines—this would help in setting expectations right, and thus lower potential points of contention!  

10 Ways to Keep Yourself Energized While Working

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Sitting for hours working on that one code, that you just cannot seem to get right, can drain you out.  

The amount of stress that comes with testing that new application is bad enough. 

Don’t even get us started about the feeling of sheer frustration one feels upon being handed over yet another bug—right when you were thinking that you would go to bed early tonight. 

Scenarios like these can be tough to deal with, especially when you are running low on energy. 

Need tips on how to keep your energy levels up, while working? Read on.  

1. Take frequent breaks 

Working for long periods of time at a stretch will be bound to drain you out. Don’t forget to take small breaks in between—you can schedule them according to your tasks, or just get up and stretch for a bit after every hour or so. Catching a breather every now and then is very important! It is also a common notion that peak performance occurs when you do 1.5 hours of uninterrupted work followed by a 15 minutes break. 

2. Stock up on your snacks 

Bring a bunch of quick snacks with you at work, to keep you going throughout the day. Try to make sure it is healthy though—this will also help you focus better on work. Some easy and yummy options are bananas, nuts, yogurt, granola bars, fresh fruit, cheese sticks, egg sandwiches, dark chocolate etc. You can bring these snacks from home, or make a trip to a nearby grocery store from the office, if feasible.  

3. Get enough sleep 

We have all heard about the importance of getting a full 8 hours sleep. And that is the right advice. It is only if you get proper sleep during the night that you will be able to stay alert during your work hours throughout the day. Set a routine for yourself; with fixed timings that will help you stick to a regular pattern of sleep hours. 

4. Keep your work station clean 

According to research, an unorganized workplace is linked to lower productivity levels. Keeping your desk and surroundings clean will help you keep organized and generate an undisturbed work environment. This will motivate you to work harder and stay more productive during the day, as opposed to working at a desk that is so messy that it takes hours to find one document alone! 

5. Use Task Management Tools 

Just like organizing your table keeps you productive, sorting and organizing different tasks helps you work on one thing and stop fretting over the many other things that are yet to be done. A good task management tool, like Kualitee, can help by assigning tasks to team members, using task manager to clearly visualize your tasks, etc. This ensures that your mind, like your table, is uncluttered, calm and focused. This also prevents energy leakage. 

6. Don’t forget your breakfast! 

It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, follow that advice. Eating healthy breakfast in the morning leads to better concentration throughout the day, and also keeps you energized. Try to have a protein-packed breakfast—who doesn’t love scrambled eggs? If you don’t have time to eat a proper breakfast before rushing off to work, grab a banana or cereal bar for along the way! 

7. Practice deep breathing 

Think of deep breathing as a reset button. One example of a breathing exercise is square breathing. Do this several times day. It will help clear your mind, lower stress levels, and bring you back in focus for the task you are currently working on, as well as bring you clarity of mind in preparation for upcoming assignments.  

8. Rest your eyes 

Staring at a screen the entire day long trying to figure out that code can put a lot of strain on your eyes. To avoid heavy strain, make sure to look away from the screen after brief moments. You can try the 20-20-20 rule; after every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away, for about 20 seconds. You can also purchase computer glasses that block blue light from the screen, or practice some simple eye exercises. 

9. Exercise 

Exercise is a great way to boost energy. Even if you are unable to do so at the office, try exercising daily at some point of the day for at least 30 minutes. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an intense workout; doing stretching exercises, going for a quick run or walk, playing badminton with your kids, and so on, are some good (and fun) ways to exercise as well. Regular exercise is positively linked with higher concentration levels, less stress, higher productivity, and better attention spans as well.  

10. Stay hydrated! 

Drinking water regularly throughout your day at work (or any day for that matter) must not be neglected. Besides keeping you hydrated, drinking water also helps improve your concentration, prevent headaches, lubricate your eyes, keep you alert—amongst many other benefits. 

Be mindful of these quick and easy tips, to keep your energy levels up at work. A full day of work, particularly when you are working in the capacity of a tester or developer that required utmost focus, can tend to get very draining, so you have to do your best to maintain your energy.  

Things You Wish You Knew Before About Test Scenarios

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Test Scenario creation is nothing new in the testing industry, but several testers still have ambiguities about the concept. So, what is a Test Scenario and why should you create it? Let’s find out:

How do you define a Test Scenario?

Test scenarios are basically anticipated modules or features that need to be tested. Also known as test suite/ test set, a Test Scenario may consist of one, two, or more Test Cases.

These are often confused with test cases while the latter is an actionable series of steps and conditions. 

Simply speaking, a test scenario is a brief documentation about how an end-user might use an application. It is a crucial part of test management activity in which user experience is closely analyzed, and is called for in-depth testing. Several test cases are bunched into a Scenario. 

Why are test scenarios important?

Test scenarios provide the ultimate basis for the stakeholders to meet anticipated app functionality and revenue results. 

Test Scenarios are important sources to verify the performance of the system under test according to the real-world scenarios; this helps achieve app consistency after its release for public use. They help in deciding the end-to-end user interaction with the app or the intended product use. 

Below are some strong reasons on how good test scenarios add more value to your system under test: 

  • Helps in achieving maximum test coverage and traceability matrix.
  • Covers almost every system aspect that should be tested before the public product release. 
  • Helps in estimating the required testing effort or labor force, and organizing the testing process. 
  • Allows you to figure the crucial user flows, further aligning and prioritizing the testing efforts.
  • May be taken as an acting proposal for the client.
  • Validates if the system under test (SUT) works fine under every Test Case.
  • Helps In improving the entirety of user experience (UX).

Pro tip: For better assemblage and sorting of test scenarios, use data-driven test management tools such as Kualitee.

Who writes test scenarios?

Test conditions and steps are usually approved by Business Analysts or QA leads. In general, testers are given the task to create test scenarios for all cases, particularly when dealing with intricate and sensitive applications from the Banking, Financial, Healthcare, or Paramedics sector.

How to create a test scenario

Following are the basic steps for creating a well-rounded test scenario:

  • Study the requirement document which includes Business Requirement Specification (BRS),  Software Requirement Specification (SRS), and Functional Requirement Specification (FRS) related to the system under test.
  • Keenly study each requirement in isolation and understand important areas that require testing. Identify the possible issues pertaining to the specification. Furthermore, carefully examine and frame vulnerable app sections from the hacker’s point of view.
  • Specify and list test scenarios that include every possible feature, user flow, and business logic of the SUT.  
  • After classifying the test scenarios, build a Traceability Matrix that reflects the cardinality and many-to-many relationship between all software components.
  • Get the set of scenarios analyzed by the QA Manager and then forward them to the rest of the stakeholders steering the project wheels.

Pro tip: To keep it simple, create one test scenario per requirement or user story. If a test scenario is expected to serve multiple requirements, then make sure to check each requirement beforehand separately. Otherwise, you may skip some critical modules or functions.  

Test management tools for test scenario creation 

There are plenty of test case management tools like Kualitee that provide ease of work while you deal with uncountable feature requirements. 

In the snapshot below, you can see the separate spaces for different information. You can write what needs to be tested for the right functionality checks. Create as many lists of test scenarios for different test case types. This helps you and keep your test case management super aligned and in control. 

When not to use test scenarios?

Despite the value of test scenarios, you may not have to create them in the following situations: 

  • In the moments of urgency, or when testing an unstable software product. It is a waste of time to create comprehensive test scenarios for an unstable product, because the requirements will likely change after the software achieves stability
  • When a project is based more on exploratory testing patterns and testers follow an unstructured approach due to frequent change requests.
  • Sometimes the quantity of test scenarios becomes unmanageable and costly to execute. In such cases, it is better to prioritize test case executions based on end-user or client preferences.

Can You Be a ‘Soft’ Manager and Still Get Work Done?

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Being a good leader and having your team finish their work in time does not mean you have to come across as obnoxious or demanding. If anything, the more understanding and relatable you are, the more your team members are bound to respect you and resonate with you. 

To be an effective leader, it is very important to know how to strike the perfect balance between being gentle, yet firm. 

If you are outright harsh and fond of giving orders and exercising an authoritative demeaner, chances are that your team members will get fed up of you even before they finish the tasks that you have so assertively told them to complete within the hour. 

On the other hand, if you are empathetic, flexible, and can communicate smoothly to your team, they would naturally be more inclined to listen to you. 

However, being too soft isn’t going to help your case either. 

You don’t want to be so lenient that that your team takes advantage of you, or walks all over you. 

This brings us to the question: how do you embody the right amount of both qualities? 

1. Learn the art of communication 

Hate your team member’s idea? Instead of belittling her with a barrage of harsh criticism, you can portray your thoughts in a friendly manner—one that isn’t condescending. It will get the message across, without making them feel bad. Be receptive to new ideas (even if you think yours is the best!). Choose your words carefully. Don’t raise your voice. Be mindful of your tone—be sure it is not patronizing! 

2. Don’t emphasize your superiority 

A good leader does not remind their team all the time that they are in the lead. Don’t worry, your team is already aware of that. Instead of thinking yourself as being superior to your team, try to not create strong hierarchies. Sit down with your team during brainstorming sessions, have lunch with them once in a while, help them out with their tasks whenever you see them struggling. Break the barrier that exists between you and them—enhance your approachability.  

3. Don’t forget to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ 

Being a manager does not mean that you throw your manners outside the window. When you have to appoint a new task to a team member, instead of saying “you need to get this done by 5 p.m. sharp”, try saying “can you please get this done by 5 p.m.?” Similarly, it would also be nice to thank them after they finish their tasks. Sure, it’s their job, but a little kindness goes a long way—and will manifest in their motivation levels. 

4. Ask for feedback on your leadership style 

This will not only help you become aware of areas that you did not realize needed improvement, but will also make your team members feel that their opinion matters. After receiving input, work on implementing their suggestions wherever necessary. When your team members actually see you striving to make a change according to their input and preferred style of leadership, that will motivate them to be more open to implementing feedback from you on their own behaviors as well.  

5. Have an open-door policy 

If you have a separate office, don’t keep it closed off to your team members. Unless you are super busy, don’t take appointments from your team members if they want to come visit you. It will be helpful to have an open-door policy, whereby your members can drop in whenever they like—whether it is to discuss a task or any personal issue.  

6. Smile! 

This one’s pretty simple. Greet your team members with a smile. If you are passing by them, a quick smile their way wouldn’t hurt. After all, you don’t want to come across as that moody manager who always appears to be in a sour mood! 

7. Don’t exhibit your tension 

If you working under a time-crunch and are under a lot of pressure, don’t let it negatively reflect in your demeanor. Keep your cool. Otherwise, seeing you stressed might stress out your team members too—and you don’t want that. Always be mindful of how you project yourself in front of your team. 

8. Be respectful to those around you 

Regardless of how overworked you are, or how superior your position is, you have to be respectful to all your team members. Like they say: to gain respect, you have to earn respect. It works both ways. Even if you have an authoritative leadership style, this is something you have got to do.  

Follow these 8 steps, to come significantly closer to becoming a manager who embodies the right mix of ‘softness’ and ‘firmness’–consequently resulting in generating optimum results from your team.  

10 Effective Ways to Build a Bond with Your Team

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You may be familiar with leaders who are always dumping a pile of work on their team, without attempting to establish any sort of professional relationship with them. For these leaders, it’s all about work, work, and work, with no human aspect involved in their approach—to the extent that you may find yourself thinking: do they even have a life outside work? Because you certainly can’t imagine it! 

Trust us, you don’t want to come across as that boss. 

And for that, you have to work on building a bond with your team.  

How can you do that?  

Read on for some super-helpful tips.  

1. Be approachable 

This might sound very obvious, but you’d be surprised at the difference that being approachable makes. Giving off the aura of being a ‘scary’ boss isn’t really going to work to your benefit. And hey, it’s not cool either. Tell your team that you have an open-door policy. And don’t just tell them, but make sure that your actions match your words. Your team members should feel comfortable in walking up to you at any point, without thinking twice.  

2. Know your team 

Make an effort to interact with your team members—doesn’t necessarily have to be on work-related topics. Make sure you know your team. No, we don’t mean just knowing their names and designations. Talk to them. Get to know about their passions and interests outside work. Make this a priority in your project management. This will help you in seeing them as individual people, rather than as a ‘team’, which will consequently help you in developing a stronger bond with each team member.  

3. Engage in games and activities  

Everyone needs a break from time to time, while working. You can optimize this time to strengthen your bond with your project management team. Challenge your employees to a quick round of Scrabble, Monopoly, Jenga… or any game for that matter. Don’t have a board game at hand? Don’t worry—everyone loves playing Charades and Telephone! 

4. Off-site trips 

Being cooped up in the office all day long can get, well, boring. Why not take out your team elsewhere for a short time? Perhaps you can go out to grab some ice-cream, go for a picnic in a nearby park when the weather’s nice, or treat your team to a box of pizza during lunch break! Make sure to include all team members so that no one feels left out. Also, ask for suggestions from your team about what they’d like to do, or where they would want to go. 

5. Movie nights 

I know what you’re thinking: who’d want to stay at the office overtime after a long, tiring day of work? However, arranging movie nights (with some yummy cheesy pepperoni pizza, salted buttery popcorn, or loaded nachos and spicy salsa!) can be a great way to get your team members to bond with each other. These nights can be arranged on a monthly basis, or could be even more spaced out. Don’t forget to curate a list of possible movies to watch after gathering recommendations from your team members! 

6. Don’t play favourites 

Just don’t. Employees can tell when you’re clearly prioritizing another coworker over them. Make everyone feel equal. Don’t pick and choose who to call in for meetings. Don’t approach only certain people to get their feedback or suggestions on a particular project—especially when their fellow coworkers are sitting right there. Don’t plan off-site trips with specific people only.  

7. Coffee chats 

Bonding activities don’t have to be costly. Employees are likely to feel more strongly about being included, rather than where they are being taken or what they are being fed. Even if you sit down with a group, with a mug of coffee or tea, that will do the trick. It’s the thought that counts!  

8. Empathize 

What’s bonding without exercising the ability to empathize? If a team member seems to be in a low mood, reach out to them. Ask them what’s wrong. Approach them with sensitivity. Show empathy and try to understand their position, even if you can’t fully relate to their situation. Looking out for your team members’ mental health is a very important factor—one that should, ideally, take precedence over all other aspects.  

Empathy and perspective—both are very important! 

9. Start a tradition! 

This is a fantastic way to strengthen team bonding. There are so many groups that have traditions—such as college sororities, clubs and societies, sports clubs, and on. Why not start your own team traditions? Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Donuts (on the house!) every Wednesday… to counter the mid-week blues. 
  • Wearing small badges or pins (custom designed) on your sleeves… to show team spirit. 
  • Seasonal or yearly trips… to get a breath of fresh air. 
  • Learning a secret language or secret handshake… for whatever reason you may. 

And the list goes on! 

10. Celebrate holidays together 

Sure, everyone likes to spend holidays and special events with their families and friends, but why not have a mini celebration with your coworkers too? You can either do this on the office premises, or off-site. All team members can contribute towards making this occasion into a memorable, fun one.  

Developing a strong team bond may not seem like a huge deal, but it actually does go a long way. When employees feel that they are being appreciated, included, and valued, they would be likely to work harder and with more enthusiasm.