Dr Marlet Tromp

When things just don’t fit

The most obvious way to find the “right person for the job” is to have a proper job description, right?


It seems that this common-sense approach to recruiting may be the single biggest obstacle to hiring the best person for a job, say Todd Rose and Ogi Ogas, authors of ‘The End of Average’, in an article published by Fortune Magazine.

The reason for this is that most of these job descriptions are rooted in a flawed and obsolete way of thinking about employees.

“That is, they look at candidates as averages instead of individuals.” It all began in the 19th century when the notion of an “average man” came about and people were typecast – a soldier type; administrative type; or accounting type, for example.

“It steers attention away from what is relevant and informative about an individual candidate,” they say.

During the recruitment process, the consequence is often that new employees either feel they are not really the right fit for a job, or they may feel they have been misled about what a specific job entails.

When the fit is not right 

It has been said that one of the reasons for presenteeism (where employees are present at work but underperform), is that individuals feel misplaced in an organisation – they have the skills, can do the job, but the role just does not fit them as they thought it would.

One then has to listen to the energy in your body, says Aviva Baran-Rothschild, coach, facilitator and founder of Fields of Change.

If you are feeling sluggish or feel that there is no spark in what you are doing, or you are feeling bored and tire easily, it may be a sign that you are not in the right place.

Another sign that you might be in the wrong job is if you find yourself questioning yourself and often experience an internal conflict:

You know that you currently have a good job, but you still feel envious of other people who are happier than you.

“A lot of people avoid thinking about it,” says Baran-Rothschild, “and because of this internal battle they procrastinate.”

This can result in individuals losing confidence in their ability.

They start doubting themselves because they have not taken the time to get clarity about their strengths.

Many people become complacent or start minimising their strengths.

It is, of course, normal to feel insecure when you start a new job.

“A new job can be stressful, and you should allow sufficient time to find your feet and to make sure you get to grips with what the job requires of you before going to the boss,” says Marlet Tromp, life, executive and business coach.

Tromp says it is critical for individuals first to be honest with themselves. When doubting your new job, ask these questions:

- Are you sure you are not simply overwhelmed by what is expected of you?

- Did you misunderstand your responsibilities?

- Did you allow yourself enough time to adjust?

It is not what you were promised

In some instances, a new job simply does not live up to what it promised to be, and the individual feels misled.

If not dealt with, it can lead to disengagement and someone just giving up.

This is a good time to prepare for that talk with the boss, says Tromp.

“You should be assertive, without being aggressive. The focus should be on what you do compared to what has been promised to you.

Show your willingness to seek a workable solution.”

One of the solutions is to stay in the post while the two of you work towards what you were promised and work on how it can be realised.

As a last resort the employee may wish to seek legal advice in terms of their rights and to establish how the labour law can protect them.

“However, you have to be convinced that this is the route to follow as it can be emotionally draining,” warns Tromp.

In the end, one needs to hold on to a little bit of hope that if you do something differently and you think about things differently, something positive will come out of it, says Baran-Rothschild.

The conversation

It may be difficult to have a conversation on the matter with your boss, especially if you feel they will not tolerate mistakes, or that they don’t “do” vulnerability and expect you to jump in and get the job done, says Baran-Rothschild.

However, it is important to have the conversation.

“Ask the questions: what is my role, what are my resources, what is the deadline, what is the priority and how much support is on offer?”

Often it could be that the expectations are not clear, or a project has not been spelled out clearly in terms of role clarifications and expectations.

It might not be necessary to completely change jobs or roles.

If you can have an authentic conversation with your boss, hopefully they will be willing to listen and to find a better fit for you and the organisation.

Most importantly, says Baran-Rothschild, don’t wait too long before having the conversation or seeking help.

When you’re the boss

Should an employee approach their manager with concerns about their role within the organisation, the manager:

1. Needs to show care – show a bit of vulnerability to share how things were when you started.

It builds trust and makes it easier for staff to ask for help;

2. Needs to create a safe space where people can share their vulnerabilities and to look at mistakes in a positive way;

3. Needs to be the role model – show that you believe in a work/life balance;

4. Needs to show some flexibility – allow people to achieve the results you want in their own way; and

5. If there are mentoring and coaching facilities or skills development opportunities, offer that to employees to show you are supporting them.

Tips on connecting with clients

Face to face interaction with a client isn't always an easy feat - here's how to go beyond the sale and make a lasting impact.


 "To connect with potential clients and customers you need to recognise that satisfying their needs is what makes you successful," says Claude Warner, an executive coach. "To find out what a client needs, you must see their perspective. Only then do you use your own product knowledge to recommend an appropriate product."

A few golden rules

"There are different skills that come naturally to some when dealing with clients face to face, but not to others," says Dr Marlet Tromp, a business coach. Here's what to do when connecting with clients or customers:

- Communication: "Get the customer talking, so they use their own words," says Warner. They will feel "heard" and will be more receptive to your product or proposition. Remember that listening is the most important skill when handling clients or customers.

- Build rapport: Dr Tromp says: "Facial expressions, tone of voice and body language, as well as genuinely being interested, are the best ways to strengthen a relationship with your client."

- Expect the unexpected: Always be prepared for the clients you know you are going to meet, as well as the unexpected clients. Know what you can offer, how you can solve problems and what process you follow.

- Make it understandable: Be ready to give examples and explain to a prospective client the processes involved if they do not understand or need more information.

- Never assume anything: This is the quickest way to misinterpret your client and make them feel you aren't the one who can assist.

- Avoid a hard sell: "It costs more to win a new customer than to keep an existing one," says Warner. "Avoid a hard sell to meet your needs."

- Put it in writing: After the first encounter with a client, always put something in writing like a quote, an e-mail, profile or anything attaining to the first meeting.

Things to avoid

When connecting with customers, Dr Tromp suggests that you avoid the following:

- Don't get distracted when dealing with a client face to face.

- Never be judgmental. If a client feels that they have been judged, they won't come back.

- Don't avoid their feelings. When a client is upset about a service, they will want it to be rectified and their emotions acknowledged.

- Never swear or curse in front of a client, it is not acceptable.

- Avoid eating or chewing gum in front of them. This can indicate disrespect for the client and will seem unprofessional.

- Never attack or insult a client personally. There are different strategies to deal with difficult clients but attacking is never okay.


How to be more assertive

Being assertive won’t solve all your problems at the office. (Barry’s bad breath probably requires medical intervention.) But by standing up for yourself, you could sort out most of it.

Many people believe that by being agreeable they can avoid conflict and build a network of alliances in the office. But being submissive, constantly having your needs disregarded and feeling obliged to say yes to all demands is stressful. You may be all nice and sweet on the outside, but inside you are a seething mess of resentment, which may spill over in all sorts of passive aggressive ways. Also, you will end up being sidelined.

In fact, if you are serious about your career and personal growth, assertiveness is not optional. No-one will hand you success and respect. You have to stand up for yourself, and be able to communicate clearly about what matters to you.

Learning to be more assertive is the one key intervention that makes the biggest difference in her clients’ lives, says Dr Marlet Tromp, a life and corporate coach in Johannesburg.

“But for many of us, standing up for our interests goes against how we are raised: to be agreeable.”

Here’s how to amp up your assertiveness:

Set boundaries: Before automatically agreeing to a request, or with a statement, test it against your own needs and beliefs. Ask yourself what your rights are when it comes to protecting your own time and energy. This will help you define what you should say yes to and when to say no.

Prepare for difficult situations: Write down your thoughts and rehearse your views. Be prepared for any questions or objections.

Shake it off: Being assertive will inevitably lead to more conflict in your life. Your needs may not necessarily fit the needs of others, and expressing yourself may provoke criticism.

When someone says something negative to you, first decide whether the criticism is constructive and truthful, says Tromp. If you don’t believe it is justified, don’t internalise the remark. “Also, repeat the criticism back to the person and ask if you understood their view correctly.” This will force them to repeat the criticism, often leading to a qualification of the first remark.

Watch your language: Don’t undermine yourself by using tentative language. Words and phrases like “just”, “sorry”, “actually”, “I think”, “Does that make sense?” and “I’m not an expert” don’t inspire confidence in your message and will diminish your message. (A new free Gmail plug-in called Just Not Sorry will highlight these offending words and help you make your emails stronger.)

Also, avoid filler words like “um” and “like”. Say what you want to say and don’t qualify your message. To get what you want, you will have to express it in clear language. Make sure that you don’t waffle on, but that you make your point in a logical and direct way. Also, use “I”, rather than “you”, is Tromp’s advice. You will get a much better result if you say something like, “I feel disrespected when you don’t react to my emails” – instead of, “You never respond to my emails.”

Be a broken record: This assertiveness technique can be surprisingly effective, says Tromp.

When your view is being ignored, repeat in a calm voice the exact message you want to get across. It will help to stop you flaring up in anger, or prevent other people derailing you and taking advantage of you. Simply repeat the same phrase in a measured tone over and over again. Importantly, don’t make excuses or introduce new information. For example: “I won’t be able to take over your project.” Then: “I understand you are under a great deal of stress, but I won’t be able to take over your project.” And then: “That’s really not relevant to the issue under discussion. I won’t be able to take over your project.”

Keep calm: Don’t lose control and self-respect by flying off the handle and saying things that will undermine your position. “The best way of being assertive is to remain calm and by being measured,” says Tromp. Don’t ever react in anger. Instead, step away from the situation (or sit down, at least) and take time before you react.

Adopt a daily assertiveness regime: Move out of your comfort zone and test yourself in different situations. This can include making small talk with strangers, or asserting yourself in small decisions, like choosing a restaurant for a group of friends.

Don’t put the ‘ass’ in ‘assertive’: There is a big difference between being aggressive and being assertive. Listen carefully to others and take great care to understand their opinions and beliefs. Being assertive doesn’t mean that your views are automatically right, so be respectful of and open to other views. Seek win-win outcomes that acknowledge all participants and benefit all involved.

Check your body language. Sit up straight and make eye contact at all times. Adopt a high power pose: Stand tall with your chest out and your hands on your hips.

Don’t shift the blame: By admitting mistakes and shouldering responsibility, you will earn respect.

Take an active role: Listen carefully in meetings, ask questions and offer your opinions. Don’t shy away from responsibility; seize every opportunity to prove yourself.

Stil die kritikus binne jou

Deur Machelene Joubert 

As die stemmetjie sê: Geluk is nie vir jou beskore nie
Sê vir die stemmetjie: Elke mens verdien geluk, ek ook

Zane Green, ’n lewenstylgids, sê dat jou innerlike kritikus jou daarvan kan weerhou om volkome gelukkig en vervuld te wees.

  1. Gee jou binneste kritikus ’n naam. Dit sal jou help om aan die stem as ’n aparte persoon te dink. Sodoende sal jy minder identifiseer met wat ‘sy’ (of hy) vir jou mag ‘sê’.
  2. Laat jouself toe om die emosie te ervaar. Wanneer jy jou gevoelens onderdruk of weerstaan, word dit net al hoe sterker. Gaan dan na ’n veilige plek, haal diep en stadig asem en gun jouself eie geleentheid om die emosie te beleef.
  3. Die goeie nuus is dat jy die skrywer van jou eie ‘skrip’ – oftewel gedagtes – is. Jy kan kies wat jy omtrent jouself wil sê en glo. Jy het die outoriteit om die gevoel van: ek voel nie goed genoeg nie, te vervang met: ek kies om goed genoeg te voel. Of ek kies om myself te aanvaar net soos ek is.


As die stemmetjie sê: Jy is nie goed genoeg nie
Sê vir die stemmetjie: God maak nie gemors nie

Dr. Roelf Opperman, ’n familieterapeut, lewenstylgids en leraar, vertel dat elke mens ’n beeld van hom/haarself het wat van kleintyd af deur die gesagsfigure in sy/haar lewe gevorm is.

“Hierdie beeld maak dat jy voel jy is niks werd of dat dit jou skuld is as dinge verkeerd gaan. Soms maak dit dat jy bang is om op te tree. Gelukkig hoef jy nie aan dié beeld wat jy van jouself het, uitgelewer te wees nie. Jy kan nuut oor jouself begin dink. Dit gebeur wanneer jy met jouself begin praat en jouself met positiewe gedagtes voer.”

“Vertel vir jouself dat God jou liefhet en dat Hy nie gemors maak nie. Vertel vir jouself dat jy baie waardevol vir Hom is en dat Hy jou liefhet. Die interessante is dat jy dit aanvanklik nie hoef te glo nie. Namate jy hierdie positiewe gedagtes herhaal, word daar nuwe bane in jou brein geskep en vorm dit later ’n nuwe manier van dink oor jouself.”


As die stemmetjie sê: Jy is deurspek met foute
Sê vir die stemmetjie: Ek neem nie eienaarskap nie

Marlet Tromp, ’n besigheid- en lewenstylgids, maan mense om te leer onderskei tussen destruktiewe (afbrekende) en konstruktiewe (opbouende) kritiek.

Sy sê wanneer jy destruktiewe kritiek hoor, moet jy ’n pertinente besluit neem om nie eienaarskap daarvan te neem nie. Dit is ook belangrik om dit nie net te dink nie, maar dit hardop vir jouself te sê: ek neem nie eienaarskap van dié stelling nie; ek is nie oorgewig nie.

“As ons egter konstruktiewe kritiek vir onsself gee of van ander ontvang, beskou dit as ’n geleentheid om te groei. Byvoorbeeld: indien ek nie 5kg gaan verloor nie, kan dit ’n negatiewe effek op my gesondheid hê. Dié stelling is gemik om op te bou.”

As die stemmetjie sê: Jy sal nooit suksesvol wees nie
Sê vir die stemmetjie: Ek gaan jou nie vatplek gee nie

Jou innerlike kritikus groei as jy dit voer, waarsku Leonie Prinsloo, ’n lewenstylgids.

“Die meeste van ons het grootgeword  met die nederige (dalk eg Afrikaanse) houding dat jy nie grootpraterig mag wees nie. Tog is daar ’n verskil om iets met sekerheid en selfvertroue te sê en om te brag of groot te praat.”

Wenk: “Woorde is nie net iets wat ons gedurig hoor of sê nie, daar is krag in woorde. Vervang daarom negatiewe woorde en gedagtes met positiewe woorde en gedagtes. Jy is die argitek van jou woorde en gedagtes. Neem outoriteit oor jou lewe.”

Delegate your workload

by Gillian Bloch

According to Johannesburg-based business coach, Dr Marlet Tromp, delegating allows leaders to focus on managerial tasks. Furthermore, “by delegating work, leaders empower their employees, giving them recognition, motivation and the opportunity to develop, grow, and influence decisions,” she says. She provides insight into effective delegation.

Delegating pros and cons

Delegating can build trust with your employees and help them to realise their full potential. “Employees also have the opportunity to be trained and prepare themselves for future promotions,” says Dr Tromp. “Through delegation employees are part of the process and can see where they fit into the organisation and how their work contributes”.

On the other hand, Dr Tromp cautions against “dumping” your workload on unsuspecting employees especially at the last minute. “Delegation should be used in such a way that it acts as a motivator,” she explains.

What to delegate

Choosing what to delegate, and who to delegate it to, can be a challenge. “Leaders must know their staff in terms of their skills and likes and dislikes; work will then be done more effectively,” says Dr Tromp. “The level an employee was appointed at is also a good indication of what kind of work should be delegated and what amount of work the employee can handle”.

Finding a balance

Follow these guidelines to ensure that you do not delegate too much or too little.
• Be specific about the work that must be completed.
• The results must be measurable and realistic.
• Both parties must agree what is expected and what the time frame is.
• The manager must oversee the work and give the necessary support and training.
• Employees must receive feedback on their work.
• Mistakes must be seen as opportunities to train staff.
• Managers should coach their employees in terms of expectations, goals and their responsibilities.
• Employees must have a certain amount of freedom to explore their options, in how they do the task at hand, but it is the manger’s responsibility to set boundaries.

Release need for control

An unwillingness to delegate often suggests a need for control. “Leaders that refuse to delegate are often self-reliant or perfectionists and they don’t want to part with the power their position gives them,” explains Dr Tromp.

Yet, being a leader is about motivating and developing staff. Even if the task is not done to your specifications, use it as an opportunity to train employees. In the long-term delegating allows you to grow as a leader, limits stress and empowers employees.