Sands Confidential

Sands Academy Elevate Certificates: Sonila Dhima

Shortly after transitioning from Assistant Pool Manager to Refreshment Center Manager at The Venetian and The Palazzo, Sonila Dhima was made aware of courses offered through Sands Academy.  In conjunction with the Learning and Development courses offered to all Team Members, Sands Academy established the Elevate Series, a series of courses focused on providing tools for leaders to manage their Team Members and build relationships to ensure success within their departments. 

“Three courses were mandatory for managers to attend: Effective Coaching, Team Building and Effective Feedback,” Dhima said.  “I logged in and signed up, then I saw other courses that were offered so I signed up for all of them.   I felt like I was in college again.  I had taken some hospitality courses at CSN but I felt this was much better tailored to me and my role in the company.  Everything that was taught just made sense.  It’s related to what we deal with on a daily basis.”

Taught by various Team Members within Sands Academy, Dhima said Ian Thompson, Director of Talent and Organizational Development, taught the Effective Feedback course and explained to the class that finding the right place and the right time to address an issue with a Team Member is best.   

“He told us to use a technique called SBI: look at the situation, the Team Members behavior and the possible impact your comment or concern may have on them,” she said.  “The course made addressing issues so much easier and how to be conscious of the impact if you say something now, at the wrong time, it may not be effective.”

Dhima said what she learned from the course is that Team Members look at feedback as punishment.  When managers issue discipline, it’s to fix an issue, not punish the Team Member.  Feedback should be used to improve the working relationship and open up communication channels.  In Team Building and Trust, over 40 people were in attendance.  Managers and supervisors had to participate in a group exercise called Traffic Jam, where they had to work in teams to get people from one side of the room to other using squares on the floor that couldn’t be skipped or jumped.   

“What I learned from this course was to work as a group and share ideas,” Dhima said.  “The outcome will be much better if everyone works together.  As the exercise went on, some Team Members got frustrated and some then regrouped and brainstormed how to solve the issue and get out of the jam.”  

Managing a team of 26 Team Members, Dhima says her department deals with various special projects in addition to their daily tasks and when a problem needs to be addressed, they all have to work together to fix it. 

“I’m able to bring more effective management skills back to my department,” she said.  “I want to help them get better, not get them in trouble.  Through these courses, I was able to meet other managers from other departments and learn their management methods from their personal experiences.  I hope everyone takes advantage of this program because I think we are one the few companies that does this for Team Members.  We are very fortunate to have a company that trains us this way and encourages us to get better at our jobs.”