Having grown up in the states and enjoyed a supportive world of competitive debate; a world where arguments and negotiations were played like professional sports, I often thought there’s something missing in Australian workplace teams.

Rarely had I been in or coached a team that embraced discourse as a tool to overcome challenges. In great leadership teams there is always healthy debate. Passions come alive and disputes are safely settled before they even impact employees.

Rarely do teams engage in the same conversational contests that spark better outcomes than were thought possible going in. …

Leading great teams starts with showing appreciation in the first conversation of everyday. More leaders who intentionally shape the conversations for their teams see better outcomes achieved more often.

There is a growing trend towards building fulfilment in our professional and personal lives by saying grace at the end of the day and every day. Brene Brown has often spoken about the physiological and psychological impact on people when they show appreciation for something in their lives. It could be a simple smile at the day or appreciation for someone else, it doesn’t have to be mammoth, and it doesn’t have to be on a public scale. …

Often leaders believe they are the embodiment of an ‘open-door’ policy. They communicate that ‘staff can always check in with me’. Unfortunately, the fact that you may state this doesn’t necessarily translate to a fact of knowledge for your teams. There is a big gap between leaders who say they are accessible and those who are actually approachable.

Whether you are approachable or even accessible has nothing to do with where you are located; whether you are in an office, behind a closed door or in an open shared working space. What determines whether you are truly approachable is;

- an agreed understanding of why, when and how people can approach…

Don’t be driven by other peoples agenda.

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Do you constantly have those days where you’re telling yourself to “keep calm and carry on”.

If it was just occasionally one of those days an ordinary affirmation of the will helps me to get through the day. With the advent of email, multi-teams, increased market pressures and the general demand of leading people it sometimes feel like this campaign to stay stoic may last as the long as the original British Government Ministry of Information campaign in World War II did!

Unlike the war, the modern day barrage is coming from the multiple forms of communication we currently have at our desk — Email, chat channels, phones, sms, team platforms, group forms, oh and the actual conversation. In order to manage the incoming demand for communication response and even work management delegation I realised I and my colleagues were using email like we were dealing up cards at a high stake poker game. The second unfortunate realisation was that email was setting my daily agenda. Or rather MY achievements were not being prioritised. I was unproductive in terms of my role and had become a rescuer to other colleagues needs. …

Have you ever had someone say to you “well at least you’ve learnt what not to do”?

How did that make you feel?

I personally can’t stand it when people say this too me; especially when they say it in such a way they truely believe they are a god reincarnated full of wisdom.

First of all the word “well”.

If you are from Southern USA or Texas I will forgive you for starting a sentence with ‘well’ because it is a cultural form of taking pause before you make a markedly strong point. …

Insights Learning is an inherent part of our nature as human beings. The natural evolution of life depends on our ability to question the sustainability of the current state, then to actively explore better options for long-term survival.

In many worlds there is an assumption that learning happens in schools, ‘that’s for kids — I’ve got work to do’. The fact is that everything is growing and the opportunity to learn exists every day. It’s just a matter whether you work at repeating the same thing or whether you learn as you work to improve.

Building upon the inherent learning nature of people within an organisations culture has given companies distinct advantages in the marketplace. Learning is a key pillar of company growth. Companies that have sustained themselves beyond industry disruptions were those that were able to sustain learning throughout the disruption. Companies that have sustained market leadership; such as Toyota who have reporting operating growth year on year since starting in 1939 have embraced learning as a key part of their company psyche and practices. …

If there is one thing we all tend to do well when there’s an emergency, it is huddle around a situation to support creating or making a solution.

Emergency services have a huddle protocol for every situation — a fire in your building, meet at the safety zone outside the building and comms will be given at once. Sports teams huddle between plays to reset focus, discuss tactics and agree on next best actions. There’s a disruption in the market, get the executive team together and huddle around how we’re going to respond. …

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The quickest way to connect is with someone is to say thank you.

#TGI The Grace investment

When I was growing up grace was far more common than it is today. Being grateful when socialising was a sign of respect for the host and other guests. Saying grace before dinner was often a short pause in the day to still ourselves among the pace of our busy lives. Some say grace to their beliefs others say thanks for the food on the table in front of them and some say thanks to each other. Although more commonly regarded as a religious practice it is more definitely a human(e) practice. …

15 years researching global trust trends Edelman researchers declared in 2017 “Trust in Crisis”. What’s incredibly revealing is not only the global swell of ‘distrust’ but also how ‘untrusting Australians are’. We’ve moved up the ‘distrust’ scale because of

“lack of belief in the system”….”The System favour of elites”…”no confidence in current leaders”…”hard work isn’t rewarded”…and there is “desire for change…we need forceful reformers to bring change”

As the trend of distrust towards government grows the expectation for businesses to carry the baton for social fairness increases. We want to trust, we want to believe in a brand and we want to trust companies. …

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Trust is often a misunderstood tool in our relationship kit.
Is it a feeling? Is it a thought? Is it earned? Is it a gift?

The more someone says ‘trust me’ the more our senses get alerted. The fact they ‘state it’ and not ask for it is what alerts me something isn’t right. This is because ‘trust’ is defined by the giver — not the receiver, and we if don’t understand what we are giving — agreeing to — we become wary. We decelerate our momentum. With trust teams accelerate, without trust we slowly rust.

Three questions to start clarifying your definition of trust…


Stephanie BySouth

Agile Boss — Leading differently to make a difference.

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