The 5 Behaviours of a Cohesive Team. Part 2 – Conflict

All businesses need conflict. I can already hear the gasp of disbelief from here! Conflict, I hear you cry?! Surely that is a BAD thing? People don’t thrive on conflict, do they? People get upset with conflict and there’ll be tears at bedtime if there is conflict. There’ll be pistols at dawn in the quad if we have conflict.

But. I don’t mean the destructive, throwing plates at each other kind of conflict. Not the kind of conflict that leaves open wounds, scabs and scars. That’s not the kind of conflict we want. No. We want healthy, vulnerability based conflict. ‘Eh what’, I hear you say? What is ‘vulnerability based’ conflict?

Vulnerability-based conflict is based on Trust. And we’ve already discussed how Trust is the foundation upon which all relationships MUST be based.

Without the ability to Trust, an individual is unwilling to speak up and give their opinions; and those opinions might give the business the vital idea which will support a breakthrough. Or it could easily be, that ideas which are put forward aren’t positively challenged to get the best outcome through iterative, positive and challenging discussion and ‘conflict’. That’s how the Emperor ended up with no clothes on, with everyone telling him his new suit was wonderful…. Because people were afraid to give their opinions and tell the truth. Vital information was withheld and it all went horribly wrong.

Options can’t be explored properly if people don’t Trust that they can fully play their part and be heard without rejection and humiliation. Humans naturally feel very vulnerable if they are rejected and seek to avoid it at all costs. They need to Trust that they can engage in healthy debate (positive conflict) without fear of retribution and rejection.

So. How does YOUR team or business approach positive debate? Do people engage truthfully and give their open and honest opinions or are there a lot of nodding dogs? Lots of ‘Yes’ people? Are you getting enough information and debate to enable the decisions to be made with the most optimal information to hand? Could your team or business achieve more if only people felt they could make their full, honest and open contributions to the business of ‘running the business’?

We’d love to hear from you. We’d love to hear your challenges and what approaches you may have tried, or be thinking of trying, to improve decision making and to bring the wisdom and creativity of all employees into the business of running your business. Email us on and share your stories with us. Go on. You know you want to.


The 5 Behaviours of a Cohesive Team. Part 1 – Trust

There’s a massive industry out there focused on ‘Employee Engagement’. But without Trust in a relationship, there is no employee engagement. Without Trust between you and the team members and between the team members themselves, there is no employee engagement.

Trust is rarely talked about at work. We pretend it doesn’t matter. But it does. It matters hugely. In fact, really, it’s the foundation of everything in your business. Without it, the whole business edifice is on shifting sands. Shaky foundations. You have to have Trust in your people and your teams. And they in you.

If your employees don’t Trust you and you don’t Trust them, you’ll be forever wondering why you aren’t achieving your objectives. If your workplace is seen to have a heart and be human and you Trust people won’t  have to talk about your goals very often, other than when you’ve surpassed them and you’re inviting people to celebrate the achievement with you.

So often, businesses seem to believe that they can motivate their employees with the carrot and stick approach. That it’s all about punishment and reward but that rarely can works – in fact, it probably never does, at least not for long. At best, by using the ‘stick’, you get cowed and grudging compliance but you also get minimum effort. You lose the creativity that people inherently have within them – they keep their heads firmly below the parapet. No-one wants to take the risk of sharing a creatively brilliant idea which might, just might, change your company’s fortunes for the better. Have you ever seen a team achieve anything wonderful by giving the least they can?

You can give people money or new and shiny objects, but the ‘engagement’ leap that might occur is likely to be a short-term result. Within a short period, people will believe that they are ‘owed’ those rewards because you’ve shown them that that is true. And it becomes all about the money. If it becomes all about the money then as soon as someone else offers them more they are likely to follow that. Because it’s become ALL about the money.

And actually, isn’t it degrading to people if they are treated like Pavlov’s dog? That if they do the wrong thing they get a shock or a ‘stick’ and if they get it right they get a doggie choc? People are not dogs! People have boundless expertise, passion, creativity and inspiration to bring to a company’s problems, but they won’t be able to bring their talents to work until they’re treated like humans when they get there. Something to ponder perhaps……

We’d love to hear from you. We’d love to hear your challenges and what approaches you may have tried, or be thinking of trying, to improve Trust between leaders and team members in your business. Email us on and share your stories with us. Go on. You know you want to

Fed Up

10 Super Simple Ways to Demotivate Your Team

Here are 10 super simple ways to de-motivate your team – just in case you need to know! 

  1. When you talk with the people in your team, talk to them about their objectives or targets but don’t ask them how they’re doing. Never ask them what they need from you or how they want to prioritise their tasks.
  1. Don’t share the company’s or department’s plans with your teammates. After all, knowledge is power.
  1. Cause divisions in your team by playing favourites. Randomly change who IS the favourite so that no one knows whether they’re doing a great job or on the verge of getting sacked.
  1. Use punishment as a tool to get people to work harder. Always say, ‘there’s plenty of people out there who want your job if you don’t’.
  1. When your team does something well, don’t say anything. Tell them what they can do better next time, instead.
  1. Stay in your office with the door closed and ignore your employees’ email and voice mail messages.
  1. Make it hard for your team members to build relationships outside your department. Create an  ‘us and them’ mentality.  Because you know that everyone else is a threat to your empire.
  1. Overload your employees with vast amounts of work so that they’ll never have nothing to do.   You know the truism – time is money!
  1. Make rules and policies a cornerstone of your management philosophy.  Always make sure you are looking for errors, and make sure staff know that their jobs are at risk all the time.
  1. Finally, tell your employees that they are easily replaceable so none of them gets complacent. 

I bet you’ve experienced at least one thing on this list, if not more. And I’m betting that you hated being treated in this way. Why wouldn’t you?

The above ‘management techniques’ are treating people as though they are slaves or widgets – that they don’t matter at all. And if people are treated like that they soon learn to keep their head down and just do the minimum they need to keep their jobs.

Because, after all, if they aren’t cared about and looked after, then why on earth should they care about you / your business or go above and beyond, to achieve what the business wants to achieve. And if that happens, where will the business be?

If you would like to achieve the opposite of the above and you have time for a sandwich and a coffee tomorrow at 1pm, then register for our Learn at Lunch Webinar on ‘Coaching Your Way to Your Best Year Yet’, presented by Julie Hutchison, Transforming Performance Creator and co-Director.  It’s free, and you will come away with real strategies you can implement tomorrow to make 2017 your best year yet! Register here.

toothpaste leadership

What Kind Of Leader Are You?

Have you heard of the Toothpaste Test? It is where you can tell something about someone’s personality by how they squeeze a toothpaste tube.  It is mildly amusing and perhaps has a degree of accuracy in it.  If you have never seen it then have a look at an example here.

So how about we apply this to leadership?  Do you recognise yourself as any of the types below?

Are you the squeeze in the middle leader?  That’s the kind of leader who will just give it a go and see if it works.  And it will work – to a degree.  Your enthusiasm and take action approach will appeal to some, but may also leave some behind – those who need a bit more nurturing.

Perhaps you are a roll it up from the end type leader.  If this is you – you will logically and in a measured way face any problem, and go in a straight line to the end goal.  This will work in a lot of cases, but perhaps doesn’t always get you there fast enough.

Or maybe you are the squeeze the tube near the opening type – after all that is where the tube is fattest and squeezing there will get you the quickest easiest result.  That “where can we get the quickest result” approach is great for short term goals, or where action is needed quickly, but may take you off track if you don’t also bear in mind the bigger picture.

Or are you the one who squeezes from the end and takes the back of their toothbrush, or a butter knife (yes I admit I have done that) and scrapes absolutely every tiny last drop of toothpaste out of the tube.  Are you the leader that expects more and more from your staff and never lets up?  As a short term strategy that can be effective and get a team to make an extra push when it is needed for example to meet a deadline.  However, as a long-term strategy, it is a terrible idea because eventually the tube will split and once that happens you can’t put it back together.  There is only so much you can get out of a tube of toothpaste – or a team.

However, there is a better tool for figuring out what kind of leader you are than the toothpaste test.  It is called Talent Dynamics and it will tell you exactly what you need to know about what kind of leader you are and what strategies you should be using to maximise your natural strengths, and where to look for additional support.  It also helps you understand your team and what they need from you as the leader to allow them to perform at their peak.

If you want to know more about Talent Dynamics – have a look at this short complimentary video overview.

Once you have viewed the video, if you would like to find out more about how you can use this tool to improve productivity and profits in your business then email us on   It could be the best 1 minute you ever spent (guessing that’s how long it takes to send us a quick email saying ‘tell me more about Talent Dynamics).






The ABC Of Leadership


How do you rate yourself as a leader?

Leadership is a tough responsibility. As a leader, you carry out various tasks with the goal of uniting your team and driving their performance towards success. Isn’t that what every leader wants for his people? To be successful and maybe become a future leader in the business like you? But how do you do that?

Well here are a few tips to get you started…


Have you ever seen a manager arrive at the office only to go straight into his room/cubicle/office, turn on the computer and start working right away? It’s very common, and not good leadership. With all the responsibilities that they carry on their shoulders, they just get straight to work and aim to finish whatever needs to be done then call it a day. As a leader, it is important that you at least check in with your people before you start your day. A simple “hello, how’s your day” has a big impact on how they will be starting their day at work.

Even better having a small talk or mini team meeting with your team members not only helps you get to know them one by one and lets them know that you are approachable, it also ensures you know how they are spending their day and whether the right activities are being prioritised. One team member might be having a bad start to the day because his computer won’t start – something that can be rectified straight away, avoiding a grumpy and non performing employee. Makes sense?


How do you feel when someone says to you “Good job” when you submitted an excellent report on time? Doesn’t it make you want to do another ace report again? As a leader, you should not limit yourself when praising your people. Your appreciation for their efforts as well as their results,  keeps them going and gives them a sense of importance in the workplace. One important aspect of leadership that is often overlooked is that your team will take its standard of behaviour from you.  So if you are liberal with your praise, you will soon find them supporting each other in the same way.  If your praise is genuine and liberal, then they won’t need to fight each other to get it and will instead look for and comment on what their team members are doing well.

When I say liberal, it means it could be in any form—a verbal commendation, a simple pat on the back, an appreciative email, incentives, awarding certificates and many more. There are numerous ways to commend and appreciate your people and only you will know which is appropriate for your company and your team. No matter how stressful the environment is, always make the time to let them know how well they are doing.


Coaching is a significant task of a good leader. Through your one-2-one talks with your team members, you get the chance to know more about them and therefore know what motivates them. A successful coaching session involves them talking and you listening, and prompting where necessary. Think of the 80/20 rule and apply it. Let them air their concerns and come up with their own action plans for poor performance.

As a leader, you should know when to provide input and when to let them realise their own actions and the things that they need to do to be a better performer.  The better you know your tam, the better you will be able to coach them – but you need to start somewhere.

All the above will lead to D.  De-stressing of your life!   Keep up the good work!





Who is Your Problem Employee? The One Bad Apple….

Do you have problem employees who often call in sick or are always late? Have you had an employee who delivers the minimum work expected and is always nowhere to be found? How about people who constantly gossip and are involved in conflicts every time you turn your back for a minute?

These are the difficult employees—those who are causing problems not just to you but to the entire company. The sad truth is, no matter how hard you try to hire only the best and create a strong and high-flying team, there is always the chance that you will miss something and end up with one or two difficult employees in your organisation.  So what do you do as a leader?

You simply cannot allow a difficult employee to affect your business or the people in it. Deal with it right away. More often than not, there is a deep reason why that person is behaving that way and it’s your responsibility to uncover it.

Talk to the employee and voice your observations about their behavior. Stick to the facts only. If there is an available proof, show it to them. If it’s absenteeism for example, show the numbers to the person and point out the impact of that behavior to the business, to the people around them, and to their own performance. By doing that, you are giving a clear picture to the difficult employee, and demonstrating that their work attitude has to change.

Make the person responsible for their own actions. The action plan to change the behavior should come from them unless they can’t think of anything at all, then that’s the time you pitch in. Partly this will depend upon their development level (that’s the subject for another blog).  Don’t forget the 70/30 rule when coaching an employee. Let them talk 70% of the time and don’t forget to ask questions which may give you the information you want about why they are acting as they are.

They could be demotivated due to a family problem? Perhaps they have financial worries.  Maybe they themselves are the victim of bullying or perhaps they just don’t deal with pressure very well.   It’s up to you to find out. It’s easier to come up with a solution if you are aware of the root cause of the problem.

If at all possible, let the solutions come from them as you need to get the person’s commitment that they will do something about it.

Don’t forget to also point out the positive ramifications of change.  They will probably be more motivated if they see what’s in it for them. If you know them well enough to know what motivates them – it can help to link that to the benefit of them changing their behavior.   For example – if they want to move up the career ladder then point out that is far more likely to happen if they are seen as being a positive influence in the workplace.  Some people genuinely have no idea how their behavior impacts on others and they may be genuinely shocked at how others perceive them.

Dealing with a difficult employee doesn’t always have to end with implementing disciplinary action, and if fact the earlier you deal with issues when they are small, the far less likely you will have to resort to disciplinary action.  I have rarely seen anyone on disciplinary action stay with a company long term and become a model employee.  So sort it out before it gets to that level.

Sometimes, a little attention from you is all that the employee needs to improve their performance so why not start with that?

Let me leave you with this—effective leadership is like being a great gardener.  A great gardener will be able to remove just the dead twigs or leaves, or prune off unwanted foliage rather than getting rid of the whole plant.  So – our advice is prune out bad behavior before you have to prune out the team member.

If you would like more information on the Team Performance Engine – which enables leaders like you to manage your team for maximum results – go here and get your free report.

Happy Team – Happy You!

How is your team’s attendance lately? Are your team members performing well? Is your turnover at a reasonable level?

More often than not, the best way to assess if you have a happy team, who are enjoying their job is through their attendance and overall performance. Your team is highly motivated if they are seldom absent or late for work and if they are carrying out their tasks according to and even beyond your expectations. Poor attendance, performance and high attrition, on the other hand, are strong signs of demotivation.  As a leader, how do you avoid this from happening to your team?

Team and individual recognition is one of the most effective ways to motivate your team. It is a way of showing your appreciation for their hard work and dedication to their job. Day-to-day tasks can be really stressful at times,  especially those with deadlines and targets attached to them.  Who likes deadlines anyway?

Recognition can be in any form—verbal, written, or awards—it’s up to you. If you know your team well, you should know what works best for them. What’s important is that you are able to show them that their efforts are being appreciated no matter how stressful the work environment is.

Creating a fun working environment is another way of motivating your team. How do you feel about doing the same job every day? How about coming to the same work environment for weeks, months, years? It can be boring right? You probably can’t do much to change their daily tasks but you can definitely do something to add a little fun to their daily activities.

Theme days where they have to dress up according to a specific theme is one good example of people engagement activity. Best attire gets a prize. This often works well in conjunction with a charity fund raise for example – maybe for Red Nose Day.  Workplace decoration is another example. As well as engaging your team, this can create a great atmosphere for visitors and customers – like at Christmas or Halloween.

You can organise a team away day where the team gets involved in team based activities too.

However, it is not necessary to go to any expense. Regular one-to-one conversations with your team members is possibly the simplest way to motivate your individuals. We use the word conversation on purpose as we are not referring to coaching here. One-on-one talks should be set at least once a month with each of team member to ask how they are doing. This is the best time for you to build rapport while discovering the challenges they face or help that they need. This is also a great time for you to find out what exactly motivates them so you a leader know how to approach that person. Simply put, this is your bonding time.

Letting your team members know that you are open and approachable takes away any awkward moments in the work environment and makes them feel more comfortable having you around while working. You don’t want to see your employees hiding or avoiding you the moment they see you approaching, do you?

A happy team makes you happy as a leader too. Merely spending some time with people, really getting to know what makes them tick, you’ll find that poor performance due to de-motivation has a way of disappearing. And if your team is performing well, then you can enjoy your job too.

Leadership is not just about doing reports and handing out tasks. It is about many things, but the one thing it is always about is your people.




The Importance of Gates – no not Bill Gates


OK – first Trees, last week Fences and now Gates.  This is the last (we promise) in this series of analogies.

Last week we talked about how a good leader sets the parameters so that everyone knows what they are doing, and what they are supposed to do.  These rules / parameters, ‘fences’ need to be set at the right level. Not too restrictive so that they limit an individuals growth but not so loose that no-one knows who should be doing what, and people do stuff they are not qualified to do.

So, what are the gates?   Well, these are the opportunities you have as a leader to give your team more responsibility, to allow them to move out of their current space and into another one, either temporarily – on a specific project, or more permanently into a new role.  But beware – there are dangers with gates….

Have you ever had a member of staff that you were convinced would be delighted to have some extra responsibility, but then completely flopped at the task given?  Perhaps you have had a team member – who you thought was perfectly happy – come in and unexpectedly resign one day?  Well it could very well be that you have not put the right gates at the right places for the right people.

What we mean by that is – it up to you where you put the gates – where and to whom you give the opportunities.  It can’t all be gates of course or the fences would fall down, meaning not everyone is ready for more responsibility all the time and it is unfair of you as a leader to expect people to be able to step up to every added responsibility – here lies abdication rather than delegation.  It is also important not to have the gates too far apart – because if people can’t see the next opportunity for them, then they will be off into another role at another company where the opportunities for progression are more obvious and more defined.

Not everyone on your team wants to progress to the next role, some people love the job they are in and wouldn’t give you a thank you to be a manager for example, while others are dying for that particular opportunity.  But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the ones who don’t want to move up the management ladder don’t want progression.  Everyone (well nearly everyone) wants to learn new skills and improve themselves, especially if that comes with some recognition and maybe extra pay.

So the gates have to be appropriate to the individuals you have and THEIR aspirations, not yours.  Phew, it can be tricky being a farmer, I mean Leader in your business.

If you need any help with staff development programmes – the first step might be to order your complimentary copy of ‘How to Get Your Teams to Do Anything And Still Have a Smile On Their Face’ – and please let us know what you think of it.  We are always happy to answer any questions you might have after reading the guide.

Fence Your Team In

Are you Fencing Your Team In?

On the theme of last week and things we noticed as we were contemplating life out of the window, it got us thinking about fences.  Fences are useful things.  They can keep things in and also keep things out – and in farming terms that is useful.  But they can also get in the way, in particular they can get in the way of your team working at maximum potential.

It is all about the right Boundaries

In terms of your business – fences are essential and they need to be in the right place.  What we mean by that is – you need parameters.  Everyone needs to know what their role and responsibilities encompass but also they need to know what the limits of their responsibility are.  Now this is where you need to be careful, because it is easy to put these fences around too small an area or too large.

If you have very tight boundaries then the upside is there is a lot of control, but that is also the downside.  If your teams roles are so tightly bound by what they can and can’t do you are likely to kill initiative and therefore make your job busier (are you doing that on purpose?).  You are not encouraging your team to think for themselves and come up with solutions and you will find yourself saying stuff like “why can no-one make a simple decision about things” or “if I am not here nothing gets done”.

Equally if the boundaries of your “fence” are too large then all control is gone, you have not just delegated – you have abdicated responsibility and may well find that people are doing things that they are just not qualified to do.  Great that they are showing initiative, but not so good if they don’t have the associated skill as then it negatively impacts the business and you end up doing the work twice.

Time to look at your ‘Fences’?

So where are you putting the fences in YOUR business.  Where would you like them to be?  If you need some help looking at this aspect of team management why not get yourself a copy of our free guide ‘How to Get Your Teams to Do Anything They Want and Still Have a Smile on their Face’ – just click here and we will send it right over for you.

Why Your Team Are Letting You Down

Have you ever trusted someone on your team to do something only to find they didn’t do it?  Or they did something completely different than you thought you had asked them to do?

Why does that happen.

Perhaps they are just incompetent?   Or deaf?

More than likely ………not.

It is probably down to the way they are being managed.  Sorry.  Yes – that’s your fault!  Now clearly there are some people who just are not capable of boiling an egg let alone anything more complicated – but you see that may be your fault too – if you hired them.

But barring total incompatibility with the role, there are some very common reasons why people let you down.

  • They don’t understand what you are asking them to do. So why don’t they just tell you?  Well it could be they are new and therefore don’t know that it is alright to admit there are things they don’t know.  (It is alright isn’t it?  If not – there lies your problem)
  • They haven’t been trained to do that task and therefore think they can do it, but like anything you have never tackled before there are things that you ‘don’t know you don’t know’ – if you get what I mean.
  • They don’t understand the priorities. They will get round to doing it, they just didn’t realise it was more of a priority than the stuff they HAVE done today.
  • They are not very committed – they don’t feel very important or valued and therefore their commitment levels aren’t what they once were.
  • Something else happened which seemed to be more urgent than whatever you wanted them to do.
  • They hate you


Just joking – about the last one anyway.

In all cases above – there is a lack of communication and a lack of understanding.  And that’s just YOU.  If you don’t communicate clearly to people what needs doing, how it needs to be done, and by when then you can’t really complain when ‘they let you down’.  Of course, if you have done all that and it is still not being done, then that is a different matter and needs dealing with – probably in a disciplinary way.  But before you go down that route – have a think about whether you might be adding to or even causing the issues.  Are you being crystal clear?  Are your people skilled enough to undertake the tasks given?  Have you clarified their responsibilities lately? Have you communicated to them their importance in the greater scheme of things, and how much you value them?  Do you understand the different motivators and drivers in your team?


If you think you could benefit from understanding your team a bit more, then come along to our next event, a One-day “Detox Your Team and Refresh Your Business” Master Class for business leadership on 13th July 2016.
Book your place here …

This is a fun and practical day of learning how you and your team can be more effective and profitable.

The Team Accelerator Process™ that we will take you through will give you a thorough understanding of how to understand the team dynamics in your business and utilise them to leverage the value of the people in your business.

You will discover:

  • How to realise your own genius and get yourself in flow for top performance
  • Your own behavioural profile and how you can use it to improve relationships
  • The secrets to your team’s genius
  • What motivates the members of your team
  • The best methods of communicating with each member of the team
  • Ho to be more confident when speaking with your team
  • How to have more impact and influence when you use these techniques
  • How to leverage the talent for better productivity and results

Click here to register

Who is this for?
This Master Class is for you if you are a business owner or leader who recognises that your people are the resource that can be the difference between profit and success or loss and failure.  It is not for those leaders who have their head in the sand or who don’t want to take responsibility for creating an environment where their people can thrive and deliver results.

Book your place today

The event is at The Old Fire Station Enterprise Centre
Salt Lane
SP1 1DU Salisbury
United Kingdom
Come along on Wednesday, 13 July 2016 from 09:30 to 17:00
Light lunch is included and refreshments are included
Register here…