Ideas and Insights


When safety is lost

In this paper Paul O’Neill and Tim Dalmau explore the tricky area of psychological safety and the power of learned patterns of response and the power of filters. This paper is the first of two. Another paper will follow on how we can get rid of these limitations and how those in power can get their outcomes without triggering fear responses.

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How am I being experienced as a leader?

If you ask five different people if they think they are likely to be good leader, then you will get five different answers.  But those different answers will tend to settle out into two different groups; those who assume there are those who innately know how to lead and those who believe good leaders can be trained. It is the old nurture versus nature question in another guise and it inevitably misses a core point.

Such a question often arises at that stage in a leader’s career when they are presented with an increasing number of situations (read subordinates and team behaviors) where they don’t seem to be able to either change the individual’s behavior or remove some pattern of unhelpful group dynamics.

Such contemplations inevitably are framed on the assumption that there are some who innately know how to lead and there are others who have grown to become effective leaders. Such people worry if they are not in the first group, then what are the chances of them joining the second group someday and dealing successfully with troublesome individuals and groups.

Read more…
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Mind games: speaking to large groups

This week I’ve been working with a great group of people and a recurring theme has come up, something I come across often: fear and anxiety speaking in front of a large group of people.

Many people were confident speaking in front of a group early in their careers or as young adults, yet as their careers have progressed, despite their increasing capabilities in their roles, they find now themselves becoming increasingly anxious at the thought of having to deliver a presentation or speak to a large group.

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Feedback: the how

Many companies try to help managers navigate this minefield by standardizing a feedback/ review process, even going so far as to have printed out mandatory questions with blank spaces for the recipients’ answers….  And in doing so they are trying to equip managers with a tool to help them succeed in the conversation (and avoid HR complications). 

People take feedback differently, in terms of their emotional reaction, subsequent motivation, engagement, input, openness, honesty, follow up output and much more. Feedback is not a one size fits all or each performance review and coaching session would be perfect every time. 

Unfortunately, this way of thinking often addresses the dimensions of content and formal process.  There’s another, equally important focus to consider… the ‘how’ – the informal, hidden or tacit process.

Read more…

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The leader as a source of contagious destruction

Much has happened in the last two decades to re-shape our understanding of the effect we have on one another. There was a time when we used to think we were independent, autonomous agents who chose to react (or not) to another’s behavior. Those days are well and truly gone.

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Team development: a guide

Teams are the core operational unit of all organizations – no matter how small or large. Forming, building and sustaining functional and high performing teams is at the heart of managers' roles, and yet is a constant dilemma for them – how to effectively develop teams?

 To assist, here is the first in a series of handbooks or guides for team development. It provides an introduction to what makes effective team development. Over the coming months, additional handbooks will be available that will provide a framework and practical activities and approaches to help you build a flourishing and performing team.

Just enter your email address below to receive your free copy of the Team Development Guide

Jill Tideman

 

 

 

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Receiving feedback

It was Ken Blanchard who supposedly said that feedback is the breakfast of champions. Here are 8 simple tips for receiving feedback

Above all else breathe! Move your body (significantly), avert your gaze momentarily, and then take two deep breaths.

Do not look at the person. Do not maintain eye contact. Look to the side and nod your head in acknowledgement to the rhythm of the other person’s speech. Despite everything you have been told to maintain eye contact it is actually counter-productive when dealing with volatile information. It will only male you tense and slow down your thinking and do the same for the other person.

Never argue; just say thanks. Remember, another person’s feedback is about their experience of you not about you.

Don’t let any clarifying questions you have turn into a defense of your position.

Think carefully and slowly about what they have said to you. Don’t immediately reject or immediately reject what the other person has said

Go ask someone else whom you know for their frank honesty with you about how they see the issue and be careful when doing this not to “lead the witness”. In other words, triangulate the feedback.

Look for opportunities to stop doing or start doing critiqued behaviors.

If you feel the criticism was justified and you are better off for it, don’t forget to close the loop and share your progress with the feedback giver.

If you don’t know to change the behavior then ask for help or seek a coach.

Cathy Taylor

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Creating psychological safety in teams

I get to work with teams and groups of all shapes and sizes; from dusty mining crews, to cool urbane executive teams and all in between.  You do not need to be with them long to get a sense of how well the members of the team gel. In other words, the level of trust in the group.

Back in 2013, Steve Zuieback wrote an article, Trust: Cause, Effect or Process, building on the work of Jack Gibb. His Trust Cycle shows 6 steps or actions, that if repeated builds trust in teams. These include,

  • Sharing critical information
  • Experiencing openness
  • Experience more trust
  • Commit to common work
  • Learn as you go
  • Create and document results

In addition to these, my colleague Tim Dalmau often talks about “creating safety” in groups. By this he means psychological safety.

Psychological safety means that there is certainty (in terms of behaviors and decisions by those in power) and people feel safe. Read more…

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Tips for improving contributions in meetings

Click here for a copy of some tips to help you make better contributions in meetings, enhancing the overall quality, effectiveness and efficiency of  meetings in which you participate.

Related Ideas and Insights articles are Breathing 101 and Go Visual!

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Breathing 101

Often it is the simple things that make the most difference…and breathing is one of those things.

Breathing is something we do not need to learn – from the moment we are born to the moment we leave this life, it is for most of us, an unconscious part of our lives.

Breathing and communication

In addition to the fundamental purpose of taking air into our lungs and exhaling carbon dioxide from our lungs thereby allowing for oxygenation of our blood to keep us alive and removing the ‘waste’ gases from respiration from our body, breathing is also fundamental to communication.

Breathing allows us to communicate through speech, and allows us to enhance our communication skills and to influence others enormously.

So… there are definitely things about breathing that we can learn, practice and deliberately use to improve our communication skills. Read more…

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Buy Tim & Steve’s Book

''A truly useful and practical book'' Rich Shapiro, EY

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