Tag Archives: leadership

Unfurling HR – conversations for change

koruLast week I attended the Unfurling HR Unconference organised and facilitated by Amanda Sterling of NZLead. The fern was used as a metaphor for unfurling, unravelling and re-positioning the people and culture related disciplines in organisations. It was an inspiring and motivational event and I have included links to other blogs with feedback about the unconference below.

I participated in discussions about leadership, personal development and the internal brand. As a consultant I couldn’t resist putting my feedback into a stop-start-continue format with suggestions for organisations and HR.

  Organisations could…. HR could….
  • Leaving all the people stuff to HR
  • Leaving all the compliance stuff to HR
  • Creating a consumer brand disconnected from the employee experience
  • Tolerating poor people management practice
  • Taking on all the people stuff
  • Taking on all the compliance stuff
  • Creating employment brands
  • Tolerating poor people management practice
  • Ensuring all managers are trained how to manage people
  • Supporting personal development for all staff from day one
  • Supporting a culture that is living the brand inside as well as outside
  • Developing leadership across the board
  •  Facilitating processes to ensure all managers are well trained
  • Facilitating personal development plans for all
  • Collaborating with marketing and others to develop the culture that supports the brand
  • Identifying leadership qualities that support the culture
  • To look for better ways to do things
  • To collaborate with HR to create stronger organisations
  • To recognise the knowledge and experience of their people related teams


  • Having challenging conversations about doing things better
  • To learn about the business and how they can best add value
  • To learn from each other and share knowledge widely in their organisations

Thoughts from other attendees- #unfurlingHR created a lot of food for thought.

Amanda Sterling – Reflections from #unfurlingHR – what next

Megan Borrie – #unfurlingHR – Baking these things in

Richard Westney – Off the beaten Track

Angela Atkins – #UnfurlingHR

Vaughan Rivett – Attending my first unconference

Jonathan Hagger – One quick recap

PS- this event will inspire at least one more blog from me,  so watch this space.

What makes a team work for you?

Most of us live our lives as members of various groups and teams. Many of us need the support of others in order to function well. I am a “group joiner”, and love nothing more than working with a team of like-minded people to achieve a shared outcome. Have you ever thought about what makes some teams work for you when others don’t?

What image do you have of how the group is structured?

  • Where  do you fit in relation to the leader, to other team members?
  • What pictures do others have in their head?
  • Is your picture reality or how you imagine it to be?

Do you have a shared view of the job you have to do?

  • Why have you got together?
  • What are the timeframes?
  • How will you know when you have achieved you goal?

What are the pressures on your group and how do they affect how you operate?

  • Are the pressures external or internal?
  • Do they mobilise you or paralyse you?
  • Do your processes address the effect of the pressures?

What happens when you get together?

  • Do you allow time to get to know each other better?
  • Is time well managed?
  • Do you celebrate your successes?

What will happen when you disband the group or members leave?

  • How do you honour the work that has been done?
  • What stories will be told about the group?
  • What will happen to the work that has been done?

We may all have different answers to these questions. We are likely to ask these unconsciously, with group processes being developed to suit individual needs in an ad hoc fashion. If you think about these (and other questions) when coming together as individuals to achieve a common goal, then you and your team members are more likely to belong and be satisfied with what you achieve.

Lessons I have learnt

As often happens at this time of the year, I have been reflecting on some lessons I have learnt. This blog is about leadership lessons. Like many people I have been on many courses and programmes about leadership – I even facilitate my own. But often, the lessons we learn best are those we learn from experience.

1. Leadership is a team sport

It is relatively easy to see how effective your leadership is by the number of people you have with you. Whether you are leading a team to complete a task, or whether you are gaining acceptance of a new idea, you cannot lead alone. Simply being a good team member can demonstrate strong leadership, support for the person in charge is an important leadership attribute.

2. Its no longer about you

Nobody owes you anything just because you are now “in charge”. It is important that you focus on the goal, support the team and recognise that you are there for the good of the group or organisation that you are part of.

3. Embrace differences to “complete the jigsaw”

If you are a big picture person you will need detailed people in your team and vice-versa. A team will not function if everyone is the same. Imagine being in a group of extroverts, or alternatively a group of intraverts. Surrounding yourself with good people is not a threat to  your leadership, but an asset you can utilise. Embrace difference in all its contexts and the team will benefit.

4. Saying no is not being selfish, its being reliable

Be realistic about what you can achieve. (This is the hardest lesson for me) The team will function better if you delegate to others; it not only decreases your workload, but creates a greater sense of satisfaction for team members.

5. Know when to say goodbye

We all have a use-by date in any project or job. Know when yours is coming up and leave before its too late. Have succession in place so moving on will be an easy transition for all involved