Tag Archives: leadership

5 Tips for Managing Others

mayur-gala-487It should not be a surprise to me, but the more I deliver training in the  management and leadership space, the more I see that many people struggle with the supervision of others. I wonder if many of us overthink the problems and see problems where they don’t exist. We need to realise that we won’t get it right all the time – people are diverse and sometimes will react predictably and sometimes (maybe more often) will not. None of us is perfect, so we will all, at times, make mistakes, react badly or put our foot in it.

So here are some things I try to live by (and I do not always get it right either)

1. Give people the benefit of the doubt

I work on the basis that most people want to come to work and do a good job, they want to go home and feel good about the effort they have made.

Have an expectation that people will do well. When things go wrong try to find out why, rather than lay blame.  Accept that people will do things in a different way than you,  work hard to resist the urge to micro-manage (even though it might be the first reaction).

This philosophy goes hand in hand with a mindset that sees the good in people. Where are they most skilled, how can you help them to build on that skill, how can you compensate for their lack of skill in another area?

Try it, you will be amazed at how amazing people really are.

2. Provide support where it is needed

Support for your team comes in many forms.  It is the training you provide, the resources to do a good job, the flexibility in hours, the time off when needed, the listening ear, the direction…

In providing support for your team you will come up against the equal versus equitable dilemma. How can you treat everyone the same and also allow for differences in circumstances?

Think about the people in your team. How many have school age children and struggle with school holidays when both partners work- can you accommodate them?  Can the people who have English (and Kiwi English at that) as a second language communicate as effectively with their clients as others- how can you help them?  Does the person who struggles with mental health need a quiet place to work from time to time? Is there someone in the “sandwich generation” who is managing aging parents and teenage children at the same time- how can you support them?

Think of it as an investment in your people, not as a cost and you will reap the returns.

3. Deal with conflict

Conflict is inevitable whenever you get a few people together. Conflict isn’t necessarily bad, so long as it is handled positively. Disagreements can result in much needed change, new ideas and innovation. As a team leader, it is important that conflict is dealt with quickly and positively.

Keep an eye out for behaviour that may result in bullying or harassment and stop it straight away. It is not easy to raise issues, but it is important that you do.

Have those courageous conversations and you will see good results.

4. Manage change

Change is something that we all need to get used to, however, many people do not cope well with change. Supporting people by providing good direction and clear communication about change will help them to navigate changing work environments.

Sometimes people will not recognise their own resistance to change, by getting to know your staff you will understand how best to help them.

5. Have fun

And one of the most important things to remember is to have fun. Your work and business require serious attention, however it is important that everyone has a chance to stop and have fun.

As a team leader you can influence the fun that your team has. Don’t take yourself too seriously,  celebrate successes and (sometimes) failures, allow time for team members to be a bit silly sometimes- whatever works for your team will be good for business.

There are, of course, many other things you need to think of when managing a team. Try to do these five things well and good things will follow.

If you need support in this area, get in touch to talk about how I can help.

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