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What is Your Productivity Type?

There is no one size fits all approach to being the most productive incarnation of yourself.

Productivity superpower

Discover your unique productivity type to become your most dynamic self.

As Small Business owners, we are all on a quest, a crusade to find the holy grail of efficacy. But it is not a quest off to far off lands, but more a journey into the unknown terrain of our own personal approach to life. As such, there is no one size fits all approach to being the most productive incarnation of yourself.

In this article, I would like to share with you the four productivity types and how you can use this understanding to move further on your quest for ultimate effectiveness

Now with any typing system, they are designed to be a tool for you to understand more of your self and your patterns. 

Do not let them define you; let them help you take the next steps.  

And we all have a bit of all of these in us. You may even find that on Mondays you have a lot of Earth Holder going on and by Friday you are a total Air Dancer.  The big thing here is to build your awareness of your styles and patterns. 

And what is with these funky names you may be asking?

I have looked at the elemental side of productivity. Each element and I am working with air, fire, earth and water here, has its own properties, and for fun, it’s own superhero name. Let me introduce you to them.

Earth Holder.

When you have this type happening in your life, you feel slow to get going, slow to change course, once you are in something, you are in it. You tend to like to work on one thing at a time.  Earth Holders are grounded, deep thinking and are very thorough. They are not quick but have an intense focus.

Strengths – focus.

Challenges – change.

The best strategies for an Earth Holder are:

  • Well planned  – plan in monthly blocks so that you make sure you get to the core tasks.
  • Big chunks of time on one task.
  • Daily or weekly themes.
  • Work in teams or with accountability to keep things moving along.
  • Have creative breaks, draw, dance, write to increase creative and innovative thoughts.
earth productive

Air Dancer

When you are embodying the productivity type of Air Dancer, you are quick thinking, have lots of ideas and feel creative. You are visionary; you can get lost in the ideas and forget the actions. Sometimes Air Dancers can experience short attention spans, get easily distracted, and be prone to daydreaming. This is the type that can forget the body and not eat.

Strengths – creative ideas and quick thinking.

Challenges – lost in thought and easily distracted.

The best strategies for an Air Dancer Are:

  • Manage your environment – turn of the phone, SM, notifications, any visual disturbances. 
  • Use a Pomodoro method to both keep attention on a task in 25-minute blocks, but also to remember to have breaks where you touch base with your body.
  • Have a notepad nearby to jot down other ideas that fly in that aren’t on task so they can be dealt with later,
  • Intention segments – think about what you want to get done by the end of the Pomodoro or session, visualise it completely, and then get started on the task. You may even want to write it down to refer to if you get lost. 
Air Productivity

Water Weaver

Water weavers are collaborative, inclusive and most productive in company. They are great at going with the flow and are not that into planning. They like to watch their days unfold.  Water Weavers can be very distracted by others and want to live vicariously through others experiences as well as their own. 

Strengths – collaborate well.

Challenges – can get pulled into other people’s agendas easily.

The best strategies for a Water Weaver are:

  • Balance collaboration and productive time. 
  • Structured Co-working – great with Pomodoros. Where everyone has their head down working for blocks of time – and can socialise on breaks
  • Loose big picture planning with lots of room to improvise
  • Start each day by connecting with how you want to feel by the end of the day. 
  • Loving-kindness meditation throughout the day will help to keep you on track.
water productivity

Fire Starter

This productivity type is passionate and fiery, and they burn fast and hot. They also burn out is they don’t replenish themselves often. The Fire Starter is passion driven and all in. They can get vast amounts of work done in a very short time as long as they have fuelled up enough. If they haven’t had the rest and self-care they need, they tend not to have the energy to get into their work, and they can become very disengaged. 

Strengths – Ultra-productive when well rested.

Challenges – will burn out if you don’t take time to look after yourself.

The best strategies for a Fire Starter are:

  • Block in high productive times – distraction-free as you can make them
  • See to your self-care first
  • Use mindfulness and relaxation techniques to engage the parasympathetic system keeping stress levels down
  • Value rest
  • Balance the brave with the mundane
fire productivity

And now

Which productivity type did you connect with the most? Perhaps there is more than one. Are there ones you visit more than others? Are there ones that you would like to visit but don’t?

Now the secret cool part of all of this is that you have all of these productive elements are working within you. So if you are feeling heavy and stuck in your business, bring in some air dancer, if you feel bored with your plan, then embodying your water weaver might be just the ticket. If you feel burned out, a bit of earth holder time might revise you.

Do not let them define you; let them help you take the next steps.  And we all have a bit of all of these in us. You may even find that on Mondays you have a lot of Earth Holder going on and by Friday you are a total Air Dancer.  The big thing here is to build your awareness of your styles and patterns. 

5 Ways To Build Your Team’s Inner Leadership

How do we keep our teams motivated? I believe that the answer to that is inner leadership.

Photo by Vadim Sadovski on Unsplash

You know what it is like to work in a highly motivated team. When your team is firing on all cylinders, the energy that creates and the work that gets done is phenomenal. And you also know the drag of trying to get this happening with a team that is listless and has no heart or skin in what they are doing. And that leads us to the golden question… How do we keep our teams motivated? I believe that the answer to that is inner leadership.

Ok, I have just thrown that term out there. If this article had a soundtrack, there would be a dramatic crescendo at the point. Now cue the curious tickling tunes while I tell you what I mean by inner leadership.  

Inner Leadership is the way that you lead yourself first and others second.

Inner Leadership is the way that you lead yourself first and others second. It is having a clear internal compass on how to move forward and having self-mastery over your thoughts and disruptive emotions. It is the ability to speak up for yourself and others, and it is knowing what you are responsible for and what you are aren’t. And Inner leaders take all of this into how they connect with others. 

Now, what has this got to do with motivation? Not much if you are a carrot or stick motivator but everything if you are looking to have a team lit up from within. Let’s explore how it works (Cue dramatic music)

Aligning the Inner Compass

One of the biggest challenges you face when motivating your team is getting them to buy into your team’s vision and purpose and align it with their own. For some team members, this is as easy as making a cup of tea, for others you may have the feeling that you will never get on the same page. To create this alignment, you need 3 ingredients. Firstly you need to know what the purpose and the vision is of your team. On the flip side, you need for your team members to discover what their vision is for being in the team. Then knowing how to communicate through this in a way that allows for everyone to feel like a valuable part of what you are trying to get done.

Self Mastery

What has self-mastery got to do with motivation? Well, we all know what it is like to want to change a habit from stopping yourself from eating that 4 pm chocolate bar to pressing the snooze bar when we had promised ourselves to get up and go for a run before work. We also see it in the workplace. The extra trips to the photocopier to procrastinate, the endless working through emails that aren’t the high priority task that we need to be doing. Self-mastery doesn’t create motivation, it supports and facilitates it.  

So how do you build this within your team? I believe in a two-fold approach. Training to develop self-mastery and then integration time. Give your team pockets of time with the resources that they need to continue to grow this. It is a practice, not an aha moment that will build this capacity.

Speaking Up

Nothing is more motivating than having skin in the game, and a great way to get your team to have that is to include their ideas. I know that I will work much much harder to see an idea that I have had come into being than following the idea of someone else. Now I know that this isn’t always practical yet I still challenge you to keep looking for ways to open up communication, so your team has a forum to share their thoughts and ideas. 

The other side of this is friction and conflict. Whether it is out in the open conflict, or you have a couple of elephants in the room with your team, and no one is talking about it. Both scenarios leave people not wanting to speak up. This is when creating a platform for discussion is even more crucial. 

As well as creating the platform for discussions, also providing training to support your staff to build the confidence and the skill to speak up with integrity is crucial to inner leadership.

Inner Leadership – It isn’t an instant solution; it is a powerful and long-lasting one.

5 ways to build your whole team's inner leadership
Photo by Alessio Tecleme on Unsplash

Responsible – Yes or No

One of the biggest things that kill motivation is a culture of blame and even worse, a culture of shaming. This happens when there is no understanding of self-responsibility. Blame occurs when someone has a big surge of negative emotions and dumps them on someone else. If each person on your team is responsible for their feelings, their thoughts and their own words, there is no blame. 

Providing training to your team on building self-responsibly will grow motivation like spring rain for your lawn. 

Connect and connect again

If self-responsibility is like rain, connection is the sunshine. Feeling like you are all in this together, part of something more significant than yourselves creates a high-performance environment. Supporting your team to build connections with you and with each other will see motivation souring. 

Next steps

Now the closing music starts up as I encourage you to think about supporting the inner leadership of your team. It isn’t an instant solution; it is a powerful and long-lasting one. What small step can you make to day?

Do you want to motivate your team but don’t know where to start? I invite you to have a 20-minute team motivation analysis session with me. We will look at the dynamic of your team, the team environment and your leadership style to shine a light on how you can boost motivation  Book a time here.

Trish Everett is a mindset coach and communication geek with a passion for creating workplaces that people love to work at. She is also a lecturer of Wellness Coaching at RMIT uni and is passionate about conversations that bring positive change. 

Four Steps to Make Your Meetings More Engaging and Enjoyable

The email comes in, meeting next Tuesday, 2 pm, Agenda attached. What happens for you?

A, your heart lift with joy and excitement at the magic that you are going to create in that meeting?

B, does it plummet with the thought of sitting through yet another painful meeting where you don’t feel like you have a say and nothing ever seems to come of the hours you spend in never-ending discussion. 

Photo by MapBox on Unsplash

I would love to think that it was option A, your heart soaring at the idea of what you can create, but I know that unfortunately, the option B is a lot more common. Today I would like to share with you four steps to get more heart soaring and less heart plummeting. 

Catching the plummet

So why do you go to the meetings in the first place? Maybe you have to for your job; maybe you have to to get something to happen, perhaps you have to because ‘stupidly’ you signed up to do it. 

First thing I will ask you to do is to go on a mind hunt for all the ‘have to’s that you are thinking. Notice when you say ‘have to’ regarding the meeting when you think have to. Whenever it has that energy, you are going to walk into it feeling like you have to drag yourself. Let’s catch those moments of ‘have to’.

Find the why

Next, I want you to zoom out to the bigger why. What excites you about the potential of the committee/team? What are you collectively trying to get done? What have you got to offer the group? And, what has the group got to provide you with? Now the trickiest part of this is to stay in the positive and the possibility with this. If you feel yourself heading off into the negative/problem, side of things, stop, breathe and got back to the bigger why, bigger possibilities. If you can, come up with a little statement about your why for these meetings like “I really want to see the local business community thrive.”

What excites you about the potential of the committee/team?

Switch the vibe

Now here comes the on-going part, and the part that makes a huge difference. Each time that you have a case of the ‘have to’s, the ‘what is the point’s or the heart plummets, when it comes to thinking about the meeting, switch it with your why statement. It would go something like this. “oh no I have to go to another meeting… YES AND I want to see the local business community thrive” and see how that changes your outlook for the meeting. 

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

Share the vision

This one will supercharge the vibe of your meeting. Set an agenda item that explores ‘the why’ of your whole group. Why is each person in the room part of it? Here are the questions to look at again as a group

  • What excites you about the potential of this committee/team? 
  • What are you collectively trying to get done? 
  • What have you got to offer the group? 
  • And, what has the group got to offer you?

In a group, you can have a ‘downer police’. Have a couple of people who call it out when the vision starts to be dragged down by all the things that aren’t working. You can always look at these later. However, we all do love to talk about problems and your why session will quickly regress into a ‘why not’ meeting if you don’t take extra care. 

At the end of the session, summaries everyone’s whys into what will become a vision statement. This summary can be a powerful way to start each meeting and keep you working towards where you want to go.

Next steps

There is a lot more that you can do to improve the effectiveness of your meetings. If you would like to talk to me about what is happening in your meetings specifically, book in for a free 30-minute chat and we can see what is happening and what else you can do to have the hearts of your team or committee’s heart soar. Book a time here to find a time to talk about your meetings.

Trish Everett is a mindset coach and communication geek with a passion for creating workplaces that people love to work at. She is also a lecturer of Wellness Coaching at RMIT uni and is passionate about conversations that bring positive change. 

The Behind-The-Scene Secret To Customer Experience

I like to think of my life as a series of experiences, some that I relish in, savor every moment of, and others that, well, they are downright bothersome, painful and the kind of experiences that I generally do my best to avoid. 

Photo by Elena Koycheva

This behind-the-scene secret to customer experience will help you create a superior and lasting impression with every interaction. 

I like to think of my life as a series of experiences, some that I relish in, savor every moment of, and others that, well, they are downright bothersome, painful and the kind of experiences that I generally do my best to avoid. 

Each of these experience has the power to either lift me up or drag me down. And what happens in one experience with usually color the next one. Do you see this in your life too?

Now go with me on this train on thought for a moment.

Think of your life, a large number of your weekly experiences are in the pursuit of earning money, and there are also quite a lot of experiences in the area spending that money. 

How are these experiences coloring your life? Are they lifting you up or dragging you down?

And taking that thought train to one more stop:

How are your interactions coloring the life of the people who work for you and who buy from you? 

Are you providing opportunities for a great experience?

Let's first dive deeper into customer experience.

When someone comes to buy from you, what kind of experience do they have? And before you shrug off this question with a ‘yeah it is a great experience’, I want to share a statistic with you that, when Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtics, shared this at the Qualtics 4X Event, almost had me falling off my chair.

80% of CEO’s believe they are providing a superior experience. That could translate to say 4 out of 5 of each person who is reading this. The crazy bit is that only 8% of customers agree.

That blows me away how significant the experience gap is in this area. And when we all think we are providing a superior experience, we aren’t looking for how we can make it better.  It is time to step it up. 

So what do we do?

First, meet the behind the scene secret to customer experience.

Behind the scene of customer experience we see that people buy from people. Your team, whether this is just you, or you have team upon team, your customers are buying from them. And I don’t just mean your sales and customer service people. They buy from the whole team.

From your CEO to your trainees, whether your customers talk to them or not, they all contribute to the customer’s experience. It is kind of huge to think of it. That everyone’s actions have an impact on customer experience.

It's time to talk about the employee experience.

Now let’s think about your team. I am going to start with a scary stat. According to research by Gallop, two-thirds of the global workforce is disengaged.

So if you are out there, wanting to create amazing experiences for your customers, think about what the experience is like for each member of your team, even if that is only you.

If your employees aren’t enjoying the experience of working for you, if they are disengaged, then it is that much harder for them to create an excellent experience for your customers. Put your oxygen mask on first. Make great experiences for your team.

Don't forget the flow on.

Each experience has the power to disrupt the next one. This happens to each of us moment by moment. If I lose my keys and rush about looking for them, I might get frustrated and then when I get in my car, and I might then cut someone off in my rush, and be out of sorts when I arrive at my destination.

Photo by Chandler Chen on Unsplash

If I am not careful, I can carry the downer of losing my keys for the whole day, mucking up each experience as I go. But that is just my side of it. The thing is, we don’t just keep this to ourselves. Our negative experiences can lead us to give others unpleasing experiences, like the car I cut off after losing my keys.  

When you think of this on the level of your team and of your customers, you can see that without awareness and management, everyone’s experience can be tainted.  But do not despair. The powerful thing is we can do the same thing with positive experiences. Let’s think about that for a moment.

What if every person, employee, customer and beyond, that came in contact with your business walked away feeling better than they did when they arrived?

Think of the difference that could make — the difference not only to your organisation’s success but to all those lives.

Five things that you can do today to give both customer experience and employee experience a lift:

  1. Get curious – find out what it is like to be a customer to you as well as an employee. Start asking questions and don’t stop.
  2. Get emphatic – be on a mission to see what it is like to walk in their shoes. How does it feel for them? What lifts them up? What knocks them down?
  3. Commit to change – genuinely commit to creating experiences that will lift everyone up. Find ways to make it happen
  4. Co-created action – an experience isn’t something you do to someone, it is something that happens in partnership. So the most powerful experiences are co-created.
  5. Celebrate – when you create a better experience, celebrate it, each step of the way, even if you still have more to do.

Think of the difference that could make — the difference not only to your organisation’s success but to all those lives.

5 Ways to Transform a Toxic Workplace

There are times where you can be facing a power battle in a toxic workplace. It is a tough time when that is going on. You can feel torn between going against your values and toeing the line or standing up for your values and faces waves of resistance.

Healing toxic workplaces
Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

Today I offer you these snippets to release the toxicity and reclaim some of your inner power.  

Refocus your power.

Now look we could start this process by searching around, pointing fingers, throwing blame around. Look for who the wrongdoers are and then what? Stand up and point out what is wrong. 

The problem here is that often everyone thinks that they are right, and blame often clouds the way through. 

Refocus your power to avoid toxicity in the workplace
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

The other part of this is petitioning others to come in and fight your battle. And while this is an essential part of bringing change, it can’t be the only way as waiting for someone else to make it all better often doesn’t feel very empowering. 

So before you go down the obvious path to create change, let’s focus your inner power first. Then seeking support to help change the toxicity will work in a very different way.  And doing it without blame, that is truly powerful. 

Clear your inner toxicity.

Let’s look at what you can do to clear the toxic stuff going on around you:

To do this, we start with expanding inner strength and positivity. 

One of the ways we get dragged down into the toxic workplace environment is by meeting it at its grotty level. How about trying this: Before we even set foot in the door, build up a strong sense of inner strength.

Now, this process is different for everyone. That might be: 

  • Going for a run or other exercise
  • Doing power posses 
  • Doing meditation (I like something heart-based for this like loving-kindness meditation (meta) or heart coherence.
  • Visualisation
  • Journaling (I like to start with the line “I chose to know and believe…”)

And there are many more. Find your way to start your day on a high so that you can walk into work fully charged.

Using anger as it is designed to be used.

One of the ways to transform a toxic workplace is to do activities that help alleviate the mind.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Anger is a powerful emotion. It isn’t there to challenge our self-mastery (although when out of check it can be great for that). What our anger is trying to tell us is usually that one of our boundaries has been crossed.  And when I say boundaries, I mean, crossed a line that isn’t ok with us. 

So when our anger alert has sounded, we have an opportunity to do two things. 

The first is the question of our boundary or line in the sand of ok. So whatever boundary has been crossed, ask:

  • Is this boundary reasonable?
  • What does this boundary protect/support/enable?
  • Am I willing to compromise this boundary?

Once you are clear on that, the next step is to look at how are you going to defend that boundary. Now, this is where a bit of anger (not too much or it can overwhelm you) can come in handy as it helps you speak up. 

  • What are you going to do or say to stand up for what you believe is crossing a boundary

Related article: Workplace Culture Matters & Here’s The Reasons Why

Choose constructive communication over gossip in a toxic workplace.

I know how frustrating it is to be in a toxic environment, but blowing off steam is like adding full to the fire.  We all need to talk about it when things are hard, but to be stuck in discussing a litany of problems is adding to the toxicity. Instead, after looking at what isn’t working, ask:

  • What can I do to make this better?
  • What are the positives I can see in this?
  • Where are they coming from?

Start the reconciliation process.

From a workplace level, it is crucial to start the reconciliation process. 

Reconciliation has three stages:

  1. Understand the different viewpoints and what each group needs. There needs to be a healing process around this, especially where things have got nasty.
  2. Creating a safe dialogue to create a combined vision and action plan to move forward in a morally respectful way.
  3. Build-in processes so that all involved can heal starting with a strong circle of safety, blame-free workplace culture, and a healthy support system. 

Working through conflict in a way that heals, builds understanding, and creates agreed values at the same time as setting up future support and approaches to working together is key to creating a sustainable cultural improvement. 

Everyone in the workplace is adding to the energy of the culture. Real change happens when everyone commits to doing their part to build a connection throughout the workplace. And that can start with one person. It can start today with you.

Originally published on SmallVille

Using Five Layers of Empathy to Enhance Your Success

Empathy in teams

Water flows down an ambling river, curving, moving around all that is in its path. Softly caressing all that it passes along its way. Empathy is a bit like that water. It flows between people, connecting them, soothing them, cleansing them. It builds trust, connection, and has that amazing ability to clean away feelings of shame. While it may seem like a soft skill, just like the river, it can gain momentum and volume and can become an unstoppable power.

While the importance of empathy is gaining kudos in the realm of emotional intelligence (EI), its role in helping your organisation be more successful and profitable is still not fully realised. I believe that the effect that empathy can have on success is something to get really excited about.

Customer Empathy 

Think about what an ‘average customer’ might be feeling before, during and after they make the choice to invest in what you are offering. What do you think their experience would be like? What problems are you solving for them? And what is the biggest thing that they are getting from the experience? What values and desires is this meeting, or not meeting, for them? Take a few minutes to imagine walking in their shoes.

What your organisation creates, whether a product or a service, is created by you for someone else. How much empathy do you have you for them? Do you think about their experience of getting and using what you have created? Have you ever really put yourself in their shoes? Maybe you have. Maybe you haven’t.

Organisational Empathy

Now, and this is the bit where the success part comes in, how could you make their experience better? This is birthing innovations from a place of empathy.

Team Empathy

Let’s think of empathy like a yacht out in the ocean, the ocean of workplace dynamics. It is the place where it is safe, as opposed to swimming on your own in the ocean. A place where you are safe from the sharks, from being pulled under by big waves. It is the same in your team. Empathy creates a safe space. A safe space means that your team can put their energy into creation and hard work rather than into staying afloat and protecting themselves.

Now imagine — imagine what your team could be creating if they were in that kind of environment. How much more could you be getting done if everyone felt understood and validated?

Stakeholder Empathy

What if we now apply this thinking to the stakeholders. Your board, your shareholders and investors. Often it feels like there is conflict between what stakeholders want and what the team wants. Two-way empathy can be a powerful way to bridge the gap and find creative ways to build more support between these two groups.

What are the current conflicts between your stakeholders and your team? How are their values different? Start looking at it and see where there are bridges of empathy that can bring more alignment.

Self-Empathy

We have all heard the expression ‘to stand in someone else’s shoes’. To imagine what another’s experience is, and feel that without judgement, is powerful and connecting stuff. Where empathy doubles in power is where it becomes a two-way street. I have empathy for you, you have empathy for me. Now, while you may be very good at standing in another’s shoes, a skill that is often forgotten is the other side, the ability to stand in your own shoes.

Can you see your own feelings and experiences as valid?

Can you view yourself without judgement?

Can you have an open mind with yourself?

Being able to see yourself with empathy makes it easier for others to connect with you. It allows an inner honesty that can breed trust in your workplace.

Community Empathy

The last place that can boost your success through empathy, is having empathy for the communities that your organisation is part of. That may be one community or many. These communities are like the soil that your business grows in. If you understand what the community needs, how it feels about your organisation growing within it, then you can build a clear strategy of how to feed it. Just as we feed our soil to grow amazing food, we can feed the communities that we operate in and that will support your business to grow.

Expanding your idea and use of empathy is an endless practice. It will form a solid base to the way you connect, that will lead to greater success. And it is a practice. Start with a little more, and then a little more. Start using it in new relationships, in new social dynamics. Play with it. Where does it lead you?

Workshop with Trish Everett

Trish Everett is a highly qualified communications consultant and mindset coach. She specialises in helping organisations build connected, innovative and success-orientated cultures in order to reduce costs and improve workforce productivity and effectiveness. 

Six Qualities Of A STANDOUT Leader

The old style of Leadership isn’t going to fly anymore. We all want more from our leaders. We are at a time where we are not willing to put up with fear-based leadership anymore. We want more than our basic needs met, we want more from our workplaces. The pay cheque incentive isn’t enough to create brilliance for bosses that aren’t leading with inspiration.


It was an honour and a pleasure to talk with Natasha Hawker, HR expert, on The Leadership Edge podcast. She has had years of experience and in that time, has watched the good, the bad and the ugly side of leadership.

When I asked Natasha what were the characteristics of a standout leader, she broke it down like this:
• Authentic and Real
• Create a Vision
•  Take their Team on a Journey
•  Approachable
•  Transparent
•  Makes it ok to fail

I love all these points, don’t you? And, like everything, when it comes to personal and professional growth, each point is not just something to learn about, it is also a deepening practice. Shall we dive into each one of them a bit more?

Authentic and Real 

People don’t want false leaders, they want leaders that they can like. Not only that, we all have an internal fake alarm. For most of us, we know when someone isn’t being real with us. It creates an instant disconnect and it also starts to erode trust. If you order a coffee, you want a coffee; you wouldn’t be impressed it you got a dandelion tea pretending to be a coffee.

Create a Vision

Visions are powerful things. It is a way of seeing an idea of a future that you want to move towards and putting a big rubber band between your idea and the present moment. You create a forward movement towards it.
Leaders who have a vision are able to create a path forward that has momentum. Without such a vision, there is no pull forwards, and organisations can find themselves on a slow-moving train that is moving on a loop.

Take their Team on a Journey

It is one thing to have a vision, it is another one altogether to take your team on that journey with you. Leaders that work with their team to bring their thoughts and ideas into the vision, amp up the power of that elastic-pull forward. This also gives team members a sense of ownership in the vision.

Whether including your team in the vision is possible or not, communicating the vision clearly to your team is so important when it comes to keeping the momentum of the vision alive and flowing throughout your team. And let’s not forget, visions grow, expand, morph and change. Keeping your team up to date with these changes will keep the momentum going. That elastic band pulling you all forward will go slack if your team lose sight of where you are leading them.

Approachable

Fear leadership is so passé. We don’t want our leaders to be in the top of glass towers that can’t be reached, or with the idea of approaching them, we break out in a sweat. Approachable is now in vogue.

Now approachability has a few parts to it. The first is making yourself available. Ask yourself how can I be more available to my team?
The next part of this is about being able to listen with the energy of curiosity. We can all listen, but the energy in which we listen is vastly different. Some people listen with an internal running commentary of analysis or judgement, another may listen while also working out what they are going to say next. These kinds of listening take away from your ability to be approachable. Curiosity, on the other hand, enhances it.

Transparency

Just like we have an internal fake alarm that goes off when we experience something that isn’t real or authentic, we also have an internal alarm that sounds when we feel that something is being kept from us. This alarm can create a huge trust landslide, and crush the feelings of ownership and belonging of your team. This may seem a little dramatic, the thing is that it really can be. And this all happens under the surface.

Transparency may sound easy, but in fact, it is a real skill that needs high-level communication, with a good dollop of consistency and a side of vulnerability. Perfectionists find this particularly hard. It can often mean sharing the process, not just the finished polished thing. Being transparent can take some deep breaths.

Make it ok to fail

Oh, oh, oh! This one is so fantastic. How many of you have a fear of failing? And are you like me and have to deal with a whole shame response. If I get something wrong, even little things like a spelling mistake in an article, I get a wave of ice down my spine and my tummy feels like it has that forgotten cucumber, at the back fridge, sitting in it. When a lot of us do the wrong thing, we shrink and want to hide away. And we do this because we have been told over and over that mistakes are bad.


Leaders that have a different approach to failing, build a culture where mistakes are ok. Not only does this mean that more mistakes are actually acknowledged and reported, making the workplace more effective and safer, it also, over time, creates a fertile ground for innovation. And what if your team is like me, and gets a shame response from doing the wrong thing? This biggest antidote to shame is empathy. So a good dollop of that can help too.

At the end of the day, being an inspiring and standout leader is a big undertaking. But each and every one of these qualities has the ability to really raise up both your team and your organisation. At the same time, these qualities will help you to grow as a leader… What skills are you going to practice this week?


Trish Everett is a highly qualified communications consultant and mindset coach. She specialises in helping organisations build connected, innovative and success-orientated cultures in order to reduce costs and improve workforce productivity and effectiveness.

Ready to transform the leadership in your workplace? Book in a call to see how you can master your inner leader today!

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Photo by Ethan Weil on Unsplash

Building Appreciation in your Team – Live the Fairytale

Imagine if you felt appreciated for everything you did. Take a moment and run your mind back over your day, what have you done, what was acknowledged? What was appreciated? What wasn’t?

Now imagine That everything that you did was seen, acknowledged and enjoyed for its merits. And that everything you saw others do (and yourself), that you first noticed what you appreciated in what they are doing and how they are doing it. How would that feel to have that experience in your work every day?

Unfortunately for most, that sounds like a fairytale, I could be talking about seeing pixies and fairy dancing around your desk, and that would look as likely to you as appreciation coming first. Today I would love to inspire you to bring appreciation more to the forefront. To start to make the fairytale come to life.

How do you see the world?

Appreciation starts with how we see the world. We colour our thoughts with where we place our focus. We have the chose to concentrate on the things that we see as positive and beneficial, where we notice the good in others and yourself and go forward with positive regard for everyone. You may think that sounds like wearing rose coloured glasses. Myself, I think of it as wearing the kind of sunglasses that make everything brighter. It is not that you don’t see the things that aren’t working and that need improvement, it is that through these lenses, it is that you see that and so much more, so much more brightly.

What happens if you only see what is wrong and needs to be fixed? If you put your attention into what is lacking? In effect, you are training your brain to notice those things, and in doing so, you will see more and more of them. If on the other hand, you notice all the positives, the what is going right parts, then you train your brain to see more of those things.

So I ask you, are you up for the challenge, to notice with appreciation instead of seeing with criticism? I am not saying don’t see the problems and what is lacking (although that would be an interesting idea to play with), what I am asking is if you can give an even, or maybe slightly greater amount of attention to the positive. And if possible go to the positive first.

You can take it one step further too. Notice when you see that things that are lacking, at the same time, see the things that are also working, the opportunities, and all the hard work that has happened to that point. That is a powerful practice and will strengthen your skills in holding a positive mindset. What do you think? Where can you see this of value in your life and in your workplace?

A powerful Practice

That is a powerful practice and will strengthen your skills in holding a positive mindset.
Take a moment to turn your awareness towards yourself and think of the times when you are positive, where you see the strengths and virtues in others, where you look at the hard work people do before you see the small errors, where you shine you positive regard onto others and to yourself. Take a moment to acknowledge how and where you do that.

Give Appreciation Wings

The art of noticing the positive is one thing, giving it wings in another. You can give your appreciation wings by expressing it, by letting people know of the golden glow that you see in what they do.

Now two things come up at this point.

One is that not everyone is comfortable showing appreciation and giving praise. If this is you, then I invite you to do this with small steps. Choose things and people who it is easier to do this with and build your muscles of appreciation expression. Over time you will get more and more confident. But the key is to start where you are at right now.

The other is not everyone is comfortable at being appreciated. And if you are in this basket, you may find it hard to give appreciation as you don’t feel comfortable receiving it. The thing that I would say here is that appreciation is as much for the person giving it as it is for the person receiving it. If you can identify with this, then I invite you not only to practice giving appreciation but to also receiving it. The next time someone gives you appreciation or praise, you may like to try saying ‘Thank you’ or “a pleasure’ rather than denying or passing off your merits.

Are you looking for a way to express your appreciation in a way that can be heard?

Often I hear people shy away from appreciation because it feels like lip service. Or that when they express it, that they don’t believe that what they say is heard as appreciation. Have you experienced this? What I find is that appreciation needs to be grounded in something real. So while it is nice to say;

“You have done a great job on this project.”

It may not actually be heard. It needs to be grounded in the WHY. Think about what difference that person has made to you, to the team, to your organisation and express that too.

“You have done a great job on this project. Your work made my job so much easier, and the team is going to shine due to the effort that you have put into this”

Do you see the difference? Which one would you believe more? The key here is sharing not only the action that your appreciation but the positive result of the work.

True appreciation not sugar coating

And the last and key point on this is that appreciation isn’t about sugar-coating the negative. And the most prominent place that this happens is with a formula that looks like this;

Express appreciation. Then say ‘but’. And then point out what you would like to be different.

The ‘but’ in there, just wiped the slate clean of the appreciation and firmly put the lack at the overriding forefront.

A better approach would be to;

Express appreciation. Then say ‘and‘. And then point out what you would like to be different, and how can you work together to improve it.

We want to create conversations where the good isn’t wiped out with the what is missing. To allow the wonderful work that has been done to be valued and honoured while looking forward to what still needs to happen.

Bring change to your workplace today

This change, a change to build appreciative workplaces, can start with one person choosing appreciation more. Wanting to see the positive. Seeing the value in what has been done and how it has been done. Even choosing to meet criticism with appreciation. And the difference that this can create in a workplace. Well, let me bandy around some big words here. Motivation, engagement, quality of work, enhanced teamwork, more productivity. And I could go on. Each of us has the power to make the fairytale real.

Are you going to be that person?

Workshop with Trish Everett

Trish Everett is a highly qualified communications consultant and mindset coach. She specialises in helping organisations build connected, innovative and success-orientated cultures in order to reduce costs and improve workforce productivity and effectiveness.

Three Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Team

Team focus

Have you seen a circus with a human pyramid or even a small team of acrobats who are all balanced on top of one and another? It is quite magical – the concentration, the strength, the flexibility. Each member of the team is just as important as each other, everyone has his or her part to play, and the result is a collective appreciation that ripples through the audience.

Your workplace isn’t so different from this. Each member of your team contributes to the high acrobatics that you go through to turn the purpose of your business into action. And leading a team to perform these feats day after day in a concentrated, strong and flexible way isn’t something that just happens. It takes work and practise from both the leader and the team.

While this can be a complex mix of personality, leadership style and workplace culture, there are a few small things that you can do to start to improve the performance of your team dramatically.

Concentration

This is the holy grail of productivity. When you get in the zone of intense concentration you can feel like you’re ploughing through the work efficiently, such are your levels of interest and precision.

Time:The first enabler of concentration is a limited timeframe. When I was first a mum and studying my Masters, I would get little pockets of time to get my work done. I dived into that time with a reverence and concentration that I had never known before. But this isn’t just me. The Pomodoro Method of concentrating on a task for 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break, also calls for limiting the time that concentration is required. Are there ways that you can block up time for your team and give little mini-breaks through the day?

Choices and skill:There is something about making choices that help to keep us engaged. Do you remember the game Tetris? Every moment of that game we were asked to make decisions, and wow, I was amazed at how easily that game held my attention. It was also the increasing difficulty that kept me in thrall. It is choices and the need to use a degree of skill that makes it easier to concentrate. With that in mind, how can you add these elements into your team’s day?

Strength

Just as the team of acrobats all rely on each other, they also know each other’s strengths and use them. The strong hold up the others, the well-balanced and flexible perform bending feats at great heights.

In your team, knowing each member’s strengths helps you to get more out of your team. If you have someone with an analytical mind who isn’t exercising that skill, not only are you not getting access to all that they can offer, they may well be feeling bored. And that is a total enemy of concentration.

You can also foster your team’s strengths by acknowledging them. Letting your team members know the positive qualities you see in them not only helps them to see and work to their strengths, it also builds trust and rapport as they will feel seen and acknowledged.

Flexibility and balance

One thing that makes the acrobat troop’s performance so amazing are those body bending, balanced positions that fill us with awe: where the audience collectively breathes in with a rush. Flexibility and balance are key.

Just so in your team. While as a leader you may have a strong vision of what the outcome is going to look like and how you are going to get there, your team is a dynamic and intelligent group of people. They come with their ideas, skills, energy levels and passions. Being willing to be curious about your team and flexible in your response based on what you learn will bring a greater energy and level of respect.

Balance is also necessary here. Watch your team, see if members are getting stressed, overwhelmed or have a ‘can’t be bothered’ vibe come over them. These are all warning signs that the balance is out. When these factors are at play, performance will drop. Finding ways to pull back the demands, even if just for a few moments, will help to restore the balance and longevity of your team.

Drum roll

Each day you and your team are doing amazing things. As the curtain drops and the roar of the crowd echoes in your minds, take a moment to celebrate the wins – the things that you have accomplished together. These moments of recognition for what you have done will fuel the motivation to do it all again.

Image by Robert Marcus Klump under a cc licence

Three off-beat ways to build a high-performing team

It is like sunshine, that feeling when you are part of a team, and everyone is firing. Ideas are expanding, tasks are down at record time, and what comes out, in the end, everyone feels genuinely proud of. That is a dream team.

Unfortunately for most, this isn’t an everyday situation, is it occasional. 

high performance team
Photo by Natalie Pedigo on Unsplash

To get to that place of team flow a few things need to click, and they aren’t the most natural combo to bring together. Everyone needs to feel like an essential part of the team, all need to be able to move into a state of flow, and be able to connect with their fellow team members. This is what I call accessing their inner leader. 

Everyone needs to feel like an essential part of the team, all need to be able to move into a state of flow, and be able to connect with their fellow team members.

Today I want to explore three off-beat approaches to making that dream team scenario more common in your team.

Acting As If Morning Tea

This is where you all get together for morning tea, and you act as if the project that you are working on has been completed and it a huge success. You all talk and act as if it has already happened; talk about what was great, how the success is having a positive impact, how wonderful it was to work together, what the break-through moments were. 

High-performance teams
Photo by Joanna Kisinska on Unsplash

What this does is get everyone feeling like the high performing team that you want them to be. That your team wants to be. And from that feeling, it makes it easier to become that team. At the same time, everyone feels they are an essential part of the team

The other thing that often happens in this exercise is a wave of insightful ideas drop in. It is great to do some brainstorming after this morning tea. 

Group Journey

To hit that high-performing mental state, you need to get into a state of flow. One ingredient for flow is to shift your consciousness. You want your brain to enter into a low alpha or theta wave. One way to do that is through an imaginative journey. 

Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash

One way to do this is through a shamanic journey. Doing this as a team can help everyone to learn how to shift into this expanded consciousness that allows for flow. In this expanded place, intuition, creativity and systems thinking is heightened. After the journey, sharing experiences entice creative ideas and greater group connection. 

Edgy bonding

Your team needs to get to know each other beyond the groove of the jobs that they do. Creating get to know each other scenarios where everyone needs to draw on different strengths and step out of their comfort zone can really step this up. 

Here are some ideas, and I am sure that you and your team can come up with more.

  • A combine art project – take turns to add to a painting or collage – at the end get together to discuss the process
  • An office treasure hunt – each person to hide an item and give the rest of the team clues to find it
  • Team Trivia – Each team member writes an unknown fact about themselves. They then get correlated and everyone guesses who each fact belongs to.

While these ideas may seem a little like a party game, the idea is to expand how the team relates to each other. This builds connection beyond what is possible in everyone’s current organisational roles.

Share your ideas for more activities in the comments below.

At the end of the day, to build your team’s capacity for high performance, connecting each team member to their inner leader is essential. With everyone acting from their inner leader they can access a place where they come together to burn brightly.

I encourage you to think outside of the box today about how to create a highly functioning team. 

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