Category: Busy-ness

5 Reasons Why Your Team Hates You…

By , May 30, 2012 4:04 pm

 “What’s wrong with my team?? They don’t seem to care about the work they’re doing and things are getting worse. They are not supporting me. I feel like I’m doing everything on my own. What’s wrong with THEM?!”

~ John, a Corporate Leader…

Having people work for you can be challenging whatever business you are in.

Sometimes it feels like herding cats!

Some days you feel it’s easier to do it all yourself because other people don’t do things as well as you do! Why don’t THEY get it?!

Hmm… I wonder why?

This was a real quote from a coaching client, who gave me permission to share it because it was so profound for him. I’ve had similar comments from entrepreneurs who have small teams working for them…

I work with managers who sometimes are unaware of how their own behaviour is impacting their team. They are doing the best they can but wonder why everything is beginning to fall apart. The team is disjointed, lethargic and compliant. They’re just doing enough to get the job done. They have no VA-VA-Vroom!

The truth is that behavior breed’s behaviour. Often a team will mirror the behavior of their leader. You have a powerful impact on the success of your team. You role model the behaviour for others, consciously or unconsciously!

So what’s it like being on the receiving end of you?

Your team doesn’t like you very much. And it’s hard reality for any manager to admit this…

Here are 5 reasons why your team doesn’t like you…

1. You’re not present – You’re never there! You’re always too busy running around doing manager things and you’re never available. If you are with your team you’re not present… In other words you are with them in body but your mind is often elsewhere. You’re not a good listener. Trust me… they know you’re not really listening! You say you’re open to their ideas… but you’re not really…they can see through this!

2. Things are not defined – It’s easy to make assumptions because you know what you want most of the time. Your team is confused because things are not defined for them. Honestly…they don’t know what you want. You want one thing and then change your mind the next day! You’re communication sucks! You might build the plane as you fly it… and this works well for you, but you forget to include your team in the process. You create a team of un-empowered order-takers because no one knows what the hell is going on. You say jump…and they jump. This is NO FUN being on the receiving end of. Get out of your own head and start involving them in the definition.

3. You’re too busy for your team – When you are busy you start to ignore your team as your work takes priority. You feel overwhelmed and get locked into doing rather than leading. Sometimes you feel more comfortable doing the work rather than being strategic (It’s a comfort zone thing). Your team believes that you don’t care about them and they feel that their work is low value. Your lack of leadership affects their motivation and performance.

4. You’re too busy to see what’s happening –Getting locked into busy-ness numbs your focus. You react to symptoms rather than the cause of the issue. Or, you ignore the issue completely in the hope that it will go away. The more you ignore it…the bigger it gets AND the more frustrated your team becomes because they see the problems and try to let you know, but you ignore them or brush their ideas aside. You’re reacting out of fear. They think you’re insane not to listen to them. After all they are closer to the problem. They can help if you’d only let them in.

5. You think YOUR work is more important – Your ego likes to remind you that after all, YOUR work is far more important than your team’s. You’re superior – You’re the boss! You minimize time with team members because you have other MORE important things to do (This is BS by the way!). You’re team think that you don’t really care about them – You’re only interested in results. They may see you as cold, distant, arrogant and uninterested. So they react to this behaviour!

This is not your intention but in life you are judged by your actions: what you say or how you act.

Your behaviour is key…

Leadership is NOT about being nice but it is about being fully present and serving your people to help them be the best they possibly can be, because this reflects on you, your business and your results.

You can’t do everything. If you want to create an effective successful team then you need to involve and empower your team in the decision-making. Be there for them (and they will in turn, be there for you). Work in partnership to get the job done. Your business needs less order-takers and more empowered leaders. Command and control techniques don’t work anymore…give your ego a back seat!

Honestly… You are not superior to anyone else. EVERYONE has equal value, worth and dignity as a human being. Get over your ego – stop managing and start leading – That’s when you’ll truly make things happen.

What’s it REALLY like being on the receiving end of YOU?

How interruptions destroy your productivity…

By , May 8, 2012 5:22 pm

“I’m embarrassed to admit that I was the cause of many of my interruptions. I didn’t realize that I was opening the door and allowing them in! On average I was being interrupted about every 15 minutes… No wonder I was working a 75 hour week! I’ve now learned how to fight back.”

John, Senior Manager and Client

I started coaching John two months ago when he was constantly staying late and working weekends trying to keep up with his heavy workloads.

He felt overwhelmed, out of control and extremely tired.

As we started working together, I realized that his workloads weren’t impossible. So why was he overwhelmed and unproductive?

The constant interruptions were distracting his concentration and killing his productivity…

Here’s what John realized:

  • He was inviting interruptions throughout his day because he was accessible to everyone all of the time.
  • He was at the mercy of other people’s phone calls, emails, demands and agendas that interrupted him constantly.
  • He relied on extra time to do HIS work: early in the morning before work or after work when he was most productive because no one else is around!
  • His day was filled with distractions and followed this pattern: start-stop-start-stop-start-stop-start-stop-start-stop-start-stop (No wonder he was exhausted!).

John could see a pattern of how constant waves of noise and other people’s demands were eroding his productivity. Even casual conversations broke through any pockets of productivity. He’d get distracted and then find it hard to concentrate back on the task. John worked out that he was only being productive 2-3 hours each day! No wonder he was staying late or working into the evening!

Here’s the thing…

There are many reasons for interruptions – 95% of them are not necessary.

Here’s how to fight back and stop interruptions impacting on your day by protecting your Zone of Productivity


1. Work alone. If you’re always being interrupted then you’re constantly mind shifting between tasks. It can take up to 20 minutes to get back into your Zone of Productivity. It’s difficult to focus on what’s important and you end up wasting time. Book a room. Go to a coffee shop (That’s where this article was written!). Work on important things away from any distractions.

2. Limit your access – Stop being ‘nice’. If others ask questions and you’re always there to answer, they don’t have to think for themselves. You teach others to rely on you. Let them figure it out and make the decision. Your accessibility reduces their productivity as well as yours! Teach people how to treat you. ‘Open door’ policies are admirable but they are not practical ALL the time! Create and communicate some ‘closed door’ time too so you can get important things done.

3. Role model productivity – Leadership is NOT about how many hours you work! You don’t have to be available ALL the time. Nor do you have to be first to arrive and last to leave! Get clear on your High Value Work and schedule time to get this done. Be selective, set boundaries and let people know when you’re not available. Leave work on time at least three days a week.

4. Turn off communications – If you’re scheduling time to work alone on a project, then turn off all communications with the outside world: phones, SMS, email etc. It’s easy to become distracted by device addiction. You get to choose when you answer YOUR phone and emails. Don’t teach people that you’re available 24/7 – it’s not realistic!

5. Set a timer – People will steal as much time from you as possible and some like to talk because it’s better than working! Signpost how much time you have available at the beginning of a phone call or meeting and stick to it. If a person needs longer then they can schedule an appointment with you. Doing this helps keep the conversation focused and on track and keeps interruptions to a minimum.

Decide to be productive and fight back against interruptions. You have more control than you think.



5 Delusions of a Workaholic…

By , May 2, 2012 9:14 pm

“Our culture celebrates the idea of the workaholic. We hear about people burning the midnight oil. They pull all-nighters and sleep at the office. It’s considered a badge of honor to kill yourself for a project. No amount of work is too much work!”

~ Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Workaholism is TOTALLY UNNECESSARY and can destroy your physical and mental health.

It’s a nasty cultural disease – You don’t know it’s happening. Over time you’re consumed with an intoxicating addictive drug called work.

How do I know?

I used to be one until I crashed and burned out… That was my wake up call!

In the last seven days I’ve heard three real-life scenarios from coaching clients who have had their staff:

  1. Rushed into hospital with heart problems
  2. Signed off sick with a stress-related illness
  3. Sobbing at work not being able to cope with the long hours and extra demands on them.

Workaholics are alive and well and breeding at an alarming rate in the business world.

We can delude ourselves into believing that by working all hours we are the model worker and that promotion is just around the corner…

The reality is that you WILL ultimately crash and burn. That promotion or pay raise may not materialise. Even if you think you’re coping okay now and your body is resilient. You might be creating long-term damage that will manifest itself later and even shorten your life.

Some organisations rely on breeding workaholics to get the job done at whatever cost. They stand by and watch as their employees burn out, caring little about anything except for getting the job done.

Here are 5 delusions of a workaholic…

1. I’m keeping the boss happy – If your boss is allowing you to continue to work endless hours and expects you to respond to his/her emails at the weekend, evenings and while on holiday, then they care very little about you as a person. You’re just resource to get the job done. Did you teach your boss to expect this by allowing it to happen? You’ll ultimately drown in your own unrealistic expectations of yourself.

2. I’m a hero – Workaholics perceive that they are the heroes of the business. Super human beings who regularly save the day! You don’t look for ways to be more efficient because you feel like a hero: What would THEY do without you? (Seriously…They’ll find some other sucker!) You talk about how tired you are and how little sleep you get with pride. The number of hours you work becomes a game of comparison and competition instead of focusing on how productive you are!

3. I’m better than others – Your ego feels superior over others who only work regular hours. Those people who don’t stay late feel inadequate because they work reasonable hours. They feel guilty because they get to go home on time and have a life. You are unknowingly creating poor morale in those around you by your behaviour. If you’re the boss others may feel obliged to follow your role model. You grind everyone into exhaustion. This isn’t clever – it’s stupid!

4. I accomplish more – The truth is that workaholics don’t accomplish more than anyone else. They just work more – usually to the detriment of their personal life. Research has proven that constantly working longer hours and less than six hours sleep per night makes you ineffective – FACT!

  • The longer you work the more chance you’ll make mistakes because you’re tired.
  • It’s okay as a one off but it’s not sustainable. When the burnout comes (and it will) it hits you much harder, possibly with serious side effects.
  • Fixing a problem by throwing more hours at it isn’t the solution. You lose concentration the longer you work.
  • Your decision-making ability is impaired and you lose focus of what’s important.
  • Your emotions are evoked and you may say or do things out of character.
  • Things take more time to achieve

5. Successful people work long hours – Most people work longer hours occasionally. Successful people live to their values and have balance between their working and personal time. They set and maintain boundaries so these don’t blur into each other. Workaholics don’t know when to stop – They are driven by perfectionism and attention to detail.

The real hero is the person who has learned how to be productive during the day and get things done. They are the ones who are at home on an evening relaxing, living their life and not being all consumed by WORK.

Don’t let WORK be your life…





Why business meetings are painful, boring and unproductive…

By , March 28, 2012 6:27 pm

“Bad meetings, and what they indicate and provoke in an organization, generate real human suffering in the form of anger, lethargy, and cynicism. An while this certainly has a profound impact on organizational life, it also impacts people’s self-esteem, their families, and their outlook on life.”


~ Patrick Lencioni, Author


Have you ever attended one of these?

“I could get my work done, if I didn’t have to go to so many pointless meetings!” ~ John, a coaching client. He went on to summarise that most of the meetings he attended were unfocused, lethargic and boring, but a necessity of business life.

I can remember attending many meetings in my corporate life that were frustrating and pointless. Yet I was told that had to endure them because it was part of my job.

I remember a low point once where ‘Fun’ was listed as an agenda item and we were actually forced to ‘enjoy’ a team game as part of a meeting. Have you ever pretended to have fun? – It’s counter-productive. If you ever get to this stage you need to step back and explore WHY you’re contemplating this as an agenda item in the first place. It might be because of some of the reasons below…

Why are meetings so painful and unproductive?

…Because they are! – Acceptance that part of the process of doing business involves the tedium of attending meetings. You have to go through the ritual of attending to get the job done. Many people believe that meetings are bad in every company so it’s just the way it works in business. Brace yourself and just get on with it! We’ve got used to hating them!

Lack of ownership – Participants attend with the mindset that it’s something that is done to them rather than taking RESPONSIBILITY for the role they play and how to get the best outcomes. Mediocrity and complacency sets in. You show up because you feel you have to. You’re a silent observer and the meeting becomes passionless and dull.

Little or no leadership – Ineffective meetings happen because of the approach and attitude of the people leading them. The leader models and influences the attitude and approach of those attending. Sometimes it becomes a forum to exercise the ego of the highest ranking person in the room. The focus is lost as individuals drift off-piste to satisfy their own agenda or because they’re bored! Participants aren’t sure of their role: should I be debating? Discussing? Brainstorming? Or listening?

Boring – If you had nothing else to do with your time, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to spend it in a dry, tedious un-engaging meeting with some people that you might not even like that much! Sitting and listening for long periods of time to uninspiring content is monotonous. Every one moans that it’s boring – but no one does anything about it. It’s a ritual to attend every week. People are scared to give an opinion or challenge – so they sit like nodding dogs. Poor decisions are made as a consequence. Awkward situations are avoided by staying quiet, nodding where appropriate and writing your weekly shopping list!

No structure – The regular staff meeting is a classic example of this. Weekly? Monthly? Where everyone gets together for an unfocused random discussion about everything! There’s little clarity about topics and there’s no context for discussion. Individuals literally check out.

Pressure and anxiety – Most people have loads of other things to do. Attending a bad meeting only amplifies the anxiety and pain. Focus on the meeting is lost and you start thinking about how you could use this wasted time. If it’s a conference call – you’re probably multi-tasking doing your emails at the same time! You’re not used to sitting still and doing just one thing at a time so it’s easy to get distracted.

Recognise any of these?

Harvard Business School a few years ago claimed that over 50% of meetings are a waste of time…

Here’s the thing…

It’s possible to make meetings compelling, engaging, interactive and productive. It starts with changing the mindset of those attending and involves a little re-thinking on how to manage them effectively. Here are some of the benefits: Better decisions, improved morale, shorter time away from your desk, better results and increased value.

Which meeting would you rather attend?

(More tips soon on how to make meetings engaging, interesting and productive)



Not making any progress with your goals? Try these six steps…

By , March 21, 2012 9:10 pm

“My life is one long obstacle course, with me being chief obstacle.”

Jack Paar.

I’ve come to realise that learning and success is NOT about doing more.

And often, the one key thing that gets in my way… is me!

Growing is about taking action towards your goal and completing things.

I started working with a new client this week (Jenny). She began our session by describing how disappointed she was with the progress of her year so far. She blamed constant interruptions for her lack of productivity (on reflection, she realized that none of these were necessities, just bad habits, a lack of boundaries and not being selective – we’re now working on these together).

Jenny’s great plans for the year had all fallen away since January. She’d not made any meaningful progress and was back telling the same story she’d been telling everyone last year: how unfair everything was and feeling sorry for herself that she had no time to make anything happen.

Then she started ‘should-ing…’ Her conversation was peppered with “I know I should be more…”

It’s difficult to be fully present and focused on what’s important when you have many demands on your attention. You become distracted by the noise of interruptions and it’s hard to get BACK ON TRACK.

These distractions can become valid excuses (an alibi) for not achieving your goal. Over time your goal remains an idea as things begin to fall away.

Jenny was exerting a lot of effort and energy to maintain her alibi and at the same time she was creating self-imposed disappointment and grief. Her alibi had become more attractive than taking what was perceived to be a more difficult path towards achieving her goals. She put extra demands upon herself and baled out with excuses instead of taking action.

Most of us are undisciplined in our approach and it’s easy to become distracted and unfocused. When we’re under pressure we move out of our left-brain – logical thinking, into the right brain - emotive thinking and it’s difficult to be rational from this place.

Here’s how to make meaningful progress and get BACK ON TRACK:

1. Re-align to your goal - Get clear on WHAT you want to achieve and WHY you want to do it. Write down your intention and keep this in a place where you can see it regularly.

2. Stop avoiding – Decide that you’ll no longer use excuses to keep you from your goal. Look out for convenient excuses that have taken you off track in the past. Do something that you’ve been avoiding today! Write down your excuses and turn them around with an action step instead, then go make it happen.

3. Not interested in the easy way out – Let your sub-conscious know that you’re no longer taking the path of convenience. Be your own cheerleader and congratulate yourself for having the courage and determination to move into feeling uncomfortable. Be open to making difficult choices rather than the usual easier ones. This is how you’ll create success.

4. Create a process - Write down what needs to be done. Create a system or process for things to happen – one step at a time. The only way you’ll be successful is to have a plan and follow the plan. What is the next step? Have discipline to follow the steps one at a time, as this will create momentum.

5. Take conscious action – Take small action steps consistently and make it a habit. Consciously check in weekly with your progress and schedule dates and times in your planner to keep things moving – little and often.

6. Get some support – Shifting habits and creating new ways of working requires discipline and persistence if you’re determined to achieve your goals. In other words – You have to do the work! Hiring a coach is a great way to invest in your success. A good coach provides a high level of support and guidance to help you get BACK ON TRACK as you get clear, claim your power, take action and create new outcomes in your life and work.

NOW is the time to get Back on Track, re-align with your dreams, get strategic, and start to make things happen!

What’s your next step?

How to STOP…When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

By , January 19, 2012 10:49 pm

“My life has a superb cast but I can’t figure out the plot.”

~ Ashleigh Brilliant

There’s so much to do. It’s easy to get swept up in the tide of doing that you never take some time out to be still.

Stillness feels like you’re not being productive, that you’re being lazy. So you avoid it at all costs and carry on doing instead.

Sometimes STOPPING and STEPPING BACK is exactly the right thing to do.

Recently, I had some big decisions to make about the direction of my business. I knew that in order to continue to expand I needed to make changes to the WHAT and the HOW. To do this I firstly needed to reconnect to my WHY by re-aligning to my original vision and intention and really get clear.

The thought of this scared me and every time I took a step towards it, resistance would come up and I’d avoid it completely. I’d lose myself back in my business: getting on with the doing to keep my mind busy instead.

I learned that avoidance is not the solution to any challenge or uncomfortable situation. You have to work through it. Sometimes working through it involves preparing yourself mentality and physically beforehand.  If you’re tired and overwhelmed then it’s impossible to think clearly or believe that your goals are actually achievable.

Sometimes you have to STOP!

Take a break and step back from the immediate situation recharge your battery and re-connect to your clarity and motivation.

Here’s how…

Just STOP! – Even though my instincts told me to keep working and get on with the job. I decided to take a full weekend off. No email, no working in my business. The theme of this weekend was REST and RESTORE. The laptop and IPhone were powered down. It was tough fighting those old habits but I kept away for two whole days!

Do something you enjoy – I enjoy hiking. Getting outdoors and bathing myself in the beauty and awe of Nature restores my soul and energy. I literally feel my cells refueling themselves. Nature also has a way of grounding and reconnecting you to who you really are. Being outside makes me happy and fills me with joy. Have some fun!

Sleep it off – Go to bed early! I went to bed at 7.15pm that evening and woke up at 7am the next morning! I felt a totally different person. You body talks to you constantly. When you’re tired – go and rest. Seriously! This is one of the best things you can do. Everything looks different when you’re not tired. You can make decisions with clarity and focus.

Stillness speaks – I ALWAYS find the solution when I allow myself some space and time to be quiet and still. The negative voice in my head eventually gives up and is replaced by space. In the silence the shoots of wisdom burst through. Allow your sub-conscious to work on things while you’re relaxing or resting. Give your mind a time-out!

Get some help – I checked in with my mentor who was able to listen and guide me though the resistance I was having. She helped me to re-focus and build the fire within. Challenges are the raw materials for solutions. Talking them through creates a portal for options to be generated and explored.

Take one step towards it – You can only get things done one step at a time. Create the next logical step and take it. If you want to transform something you can’t do it all at once. Step by step. Taking small action starts to build momentum.

Give yourself the gift of stopping and taking a break. It doesn’t have to be a weekend. It might be an hour or two. It can make ALL the difference!

LiveBrilliant Women’s Retreat – Coming Soon!

By , August 14, 2011 6:22 pm

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