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Trust

Team work isn’t optional.  Management theorists tend to over-complicate things by differentiating between groups and teams, but I like to keep it simple.

I frequently work with leaders and teams who ask me a version of this question:

“What if we’re not a great team and we don’t all really trust each other?”

Which is a necessarily honest and courageous start.

In my work I encourage my clients to consciously re-think what we mean by “teams”; to go beyond the idea that a team is only the group of people who report to one manager or one project lead.

We all belong to multiple teams

If you need other people to contribute to your output at work, then you’re part of their team.  Their contribution might be time, advice, encouragement or materials and the contribution may be big or small, consistent or intermittent.

Team work is about co-operation and contribution

Great teams work well when the individuals have the mind set:

“What can I contribute?”

Not:

“What can I get out of this?”  or “How can I get other people to do what I want them to do?”

Don’t obsess about trust

Of course, trust is a fundamental aspect of a high-performing team, but the reality is that we all have experience of belonging to teams where trust might not be optimal.

Virtual teams, matrix organisations and a tendency to promote managers without formal training; mean that politics, turf wars and competing agendas are bound to get in the way of team work.

Teams don’t have to be perfect

I think that we have a tendency to romanticise the ideal team, when “good enough” is sometimes a lot better than average.

Instead of waiting for some magical time when trust will emerge or crossing your fingers that you’ll get some budget to hire an outside coach to help you strengthen those bonds, you could just do five things.

The  real world guide to “good enough” teams

Five things any team can (and should) focus on to get great results 

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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How do we get to trust?

How do we get to trust?

by Moyra Mackie on April 23, 2016

“I don’t trust you”, she said.

A colleague and I were working with a group to understand more about their responses to an employee engagement survey.  We’d been hired by the management team because we had coached them and they, well yes, trusted us.

So how would you respond?

When it comes to trust words don’t work

I could recite the code of ethics I sign up to as an Accredited Coach.  Or I could point out that we wouldn’t last very long in this business if we couldn’t keep what we were told confidential.

I begin with the truth.

“Thank you.  That must have taken  a bit of courage to say that to us and in front of the group”

Don’t get me wrong, as she had said those words, I feel a sharp pain in my stomach, as if she’s physically punched me.  I’m aware my chest is tight and my palms are sweaty.

This person, who I will call Verity, had struck at the heart of who I believed myself to be.  As a coach, building and maintaining trust are essential for my work.

Yet feedback is always a gift.

What gets left unsaid is more toxic than what is brought into the open. Raising tough issues, especially about negative feelings, takes courage.

As I say those words of thanks I can feel my stress reducing.  I now process the thought that something about how we are as coaches and how the group is, has allowed Verity to take a risk and speak out.

Trust requires personal risk

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Close encounters with elephant:  A lesson in leadership

Close encounters with elephant: A lesson in leadership

by Moyra Mackie on September 20, 2014

“The role of a great guide is to get clients as close to the animals without fear.”

Said the man on the right of this picture as he described Nic Polenakis, (centre above) a Zimbabwe guide selected by National Geographic Traveler as one of the “10 Great Tour Guides Who Can Transform Your Trip”.

Watching Nic in action certainly transformed my trip, giving a demonstration of leadership in action

Zimbabwe guides hold Professional Guides Licences, one of the most difficult, extensive and well-respected qualifications of its type in Africa.  Qualifying takes 4-5 years, including 2 years’ apprenticeship with another pro guide and a 2 day written exam.  The pass rate is around 5%.

I confess that in the moment that we came across that bull elephant standing between us and our tented room, the only thing that mattered was how Nic handled the tension – ours and the elephant’s.

Leadership is about how you show up

I had only met Nic an hour before, but I trusted him implicitly.  His rigorous training and extensive experience gave him the courage to handle our fear. He easily modelled the way he needed us to respond. read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Trust and teams: When is silence a virtue?

Trust and teams: When is silence a virtue?

by Moyra Mackie on March 8, 2014

I’ve been sitting in a circle for 3 ½ days.  And sometimes it has been a very quiet circle.

Which has led to me wondering, how silence – or not speaking up – contributes to group cooperation and outcomes.

And what it says about how much we really trust each other.  And trust ourselves.

Every day we sit in circles

Whether it is round the breakfast or dinner table, or round the boardroom table or polycom speaker.
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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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The hippo, the salesman and the significance of shoes

The hippo, the salesman and the significance of shoes

by Moyra Mackie on November 8, 2013

This week I’ve been asking myself how bad things have to get before we ask for help.

I’m thinking of all the people who struggle with a relationship without seeking counselling. Or those who wrestle with a problem at work and try and solve it on their own, rather than ask for help from managers or peers, or even a coach. Brené Brown, in her research into relationships, discovered we have a strong social imperative to appear strong and avoid feeling vulnerable.  Yet she believes:

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

Which reminds me of an extraordinary day I spent back in Zimbabwe

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Lessons from the sun lounger

Lessons from the sun lounger

by Moyra Mackie on September 6, 2013

How do you feel asking other people for help?

What happens if you’re struggling to find your way and GPS or a plain old-fashioned map fails you? Do you hesitate to ask for guidance?

Or perhaps you’re not physically lost, but you feel out of your depth or overwhelmed? Do you reach out and ask for help or continue to struggle?

To the eternal embarrassment of my teenage sons I have no problem asking strangers for directions, no matter where I am in the world.

I’m afraid of asking for help in other ways

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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