Conversations about leadership, learning, coaching and change.

emailtwitterfacebooklinkedin
line

resilience

Do you know someone at work who isn’t performing as well as they could?

With nearly three quarters of people reporting that they are not engaged at work, I have many clients asking what they can do to change this.

“How can I get rid of low performers or poorly engaged staff?”, is a refrain I hear a lot.

Then it’s time for a bit of tough love.  So I say, there are two reasons for that:

  1. Someone hired the wrong person – who is that someone and what are you going to do about their recruiting and interviewing skills?
  2. You hired the right person and something has changed since your hired them.  What are you as a leader going to do about it?

Leaders need to think like gardeners

Gardeners don’t blame the plant when it fails to thrive.  True leaders, like effective gardeners, look at themselves first and then the environment.

As a keen gardener, I’m struck by the thought that if you are a leader, you can do a lot to help those around you withstand the cold winds of shrinking budgets and increasing targets by thinking about it from a gardener’s perspective.

Gardening is about both leading and managing change. Here are three leadership lessons from successful gardeners.


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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line

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 

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
Dealing with stress: Africa unplugged

Dealing with stress: Africa unplugged

by Moyra Mackie on September 1, 2014

In a few days’ time I will be sitting on that seat, by that fire.

In a few days’ time I will be back in Zimbabwe, the land of my birth.

As I listen to the traffic outside my office window, it’s almost impossible to imagine sitting round a campfire in a place that is only accessible by boat or plane.  A place where rush hour means the dawn and dusk ritual of animals coming down to the river to feed.

A place without the internet or a reliable mobile phone connection

I realise that this will be the first time for a very long time that  I will really and truly be unplugged.

In 1989 I spent six months backpacking through Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town.  No phone, no web, no social media.  There were weeks at a time when my family back home had no idea who I was travelling with or even which country I was in.

In 1989 I took that freedom for granted.  Now I worry about not being able to speak to my kids or check my email for a few days.

Which got me thinking about what being connected and available 24/7 does to me, does to us

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line

Rebecca  arrived at our first coaching session apologizing that she had a headache and sore neck and shoulders.

Ninety minutes later her headache had lifted and the pain had gone. She left my office elated and incredulous.

I know what you’re thinking.

How did that happen?

For those cynics in the room, who may not be that charitable, please keep reading.

But the answer to the question above is: we had a trustful coaching session and then we ended with seven minutes of mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

mindfulness, coaching, Moyra Mackie

How can “paying attention on purpose” ease physical pain?

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line

This is my favourite picture of me at work.  I love seeing every single one of those people, smiling, engaged, fully present.

What’s more, it’s taken in the middle of a challenging and competitive activity where everyone present has experienced unexpected loss and disappointment.

What you are looking at is resilience

Here’s what the CIPD has to say on the importance of resilience:

“A consistent theme among the range of definitions of resilience is a sense of adaptation, recovery and bounce back despite adversity or change” 

And what does this mean for organisations?

“The greater the diversity of resilience strategies available to an organisation, the greater its ability to respond to challenges. Having a number of strategies provides a bigger buffer to survive larger crises, or the cumulative effect of frequent crises.”

The picture you see was the result of a request from a global COO who could see that his teams were finding it hard to give up projects they were working on, were always searching for the perfect solution, causing cost overruns and a backlog of work.

He asked me if I could come up with “an interesting presentation” so that his senior team, and their teams would “know that this is harming the business, our balance sheet and our reputation.”

But here’s the thing.

People don’t do things because they don’t know what the “right” thing is

They do the thing that carries the least personal risk. Which is actually the right thing in personal survival terms.

To change requires experience of future pleasure that will off-set the imminent pain of doing things differently

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
Dislodging the Public Speaking Demon

Dislodging the Public Speaking Demon

by Guest contributor Richard Smith on August 9, 2013

“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public” ~ George Jessel

 

It is a common fear. We all recognise the symptoms – sweaty palms, loss of appetite, restlessness, dry mouth, shortness of breath, a tight throat, nausea, dread…

Anxiety about public speaking impacts most of us at some point in our lives

To a large number of people it can become a barrier in their careers. The medical term is Glossophobia, and it’s a big one. Fear of public speaking routinely comes top in the list of the biggest phobias worldwide.

To those scheduled to speak, the discomfort emerges early

Thinking about standing in front of the audience raises anxiety, which becomes a demon on our backs.

A conscious effort not to think about public speaking can work for short spells, but this is an avoidance tactic and soon the demon reminds us of his presence, larger and fiercer than before.

What is the source of the phobia of public speaking?

read more…

Guest contributor Richard Smith

Richard Smith is a leader in the environmental industry, consulting with the University of Hertfordshire. His role includes consulting, management training and executive coaching. He is a believer in development and learning, especially in relational settings. The day we stop learning is our last on Earth, until then we never know the limits of how much we can grow.

More Posts

line

Where I grew up in Zimbabwe, you forecast the weather by looking at the calendar.  There we have two seasons; wet or dry.  Bad weather is when the rain doesn’t fall.

You can tell that moving to the UK must have been quite a shock.

Whilst I’m still most at home in strong heat and light, in the northern hemisphere my favourite season is definitely spring.  And this week I have been reminded of how tough a season spring can be. Just as the bulbs and blossom appeared, the weather returned to winter.

As a keen gardener, I was struck by the thought that if you are a leader, you can do a lot to help those around you withstand the cold winds of shrinking budgets and increasing targets by thinking about it from a gardener’s perspective.

Gardening is about both leading and managing change. Here are three things all successful gardeners do.

Click to tweet: 3 things leaders can learn from gardeners when it comes to leading and managing change

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line