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trust

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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Senior executives have never been so well rewarded.  In the UK it now takes the average CEO only three days to “earn” what the average employee takes home in a year.  On top of this, lottery-sized exit packages and gold-plated pensions give those at the top unprecedented material security.

And yet… Not everything feels secure

According to The Economist, the average life expectancy of public companies shrank from 65 years in the 1920s, to less than ten in the 1990s. Public scrutiny is increasing and innovation is a source of both creativity and disruption. Whilst a golden parachute might break the fall, life in the C-suite is becoming ever more precarious. In just ten years the average CEO tenure has fallen from 8.1 to 6.3 years and is getting shorter all the time.

In an uncertain climate, good leadership matters more than ever

McKinsey has published numerous papers linking organisational health with profitability, innovation and shareholder return.  So every year the spend on leadership and management development training and change and culture consultancy increases.

And yet…  Lack of good leadership is costly

Dissatisfaction with the results of all this training and development is on the rise.  Employee engagement numbers remain stubbornly low and, depending on the survey you read, between 50 and 60% of staff would fire their managers if they could. According to Deloitte Shift Index American companies are 75% LESS productive than in 1965.

What should leadership achieve?

Erik de Haan in his book The Leadership Shadow summarises decades of research:

“Leadership is the function devoted to harnessing the organisation’s effectiveness”

This speaks to the fact that everyone in an organisation has a leadership role in order to harness that effectiveness.

However, many studies point to the crucial role of senior management teams:

“The prize for building effective top teams is clear: they develop better strategies, perform more consistently, and increase the confidence of stakeholders.  They get positive results and make the work itself  a more positive experience both for the team’s members and for the people they lead”   – McKinsey,  “Teamwork at the Top”

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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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Vulnerability AND strength: The walls we build

Vulnerability AND strength: The walls we build

by Moyra Mackie on March 21, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about defensiveness this week. About how and why we build the walls we do and what the impact of this is on ourselves and our relationships at home and at work.

We build walls because they protect us

The town I live in has a castle dating back to the 11th century and spending some time there yesterday it struck me that groups of people have been building metaphorical and actual walls for centuries.

Before I continue, you might be expecting a castle like this:

Vulnerability, the walls we build

When Berkhamsted Castle actually now looks like this:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Berkhamsted_Castle_Jan_2007.jpg

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons. Attribution: Winstainforth at the English language Wikipedia

Its current state belies a muscular history that began when the victorious French king, William the Conqueror, accepted the English surrender after the Battle of Hastings.

We build walls out of a desire to both control and protect

Yesterday, as I stood against the rough flint exterior, I noticed the cold in the shadow of the high stone wall, eclipsing the view of the sky above. These walls, together with the moat and the other earthwork defences were designed to keep people safe at a time of great doubt and insecurity.  And it must have been formidably difficult to attempt to attack this place.

The trouble is your protection can become your prison

Which is what happened in Berkhamsted in 1216 when the castle came under siege for two weeks and eventually the occupants had to surrender.

As I sat on the hill overlooking what is now a rather benign scene I remembered a client – who I will call Daniel – who came to my office for coaching.

Change and insecurity trigger defensiveness 

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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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Conflict is fantastic. Discuss.

Conflict is fantastic. Discuss.

by Moyra Mackie on October 27, 2014

Conflict.  What comes to mind when you read that word?  How do you feel about conflict?

Almost every team I’ve ever worked with comes to me asking for help with both uncovering unvoiced conflict and strategies for dealing more effectively with conflict when it arises.

The way we deal with conflict – ignoring it, running away from it, confronting it – is a reflection of our early programming.

We bring our family of origin to work

The way we respond to power and group dynamics are echoes – sometimes very loud ones – of those we find in our family.  Indeed, our notion of leadership and what makes a team will also come from our earliest experiences of power and notions of “fitting in.”

Similarly with conflict.

We learn how to manage conflict by watching how those around us deal with it

Perhaps we had one parent who was quick to verbalise disagreement, who might be quick to anger, acting out strong convictions of being right?  Perhaps our other parent would be the oil on troubled water, quick to agree, eager to bring down the tension?  Or perhaps we had parents of the same type – two “shouters” or two avoiders?

In any of these cases, how many of us were able to witness on a regular basis resolution of difference?  Very often we might see our parents disagree – but what kind of process did they use to come back to a common understanding?

What we don’t understand controls us

Not understanding how to resolve conflict gives the very notion of conflict great power.

“In most organisations, managers and employees have learnt to sweep conflicts under the rug in hopes that they will go away. 

As a result, they have developed cultures that encourage people to NOT fully communicate what they really want and settle for partial solutions or no solutions at all.

Denying the existence of our conflicts does not make them disappear, but simply gives them greater covert power.” ~ “Resolving Conflicts at Work” Kenneth Cloke & Joan Goldsmith

I like to use the image of a bucket.  Every time we don’t speak openly – to either raise a point of disagreement or recognition – a drop falls into the bucket.  In no time at all, that bucket fills up and it’s only when it overflows, that the problem is acknowledged.
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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 most important hour in every manager’s day

The most important hour in every manager’s day

by Moyra Mackie on July 26, 2014

Do you manage a team but feel you never have time for everything you have to do?

Are you concerned that your team doesn’t really seem to be a cohesive, aligned team?

Do you have someone in your team who just doesn’t seem to “get it”?

Did you know that there’s a  really simple solution to address these and most other managerial challenges?

Have regular one to ones with every one of your team

Yes really, it’s that simple. If you’re a manager you should be spending an hour a week with all your direct reports.

Surely one to ones can’t solve all my managerial headaches?

If done properly – and we’ll come to that later – your one to ones are precious moments to:

If all of those things are being nurtured on a weekly basis, most of your managerial headaches will subside.  And those that don’t, can usually be helped by making sure YOU have regular one to ones with YOUR boss.

But an hour a week! Does it really have to be that often?

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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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Feedback is the canary in the cage

Feedback is the canary in the cage

by Moyra Mackie on May 17, 2014

Into the 1980s, miners in Britain would carry canaries in cages when working deep underground.  A dead canary served as an early warning sign of dangerous gases.

In organisations today feedback is the canary in the cage

If a feedback culture is alive and well, then it’s a sure sign that the organisation is pretty healthy.  Lack of feedback is an indicator that managers aren’t leading and that trust and engagement are low.

Watch here for what feedback really is and how to encourage it in your organisation.

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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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Coaching encourages courageous conversations

Coaching encourages courageous conversations

by Moyra Mackie on May 10, 2014

What kind of coach do you aspire to be?

What kind of coach are you?

How can you close the gap between the ideal and the reality?

 

So began an exercise on the last day of my second workshop in year 2 of my Masters in Coaching program.

The tutors took advantage of a suddenly sunny break in the weather and suggested we worked in pairs whilst we walked around the grounds at Ashridge.

This is what I felt – and only half articulated – as my answer to those questions.

Companies are human

For me, organisations are not sets of reporting lines or processes or hierarchies, but groups of people who need to talk to each other.

The quality of those conversations will dictate how motivated, innovative, productive and profitable that organisation is.

“Organisations are interpersonal places and so necessarily arouse those more complex emotional constellations that shadow all interpersonal relations: love and hate, envy and gratitude, shame and guilt, contempt and pride…the emotional choreography each of us weaves, consciously or unconsciously” – David Armstrong, Emotions in Organisations

Trust is the key

I believe the secret to efficient organisations lies in reducing FEAR and increasing TRUST;  in improved leadership and open, constructive conversations.
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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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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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Why everyone should be working out loud

Why everyone should be working out loud

by Moyra Mackie on March 1, 2014

I’ve been working out loud.

Wikipedia defines working out loud like this:

“Working Out Loud is working in an open, generous, connected way so you can build a purposeful network, become more effective, and access more opportunities.”

From this definition you can see a balanced combination of giving and receiving

I’ve been a passionate believer in this concept since I was introduced to the idea by John Stepper.  Like John, my clients tend to work for large multinational organisations where the sheer size and complexity of the business threatens to overwhelm the human connections essential to a fully engaged workforce.

Wikipedia again:

“Working Out Loud…synthesizes a number of vast challenges found in large organisations such as the need for increased transparency…, team productivity and motivation, effective leadership and communication”

Every large company that cares about its people should be working out loud

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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 simple secret to success at work: Find your tribe

The simple secret to success at work: Find your tribe

by Moyra Mackie on February 2, 2014

Nick Pugliese must have given his mother quite a few sleepless nights. When he graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, with a degree in political science and philosophy, Nick decided he’d like to gain some interesting and challenging work experience.

So he chose a telecoms company in Kabul, Afghanistan.

At college he’d been captain of the football team – or as they say in his hometown of Rochester, NY – “soccer”.  So it wasn’t long before Nick started playing the game at weekends with his Afghan colleagues. It was a mental and physical escape from the restrictive, claustrophobic world of the small expat compound.

And then he got offered the chance to play for Ferozi FC, a professional club in the 14-team Kabul Premier League.

Nick had to choose between his $3000 a month job with the telecoms company and the $300 a month wage at Ferozi FC and a life outside the safety of the compound.

Nick chose the life outside

He became the first American player in the Afghan league since the 2002 invasion.
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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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