Browse Category: Leadership Tips

Quote – Unquote

“True wisdom is plenty of experience, observation and reflection.

False wisdom is plenty of ignorance, arrogance and impudence.”

Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) (1815-1885)

I always like this quote because it emphasises that experience is not enough.  Experience has to be combined with observation and reflection in order to bring true wisdom.

Do you take the time to turn what you experience into true wisdom?

Leaders under stress

Last week I was fortunate enough to have a few days break after a conference on Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast. We caught up with family and friends we hadn’t seen for some time and I’m returning to work today feeling very relaxed.

Then I looked at my diary and I realised that another month is almost gone. I have so many things to do before the end of the month and my stress levels start to rise just a little, before I even have to handle anything unexpected, difficult or challenging…

It got me thinking. Stress is such a part of any leadership or management role it’s easy to forget what a stress free life can be like. But the question is, is that a bad thing?

There’s no doubt that a bit of stress helps us to function at a higher, or more intense level and therefore get more done than usual. I certainly got more done the day before I left for my conference and short break than I would have, if I had not been under the pressure of a deadline.

Planes just don’t wait for us to finish one more thing, do they?

And there probably wouldn’t be any need for the management or leadership role in organisations, if there weren’t the sort of problems and challenges that can lead to stress.

But there’s also no doubt that higher and higher stress levels can be unhealthy, unsustainable and unproductive – and that’s what too many leaders and managers struggle with, every day at work.

Being told day in and day out to do more and more with less and less is undoubtedly stressful.

If that’s your reality, I know it won’t help to tell you to “relax and take a holiday”. Much as you might want to and know you really should, I know it’s not always possible – especially when you are most stressed.

Yet you and I both know that you owe it to the people on your team to know how to manage your stress levels so you are productive rather than stressed out of control. If you allow your stress to get out of control you’ll begin to miss deadlines, forget critical things and struggle to cope with anything unexpected. In fact your productivity will drop.

So what can you do? Well, there is plenty you can do to effectively manage your stress levels and help your team members to do the same. Here are three quick tips to help:

* First, make sure you are quite clear on whether and why tasks really need to be done. As we are asked to do new things, it is important to constantly take the time to check whether the old tasks we are used to doing really still need to be done. Sometimes we cling to old tasks (maybe we are confident doing them or just enjoy doing them) even though they are no longer really required. If a task no longer needs to be done, or it can be done annually instead of monthly for example, that can free up significant amounts of time and reduce stress on everyone.

* Second, even if you can’t take a whole week’s break, you can take a brief break to do something you enjoy. Walk around the block to clear your head. Take 20 minutes to listen to some music you enjoy. Enrol in a weekly exercise or stretch class. Take up painting or gardening. Borrow a neighbor’s dog and take it for a walk. In other words, doing something different for a short time can work magic in reducing your stress levels.

* Third, make sure you really understand what stress is, how the different types of stress impact on performance and how to manage it yourself and for your people. Keep yourself motivated and don’t make doing tasks more stressful by procrastinating. These resources will help you to manage your stress and be more productive: Less Stress and Better Productivity

Leaders who understand and work well with stress make better leaders. That link for some really helpful resources is:
Check them out now.

Do People Listen to You?

In this issue of Leading Well we look at why it can be so hard to get some of those messages across to your team that should be really obvious, and what you can do about it…

Have you ever asked yourself… WHY DON’T PEOPLE JUST LISTEN?

Some things are so obvious you would think people wouldn’t even need to be told them. Or at least you should be able to tell them once and they ‘get it’ immediately!

Of course if you manage people or lead a team you know this is rarely the case… Take wearing their safety equipment in hazardous workplaces. Or taking stretch breaks for keyboard operators… Or lifting things properly… Or finishing one file before starting on the next… Or keeping the tea-room clean… Or whatever that annoying issue is for you…

Not every message you need to get across as a team leader or manager is a big picture or strategic vision one. Not all could be described as inspiring.

Some messages are not even very exciting or interesting ones.

And some are downright obvious.

But even the obvious messages can still be very important.

And as team leader you need to do what ever it takes to make sure everyone acts on any important messages you need to deliver. You are the one who will be held accountable for their mistakes if they don’t do the right thing, after all.

There are four things you need to remember when you are trying to get even obvious messages to stick… Find out what they are at:


Recent articles added include:
* Ten top tips for motivating and inspiring through effective
* Why do people resist change
* Making meetings work – and much much more…

Join at or login if you are already a member for details.



“Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.”

John Kenneth Galbraith


The Leading Well Bottom Line:

You don’t have to do it all on your own. Join us in the Leadership Coaching Club and leverage off all the wisdom, insight and experience of dozens of guest experts, other participants and your mentor Kerrie Mullins-Gunst. See for details.


That link again for the four things you need to remember when you are trying to get your messages to stick… READ MORE at

Kind regards, Kerrie

Leading Well – Planting the seeds of success

Recently I caught up with a group of friends from my university days. It was great fun to hear all about what people were up to after so many years.

One of my friends was describing how her new weekend farming life had captured the interest of her team at her city legal office. So much so that, not long ago, her whole team had volunteered to help out with planting the latest vegetable crop.

“We had a great weekend” she told us. “Some teams might go away to the country for ‘Planning days’ but my team went away for a ‘Planting day’.”

Afterwards, the more I thought about the concept, the more I liked the analogy.

As a leadership specialist, I am often asked to facilitate Strategic and Team Planning events and I can’t think of a better way to describe their purpose than planting seeds for the future.

Planning days aren’t magic wands that fix all your problems. But they do plant the seeds that can be nurtured into your ideal outcomes over time.

If you are fortunate (and your planning event is well facilitated) you may secure agreement on the day from all team members about some of the fundamentals: your team vision and values, how your team roles relate to your organizational mission or purpose, and the essential actions and strategies that will ensure you deliver results.

But any team gathering also offers an opportunity to foster understanding and develop a strong team culture – which takes much longer than a day to achieve. Yet you can plant the seeds for a team that works well together even in difficult times, that supports and respects other team members, that shows initiative and embraces change. And over time these outcomes may be even more powerful than the traditional outcomes of Strategic or Team Planning events.

As with any seeds, planting them is not enough. They have to be nurtured, fed and watered over time before they grow to their full potential. And that is your primary role back in the office as leader of the team.

The nurturing of those powerful seeds of success over time needs to be attended to daily and weekly – in fact every time you interact or meet with your team.

This consistent follow-up to any annual Strategic or Team Planning event can be even more critical than the event itself. In it lies one of the secrets of all successful leaders.

Kind regards, Kerrie

PS. If you are wondering HOW to nurture the seeds of your team’s success, watch out for details about my Leadership Coaching Club, coming soon. If you want to be among the first to know all the details, register at and be confident of catching our special launch discount or bonuses.



“Our great business in life is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)



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I wish I had know some of the things that are in this ebook years ago! So many things would have been so much easier…

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Be A Great Leader

A guest article by: Donald Wilson

Picture an unproductive workplace, staffed by unmotivated employees. People are standing around, some are trying to look busy, but nothing ever seems to get accomplished. The team leader is frustrated because things just don’t happen the way they’re supposed to. Even in busy workplaces, goals are never fully reached despite the hustle and the bustle. If this scenario describes your workplace, maybe it’s time to do something about it.

Many people are content just to stand around listening for orders. It isn’t unusual for an entire staff to become complacent and adopt a follow-the-leader mentality. But you’re different. Somewhere inside of you is the desire to make things happen, and you dream of being the head, not the tail. You could be the born leader that your company needs to succeed.

Some people believe that great leaders are born, not made. Although it may be true that many are born with natural leadership talents, these qualities will never be fully developed without practice, drive, enthusiasm and experience. Good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their skills, and possess a natural commitment to constantly improving both professional and personal endeavors.

A leader is defined as ‘one who influences others to accomplish a goal or objective’. This person contributes to the organization and cohesion of a group.

Contrary to what most people believe, leadership is not about power. Good leaders do not harass people or drive them by inflicting fear. Rather, they encourage others to meet the goals and objectives of the organization. Effective leadership entails putting everyone on the same page and helping him or her see the big picture of the organization.

There is a big difference between being a leader, and being a boss.

The first step to being an effective leader is encouraging others to follow your lead. How is this accomplished? People follow others when they see a clear sense of purpose. Your team will only follow you if they see that you know where you are going, and have a sensible plan to meet your goals. Think of the bumper sticker that read “Don’t follow me, I’m lost too.” The same logic holds true for leadership. If you do not know where you’re headed, how can you expect others to follow?

You must understand the vision of your organization. Have a clear sense of hierarchy; know whom the bosses are, and whom each person can go to for guidance. By displaying a clear understanding of the organization’s goals and objectives, and how the organization operates, you will be able to prove to others that you are a confident leader.

Being a great leader is not about what you make others do. It’s about who you are, what you know, and what you do. You are a reflection of what your team strives to be.

Studies have shown that another basis of good leadership is the trust and confidence that your team has in you. If they respect you, they will go through hell or high water for you and for the organization. Trust and confidence are built on the clear communication, high ethics and trustworthiness that you display on a day-to-day basis.

The way you deal with your team, and the relationships you build, will lay the foundation for the strength of your group. The stronger your relationship, the more trust they will have in your capabilities. Once you have earned their confidence, you are able to communicate goals and objectives to your team.

Communication is a very important key to good leadership. Without consistently clear communication you cannot succeed as a leader. The knowledge and technical expertise that you possess must be clearly imparted to other people.

Sound judgment is also vital for good leadership. You must be able to assess situations, weigh the pros and cons of any decision, and actively seek out a solution to any problem. Your team will begin to rely on your good judgment; so good decision-making is vital to the success of your organization.

Leaders are not expected to be heroes. Trust your team to fulfill tasks and make their own decisions. You should not claim to know everything, and you should not expect others to rely upon your skills alone.

Recognizing and taking advantage of the skills and talents of your group is the only way that you will be able to succeed as one cohesive unit.

Being a great leader takes a good deal of work and time, and is not learned overnight. Remember that it is not about just you. Great leaders take every opportunity to involve the people around them.

If you feel that you have the drive and desire to be a great leader, and to make a real difference in your organization, then go ahead and make the change. In other words, take the lead.

About The Author:

Donald Wilson contributes articles to several web magazines, including and

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For help developing all the skills you need to Be A Great Leader visit the Leadership Skill Center at

Great expectations

A long time ago in another life, when I was studying to be a teacher, one of the first things we learnt was that our students would reflect back to us what we expected of them.

If we expected little of them, they would achieve little. If we expected dedication and hard work our students would be dedicated and work hard for us. And most importantly, if we held great expectations for them they would ultimately achieve greatness and fulfill their potential.

Eventually I came to believe this was one of the most important lessons I ever learnt as a teacher. And experience has shown it is a lesson that carries over well into the world of management and leadership.

When we have great expectations for our staff, we can be confident our team will achieve greatness in return.

If you’re not getting everything you want from your people, check whether you might be getting what you expect. If you are getting the worst, is it because you have developed a habit of expecting the worst?
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If you need help in changing the results you are getting from your people contact us to talk about how we can help you change things for the better.

More on how to expect great things in the Quick Tips below:



This was a great audioseminar and many of you have been asking to be notified when the recording would be available. Well it’s finally here! See details of how you can listen in and learn How to Make it Happen Now at:

You won’t want to miss Brad’s discussion on how you can actually achieve more by doing less! Once you “get” this idea your whole approach to leading and managing people can become easier and more effective overnight! -And that was just one of many powerful ideas Brad shared with us. That link again


“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Mark Twain (1835-1910)



* If you lack confidence in one or more of your staff, reflect on why that might be the case. Consider whether training, coaching or mentoring might help them build their skills, approach or confidence in their role or tasks.
* Sometimes what needs to change is the whole organizational culture. If that is your situation, talk to us about change management or team building strategies that you can implement.

The Leading Well Bottom Line:

Your attitude and expectations as a leader set the platform for the results your people will achieve. You hold the power to amplify their results, but you don’t have to do it all on your own. Find a mentor or coach that you can explore possibilities with in confidence. We would be happy to talk to you about how to approach turning your situation around.

Kind regards, Kerrie

PS. That Link again for Brad’s audioseminar on How to Make it Happen Now! – Have a look at it.

An Inspiring Team

Do you ever have doubts that you can cope with everything that’s on your plate? Do you ever doubt that a team can do more than an individual?

If you need a dose of inspitation watch this quick video about Team Hoyt.

Dick and Rick Hoyt are a special father-and-son team from Massachusetts who together compete just about continuously in marathon races. And I do mean special!

Setting direction

Crisp: Organizational Vision, Values, and Mission: Building the Organization of Tomorrow (A Fifty-Minute Series Book)

Are you having trouble clarifying your vision and values?

This quick read workbook offers you a simple step-by-step process to work through. You can even do it yourself, if you don’t have a strategic planning facilitator to help you.

One of the Five Key Areas of Leadership Focusâ„¢, Setting Direction and Planning For Action, often sounds easier than it is. But if you don’t get this one right your leadership will be continually tested.

Two more quick tips for setting direction:

  • Read this article for more tips on Effective Strategic Planning.
  • Remember you don’t have to do it on your own. Call us on 61-3-9859 3924 for details of how we can help you by facilitating your direction setting process.

Nailing leadership

“Men, like nails, lose their usefulness when they lose their direction and begin to bend.”

Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864)

Setting direction is one of your five key areas of leadership focus.

Good leaders (both men and women) not only set direction, but hold fast when challenged, through times of doubt as well as through success.

To nail leadership, hold to your chosen direction and demonstrate confidence in your decisions through your actions as well as your plans.

Motivating your team


Imagine this scenario: You have just bungled your latest project…

You have so much work you need to do. You are becoming a workaholic, you have tensions at home, these new kids at work are getting smarter by the day and your next presentation deadline is looming large. Any normal person can make a mistake, but you know you should have known better.

You are sitting at your computer wondering if this major disaster will cost you your job, when your boss just happens to walk by. You are scared stiff, fearing the worst. But what does he do? He gives you an encouraging smile and says “I understand. Don’t worry. I know you will do better next time. You will get another chance”.

VOILA! Your whole world opens up for you. You feel the tension oozing out. You get the drive, the enthusiasm to give the project all your attention again and vow never to repeat your mistakes.
This is what good leaders do. They understand us and give us support when we need it. They understand the human psychology of motivation.

Imagine another scenario…

You boss comes up to you while you are with your colleagues and friends and gives you a tongue lashing in front of everyone, detailing everything you did wrong and trying to shame you into performing better the next time.

How angry, upset and embarrassed does that make you feel? Maybe you even feel like leaving your job then and there, just to show that you have some self-respect?

This is what bad leaders can do to us. They belittle and embarrass us, and criticize us in public. When people are treated this way it is de-motivating. Rather than being inspired to work harder and better, they are more likely to start looking for a new job.

To get good results as a leader, you need a motivated team.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to motivate your team. If your subordinates are not giving 100% then you need to look at how well you are motivating your people each time you interact with them. Are you lifting them up to new heights, building their enthusiasm and boosting their resolve to do better next time? Or are you dragging them down by diminishing their self-confidence and self-esteem?

We get more of the behavior we recognize and reward. If the only feedback you are giving your team is about the things they have done wrong, you may be unintentionally de-motivating your people. Look for learning opportunities, rather than problems to be corrected.

Your own outlook and attitude as a leader must be confident and positive, if you radiate a positive energy and create an exciting environment by your enthusiasm, you will not only get your own work done, but your team will be more motivated to help you get all the results you need.

There are many ways you can motivate people to do what you want them to do. One of the simplest is to just pass on all the praise you get for their work.

Everyone likes to be recognized and appreciated. This motivates us all to do better. When you motivate everyone on your team you will find it easier to get great results as a leader.

More on how to do this in the Quick Tips below:



“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than knowledge that is idle”

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

Don’t just think about becoming a better leader. Take action. Join us for the Leadership Coaching Club today.



Do you want to:
* motivate, influence and inspire others to produce better results
* get your message across every time
* make a good impression whenever you meet someone new
* get that job you want
* overcome resistance to change
* maximize sales while you minimize complaints?

Join me next week as I interview Australia’s expert in the Art of Influence, Paddy Spruce, for a free live teleseminar next week. You’ll discover:

* How to make a positive first impression so you connect with people and open up the way to a positive outcome right from the start.
* What the five different Styles of Influence are and when you would use each one.
* The four Stages of any Negotiation and how to apply them, even in a corridor conversation.
* The top mistakes 99% of people make and how you can avoid them.

Register now

There are a limited number of phone lines available for the teleseminar so don’t delay your registration.



* People are motivated by the needs they have and the values they hold. If someone’s values are not aligned with the values your organization actually demonstrates, they will never be motivated to support you. If you are struggling to motivate people on your team have a close look at whether your organization demonstrates the same values you talk about.

* People are motivated when they see the opportunity to fulfill their own goals. Look for those times when a team member’s personal goals can be enhanced or expanded to align better with your goals for the whole team or organization.

* The things that motivate you will not always be the same things that motivate your staff. The better you get to know the people on your team, the easier it will be to ensure you are motivating them in a way that is best for them.

The Leading Well Bottom Line:

You don’t have to do it all on your own. Join us in September for the next Leadership Coaching Club and leverage off all the wisdom, insight and experience of other participants plus your mentor Kerrie Mullins-Gunst.

Share Your Tips With Us:

* What are you doing to motivate your team to better results? Please let us know by adding your comments to this posting


AND DON’T FORGET THE COMPETITION just for Leading Well Subscribers:

Enter now and you could win FREE registration in the Leadership Coaching Club Ten Week Intensive. All you have to do is sign up for Leading Well then email us and tell us in 100 words or less:
1. What is the best thing about our Leadership Coaching Club Ten Week Intensive?
2. Why YOU deserve to win?
*** Please don’t enter unless you will be able to participate in the ten week program, starting September 13. See the full Teleseminar Schedule for details.


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