Respect is almost impossible when your team is disengaged

Uncategorized Dec 19, 2017

Over the last 30 years in my role as a mediator or decision maker, one or both parties to every dispute have complained that they didn’t feel respected by the other person.

Everyone wants to be respected; to be valued and appreciated. 

However it is hardly surprising that respect is so elusive because it requires the other person or members of your team to be engaged with you, to “see and hear” you.  

Most of us spend most of our days in our world of one, our world of me. 

We spend a lot of our day thinking about our own needs and how we want to be perceived. We often think people are doing things to us; and if we are hurt we might lash out verbally or retreat into ourselves and give the person who hurt us the silent treatment.

If the members of your team are disengaged, chances are they are also emotionally disconnected from each other as well. They are worrying about their own needs; they are not worrying about anyone else. 

Respect comes from...

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A vulnerable manager is a powerful one

Uncategorized Dec 11, 2017

I wish my staff appreciated all my efforts

Do you feel like you’re invisible some of the time? It’s not that you are ignored - you have a constant stream of people knocking at your door. It’s just that they take you for granted. They assume that you will be there fixing problems day in, day out.

They may also act as though they are doing you a favor; that they are working hard for you. That as a manager, you have the easy job because you are not necessarily hands on.

Chances are your team don’t know how often you work late, take work home, worry about your team member’s performances and how you are going to give that feedback. That you worry about possible redundancies or how you are going to cover staff when a few people want leave at the same time.

What if you and the team shared more of your experiences?

It’s difficult to understand what’s going on for people if we don’t talk about it. A lot of managers feel that they will be seen...

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I broke a fingernail and it was the end of the world

Uncategorized Nov 09, 2017

I get my nails painted about every four weeks. This phenomenon started about three years ago when one of our children got married and I decided that my outfit would be enhanced with painted nails. I had so much fun getting them painted at the time and chatting to my new best friend Lucy, that I decided that this was now a thing for me. A bit of fun and some time out from my busy schedule.

To be honest I am as rough as guts and I tend to chip my freshly painted nails pretty quickly.  Lucy gets a good laugh out of how bad my nails can look at the end of four weeks.

And sometimes I break a nail, which is annoying but not the end of the world. But sometimes it is. Sometimes my reaction to my broken nail is completely over the top.

You see, I have a number of balls in the air all the time and I tend to work a lot. So I put myself under quite a lot of pressure. (Do what I say don’t do what I do). And when I get really tired and run down, I can become quite stressed. And when I...

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Taking on too much is my kryptonite

Uncategorized Oct 22, 2017


I am run a micro business and I do nearly everything in my business. I am slowly but surely getting some help with the business; in the last twelve months I have outsourced my bookkeeping, taken on a virtual assistant and get help with my social media. But I still struggle with delegating tasks, so I wear most of the hats in my business and it’s full on.

I often think that sole traders and micro business owners are like super heroes. They do everything. They are amazing at working in the business; and then they put in these super human hours and work on the business. I have so much respect and admiration for small business owners.

But we are not invincible. And I learnt that the hard way this year when I agreed to help manage a great and successful project that was not part of my core business.

I agreed to take on this project in February and the project got properly underway in June and was at its most frenetic in September.  I am pleased to say that the project...

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I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've been a bully

Uncategorized Aug 17, 2017

Put up your hand if you’ve bullied someone. Chances are nearly everyone’s hand just went up - maybe tentatively - but let’s be honest we are all guilty of bullying someone at some time in our life.


My first recollection of “bullying” someone was when I was 7 years old.


My dad was a priest and this girl (I’ll call her Chrissie) and I used to go to the same school and to the same church. We regularly caught the bus to and from school together (this was the 70s and seven year old children regularly caught buses to and from school without a supervising adult).  We were sort of friends. But the main reason that I wanted to hang around Chrissie was because I really liked her mum.  Chrissie's mum was kind, generous and funny and I desperately wanted to spend time with her.


That’s because my mum wasn’t so great.  She took the advice about having a Bex and lie down very seriously. My mum suffered from chronic...

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Do you spend your time putting out fires?

Uncategorized Aug 10, 2017

Do you often take work home at night or go in on a Sunday just so you can get some uninterrupted time to get work done?


Is much of your day spent with your staff lining up at your door to complain about someone else in the team?


Have you run out of ideas as to how to get the team to work better together?


Maybe you need a fresh set of eyes to help you see the trees from the forest. Importantly, you may need help setting boundaries with your team. If the boundaries are fuzzy, chances are your team will push against them constantly - some inappropriate behaviours may end up being tolerated and this will effect the level of trust in the team.


Positive psychology tells us that people perform best when they are trusted to do what they are good at doing. When the work aligns with their potential and their personal values. People also work best when they feel valued by their employer and when they are consulted and included in decision making processes. But most...

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Feel like you're losing control of your team?

Uncategorized Jul 10, 2017

It’s 8 pm on a Tuesday night and Mandy has finally got the kids to bed, done the dishes and put the rubbish out. She’s back at her computer finally getting that work finished that she didn’t get to today.

What a crap day! She didn’t stop. One by one her team members had all come in to see her to discuss “that” incident from yesterday.  She just couldn’t get anything done.

And now she is exhausted. She has spent the day putting out fires; trying to stop the inevitable rumours that Alex is going to leave after the way he had been treated by Ben.  She tries to concentrate on her work; but she is struggling.  She has seen an email from her boss in her inbox that she hasn’t opened yet but the subject line is “Ben”. She thinks it best to leave this email until tomorrow morning or she won’t be able to sleep.

The team want to know what she is going to do about Ben; how can he be allowed to speak to Alex (or...

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Kate's top six life hacks for better managing a stressful life

Uncategorized Jul 02, 2017

In January 2014 I was read the Riot Act by my doctor. Take care of yourself or face an early death. Well... I had too much to do to die, so I decided to look after myself better.  I am not on top of all aspects of my life, but I have made some radical changes which have made an enormous difference in my life.


My top six life hacks are:


  1. Get up early and exercise.

Now this might not suit everyone, but I get up between 4.30 am and 5.00 am on weekdays and between 5.30 am and 6 am on weekends. I throw on my active wear and go for a run or a long walk. I do this every day. It’s a non-negotiable part of my day. It energises me and makes me feel like I can take on anything through the day. I get to feel smug knowing that most people are asleep and I get to do an hour of work whilst everyone else is commuting to work.

And I sleep so much better now than ever before because I am both physically and mentally tired at the end of the day.


  1. I don’t drink...
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Everyday Grief: How endings can cause conflict in the workplace

Uncategorized Jun 14, 2017

Warning: there are a couple of Crabb and Sales “clang” name-dropping moments in this blog.

In July 2008, my son Tom travelled for 7 weeks all around the Flinders Ranges, filming Last Ride, his first feature film. He had a lead role and he was the only child on set. Tom was very fortunate to have his big sister, Lucy, on set to chaperone him. Last Ride had a small (read lean) cast and crew and they were a tight bunch. They all worked very hard for seven weeks straight and Tom had an absolute ball. This experience, to this day, would be one of the highlights of his life (and ours).

However the wheels started to fall off for Tom in the last week of filming. He was having a great time, he loved the people he was working with, his team, and he knew it was all about to come to an end. He was overwhelmed with emotions and he started to act out. At times he was moody and aggressive; other times he would be quite sad and needy. Tom was a 10 year old dealing with big emotions; he...

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The Suitcase of Pain: Facing the consequences of ignoring painful problems

Uncategorized Jun 05, 2017

When I was growing up, my dad had a battered old brown suitcase under his desk. It was full of unopened bills.  Pretty much every time a windowed envelope arrived that looked like a bill, it went straight into the suitcase. He never opened those letters. Ever.


My dad was an Anglican priest at that time and we were poor. Money was always an issue. Eating out was a really big deal (whatever you do, don’t ask for a second drink!). There were four children in the family and we cost a lot to keep.


So every now and then debt collectors would rock up at the front door and Dad would be forced to deal with his debts. He never had the upper hand because he had lost total control of the situation. The situation controlled him. He also had to deal with the terrible and painful shame that went with having strangers turn up on the doorstep asking him to pay his bills.


Dad hid it well most of the time. We kids didn’t know what was going on; but as I got older...

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