Leadership Tips for Discovery in Action Alumni + network
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December 2016

Welcome to our December edition of our Discovery in Action - Monthly leadership tips,  your 'once a month'  'bite-sized' chunks of practical leadership wisdom!

It is cliche to say - but hasn't this year just flown!

In this last edition of our newsletter for the 2016 year we share :
We post the blogs in this monthly leadership tips publication on Linked In. Please feel free to forward this email to people in your network who you think may find it helpful...

We also use the content we share each month, in the work we do in our consulting practice. Feel free to get in touch to find out more about anything in this newsletter or other blogs on our website.  Enjoy!
And as a final note, we wish you and your families a fabulous festive season, and a fulfilling and prosperous New Year!

Paul and Melanie Eyres

Rumination vs Reflection?

“I don’t like the word reflection’’

This comment was recently made in one of our Discovery in Action closing workshops.  We had just posed the group the question: What had you learned about the practice of reflection?  This led to a fascinating conversation about the nature of reflection.  For some people they had an image in their minds of something soft, unfocused, meditative or meandering in nature.  It was just a word that some people felt was not purposeful enough.

Well I have a different take on what reflection means...

Of course, in general language it is not unusual for the word reflection to be used to describe someone pondering and musing over something without reaching any conclusions of note.  Someone is simply being reflective.  However I believe there is a real discipline to the practice of reflection that is not always well understood.

Many use reflection as a synonym for rumination.  I believe it is useful to understand the critical differences between the notions that these words – rumination and reflection – are attempting to describe.  In fact, at some level, they are polar opposites of each other.  We all engage in rumination on a regular basis – that is where we allow our thoughts to swirl around in our brain, having the same thought multiple times with numerous variations, thinking about a series of what ifs, wondering about people’s motivations.  It can go on for hours or even days…we all know the feeling, we have all had this experience.  You might have had a run-in with someone; you’ve made a stuff-up or think you might have; or something just didn’t turn out as planned.  It’s not always negative – it can be a great success or win where you happily indulge in private thoughts about your greatness or possibilities of future success – although my guess is that most rumination energy is put into the bad stuff.

We get stuck in superficial exploration, never progressing our thinking and action...  

Click here to

How to use your 1-on-1 catch-ups to fuel performance

In a study into the practices of the best team leaders, conducted by Deloittes and released by the Harvard Business Review in April 2015, we learnt that the team leaders who were considered the 'best' conducted regular check-ins with each team member about near-term work - often on a weekly basis! But these were not the typical one-on-ones many of us think of. 

"These brief conversations allow leaders to set expectations for the upcoming week, review priorities, comment on recent work, and provide course correction, coaching, or important new information". The conversations

  • provide clarity regarding what is expected of each team member and why,
  • what great work looks like, and
  • involve an exploration about how each individual can do his or her best work in the upcoming days
In other words, exactly the trinity of purpose, expectations, and strengths that characterised what this study saw in the BEST teams.

The authors Buckingham and Goodall declared : "For us, these check-ins are not in addition to the work of a team leader; they are the work of a team leader."

And they found a direct and measurable correlation between the frequency of these conversations and the engagement of team members.

reinventing perf mgt - structure of one on ones2

Click here to see the rest of this post, and access a printable copy of the 1-on-1 visual graphic which outlines how these one-on-ones should work.

Tips to help you improve your Emotional Intelligence

In our everyday work and personal life, we often come across the term ‘Emotional Intelligence’. But what is Emotional Intelligence (EI) and how can you improve it?

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, understand and manage emotions – the ability to manage ourselves and our relationships effectively.

The term EI has been around since the 1980s, and was popularised by Daniel Goleman in the mid-1990’s when he published a book of the same name. There has been much research by him, and others in the years since, with many books, articles and instruments published, expanding our understanding of EI and the importance it has both in the workplace, and in the wider facets of our lives.

If you have high emotional intelligence, it means that you can recognise your own emotional state and the emotional states of others, and engage positively with people in a way that draws them to you and strengthen relationships. This can be an advantage in your professional life, but of course can help you form healthier relationships in all aspects of your life.

Importantly, most experts in EI do not believe EI competences are innate talents, but learned abilities. This means everyone has the ability to increase their EI, if they work on building the skills and capabilities.

Want to know more about EI and get some practical tips for how to develop and / or strengthen your EI skills?

Click here for a link to our Tips and Hints on Emotional Intelligence - including a self assessment, and practical ideas across all 4 of the EI dimensions.

Gratefulness, authenticity and listening ...some keys to becoming a better leader?

Some time ago, we came across an article that gave a refreshing take on the question

"What does it take to be a great leader?"

This blog especially made us smile when it referenced 'gratefulness', 'authenticity' and 'listening'. The leaders we think of fondly, live these ideas in their dealings with others.

Many a conversation is had about this question!

Is it having great ideas? Is it knowing how to bring a great team together? Is it being honest, having excellent communication skills and being able to delegate? Is it charisma and confidence? Is it a good awareness of what is happening around them - and of themselves? Is it the ability to unite a group of people behind a common purpose, yet still be able to know what each individual needs to be their best?

When asked this question, we typically answer this question, without referencing a list of specific qualities - rather we think it boils down to

  • who they are (their unique specific traits, qualities and characteristics) and
  • what they do (their actions, reactions and behaviours - how people experience their leadership).

Many leaders have the potential to be a great leader - and be quite a different leader from the next person; but just as effective - so long as they truly own the role.

We believe an 'ideal leader' is a 'real' one. And the 'smile' we refer to aligns with our belief that the best leaders are authentic, create an environment where people can thrive, and are both proud and grateful for results they deliver - together.

So when we are asked 'What makes a great leader' we also provide this answer :


A great leader is one who a) wants to be a leader and b) wants to be a better one!

What about you? Do you want to be a leader? And do you want to be a better one?

Click here for more...

Some recent assignments

  • Completed a DiA program with leaders in the child care industry
  • Facilitated an end of program celebration and reflection workshop reviewing learnings from a customised Leadership Development Program
  • Facilitated a divisional workshop to reflect on how people are using their desired cultural behaviours in the day-to-day delivery of their work
Click here to access the Eyres & Associates website to find out what else we do!

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