Leadership Tips for Discovery in Action Alumni + network
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January / February 2018

Hello to all the 'DiA Monthly Leadership Tips' subscribers. We hope the new year has started well for you all!

Welcome to the first edition of our Monthly Leadership Tips for 2018:  your 'once a month'  'bite-sized' chunks of practical leadership wisdom!

This month we share :
We post the blogs in this publication on Linked In.

Be generous to your colleagues! Forward a copy of this email or send this link to join the DiA Monthly Leadership Tips list!

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!

Melanie and Paul Eyres

How do I ensure clear roles and expectations?

This blog is the fifth in a series of practical leadership actions responsive to major themes that have emerged through our work with over 500 Discovery in Action® (Leading People) program participants.  We have observed six major themes that have consistently emerged as participants have grappled with the question: When do people perform at their best?  These themes are around people feeling supported, valued and safe; creating a ‘team environment’; supporting learning and growth; empowering staff and building autonomy; ensuring clarity of roles and expectations; and creating meaning and purpose.  Click on the highlighted text to revisit previous blogs in the series.

This month our featured practical actions are around…

How do I ensure clear roles and expectations?

The development of role clarity for individuals and teams at work is fundamental to healthy and functional workplaces.  In many ways it is the basic and hard work of day-to-day people leadership and management, however it is often neglected in the churn of organisational life or assumptions are simply made that intelligent people will just ‘work it out’!  Neglect of these basics – work planning, setting priorities, clarifying accountabilities, understanding team purpose and scope, communicating performance expectations, assigning tasks effectively, connecting work to higher-order goals etc – often result in a range of problems and symptoms such as relationship conflicts, under performance, inefficiency, confusion about priorities and lack of motivation.  Conversely, actively attending to these basics around role clarity, can play a significant role in building highly functional and performance focused work environments.  The challenge for leaders is to be both skilled and disciplined in consistently undertaking these practices.  We have created a simple one page sheet which contains 26 different ideas for action that leaders can take.  These actions are organised around the following 5 overarching strategies to ensure there is clarity of roles and expectations:

  1. Explain the organisational context and how their work fits – by helping people see the bigger picture and the role they play in it, enables people to more deeply connect with the ‘why’ of their work and the importance of them ‘playing their role’ which drives motivation, performance and accountability.  See more on the importance of ‘why’ in a post about Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle.
  2. Build understanding of team purpose and role – a key activity for people leaders is to build understanding of team purpose and scope; clarify how the roles across a team fit together; and define clear accountabilities for individuals and teams. This significantly reduces scope for tensions within teams and across teams as well as building the confidence of people to take action knowing their role and the boundaries.
  3. Help individuals to understand their role – leaders who regularly discuss and clarify expectations (in both stable and unstable environments) with their staff, through both formal and informal mechanisms, provide people with high levels of certainty where people are most likely to thrive and optimise performance.   Read more about the importance of certainty in David Rock’s SCARF model.
  4. Set and maintain high standards of performance – people respond positively in an environment where high standards are expected and they have a clear understanding of what good performance looks like – high expectations leads to high performance.
  5. Provide guidance on priorities – one of the simplest yet most important tasks of leaders is to help people prioritise their work.  This can reduce stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed for individuals and teams whilst also maximising productivity by enabling focused effort on the things that matter.

So while there is a list of possible actions for each of these 5 strategies contained in our one-page sheet, there may be many other actions, particularly relevant in your context, that you may also identify.

This practical ideas list might be used in a variety of ways:

  • Reflect and review on your practice – do I have coverage across all these strategies?
  • Engage with your people – would they like to see more of some of these actions?
  • Select one or two actions from the list that you’d like to experiment more with over the next few months

Good luck and let us know of any other actions we can add to our list!
Click here to see this post on our DiA website.

Want to bring about sustainable change? Watch this cool video on neuroplasticity

We’ve often written blogs about the challenges associated with making sustainable change. In our blog called ‘Making those personal changes stick’,  we wrote 'You’ve done the hard yards working out what you need to work on and you are enthusiastic and committed to making some changes, for example:

  • More regularly engaging with difficult stakeholders
  • Delegating work more often
  • Having the ‘difficult conversation’ earlier
  • Providing positive feedback to staff on a regular basis...etc

However you know it won’t be easy to try some new things that are not in your comfort zone. You know it won’t be easy to break some ingrained habits or behaviours. So…

How do I make sure I make the change?

How do I follow through on my intentions?

Successfully making sustainable personal change can be difficult – but you CAN DO it!

Interested? Firstly, take a look at this picture – a take note of the 3 steps to help you make those changes. (If you want more detail, click on the original blog link here.)

making personal changes stick

And then watch this video by Sentis that validates that you CAN do it!!

‘With repeated and directed attention towards you desired change – you can rewire your brain!!’

To quote from a famous Australian shampoo TV commercial : ‘It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen!’ Make your change your new autopilot!

Click here to watch the video.

Coaching and GROW - a visual

Participants in our DiA Leading People program often grapple with the challenge of coaching their teams.

Does this sound familiar?

‘I still seem to be the one coming up with all the answers’.

My team member doesn’t show enough initiative.’

‘I have told them this over and over again but nothing is changing’.

‘I just can’t seem to tap into this person’s energy…I’m sure they are capable of so much more!’


One of the best ways for leaders to address these sort of issues is to apply a coaching approach to many of their interactions.


We have many resources to help leaders build and enhance these skills!

Coaching is one of the most powerful skills a leader can master, and for this reason we regularly write about! The ties between leader skills and employee engagement levels are mind blowing!

Click here to see all the blogs we have written on coaching.

Some of the most popular ones are featured here:

Keys to making coaching part of your practice

Classic coaching questions using GROW

Practical tips and hints on coaching

A really quick, simple version of coaching

GROW with 5 questions

Finding the coachable moment

And our very popular GROW visual

Many of our DiA alumni have printed this out and stuck it up near their work area!
Click here to access PDF version of the GROW visual.

Want to further improve your coaching skills?

If you are interested in exploring coaching further, you may be interested to know that we provide skills development workshops in the area of Coaching. If you’d like to find out more – click here.

3 tips to boost your confidence

We have written a few posts now about confidence – and it is surprising how many people have told us they struggle with this important competency.

One of the key competencies in the Self Awareness dimension of Emotional Intelligence (EI), I often see people at both ends of the confidence spectrum. In a recent workshop I ran on Emotional Intelligence, someone shared how perplexed they were about why they have a lack of self belief. It was important to let them know that most experts in EI do not believe that confidence (or any of the other EI competencies) is an innate talent, but rather a learned ability. This means everyone has the ability to increase their confidence (and their EI), if they work on building their skills and capabilities.

Whilst I believe this to be true, genetics does still play a role in determining where you might ‘naturally’ start on the confidence spectrum. As this TED-ed video shows, the balance of neuro-chemicals in your brain can play a role in confidence, along with the environment you are in, and the part you have control over : ‘the choices you make, the risks you take and how you think about an respond to challenges and set backs.’

As this video shows, it isn’t possible to totally untangle these 3 factors, but the personal choices we make play a role in confidence development.

Targeted at teens – but just as relevant for adults, this 4 minute video shares 3 tips to help cultivate our own confidence :

  1. Try a quick fix – picture yourself succeeding. Practice positive visualisations and affirmations
  2. Believe in your ability to improve – try to develop a growth mindset
  3. Practice failure – those who are prepared to risk failure learn how to try different strategies, ask others for advice and persevere!

Click here to see this video - and to download a one page visual with lots of tips on how to improve confidence and fight 'imposter syndrome'.

how to improve confidence

Some recent assignments

  • Started a number of new one-on-one coaching assignments
  • Preparing to kick off new DiA programs for 2018
  • Worked with a regional leadership team to define their role and behaviours as a team
  • Facilitated a team workshop to articulate their purpose, value proposition and brand
Click here to access the Eyres & Associates website to find out what else we do!

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