leadership Archives - The Performance Biz

Functional Teams

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Functional teams work consistently towards outcomes and improved performance, whereas when you are in a low-functioning team it can sometimes feel like a war of attrition – which inevitably ends with the leader resorting to pulling rank to get stuff done.

Whilst the result might be compliance on behalf of the team member, it often doesn’t feel good and can leave a bad atmosphere in the team.

Further, its sets up both parties for a similar experience next time as they come to the table forewarned and forearmed and the pattern repeats.

Can you think of an example where you have experienced this, either as the leader or as the team member? Or have you observed this in the way that others are interacting?

How does it make you feel?

It is likely we all fall into this trap from time to time. I know that I recognise it in myself sometimes and I have to catch myself. You might not be surprised to learn that this is a really common problem in successful and busy organisations.

Here’s a typical scenario, taken from a real-life situation. There is a Manager, I’ll call her Jules and one of her team members, Lily.  They were in the final preparations for an in-house event. Jules’ phone rang – it was the tech team. The venue representative was ‘being difficult’, could she come immediately. Under pressure, Jules said to Lily “When you have them all in the room, I want you to greet them by making an announcement. Tell them where to put their bags and tell them to turn off their phones. Oh, and make sure they are respectful of the speakers and listen!”

Lily immediately felt uncomfortable. It was minutes before the audience was to arrive. She had been expecting to register them, give them their badges and let them into the auditorium at 10am. She was not used to speaking to a group and she really didn’t want to do it. Jules picked up on her reluctance to do this, but she really didn’t have time for this. She said “Just do what I ask please.” And left to sort out the issue with the venue.

Lily was now anxious and annoyed with Jules. As people came in, Lily tried to be warm and friendly, she felt awkward giving the message about being respectful of the speakers, so just mentioned it to them individually as they arrived. She could see it wasn’t going down well. After the reaction of the first tranche of delegates, she stopped mentioning it.

At the interval, a few complained to Jules about Lily and asked what could possibly have made her think they wouldn’t be respectful. There were also mutterings over coffee that they were being treated like kids.

Jules was really cross. She found Lily back stage and said, “What did you say?! You’ve managed to upset half the room, Lily.”

I will leave the story there, but you get the point and where this story might lead.

Let’s circle back to the beginning of this EPIC Insight. What is the most important differentiator between functioning and non-functioning teams?


In this case, Jules was under pressure. There was pressure of time, pressure of demands from different people. Pressure of expectations. In an attempt at brevity, Jules had fired off some instructions to Lily that didn’t make clear sense. Lily felt obliged, yet very uncomfortable. Consequently, the message was poorly delivered and badly received.

Pre-framing is a powerful tool. In this case, Jules might have said this:

“I am short on time, as I have to meet with the tech team. We have two important elements that I would like you to take ownership of so that we can maximise the success of this seminar. Firstly, we need to make it really easy for people get out and home at the end of the event, so to achieve that, can you find a way to store their bags for quick and easy access? Also, during the event, there will be some important messages throughout the speeches that they will need to remember over the next Qtr. Can you let them know? They might find it really useful to have a notebook and pen at the ready.”

When we pre-frame, we are giving the other person the heads up as to where we are going. The outcome we want to achieve or the goal we wish to reach.

Using pre-framing, Jules enables Lily to be honest and helpful to the audience and achieve the desired outcomes.


Practice getting into the habit of pre-framing. As you can see by Jules’ example, it often takes no longer – but makes a significant difference to the team’s ability to perform.


Owning It – Part 3

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Control of Feelings

The starting point to taking personal responsibility begins with getting some clarity around how you are responding to any given situation or how you instigate any given situation yourself. It’s about making a proactive decision to be responsible for the actions that you take.

In other EPiC Insights (Owning It Part 1 – Physical Control, Owning It Part 2 – Emotional Control) we touched on the importance of the Hierarchy of Control™. This is required to identify and correct the state of our minds, bodies and responses before we communicate with a sense of personal responsibility.

The Hierarchy of Control™ is:

  1. PHYSICAL control
  2. EMOTIONAL control
  3. Control of FEELINGS
  4. Control of THOUGHTS
  5. Control of ACTIONS

Once our physical and emotional states are under control we can then move on to address the control of our feelings.

The Hierarchy of Needs™ is a process that allows us to unravel the jumble of physical, emotional, feelings, thoughts and actions that we have inside us and that, if we are not under an overall state of controlled awareness, we will respond inconsistently and fail to make the desired impact on any given situation.

We talk about the control of feelings or the feeling state in 2 layers:

Feelings when your emotional state is satisfied;

Feelings when your emotional state is not satisfied. 

So, in other words when you are clear about your emotional state (i.e. when you have read, acknowledged, understood and managed the emotion, very often, with practice, instantaneously) then you can pinpoint the feeling you have about it and communicate it clearly either to yourself or others.

Examples of emotionally satisfied feelings:







Examples of emotionally unsatisfied feelings:








Feeling Exercise

This exercise is great to test how the feelings that you are wishing to convey might be interpreted. Very often, we might think that we are conveying a particular feeling but the interpretation may be quite different!

Choose an action and practice changing the feelings you want to convey with that action. Notice how it makes you feel and how other people interpret your actions – choose a friend to demonstrate it to.

For example:

Action: rocking arms to and fro

Feeling: tenderly

Outcome: sense of comforting a new born baby to a gentle sleep

What about if you rocked your arms suspiciously/sadly/angrily – what might this convey?

To find out more about how to be an EPiC leader, click here to arrange a conversation with one of our Consultants.

Best wishes

The Insights Team


Owning It – Part 2

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The starting point to owning it or taking personal responsibility begins with the mindset. It’s about making a proactive decision to be responsible for the actions that you take.

In another EPiC Insight (Developing a Feeling of Ease) we touched on the importance of the Hierarchy of Control™. This is required to identify and correct the state of our bodies before we communicate with a sense of personal responsibility.

The Hierarchy of Control™ is:

  1. PHYSICAL control
  2. EMOTIONAL control
  3. Control of FEELINGS
  4. Control of THOUGHTS
  5. Control of ACTIONS

Taking personal responsibility begins with a mindset, but very crucially continues with tangible steps that we can take in order that our actions are proactive, specific, and uncluttered.

Today I’m going to talk about emotional control which follows the physical control discussed in an earlier insight.

We talk about the emotional state in 4 layers:

Reading Emotion

Acknowledging Emotion

Understanding Emotion

Managing Emotion


Reading Emotion

It is really important, in order to be able to start controlling emotion, that you first recognise its presence in you and others. It is vital that you are able to acknowledge that the way you respond to a situation differently to how you responded yesterday is driven by a change in emotion or mood, we might say. So if you feel that you are in a type of crazy where everything you do is affected by a negative emotion STOP it right there. Pause, breathe, allow the emotion in and let it pass away. Meditative exercises are useful at the beginning of the day too, to set you up in the right frame of emotion for the day, without any baggage hanging over from previous interactions or experiences.

For others, consider what is driving the intention of the message-giver and disseminate what parts are driven by logic and what parts are driven by emotion. Give the message-giver time to reflect on their own use of language with advanced listening skills.

Acknowledging Emotion

Once you have reached the state of reading emotion so that your emotional antennae is properly tuned, you can more quickly identify it in you and others. It allows you to make decisions, rather than wallowing in the chaos that a lack of control can allow in. In others, for instance, if you’re faced with an aggressive salesperson, rather than reacting in an equally aggressive way, a more emotionally intelligent decision might be to use non-verbal language to indicate that you are not comfortable with the approach and therefore give the other person the opportunity to adapt their own emotional state.

This tactic can work well in personal relationships too as the other person will be finely tuned into body language through their deeper understanding of you.

Understanding Emotion

Students of Emotional Intelligence will quickly become aware that the understanding of you and other’s emotional state is a bit like predicting the weather. It constantly changes and although you can take a fair guess at what emotional state you might be walking into, it has a habit of surprising you. However, with practice, we can prepare more and more accurately by forecasting what sort of emotional situation we are going to be entering by thinking through the situation. This requires a degree of strategy or big picture thinking in order to keep the mind open to the variations that you haven’t quite planned for. Stay nimble, and alert. Particularly, stay present!

Managing Emotion

The key to managing emotion is self-regulation. It’s not easy and we all fall off the wagon, but so long as your intention is to control your reaction, you are more likely that not to achieve a positive outcome. Ultimately this – the positive outcome – is what we are driving at. It is very easy to fall into a temper tantrum if you haven’t applied self-regulation.

Being able to self-regulate your emotion, to communicate in an emotionally intelligent way how you feel, the more smoothly your interaction with people around you will go. Good luck. Give yourself plenty of opportunity to develop this skill and be kind to yourself if it doesn’t work the first, second or third time to try it. It will improve each time.

Now you are ready to move onto the next level – Your Feeling State. More on that in a future article.

To find out more about how to be an EPiC leader, click here to arrange a conversation with one of our Consultants.

Best wishes

The Insights Team



Consistency Is Life’s Great Desire

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Well, maybe not, but being consistent might give you more time for what you really desire in life! How consistent are you? How do you even feel about that word? The word ‘consistent’ conjures up for some a feeling of security, order, structure and calm. Others believe it to mean boring, relentless and lacking in adventure – and they will want to run away fast!

If you find it hard to be consistent, this Insight is for you.

I can confess to being in the latter category probably until my late 20s. Loving jumping into projects that have an exciting potential, a defined lifespan and, of course, an end. The thought of having to be ‘consistent’ at one thing day in, day out, for an undefined length of time would have me resisting from the outset. It felt like a sentence, something that drained the passion. I never saw it as the platform that allowed me to develop my passion.

“Consistency means FREEDOM…”

So, as life isn’t made up entirely of new and exciting projects, I needed to find a way of being consistent. I found that I was really good at creating processes. I would see how things got done, make connections and links and I would design a process to make it better, more streamlined, more efficient (and – top desire – easier!).

Today, consistency is a word that means FREEDOM. Freedom to do what I do best, the work that I love the most, and it helps me to maintain high standards.

We share this skill with our clients as one of the foundation stones of our EPIC Leader Programme and we watch their results, as they grow their business, boost their brand, and deliver VIP service to their clients.

Are they perfect? No. Neither am I! In fact, by way of example, I noticed only recently that bereavement had a huge impact on my own ability to be consistent and to follow processes and it showed. As our business grows and changes, we look for more and more ways to get consistent in what we do and it fuels, rather than drains our passion.

My clients are still learning and growing, as we all are. As their business gathers momentum, there are new challenges to overcome and new problems to solve. They are continually compelled to grow, personally and commercially.

It is the same for Leaders in businesses everywhere. Whether you are a Director, a Senior Leader, or a new Leader, a parent, leading your family, or even if the only person you are leading is YOU, you will find freedom in consistency. Grab the opportunity to become more consistent with both hands and give it a big kiss on the lips because it really is your ticket to the FREEDOM to do more of what you really desire!

If you would like to find out how the EPIC Leader Programme can bring you more consistency, please click here or call us on 00 44 (0)1932 888 885.

Best wishes

EPIC Insights Team

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