My Leadership Fails: Team Failure & The Abilene Paradox

TSS Toxic Workplace

“When performance drives relationships business success is inevitable. However, when relationships drive performance, the urge to maintain the status quo will lead to  failure”

“More teams (and businesses) are ultimately destroyed by unhealthy people-pleasing than by overt hostility and aggression”

A boardroom drama I will never forget: “What do you mean ‘we may be insolvent’? How much cash do we need? Why did we all agree to pay a dividend at the last board meeting if cashflow is so poor?” This team of directors was in trouble! Yet they were all highly competent, capable and overtly supportive of each other.

How did they get into such a mess? The answer lies in an insidious strain of conflict avoidance known as ‘people-pleasing’. This form of conflict avoidance has contributed to a range of major disasters including financial catastrophes, major industrial accidents, plane crashes, shipping disasters and company destroying product failures. [Read more…]

My Leadership Fails: Difficult Conversations, Conflict & Feedback

Julius Caeser“Feedback is the breakfast of champions” Ken Blanchard

“Businesses don’t fail for want of intelligent staff, they fail for want of intelligent and courageous feedback” Unknown 

“Feedback is the bridge between strategy and successful execution” Dr Pete

High performance teams thrive on feedback. But sadly, many of us avoid feedback and settle for mediocrity, whilst gossiping to our teammates about what is wrong and backstabbing our managers.

Having difficult conversations and giving staff feedback is tough! [Read more…]

Emotional Awareness (or Not?)

bigstock-Man-Fustrated-and-ashamed-with-27249041

“Like Water That Flows So Are The Tears Of Our Emotions”

“You’re Emotions Are Important Passengers BUT Never Let Them Drive!”

Dr Pete PhD

After all these years working as a psychologist I am still amazed at how difficult it is for bright and capable people who are under pressure to be able to identify and separate their thoughts and emotions.

Most people may think they are emotionally aware but when they are struggling with challenging waves of life they often lack self-awareness. Have a look at these two cases below:

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Optimism: A Hazard Warning!

Optimism HazardThere’s no difference between a pessimist who says, “Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,” and an optimist who says, “Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyway.” Either way, nothing happens.  Yvon Chouinard

Being optimistic is a good thing, right? Not necessarily – it will either be an amazing blessing or be more harmful then helpful depending on what type of optimism we’re talking about.

Did you know there are two types of optimism? Healthy Optimism which gives us an unshakeable belief in a positive future (the best is yet to come) and fortitude necessary to endure hardship along the way; and an Unhealthy Optimism which where we create amazing dreams and fantasies with deadlines which if unmet lead to hopelessness and despair. Let me explain….

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My Leadership Fails: Soft vs Kind

Courage Sailor“Smooth Seas Do Not Make Skillful Sailors” African Proverb

I have confessed to a life of ‘people pleasing’ at work – giving in to the demands of others – rescuing them from their problems – only to be hated and vilified when eventually I put some boundaries in places and said ‘no’. I felt confused and bewildered by this until recently, when I got to spend the day with Liz Wiseman – HR Guru and author of ‘Multipliers’ and she shared some insights that dramatically changed my approach to leadership at work! [Read more…]

Purpose: A Tale of Two Bridge Crossings

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”Medieval Bridge

“Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.”

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Did you know that to live a happy and fulfilled life there are two bridges you must cross?

One bridge sits over the mighty rivers and deltas that mark the major milestones of your life. The other bridge sits over the many small streams, creeks and marshes that you must cross everyday. [Read more…]

Mindsets: Change The Backstory of Your Life!

Mindset Stones‘The Backstory Hides The Key To Success’ Dr Pete PhD

Let’s explore further why affirmations fail. Have you heard of the (dysfunctional) exercise of looking into the mirror each day to tell yourself you are beautiful to boost your self-esteem? Why is it that sometimes we do not feel beautiful despite the fact we look into the mirror and tell ourselves we are beautiful every day?

In the last blog we discovered that the reason affirmations often fail us is that they don’t engage our thinking patterns at the deeper levels where our unhealthy mindsets are hidden. Whilst our surface thinking may be changed through our affirmations and mantras, the deeper unhealthy mindsets remain unaffected and so our negative views remain intact despite the positive things we say to ourselves in the mirror. We refer to these important layers of thinking as the ‘Story’, which represents our surface thinking and the “Back-Story” which represented our deeper level mindsets.

In order to become more resilient and happy in life we need to be able to (1) quickly and easily uncover the Mindsets that have created a negative back-story to our lives, and (2) genuinely challenge and change these negative Mindsets to re-write this into a more positive and helpful back-story for the future of our lives. [Read more…]

Mindsets: Why Affirmations Fail

Waves of Life Kabat Zinn“Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” The Queen in ‘Snow White’

“The Devil is in the details, but so is Salvation.” Hyman G. Rickover

“To change your mindset it’s not ‘what’ you are thinking that is important it’s ‘why’” Dr Pete

Affirmations: A Poison Chalice!

It’s not working!” cried my anorexia patient Chrissy. “Every day for the last few weeks I have been doing exactly what you told me to do – looking into the mirror each morning and telling myself ‘I am not fat and ugly – I am beautiful & healthy’, yet I feel even more depressed, fat and ugly then ever before!!!”

Affirmations are a poison chalice! Whilst it is a simple fact that your thinking patterns will lead you to happiness or despair – changing your thinking patterns is not so simple. When I did my postgraduate training to be a clinical psychologist I was taught to encourage people to use ‘affirmations’ and think ‘positive thoughts’ about themselves – and say these thoughts out loud in order to change their negative thinking patterns into positive ones. The idea being that if they repeat these positive thoughts often enough they will eventually replace the negative thoughts. Whilst this idea may be logical – the notion that you can ‘fake it till you make it’ – it does not change your thinking patterns – and used as a stand alone self-help strategy is down right dangerous – often making things worse. [Read more…]

Mythbusting Resiliency & Burnout

Resiliency

“Be kind for everyone is fighting a hard battle” Plato

“Life is both ‘simple and hard’ but becomes ‘complex’ when we try to make it  ‘easy’” Dr Pete

I am a fool. After all these years of research and clinical practice I still fall into the trap of thinking that people who are fit and healthy, good-looking,  have extraverted personalities, shiny sport cars, happy families and an apparent lack of any personal problems, are role models of what it means to be resilient – but I am completely wrong! The notion that resiliency means you don’t have any personal problems is a myth!

I am also a fool when it comes to the subject of burnout! For years I thought burnout was some disastrous, slow-moving, hidden disease that was unstoppable once it started and only inflicted upon those Mother Teresa selfless type caregivers. I thought there would be no chance of recovery or return to health but rather a gradual slide into self-sacrificial oblivion which was only rewarded in heaven. The notion that burnout is both a complex irreversible phenomenon and only affects the selfless caregiver type is also a myth! [Read more…]

100 Posts! John Grisham & The 20 Mile March

Amundsen“ Writing’s still the most difficult job I’ve ever had – but it’s worth it.” John Grisham
“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.” Jim Collins
“The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu

It’s time to celebrate my 100th post! I never thought I would get this far… Over 90,000 words and 22,358 reads in the last two years! Plus 5 books, a full-time job, a blended family, a new baby, twins on the way, a beach shack under construction and an array of other complications and challenges of everyday life. [Read more…]