Leadership development programs

3 Steps to Build Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive leadership is required in managing the response to any crisis. The pandemic that has affected businesses over the past 2 years has made this clearer than ever. The constantly changing business landscape means that we will continue to be faced with unexpected challenges that can often demand swift resolution. To build an effective adaptive leadership style, there are several skills leaders need to ensure success.


When faced with crisis and uncertainty, it is important to consider what the effects on your operations could be. Anticipating what your future needs will be in less than optimum circumstances, allows you to prepare strategies to help you mitigate potential negative impacts. Executive leadership training can help participants develop this aspect of adaptive leadership through real-world and simulated experiences. This also reduces the potential for being caught by surprise and making decisions rapidly that may not be sustainably successful. 


Effective change management is determined by the support of direct reports and their ability to implement new practices and strategy. It is the responsibility of leaders to ensure that changes are communicated unambiguously to all employees. This may even mean holding frequent discussions to answer questions and provide clarity prior to the initial implementation.  Reiterating strategy as part of day-to-day operations, instills it in actions, making transition smoother and more successful. 


One of the most difficult challenges of change management is evaluating the progress and success of new initiatives. Incorporating senior leadership development as a part of the change management strategy provides the opportunity to regularly review progress. Necessary adaptations can be made to practices that aren’t achieving the desired results. By holding ourselves and others accountable, the potential damages of  ill fitting strategies can be mitigated and replaced by improved actions.

The ability to adapt as a leader and as a business, is one the most important skills needed to succeed in a constantly shifting business environment. Leadership development programs enable individuals and teams to establish the skills and tools to build their adaptability. Familiarising yourself with a wide range of leadership styles is an important aspect of executive development. It allows us to draw on a larger skillset and overcome challenges by assessing them from a variety of perspectives.

About the Author: The Leadership Sphere

The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

3 Steps to Build Adaptive Leadership

2022 Leadership Trends

3 Leadership Trends to Take into 2022

With the year’s end now just weeks away, many of us are reflecting on how a second year amidst a pandemic has affected business, and how we can further build our best leadership practices within this new status quo. Which trends have proven most effective? What changes are we still struggling with? How will we cope with future challenges?

Adaptive Leadership

What were once unprecedented challenges, are now something we now consider an everyday part of life. An adaptive leadership style has been a key factor in reaching this stage. The ability to overcome unexpected challenges is one of the most important skills for leaders to develop. When teams and businesses are met with unfamiliar difficulties, they turn to their leaders to provide stability. Learning to drive change management can help leaders to navigate through periods of uncertainty.

Positive Company Culture

Remote and hybrid working will continue to disrupt workplace operations, even as we adjust to our ‘new normal.’ Reinforcing a positive workplace environment is one of the most important actions we can take to ensure that remote team members do not become isolated or ostracised from the rest of the group. Senior leadership development provides participants with the tools required for combating the specific challenges of leading virtual teams. As leaders, we must be particularly cognisant of incorporating emotional support for all team members as the business landscape is reshaped.

Succession Planning

Executive leadership development is becoming a higher priority for many businesses as a means for ensuring organisational success. Leaders who coach other individuals in leadership, and companies that offer leadership training programs to their high potential talent, see an increase in both employee retention and productivity. This allows businesses to build their vision for the future into current practices, making them much more successful.

The impact of COVID-19 has greatly altered the way in which we operate and lead businesses. This is sure to continue as we once again begin to disrupt the practices we have gotten used to. The prevalence of change within all industries is the driving force behind innovation and growth. As we’ve seen, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of adaptive, cultural, and developmental leadership trends for enduring uncertainty, as well as laying the foundation for success in the future.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

3 Leadership Trends to Take into 2022

online training programs

What Leaders are Doing to Combat the Great Resignation

The global pandemic and increased time spent working from home, has given us all the opportunity to reflect on the importance of developing a positive work-life balance. For many, this reflection has affected the way they think about their career and even question the value of work in their lives. Dubbed the Great Resignation in the US, COVID-19 has seen millions of people from all levels of the workforce make the decision to leave their jobs. Experts believe that this trend will begin to affect Australian businesses as recently reported on the ABC, Buckle Up, The Great Resignation is heading Australia’s way.Even as more and more organisations return to the office, there is a hesitancy from many individuals to do so. This is leading to them seeking reduced responsibilities or exiting from the workforce altogether.


How can organisations retain top talent?


Communication is Key

The necessity of adapting to remote operations has shown employees that flexible working conditions are not only possible but sustainable over the long term. Accommodating for more remote operations comes with its own set of challenges for leaders of such teams. A development training program that focuses on leading virtual teams can address the specific challenges of communication, the use of technology and team well being that affect them can be a great asset. 

The success of virtual teams hinges upon their ability to communicate effectively over a variety of mediums where an instenaious reply is not guaranteed. This means that information and ideas must be presented with careful clarity in order to avoid misunderstandings. Establishing a communication plan that includes providing regular feedback on performance, is integral to ensuring that all team members understand their role and how they are contributing to achieving objectives. 


Embrace New Technology

The ability for remote teams to exist is thanks in large part to the advancement of technology over the past century. Where office spaces were, and often remain, necessary in order for employees to have access to computers and tools required to get work done, it would be difficult to find a home today that doesn’t have at least one working computer. The prevalence of modern technology has meant that businesses are no longer limited to hiring exclusively local talent. Similarly, high potential employees are able to seek opportunities with companies with interstate or international offices without having to relocate.

Virtual leadership development has seen a significant increase over the past two years. Many companies prefer to have their training programs delivered this way as it is less disruptive to daily operations. The accessibility of online training programs also makes it possible for a greater number of participants to be included. Companies who actively provide opportunities for remote employees to develop and progress in their careers are far more likely to retain those high performing individuals who will go on to drive the business forward. 


There has been a great culture change in attitudes towards the importance of mental health in recent years. This has certainly been particularly prevalent since the beginning of the pandemic. Today’s workforce places a higher value on job satisfaction over job security than has previously been seen. The onus is on employers to provide fulfilling and flexible workplace environments in order to entice employees and garner loyalty.


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere

The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and high trust organisation.

What Leaders are Doing to Combat the Great Resignation

Personal Values

The Importance of Understanding your Personal Values

For many individuals today, fulfillment in their work is a driving factor in their decision to take on a leadership role. The same is true of those in existing leadership positions. We often hear directors and hiring managers discuss a person being the ‘right fit’ for a role. What we hear discussed less often, is whether or not a role is the right fit for the individual. You may have the talent and capability to perform well in a leadership role however, when the company’s values do not align with your own, it can be difficult to engage with not only the work, but also your team.

Understanding your Personal Values

Getting clear about what your personal values are can help to provide guidance in what it is that you are looking for in a company that you want to work with. Our values indicate what is most important to us and what motivates us to achieve greatness. A personal values assessment helps to identify our most strongly held beliefs. This understanding will give you a greater insight into whether or not you would feel satisfied working for a particular company. When their values do not align with yours, you may face resistance in attempting to implement strategies. While the company you work for defines policies and certain rules, it is your own values and priorities that determine your personal leadership strategy and how it will be achieved. 

Better Working Relationships

People who share the same values as those they work with are much more successful in achieving results compared to those with conflicting values. Having shared values doesn’t necessarily mean that you will share the same opinions as others, but it does mean that you share similar goals and intentions. Discovering your team and personal leadership values helps to build more effective working relationships. Sharing connected values enables individuals to more easily relate to one another, communicate ideas more effectively, and overcome difficulties much faster.

More Committed Employees

When an individual’s personal values are aligned with those of the company, their motivation and engagement with the work increases. They know that their contributions are important to the overall success of the organisation, and so are more dedicated to performing at their highest potential. Senior leadership assessment can be a useful part of the hiring process to determine how an individual will support the company’s vision and values. The alignment of individual and company values leads to greater success for both parties because their priorities are each focused on achieving the same end result. 


Better Decision Making

Our values are what contribute most to the decisions we make. Developing leadership excellence teaches us that it is important to draw on our personal experiences and beliefs in order to lead more effectively. A clear understanding of our values allows us to make better decisions in the face of uncertainty. When faced with difficult choices, asking ourselves which option most aligns with our values and what we are striving to achieve can be a guide towards the choice with the greatest chance at success.

Leadership assessment tools are integral when training for leadership excellence. They afford us the opportunity to reflect on the things that matter most to us and how they affect the way we lead. For individuals, understanding your personal values lets you know that the decisions you make are in service of your goals. Organisations also need to have an understanding of the personal values of their employees to ensure that overall growth and success can occur. 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.


The Importance of Understanding your Personal Values

leading teams

How Coaching Leads to Excellence

Executives have understood the benefits of coaching in achieving personal goals for decades, and we are now seeing these benefits extend towards teams as well. Coaching as a leadership style can be much more effective with today’s workforce than traditionally authoritarian leadership. The value of coaching has become increasingly important to individuals and organisations as a whole for enhancing team performance and achieving success. 


Develop a Strategic Plan

To successfully reach the goals you set out to achieve, you need to develop a strategic plan. This is true both of personal, team, and organisational goals. The strategic plan is your road-map that guides you towards specific targets and milestones. Senior leadership training and coaching can be useful tools for identifying those targets, as well as the skills you and your team will need to achieve them.

The path to achieving success may rely on the integration of a leadership development program to mitigate challenges caused by potential skills gaps. Team coaching for leadership excellence can help to embed new skills to drive change as well as provide a safe space to discuss real-time results and conflict. This ensures that difficult conversations are constructive, allowing for problems to be resolved sooner, and performance to increase.


Coaching Leadership

In high performance teams, the role of the leader is more often one that supports rather than manages. The leader as coach is responsible for maintaining team focus on goals and outcomes, while individuals ensure day-to-day tasks are completed. A leadership excellence program enables executives to better coach, grow and develop people within their team while simultaneously improving performance. This allows for more manageable accountability for both leaders and direct reports.

Executive leadership training improves organisational performance when delivered across all levels of a company. The skills you embed in current teams and existing leaders does not only result in increased short-term performance. High potential talent and individuals who will become future leaders gain integral skills needed for elevated positions, contributing to their personal, as well as company growth.


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.


How Coaching Leads to Excellence

team development

5 Reasons to Consider Executive Coaching

The business landscape of today has seen a significant shift in focus towards company values and workplace culture. In order to be seen as an employer of choice for current and potential employees, leaders must take up the challenge to create such environments. High potential talent are striving to build their careers with organisations and leaders who center people development in their business growth. Senior leadership training can play an integral role in developing the traits that skilled employees are looking for.


Improve Interpersonal Relationships

Workplace culture is defined by the people within them. The culture is only as strong or impactful as the personal connections between individuals. It is particularly affected by the relationship between leaders and their direct reports. Leaders who engage in executive leadership coaching often discover that their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and emotional literacy improve alongside the tactical skills they set out to achieve. These ‘soft-skills’ are some of the most important for building strong interpersonal relationships. 


Leading Change

These connections become increasingly important during times of change or transition. The benefits of executive coaching allow leaders to develop more effective change-management capabilities. When faced with uncertainty, employees require support, communication, and consistency. Meeting those needs through implementing coaching skills has many trickle-down benefits as executives, leadership teams, and their direct reports build stronger roadmaps through change that not only preserve, but enhance performance.


Gain a Competitive Advantage

Establishing a coaching culture within your organisation creates space for growth and innovation that attracts clients and employees alike. Supported development of high potential employees is desirable for individuals building their careers, while reducing turnover and retaining top talent. 


Improve Goal Orientation

Individuals often seek an executive coaching program to help them better define and achieve their career goals. The coach’s role is to assist the individual in identifying what is preventing them from reaching those goals. Strategies are then created to work towards overcoming obstacles and filling any skills gaps that may be contributing to their stagnation. In building these skills, participants can considerably reduce the time taken to achieve success.


Become a more Effective Leader

Effective leadership is the result of strong working relationships and the ability to inspire and influence behaviour. Developing leadership excellence helps leaders to connect teams to their vision, that then translates into successful action and performance. For this to occur, long-term goals must be clearly defined and regularly communicated. Consistent focus on the larger objectives mitigates delineation, allowing for continual progress to be made.


The most successful organisations utilise coaching for leadership excellence to motivate high performance at every level. Personal connections, as well as a connectedness to business strategy, creates an environment that allows innovation and people to flourish. Top performers are retained who will go on to lead future high potential talent, and propel the business forward.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

5 Reasons to Consider Executive Coaching

Leadership Excellence

The Importance of Leadership Excellence for Performance

The consistently changing market, customer, and technology landscapes of today’s business environment has demonstrated a shift away from traditional hierarchical leadership structures. Emerging organisations have a different business paradigm, meaning that to remain competitive, existing organisations can no longer rely on the leadership of an individual or small executive team to meet the challenge. The talents, skills, energy, and ideas of the entire organisation must be harnessed to see continued success. 

Why you need leadership excellence

Effective leadership is integral to any successful organisation. Leading high performance teams requires the skillful application of influence and inspiration of others to transform potential into reality. In developing leadership excellence leaders understand how to wield their influence in order to inspire enthusiasm and passion for projects that lead to more engaged and productive teams. When organisations have effective leadership practices in place, an organisational culture develops that is open in its communication. Everyone understands the vision and objectives of the business, and has the opportunity to share ideas on how they can be achieved or improved. People feel a part of the conversation and that they are an important part of building the success of the organisation.

When these conversations are constructive, they have a valuable and positive impact. Effective leaders are able to bring out the best in their teams by encouraging personal investment. Offering high performance training to individuals at every level of the organisation not only demonstrates your investment in their development, it invites them to do the same. As individuals enhance their own capabilities, tailored development programs can ensure that you instill in them a clarity around the values and vision needed to achieve organisational goals. 


Using leadership excellence to drive performance

High performance team leaders understand the importance of providing space for teams to reach their full potential. Individuals who have held decision making positions within high performance teams will be better equipped to take on greater responsibility as the needs of the organisation evolve. Training and experience in high pressure environments ensures that future leaders have the skills needed to keep up with the rapidly changing business landscape. 

Developing emerging leaders through high performance training not only increases the longevity of your organisation’s leadership, it also improves individual’s performance in their current positions. The best high performing teams are frequently shown to have had resources invested in their development. The return organisations receive on this investment occurs repeatedly as individuals progress in their careers and development. 


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.


The Importance of Leadership Excellence for Performance

High Performance

3 Steps to Building High Performance

A strong relationship between leaders and their team can make a significant impact on productivity and performance. There can be little doubt that great leaders produce better business outcomes. When it comes to leading high performance teams, actively seeking opportunities for improvement is what ensures and maintains their success. 


Understand your Leadership Style

Effective leadership stems from a great self-awareness that means leaders are able to continuously improve business relationships and push for exceptional results. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all have preferences in the ways in which we lead others. Becoming cognisant of what our preferences are, and how this forms our personal leadership style, allows us to implement business strategies that are more effective. When we know ourselves better, we are able to leverage leadership excellence to drive performance.


 Advocate for Innovation

Developing high performance in teams can be as simple as challenging them to think more innovatively. The success of many high performance teams is often due to their ability to come up with new ideas and creatively solve problems. Leaders of such teams are willing to experiment and take risks in order to reach higher levels of achievement.  Building effective teams along with real leadership is one of the most important drivers of organisational success. A strong capability to innovate in service of their goals enables teams to outperform expectations by delivering exceptional results.


Engage Learning with Experience

Performance training programs are continually proven to be more effective when the lessons are then applied on the job. Too often, we will engage in shorter workshops or seminars but fail to incorporate the lessons in practice. Effective leaders develop their leadership in action; discovering strategies that drive performance, and learning from mistakes. In order to inspire lasting changes in the performance of others, leaders need to make a deliberate effort to display changes in their own behaviour.


The success and growth of any business is largely dependent on the implementation of strategy by leaders and the performance of their teams. Great executive leaders understand the necessity of leadership development training for building high performance at all levels of their organisation. Developing our leadership style and implementing our learning to push for innovation leads to stronger, more outstanding performance. 



For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

3 Steps to Building High Performance

build leadership excellence

5 Reasons for Building Leadership Excellence

Great leaders empower and inspire us to perform at our best. Effective leadership allows space for direct reports to flourish and make valuable contributions towards both their personal and organisational goals. Senior leadership training provides the opportunity for leaders to develop and leverage their ability to influence the behaviour of others that improves performance. 


Increase Productivity

Leaders who regularly practise leadership excellence understand the value of encouraging self-sufficiency in their teams. Their primary  role is one of motivation rather than instruction. Teams are able to drive their own success with the support of their leader. Effective leaders inspire passion and pride within their team to increase productivity and achieve results. A leadership excellence program helps participants to create a framework that allows teams to be independently motivated and high performing.


Better Decision Making

Training for leadership excellence builds higher levels of emotional intelligence. This gives leaders a greater perspective when it comes to decision making. Developing our emotional intelligence is advantageous to mitigating risks or potential negative consequences of our decisions. Understanding how our emotions affect our choices allows us to gain insight into the driving forces behind the behaviour and decisions of others. As leaders, we must support others in recognising their own unconscious emotional biases to allow space for more informed decision making.


Retain High Performers

An investment in leadership development training significantly reduces the likelihood of losing your top performers to other opportunities. Identifying high potential talent and nurturing their development can ensure future, long-term success. Programs that focus on refining and implementing business strategies help participants connect and commit to the goals of the company. Providing leadership training to high potential employees supports career pathways,  succession planning, and increases retention.


Builds Confidence

Confidence is an important pillar of effective leadership. Leaders must have the confidence in their own knowledge and capabilities, as well as that of their team members, in order to drive success.  Both established and aspiring leaders experience self-doubt from time to time. Unfamiliar challenges and changing business landscapes can create uncertainty. The benefits of leadership excellence provide us with the groundwork for figuring out how to overcome these challenges. We may not have the exact answer to a problem, but we are able to rely on our ability to source the solution and lead teams effectively. 


Implement Effective Leadership

One of the benefits of leadership excellence is developing the capability to uncover your personal leadership style. There are a number of different leadership styles, each with unique benefits and disadvantages. Understanding your personal ‘life-story’ and how to use it as a tool for leadership, builds a connection between you and your team. Leveraging this connection can help you to hone a leadership style that your team will best respond to.




Building leadership excellence creates more effective leaders and higher performing teams. Strong leaders are able to connect their personal experiences to their leadership style and inspire confidence and motivation in others. Their role is to support and develop the skills of their team members to foster an environment that values growth that leads to increased performance.


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.


5 Reasons for Building Leadership Excellence

GROW Model

What is the GROW Model?

The GROW coaching model was developed by coaching pioneer Sir John Whitmore and has been used for over forty years. It is a structure within which executive coaching may be conducted to aid leadership development. The coach is an objective facilitator whose role is to assist their client in identifying the best options available to them that will serve their goals, without offering specific advice or direction. It is up to the client to discern what is best for themselves. The use of the GROW model as a tool for leadership excellence within teams differs slightly from this because as leader, you will have some expertise that allows you to guide your team through options to avoid ones that could bring harm. The GROW coaching model is a four-step lens through which options are analysed and decisions can be made; Goal, Reality, Options, Will.



The purpose of many coaching relationships is for the coach to help their client get clear on their goals, and identify strategies to help them reach them.  The focus of the Goal stage is on the solution and what the coachee wants to achieve, rather than the problem being addressed. Often, leaders will have a broad idea of what this looks like, though they may have difficulty articulating what needs to be done in order to succeed. An executive coaching program  provides leaders with the opportunity to explore their goals thoroughly and help them to establish specific targets they are then able to work towards.

Examples of Goal questions a coach might ask are:

  • Where are you going?
  • How long will it take to get there?
  • What are the benefits of achieving your goal?
  • How will you measure progress?



The Reality stage is used to frame the identified goals within the context of the coachee’s current situation. The executive coach helps their coachee to understand the problem they are trying to solve, and how doing so will impact themselves and those around them. It is an opportunity for the leader to  view the situation from alternative perspectives. The solution to certain problems can begin to emerge as a result of speaking aloud about them. Developing this style of thinking through senior leadership training will have considerable benefits for team problem solving once the new strategies are implemented.

Some useful Reality questions are:

  • What is happening now?
  • Who else is affected?
  • What steps have already been taken towards reaching your goal?
  • What may be preventing you from reaching your goal?



Once goals have been set and the current reality has been examined, we can then begin the process of exploring what options are available. It is particularly important in this stage of the executive training  program, that the coachee leads the discussion. The coach must of course be able to provide clarity and guidance, but they can not make the final decision. The objective here is  for the coachee to come up with as many possible solutions that could help them succeed.

Questions asked during the Options stage should be open ended in order to drive discussion:

  • What are the options?
  • Who could help you with this, and how?
  • Where can you find more information?
  • What else could be done?



By the time the Will stage is reached, the coachee should have a clearer idea how their goal can be achieved. It is here that specific actions must be committed to, that will make achievement possible.  The coach’s role now, is to help the coachee determine which of the options discussed should be taken up. Typically, the coachee will already have made the decision for themselves but will still benefit from assistance in building and committing to a measurable and actionable strategy. If the coach senses a hesitancy to commit, revisiting the Options is necessary for clearing roadblocks and finding the best way forward.

Examples of Will questions are:

  • What action are you going to take?
  • How are you going to do that?
  • What will keep you motivated?
  • What could prevent you from taking action? How will you overcome this?


The GROW model is an important part of building a coaching culture within teams and organisations. It helps groups and individuals to identify strategies for reaching their goals, including how to overcome obstacles they may face. A leadership excellence program that teaches the GROW model encourages meaningful conversation as a part of the problem solving process. It should also be noted that the model is not meant to be followed as a rigid structure. The GROW model is a framework that aims to prompt discussion that leads to effective solutions. While Goals and Reality will typically be explored first, coaching conversations can move between all four elements.


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

What is the GROW Model?

Dare to lead

Overcoming the 5 Dysfunctions of Teams

No matter how cohesive and successful a team may be, it is inevitable that they will face challenges that could potentially derail their productivity. When this happens in high performance teams (or indeed, any team), we need to look beyond the symptoms of low performance to find the true cause of this behavior. Based on the work of Patrick Lencioni, the 5 Dysfunctions of Teams explores the idea that to resolve surface level issues, you must first attend to lower level needs. Each dysfunction impacts on overall performance and must be overcome in order for teams to perform at their best. 


Dysfunction 1: Lack of Trust

The first dysfunction Lencioni identifies is a lack of trust amongst team members. When trust is minimal or absent, it is often because individually, we are afraid to appear vulnerable in front of others, and want to maintain an image of infallibility. This stops us both individually, and as a team, from asking for advice and developing collectively. We may even hesitate to provide positive feedback to others, or assist in areas outside of our own responsibilities.

Overcoming this fear of vulnerability, opens up opportunities to understand each other on a more personal level. Nobody is perfect. Being able to own up to that and admit to our weaknesses makes others around us more comfortable, and more likely to start doing the same. Learning about Rumbling with Vulnerability is a pillar of the Dare to Lead™ program, based on the work of Brene Brown. This section of the program aims to dispel many misconceptions people have about vulnerability. Typically thought of as a display of weakness, in Dare to Lead™, vulnerability becomes known as one of the fundamental tools for leaders to establish trusting relationships in their teams.


Dysfunction 2: Fear of Conflict

Team performance is enhanced when there are diverse voices contributing to the conversation. While this provides an incredible opportunity to achieve better results, it can also cause hesitancy to share an opposing idea for fear of creating conflict. Controversial topics are ignored even if they have the potential to create success for the team.

A great first step to take in creating constructive conflict is to be intentional about how these conversations take place. Designating even one-hour a month is an opportunity for your team to be able to voice their opinions, safe in the knowledge that they will not be negatively received. A leadership excellence program can be useful in building group dialogue skills that help teams to have conversations that matter. These are conversations that allow teams to delve deeper into topics or issues that are important to them, and they are then able to come up with resolutions as a unified group. It is important too, that these conversations be held regularly for sustaining high performance.


Dysfunction 3: Lack of Commitment

Perceived inaction, avoiding difficult conversations, and ambiguous goal setting are just a few reasons why there may be a lack of commitment from team members. Without clearly defined goals, teams do not know what it is they are working towards and therefore, have no real investment in the work they are doing. The same is true when there is limited communication surrounding decision making and problem-solving. 

When decisions are made that impact your team, explaining the rationale that led to that decision will help them understand and accept new changes. Inviting your team to be part of the decision making process also gives them a personal incentive to successfully implement those changes. Understanding the ‘why’ is important for building commitment to the actions being taken. Giving your team a strong reason for, and belief in, the work being done leads to increased dedication and better performance.


Dysfunction 4: Avoidance of Accountability

The ability to hold oneself accountable is a skill that is closely tied to our willingness (or lack thereof) to be vulnerable and admit to our mistakes. We fear failure. Sustaining high performance in teams also requires that team members hold each other accountable as well. Often we avoid doing this for fear of causing conflict even when an error would be costly. This results in team leaders becoming the sole source of accountability for the whole team. This can quickly become an overwhelming task for one person, especially in large teams.


Owning up to mistakes shows that you are responsible for your own actions. True self-accountability goes beyond this when you make conscious and demonstrable changes in your behaviour, or work to correct specific errors. Holding others accountable does not have to be a combative exercise. Intent is important here. Criticism for its own sake is counterproductive to team effectiveness. Blame is not the same as accountability. Feedback should aim to support the recipient and help them to constructively improve future performance.



Dysfunction 5: Inattention to Results

When the vision of team success is overlooked in favour of individual achievement, collective progress stagnates. You may even lose valuable market competition, or results-oriented team members. While leading high performance teams usually means there are high levels of self-motivation to completing tasks, it is the leader’s role to ensure a clear team focus. As with the avoidance of accountability, leaders must ensure that each member of the team has a concrete understanding of how their individual role contributes to the team purpose and achievement of results. 

Measurable metrics will be a considerable aid in maintaining team focus. A useful practice in developing leadership excellence within teams creating habits for success. By setting simple goals, and rewarding the team as a whole for their success, fosters a greater connection amongst team members and continued desire to achieve results. 


Understanding the 5 Dysfunctions of Teams is important for leading high performance teams. The capability to diagnose workplace challenges and overcome them is an integral part of developing leadership excellence. Dysfunction prevents effectiveness in the pursuit of team success and cohesion. Delving into how each dysfunction contributes to challenges, helps teams to form better and long lasting solutions. 


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.


Overcoming the 5 Dysfunctions of Teams

leadership circle assessment

The Leadership Circle® Tools Explained

There is no substitute for effective leadership. If we want to develop more effective leaders, and to do that more rapidly and sustainably, we need a more comprehensive approach. The Leadership Circle has taken the best of what has been learned over the last half century and woven it into the first Unified Theory of Leadership Development to arise in the field. Based on this unique framework, we offer a complete and integrated System of Leadership Development. The combination is unparalleled. We support leadership transformation – change that evolves authentically from the inside out. We offer tools, methodology, and support for deepening the conversation with leaders so that change can occur on a deep, significant, life-altering level.


*The Leadership Circle Profile™ (LCP)

The Leadership Circle Profile is a true breakthrough among 360 degree assessments. It is designed to accelerate leadership effectiveness beyond traditional competency-based approaches. The first to connect a well-researched batter of competencies with the underlying motivations and habits of thought, it reveals the relationship between patterns of action and the internal assumptions that drive behaviour. The Leadership Circle Profile provides insights into actionable strategies to lift your leadership to a higher level.


leadership development Bob Complying graph

*The Collective Leadership Assessment™ (CLA)

The Collective Leadership Assessment™ delivers a powerful “litmus” test of your collective leadership effectiveness. It reveals valuable data that tells you how your people view their current leadership culture and compares the reality to the optimal culture they desire. Analysing this “gap” allows the CLA to identify key opportunities for leadership development. In comparing your collective leadership effectiveness with that of other organisations, the CLA offers businesses an active competitive edge. 




The ResultsEngine® Follow-Through Tool

Creating successful and effective leaders requires support and an active follow-up process. This web-based ResultsEngine works with the Leadership Circle Profile and the Leadership Circle workshops to ensure that managers and leaders take the necessary steps to achieve their goals. The fastest and most effective way to improve outcomes from development planning initiatives is to actively support and manage the follow-through process. In doing so, you create ongoing and lasting change.


The Leadership Circle tools affect change by identifying the competencies and motivations that drive behaviour. By revealing the gap between the current and desired effectiveness of leadership,  you are able to engage in strategies to develop specific areas of growth. Most importantly, the Leadership Circle tools offer ongoing support and feedback to ensure the changes made help leaders reach their long-term goals.


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.


*The Leadership Circle Profile™ and the Collective Leadership Assessment™ are created and owned by The Leadership Circle®. Certified by The Leadership Circle®.


The Leadership Circle® Tools Explained

management coaching program

5 Steps to Improving Performance Management

The prime objective of performance management is to work towards the improvement of performance at the overall organisational level. To achieve this, efforts must be made to develop the skills of all employees.  Without support and regular communication with leaders, you can not hope to see improvements in effective performance management. Small changes can have a significant impact on both performance and productivity.


Frequent Feedback

Performance management differs from performance reviews that are usually only an annual reflection of past behaviours. In comparison, performance management involves providing regular feedback that allows for improvements to be made when they will have the most benefit. It is better to take preventative measures to identify potential skills gaps and correct them immediately, rather than address them after the fact. By engaging in frequent feedback conversations, you increase employee engagement and productivity in high performance teams. 


Establish Expectations

One of the most successful ways to ensure high performance is to have a clearly defined set of expectations for your team to adhere to. Engaging in a high performance training program and useful in establishing roles and goals beyond the job description alone while providing participants with the skills to achieve them. Getting clear on expectations reduces confusion on the part of both employees and leaders that would otherwise lead to miscommunication and potential errors. 


Provide Support

To achieve successful performance management, your teams must have the support of executive level leaders. Not only through verbal communication, but in their actions and the culture of the organisation. Developing leadership excellence should be a priority of executives who wish to cultivate a culture of high performance. When leaders participate in the same performance management processes as their direct reports, they project the importance of developing skills in order to reach new levels of success. 


Adaptive Goals

One hindrance to achieving high performance is in setting non-negotiable goals. Specificity and deadlines are necessary for goal completion, but failing to account for changes in market conditions or other circumstances beyond a person’s control will only have a negative impact on performance. Making goals that are adaptable reduces pressure felt to deliver results when conditions may prevent it. Regularly reviewing goals ensures that both leaders and employees feel there is a balanced workload and identifies opportunities to set stretch goals.


Leader Coaching

There is a direct relationship between effective coaching and managing high performance teams. Leaders who invest the time to coach and develop their employees are more likely to see an increase in performance. Building leadership excellence allows leaders to become coaches capable of positively influencing the progress of others. Ongoing development conversations between leaders and their direct reports support better outcomes and have a positive impact on individual performance.


Leadership development training for both leaders and employees makes it possible to build effective performance management processes across the entire organisation. Engaging in conversations that address the goals and expectations of an individual’s role help to foster a workplace culture that values development and filling skills gaps. Providing role clarity, opportunities for growth, and regular feedback are simple ways to improve performance management that can make a significant impact on your business.


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

5 Steps to Improving Performance Management

bigstock Productivity Increase

Getting Ready for the ‘Planning Season’ – Part 2 (Your Team)

Welcome to “Getting Ready for the Planning Season – Part 2” (Your Team).

Part 1 – creatively titled “Getting Ready for the Planning Season – Part 1” – discussed that for many organisations, the annual cycle of planning and strategy formulation is uppermost in their minds in an endeavour to set themselves up for the coming year. However, traditional strategic planning (and the yearly round of off-sites) often fails to deliver intended objectives.

Here are the five ‘antidotes’ we discussed in Part 1

  1. Create a ‘Collective Ambition’
  2. Make the process robust
  3. Make it agile
  4. Be real
  5. Balance performance and health

The article also provided an overview of the concept of organisational ‘health’ or what McKinsey have defined as “the ability of an organisation to align, execute and renew itself faster than the competition so that it can sustain exceptional performance over time.”

The concept applies equally to teams, and in fact it could be argued that without healthy teams (particularly senior teams) the chances of your organisation being healthy are slim.

A Way to Help Create Success

In our work with various senior teams over a twenty-year period we have seen a lot of things that work and DON’T work!

Based on evidenced-based principles and our own experience in working across many industries, we have formulated a framework to help your team focus on the things that matter – the things that will help you engage in the strategy planning process in a fruitful way. By focusing on the key elements of the canvass, you will also give yourself the best chance of implementing the strategy and creating a sustainable and high performing organisation or unit.

Team Charter Canvass

Creating a high performing organisation starts with creating a high performing senior team that knows where it’s heading, how to get there, and importantly, who they are as a team.

Our Team Charter Canvas (TCC) helps guide senior teams to do just that. The framework helps ensure that teams engage in crucial conversations that will lead to long-term success, starting first with clarity about the organisational vision and purpose.

               Figure 1: Team Charter Canvass


Those familiar with Simon Sinek’s work will be familiar with his tenet of starting with why may recognise the flow. Row 1 describes the WHY first, Row 2 the HOW and finally Row 3 is all about the WHAT.

This is in contrast to many planning processes that rush to the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ and don’t do justice to the ‘why’.  I have yet to meet a team that is sufficiently clear about all nine areas of the canvass and the detail that sits behind each. This can have serious consequences on achieving short and long-term objectives.

“I have yet to meet a team that is sufficiently clear about all nine areas of the canvass and the detail that sits behind each.”

bigstock Management solutions

Management solutions closing the gap to a business challenge as a businessman lifting a three dimensional cube to complete a wall with a group of organized objects as a project metaphor for leadership expertise.

This simplified version (the full version has some key diagnostic questions in each square) is linear and prescriptive in that a team should start with box 1 then move to box 2 then 3, etc (of course you may need to circle back to earlier boxes as you progress).

Any planning process needs to be firmly linked to the organisation’s vision and reason for being. The ‘how’ helps teams examine their operating rhythm, their values and how they will celebrate and recognise achievements while enjoying the journey along the way. And finally the ‘what’ helps the team achieve laser-like focus on what needs to be achieved and by when, including the current shape of the team (strengths to be leveraged and weaknesses to mitigated).

How Do I Use the Canvass?

There are many ways to leverage the power of the framework, however all methods should lead to the same outcome – creating a robust dialogue that creates new learning and new possibilities.

At a more practical level, here are some tips:

  1. Ask each team member to rate each box between 1 (Poor) and 10 (Excellent) live, calculate the average score and then focus on the three lowest rated boxes.
  2. Using the same rating system as above, conduct a confidential survey before the session.
  3. Start at box 1 and gain agreement on what it is, then move to box 2, then box 3, etc.
  4. Don’t skip any boxes because you think you have them nailed without an explicit agreement on what it actually means (assumptions are like termites in your strategy).
  5. Invite key stakeholders and even customers to enter in to some ‘box conversations’.
  6. Pressure-test your outputs with people who matter (i.e. people you need to be successful).

In order to have the type of robust, honest conversations needed, you will need to work on creating high levels of psychological safety.

Last November, Google published the five traits of its most successful teams – the first and most important was psychological safety, which has been described as a ‘‘shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.’’  Psychological safety is a necessary pre-condition for meaningful planning.

Implementation is the Achilles Heel

We know that around 80% of change fails and that globally a high percentage of Chief Executives are dissatisfied with their strategies and the results they create.

While it is relatively easy to produce a beautiful looking strategy document, it is how those ideas are realised that makes the difference. By default, ‘implementation’ means that change will be necessary (unless you have a no-change strategy that has already been implemented in which case you should be updating your strategy!).

Implementation and change leadership is out of scope for this article, however it needs serious attention as part of the overall planning and strategy process. This is where the real work begins.

Find out More

We are specialists in working with senior teams to bring the Team Charter Canvass to life. We do this through working with leaders and teams to create high performing and healthy teams and organisations.

If you’re interested in learning more about these programs and how we may be able to work with you to achieve outstanding results, then you can:


Getting Ready for Planning Season part 2 Cover





Getting Ready for the ‘Planning Season’ – Part 2 (Your Team)