Trust to Improve Performance

Trust to Improve Performance

What’s the secret to improving your teams’ motivation and performance? You’ve probably asked yourself this plenty of times when measures that you’ve put in place haven’t been as effective as you’d hoped. You have great incentives in place for your team, you’ve streamlined your processes and procedures to make things as efficient as possible, but you’re still not getting their best.

Gallup conducted a 142 country study on the State of the Global Workplace, and found the following shocking statistics:

  • 60% of Australian employees are “not engaged” – meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organisational goals or outcomes.
  • 16% are “actively disengaged”, indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to co-workers.
  • Only 24% are “engaged”.


So how do you get your employees engaged, motivated and working hard? Something that you have to earn – trust.

Without trust, your team won’t be working to the best of their ability. If they can’t trust in their leaders, why should they put in more than the minimum amount of effort?

Author and professor of economic sciences, psychology, and management at Claremont Graduate University, Paul J. Zak, measured oxytocin levels and brain activity as people worked, over eight years. Oxytocin is the hormone that affects parts of our interaction and behaviours including trust. His research showed that trust within an organisation is absolutely vital to performance, and also that there are eight ways to quantify and boost trust within a workplace. Luckily for us, Zak made these into an acronym – OXYTOCIN – so it’s easy to remember.

Let’s take a look at what OXYTOCIN stands for 


Positive reinforcement (like rewards and recognition) has been shown to trigger the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is linked to motivation and effort, so it’s important to recognise and reward your team for great performance because then they’ll want to continue working to that high standard. Nobody likes working hard without that effort being acknowledged.


Expectations need to be set and made clear, so employees know what they’re working towards. Make sure that your team knows they’re part of the big picture, and explain just how they are. When you get your team involved in the mission, knowing that they are directly influencing the success of that mission and your organisation boosts their motivation and commitment to meeting and excelling at their goals and your expectations.


Micromanaging gets you nowhere; as a leader you must be able to effectively make decisions and delegate tasks. Foster a safe environment of learning – mistakes aren’t the end of the world, just make sure to learn from them – and your team members will thrive when given more responsibility, and work more autonomously knowing they won’t be punished for mistakes. They will feel motivated and empowered from being trusted to do important tasks.


Transfer refers to enabling your team to ‘job-craft’ – make their job their own, and make their own decisions about how they define success.

Research undertaken by the University of Michigan showed that allowing employees to job-craft resulted in higher levels of job fulfilment and engagement. This means less staff turnover as well.


Being transparent and open with information relating to your organisation builds trust with your team because it shows that you’re being honest with them. You’d be surprised how much time and effort is taken up when your team is wondering what’s going on, so be sure to practice openness when communicating with your team.

Team members appreciate being told what’s going on, even if it’s not always good news since it gives them a chance to voice their opinions and give their input. When employees feel heard, they also feel valued and so want to return the favour and work harder.

We have launched our NEW Performance Team Coaching Program – find out more HERE! 


During his research, Zak saw a variety of studies that showed how important relationships (including friendships) are on retention, productivity, health and overall job satisfaction. Encourage relationship building amongst your team by providing plenty of team-building opportunities such as collaboration between departments, and making sure to reward great teamwork.

If your organisation isn’t getting across how important workplace relationships can be, then your team won’t be trying too hard to build their networks.


Invest in your team; provide them with training and opportunities for reward and advancement, and you’ll see a big improvement in their engagement. Your team will also trust you more, as they see how much you value them by choosing to invest in them. Feeling valued like this is a great motivator for employees to do their best.


The best leaders aren’t afraid to be vulnerable; being authentic and natural shows your employees that you’re human too and that they don’t have to be perfect because you aren’t either. When your team can relate to you, they’re inspired to be more open and honest as well. This allows them to ask for help sooner, instead of fearing being reprimanded, which means time isn’t wasted and work can be carried out more competently and efficiently.

Trust isn’t exactly something you can measure, but it’s a huge part of getting your team to consistently perform at their best. What Zak found from his research is that when you have people working for organisations that have an emphasis on trust, they are 76% more engaged, 50% more productive, and 50% more likely to stay in that organisation. You can’t argue with those results!

If you’re a leader who wants to step up your game and start encouraging a culture of trust in your workplace using resources backed by extensive research and with proven results, check out our Leadership Attitude Academy here, or book a coaching session here. 


5 Keys to Building Great Connections

5 Keys to Building Great Connections

The lifeblood of any successful career and business is in building great connections. Whether building new connections with potential clients or strengthening relationships with your existing network, making sure they are meaningful is essential to growing your business.

For extroverts, this is often second nature. But for many people, it can be quite challenging.

By using professional networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter, it can be easy to make an initial connection, but then to have virtually no direct contact for an extended period very quickly.

Think about your professional network, how many people have you not engaged with for well over a year?

Here are 5 keys to Building Great Connections:

1. Find a Way To Add Value

Instead of just sending random connection requests on LinkedIn, first, find a way to help that person. Take some time to work out what the potential contact’s concerns and wishes are. Then find a way you can offer a solution to their problem. It’s the perfect way to start a relationship which is a two-way street.

2. Ask Your Contact’s Opinions

Your contacts are part of your network for a reason, so be sure to reach out and take advantage of their wealth of knowledge and experience. Reach out to a contact when they may be able to assist, ask them about their life, and then be sure to thank them for their assistance.

3. Offer Professional Leads

If you hear of an opportunity which may be appropriate, let people in your network know. Rather than just jobs or referrals, focus on things like speaking opportunities, committees, special projects, and board positions. Also, offer to provide an introduction.

4. Keep Your Network Current

With LinkedIn, it is easier than ever to build a network of connections, fast, and develop a professional and modern business Rolodex. Instead of just connecting with people and disappearing, keep in touch through updates, sharing content, congratulating connections on their achievements, and furthering your connection network.

5. Make A Real And Genuine Connection

Watch my 2-minute YouTube video on Connection –

If you want your network to be made up of people who know you, like you, and trust you, then just sending a friend request, liking updates and posts, isn’t enough.

Introductions work best to make a real connection. Depending on what suits you – either online or offline is fine, but be sure to be genuine. Start with letting the contact know a little about you, and also provide them with some value in their life.

To further develop your business connections skills and connect with greatness, check out our Business & Leadership Coaching and Programs at LeadershipHQ.

Experience LeadershipHQ and you will leverage the best of the best in Leadership, Culture, and Business.

Stay tuned for our new program and group – The Business Collective in Brisbane. Register your interest HERE.

If you are looking to work with me Exclusively in my Coaching Program; please the Overview, Outcomes, and Bonuses HERE plus a FREE Career or Strategy Plan.

Leaders of Leaders Interview with CEO of Ltd

Leaders of Leaders Interview with CEO of Ltd

Our Leaders of Leaders interview this week is with the amazing Cameron McIntyre, CEO Limited and he is featured in our latest Leaders Hub Magazine. Ltd (ASX: CAR) is the largest online automotive, motorcycle and marine classifieds business in Australia. Attracting more Australians interested in buying or selling cars, motorcycles, trucks, caravans and boats than any other classified group of websites. Together with its subsidiaries employing over 600 people in Australia, carsales develops world leading technology and advertising solutions that drive its business around the world. Ltd has operations across the Asia Pacific region and has interests in leading online automotive classified businesses in Brazil, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico.

1.   What do you love best about what you do?

“As CEO of carsales, I get to work with some of the smartest and most capable people in the in the world, which motivates me to always be my best self, in order to support and effectively lead the whole global carsales team.

“Additionally, I love that every day at carsales presents new opportunities and challenges that tests our abilities and help us thrive as an organisation and as individuals.

2.   What’s your purpose – your WHY?

“Great question, I’ve never been asked what is my ‘why’.

“I could be commercially correct and say my why / purpose is to ensure I’m maximising return and shareholder value for those who have invested in carsales, which is correct but I feel that is only one part.

“I like to look at things holistically. I feel my purpose is to also lead carsales so that the business positively impacts the lives of people in our eco-system.

“I would like to see our employees grow and evolve into the people they want to be, and for our customers to always have an exceptional experience when interacting with carsales.

“At a local and global level, I want to see the technology sector continue to grow sustainably and thrive to ensure success for our generation and those to come.

“These are the things that I am the most passionate about.”

3.   How would you describe your Leadership Style?

My style tends to be very open, engaging and transparent. I’m quite comfortable to lead from either in front or from behind depending on the need and circumstance.

“At carsales I actively empower and encourage our people to stretch, learn and evolve.”

4.   What does Leadership mean to you? 

“First and foremost, leadership to me means being authentic – be who you are and not someone people want you to be.

“I believe leadership is also about creating a business culture that people want to be a part of, one that is collaborative to promote diversity of thought, as well as aspirational.

“Additionally, it’s important to develop strategies that the team all buy in to, that they work together to achieve and execute in a timely manner, whilst having a bit of fun along the way.”

5.   Why does Leadership matter?

“From my experience, people want to work for an organisation that motivates and inspires them, creates value for themselves, their customers and/or the broader community and society as a whole.

“Therefore, quality leadership is vital to create workplace culture and an organisation that embodies these values, attracts quality employees and has a positive impact on people’s lives in its eco-system.”

6.   Key achievements and successes – any come to mind?

“What immediately comes to mind is when I secured the job as CEO of carsales. I replaced one of the most successful technology founders Australia has produced, so I had big shoes to fill, and often these transitions can be can be very difficult, and to date I’ve had positive results.

“Another key achievement that I’m very proud of was our successful Initial Public Offering of carsales. This took place in 2009 during the Global Financial Crisis, and at the time I was the Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of carsales.”

7.   Who has made a difference in your career?

“Greg Roebuck the former CEO and founder of carsales – he continues to be a close friend and mentor.

“My wife – she has been a significant enabler and without her support my career would not have reached its full potential.”

8.   What are your strengths and unique talents?

I’m not good at answering what strengths and unique talents pertain to me because I feel mine are not unique.

“However, I think the strengths that most people in my position as CEO would have would include an ability to effectively communicate, agility, diligence and a strong sense of resilience”.

9.   What does the future hold for you?

“I love what I do at carsales, the people I work with, and the customers and industry I serve. In the future I hope to have more of these positive experiences and relationships.”

10. Key Learning in your Career

“IQ is a ticket to the ballgame and gets you a job. EQ means you can work with people and you understand how you impact others in the environment around you. But it’s GQ, the ability to grow and push forward in spite of everything, and your ability to leverage the combined talents and capability of others in a productive and constructive manner, that builds real success in careers and business.”        

11.What would you say to your younger self?

“Life is short do something cool!”

Stay tuned for Interviews with Simon Sinek, Maxine Horne and more…

You can subscribe to our Leaders Hub Magazine HERE for only $19.95 for 4 Editions per year (plus 11 more editions for free). If you would love to be interviewed, advertise or contact us for an editorial please contact us at [email protected]

And sign up to our amazing new Online Leadership Academy HERE only $395 plus GST until 1st July

Do you REALLY listen to your team?

Do you REALLY listen to your team?

“The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.”— Woodrow Wilson

We all have the ability to listen but not everyone uses that skill.  We’re often too busy working out our reply before the speaker has even finished with his words.

Neuroscience shows us that while hearing is relatively simple, listening is not as easy.  It involves three distinct regions of the brain.

  1. The posterior cortex of the brain is where we “hear” as it processes and recognises sounds.
  2. When we actually listen rather than hear, we use the prefrontal cortex.  This is the region of the brain which controls our decision making process and logic. We sort the information we hear and decide what action to take.
  3. When we become involved – an active participant in the listening process – the limbic system is activated, processing our emotional responses.

So there are three separate steps involved in listening.  Most of us stop at step 2.  What are the implications of that for leaders?  The expression “getting to the heart of the matter” is the key.

If you are only hearing 2 parts of the information your team is sharing with you, your decision making process will be flawed.  You will never get to the heart of the matter because you’ve ignored the emotional subtext of the conversation.  If you make decisions based purely on logic without taking into account the way your team feel, your chances of success are limited.

Do you really listen to your team?  Would you say that you listen more than you talk?  How does the conversation balance when you speak with your team?  As leader you may need to be listening more than talking.

Great leaders are great listeners. They give their people the power of a voice, an opinion and a say in the team’s final outcome.  They show they have heard and understood what their team is telling them.  You can imagine how that boosts a feeling of involvement and commitment to team goals.

Paying attention to what your team members say shows that you value and respect each person and helps you build solid relationships with them.

If your habit is to offer solutions as soon as you think you’ve heard enough, it’s time to develop a new habit. Learn to wait until your team member has finished speaking, learn to pay attention the whole time and learn to ask questions, too.  If you can master the power of listening, you will have a happier and healthier team behind you.

How to Resolve Conflict in Your Team

How to Resolve Conflict in Your Team

Despite a leader’s best intentions, it’s impossible to avoid conflict. Great leaders are never satisfied with maintaining the status quo. Instead, they push their teams improved performance. As agents of change, leaders should naturally expect to encounter push back and outright resistance from time to time.

So, what do you need to know about conflict and how to resolve it?

As leader, how do you deal with it?

The Cost of Unresolved Conflict

While it might be tempting to ignore conflict, especially if it’s minor, don’t!

Unresolved conflict damages morale. It creates barriers to communication, cooperation, trust and respect. It creates resentment and can split your team and stop your workflow.

To be an effective leader, you must expect and deal with conflict.

Understanding the Source of Conflict

Where does conflict come from? Is there always a “right” and “wrong” party? The answer is no.

The source of almost all conflicts can be reduced to one of two things: miscommunication or emotions running out of control.

Once you pinpoint the source, you can plan how to handle it.

Miscommunication is a big issue

One of the biggest sources of conflict is misunderstanding. Someone gets the ‘bull by the horns’ and it starts trouble. That’s why it’s so important to be careful with what you say, and make sure everyone has received the correct message.

Great leaders have excellent communication skills, but they also spend a lot of time talking with their teams. That’s important because it lets the team get used to the leader’s communication style, which makes it less likely they’ll be misunderstood.

Improving your communications with others will reduce the likelihood of conflicts within your team.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Have you ever become caught up in the moment and said or done something that you knew you’d regret, but you said or did it anyway?

It’s OK to admit it! Nearly everyone, at one time or another, has let their emotions get the best of them. When this happens, conflict soon follows.

Smart leaders learn how to use their emotional intelligence to help them “calm down” in difficult situations. They self-regulate and control their emotions, so they can pause and take a breath before they act.

When you’re dealing with a team member who’s hot under the collar, remember how you felt last time you lost it, and let the person get all that emotion out before you try to solve the problem. When the emotion is spent, you can start to talk rationally to each other. And don’t hold it against them. We all say things we don’t mean in the heat of the moment, and sometimes there’s an element of truth there which you would not have picked up on any other way.

Eliminate Hot Spots of Contention

Being an effective leader isn’t just about improving your communications and defusing a crisis. One of the best ways to reduce conflict is to anticipate situations where it’s likely to occur and put plans in place to avoid it or minimise the impact.

This is a pretty good framework for conflict reduction in your workplace:

Create Clarity Around Roles

Conflicts happen when members of your team don’t understand their role and responsibilities. Take the time to talk to your people about their job duties, and make sure they know what they are responsible for.

See the Opportunity in Conflict

Conflict isn’t always bad because it can act as a bridge to greater understanding between parties. Examining the events that led up to the conflict, and, taking steps to resolve it can be a great teaching moment where everyone involved can learn more about themselves and others. Remember to talk about the conflict once it’s resolved to help your team members discover the learning moments for themselves.

Make Certain You Understand Everyone’s Motivation Before You Weigh In

Leaders act as facilitators and bring others together. When it comes to resolving conflicts, however, you must make certain you understand everyone’s motivations before you take a stance.

When faced with a decision, try not to think about who’s wrong or right. Instead, think about the motivation of each person and look for ways everyone can “win,” or achieve some of their goals. That’s the way to create a solution everyone can live with.

How well is your team working together? Is it all full steam ahead, or are you derailed by internal conflict? Leadership coaching and our Incredible Team and Emerging Leaders Workshops and Programs can help you learn how to use your communications skills and emotional intelligence to keep your team on track and focused on achieving their finest performance! Contact LeadershipHQ today and we will help you get back on track.

Why your business isn’t as gender inclusive as you think, and how to change that.

Why your business isn’t as gender inclusive as you think, and how to change that.

‘’How gender inclusive is your business?’’

‘’It’s very inclusive. About 50% of our employees are women. We have a new policy which encourages female recruitment.’’

‘’That’s great! How many women do you have on your board?’’

‘’Oh. One.’’

‘’And how many female execs do you have?’’


‘’OK. What about your senior leadership team? What percentage of women do you have there?’’

‘’Yeah, maybe 10%? But we have around 20% at middle management level, and probably 40% or more at the lower levels.’’


At the moment, this is pretty typical of most businesses. According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, only 16% of CEOs and 27% of Key Management Personnel in Australia are women. Businesses are conscious of the need and the benefits of having a better gender balance across the organisation, and they are trying to get there.

But gender diversity is about more than numbers.

It’s about what is really going on inside the organisation.

A report released last year by The Boston Consulting Group suggests what’s really stopping your business from moving forward with gender diversity. Do you know what it comes down to? The report says it’s a “a mismatch between the perceptions of women and those of senior leaders—who are overwhelmingly male at most organizations—regarding the main challenges to achieving gender diversity.”

Mismatched perceptions.

They give this example. When asked, women say their biggest blocks to building a leadership career are obstacles to promotion and issues with retention. Male leaders think the problem lies in recruitment, so businesses are focusing their gender diversity efforts on a system which is not the main issue.

Another example the report gave was the issue of flexible work programs. Across the board, men and women ranked it as the most effective gender diversity intervention, yet senior males ranked it at number eight.

What it boils down to is this.

Until you go out and talk to the people involved – the women in your business – you’re never going to know what the real issues are. You can’t be a gender inclusive organisation if you’re not dealing with the biases or mismatched perceptions behind the decisions which are being made.

You can’t solve a problem when you only have half the information you need.

Take a look at the gender breakdown throughout your business. Where are the females well represented? Where does that representation stop?

Now go out and find out why that is. Talk to your people, male and female, and you’ll be closer to the truth than you’ve ever been.

Now is the time to show leadership in gender equity and to take steps towards improvement.

To help your current and emerging female leaders, consider enrolling them in brave Women Leading so they learn to understand and use the skills they have. Strong female leaders will add balance to your business and ultimately boost your bottom line results. Call today on 1300 719 665.