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LEADERS... Is Your Perception Shaping Or Breaking Your Team??

Written by: Sally Higoe, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


We’ve all got one. Maybe yours doesn’t look quite like this... but I’m sure you can relate... "He's committed, works hard... but he's just so annoying & some days it drives me crazy! He's a bit conceited too... and it's affecting our progress. Argh."

I heard these words from a client last week. She's a leader of a team of 6 and had hit a fork in the road... what to do with this guy? Decision time ‒ something had to change. No longer could she 'deal' with his attitude, it must surely be affecting the team... But deciding what to do was not coming easily. So she made the best decision she could at the time – she sat on it. For two weeks. ... And then one day she heard a colleague across the office, talking about this same said man... "I can't help but admire his candour, it definitely propels us forward" she overheard. Seriously?! ... Time to re-think this (and in hindsight, lucky she gave herself the space and time to respond rather than react).

Time to get things in perspective. 𝗔𝗹𝗹 𝘄𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. The way you see your team is only how YOU see your team. Its perception. It’s the way that it is for you. Not for the world. It’s how you perceive the current experience. Have you thought about how others perceive? And here’s another thing about perception (because I thought I hadn’t said the word enough just yet! ;-))

...It comes alive through our language. We show it through what we say (and how we act). We build meanings, we make connections – in how we perceive things – and share it through our language. Does he really "drive you crazy"? Is he "annoying"? ...or are there some parts of his behaviour that you just don't resonate with? Is the reason why the results aren’t there because of this person? ...Or are you making your lack of results mean something else? How do you speak to your team? (How do you speak to yourself?!) Because every word carries a frequency... And the station that it tunes to, is YOUR version of the current reality. It’s how YOU are experiencing your world (and your results) ...

...Could it be possible that there is another way besides yours? (Perhaps even several ways... hundreds, thousands, millions of ways that a situation is perceived, different to that of your own?) ANY relationship between a situation, and the meaning you give it, is one you’ve created in your mind.

You’re doing this to try make sense of the situation... we all do it...

...and it’s based on our own previous life experiences and exposures (AND every one of us is different!) But no matter how it's formed and why it happens, it’s a firm fact. We are meaning making machines. We make an individual meaning about ALL of our experiences.

Sometimes, these meanings may work well for you. Other times they may not. The way to check-in is to get some perspective (remember your parents saying that to you as you were growing up?... it’s a thing!) "HOW"? You ask. The place to start is within. Yes I know, I always say that :-) 1. Ask yourself ‒ Is my language bringing me the results that I want? Is what you're saying (to self or others), working for you?

Is it taking you closer to your desired results? If yes, rock on. In that particular case, you have great perception.

If no, it’s time to do a little work... (e.g. Thinking he ‘drives you crazy’ is NOT bringing the right results)

And in order to change your language around the perception, you must first create a different reality (because remember, the meaning we give any situation is based on our own experiences aka reality)... Let me explain. ...If your language is created through the meaning you give your experience (your situation, your reality) and if you can change the way you feel in any given situation... ...then you can shift your experience... which means you shift your perspective. (Which means you use your language differently ‒ it now reflects your new perception) Get it? OK, back to doing a bit of work and creating a different reality... One main way to do this is; 2. Spend time visualising the negative ‒ yep, you heard me right.

a. Think about how your current situation could be worse than what it already is... and then compare it to where you are now.

b. Notice how much you now appreciate where you currently are... (you're now shifting your perception; you're shifting your experience).

c. Pay attention to how you now feel and the gratitude you feel, compared to how hard it could be if it was even worse! (you’re now in a nice train of thought... and can move forward)

d. Stimulate progress with these questions;

  • What opportunities can you now tap into here?

  • How can you work with the newly identified behaviour? (yours or someone else's)

  • How can you use this information and move forward in unity?

With a new perception, we see light, we see opportunity and we have the desire to create.

Let’s go back to our example.

After completing this exercise, said leader now sees that the team ARE progressing, she just doesn’t like HOW she feels when he interacts. He contributes, and she’s grateful that he thinks outside the box... she just feels uncomfortable with this person, he’s loud and she was brought up to be softly spoken – different problem, different solution to what she originally thought.

The leader is now actually seeing other areas where this team member can be more effective... she’s seen him in a new light and identified that he is an asset!

Her perception of the experience has changed.

By putting 'it' in perspective, changing how you feel about a certain situation and removing the emotion, you are much more likely to make an effective decision for you and your team. It all begins with you... pop this technique into your leadership toolkit and know that next time you need it, you can trust yourself to gain perspective... ... then you get to guide the team.

Do you have issues with trust in the workplace? (Maybe a lack of trust in your decision making? Perhaps lack of trust in your leadership or team ability... or maybe its lack of trust in your systems – or no systems at all!) Wherever the trust issue lies, I’d love to help you turn it around!

If this is a challenge that you’ve been, or are trying to overcome, email me on and we’ll book a time to chat about some solutions that may work for you.

Follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook and visit my website for more info!


Sally Higoe, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Sally is uniquely world-experienced in building resilience, emotional fitness and quality sustainable practises in leadership. Her experience across multiple countries leading high-performing teams in high-pressure outlying remote environments has amplified her ability to know what it takes to connect a conscious leader to their team, with outstanding results.

Having spent decades on diverse projects in every climate imaginable, Sally discovered the critical aspects of authentic leadership and team alignment. She has now blended research-based, proven methodology with her pragmatic approach and ability to 'be herself' to create the transformative Align & Shine program. There, she guides formerly flustered, confused and internally insecure leaders, to tap into their true classic self, without the need to conform to outside pressures, helping them become bold, present, courageous and energised leaders who genuinely connect with their team AND their business.

Sally is co-author of Resilience in Leadership, Pt 1 of the book series, leader of both community and international hardship projects, accredited in scientifically proven Human Behavioural Profiling and Meta Dynamics 'thinking based' methodology, adding to her Practitioner of Coaching credentials.

Most importantly though, Sally, Founder of Team Resilience Method, is now on a mission to show striving leaders how to shine, gain clarity and create a ripple of positive change, from the inside out…



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