Work/life balance or not?

Christine wanted to encourage her team’s work/life balance, so she kept telling her team members to not work too late, but instead go home at the end of the working day and spend time with friends, family and on hobbies. The team members were really pleased, they had a very positive reaction to this message and responded by leaving the office shortly after 5 most days.

However, after about a week, they noticed that they had received late evening emails from Christine almost every day. This confused them, as her actions didn’t match what she was saying. Why is she working late while telling us not to? She’s clearly not meaning that we should go home at five. So what else is she meaning or not meaning? Can I trust her?

To top it all off, Christine decided to reward a couple of people who had been working all hours on a project, late at night and into the weekends. Now the team members were really confused.

This short story from ‘The Leader’s Guide to Impact’ (FT Publishing 2019) highlights how easily good intentions become confusing platitudes if not also role modeled. The old expression “walk the talk” still rings true.

Ultimately, people don’t do what we say, they will do what we do. Leadership is contagious.

And as leadership is the act and art of influencing, we are all leaders.

Want to be part of a smarter team?

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leader’s Blog

Collective intelligence and collective decision making equals the ability to influence more.

When a a team or leadership team works well together, with a shared purpose that everyone believes in and owns, something almost magical happens – their impact is multiplied, their teams work better with each, communication flows more effectively, goals are aligned and the risk of confusion and overlaps are almost completely eradicated.

So if you are part of a leadership team, or a team, and want to have greater impact together, better goal achievement, then look for the common purpose, what you all have in common. What do you all want to achieve?

And then talk about that and reach agreement on a shared commitment to that purpose. Make that commitment a promise.

Whenever possible, connect your goals to those of your peers. If there are competitive behaviours between you and your peers, then having connected goals will make those competitive behaviours impossible to carry on with. If each team member can be goaled not just on his/her individual performance but also the performance of the team overall, then it brings out collaborative behaviours instead.


“Leadership is not about a title or a designation.

It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration.”

Robin S. Sharma


Want great  team or leadership team success? Then get together with your peers and work on how to work together and how to have greater impact together. Create a team success journey plan and start taking steps together. Don’t leave it to chance, take action.

For more info on personal and leadership impact, check out our latest book “The Leader’s Guide to Impact” which serves as an easy-to-follow strategic and practical tool for individual leaders and leadership teams alike.

7 steps to team success in 2020

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leader’s Blog

What can you do, as a team, to make 2020 our best year yet?

Getting a team to work well together doesn’t happen by chance. It requires intention, commitment and a focus on both structure/task and behavioural habits.

The start of the year is a great time to stop for a moment with your team and discuss:

“How do we best work together to best achieve our goals, and make this a truly great place to work? How can we make this year our best year yet?”

One crucial ingredient in that dialogue is to create a Team Charter. 

A Team Charter is a document that describes the purpose, framework and agreements of the team. Creating a Team Charter is a shared process (not just a leadership task), hence making it a powerful and visual shared commitment. A Team Charter that is created by everyone, is owned by everyone and therefore is carried out by everyone.

Each Team Charter is unique to the team, but typically it includes at least the 7 steps:

  1. Team purpose and clear links to the organisation’s vision and purpose (how you as a team make a difference)
  2. Expectations and goals (what are you expected to do and achieve this year?)
  3. Roles and responsibilities (who does whatwhat are the overlaps and collaboration opportunities?)
  4. Skills and expertise needed to fulfil purpose (is there anything new you need to learn and/or how can team members’ skills/expertise be shared?)
  5. Resources needed to fulfil purpose (g.what data and tools do you need to do a great job?)
  6. Operating guidelines: behaviours and how the team will work together to fulfil the purpose (g. how should you treat each other, how should you communicate, help each other, spend time together?)
  7. Signed agreement/commitment

Some seem obvious and almost implicit, don’t they? Well, then ask yourself as a team; why aren’t we doing it then. And if you are doing it, challenge yourself on how you can make it even better, strive for more together. You may have these 7 steps in some implicit form, it is also important to make them explicit for all to agree to openly.

So yes, as you reflect on these 7 steps, some are probably already in place, but it is still crucial to review them as a team to reconfirm or indeed update your shared agreement on those important ingredients of teamwork. The steps that definitely need updating each year, for every team, are 2, 6 and 7.

Once you have documented the team agreements steps 1-6 (and any other topics you have chosen to include as a team), make sure each team member gets invited to sign the document (step 7). Signing the Team Charter agreement signals real commitment and cements it. You can even call it a team promise – after all, a promise feels even more powerful.

January focus: Work smarter, not harder

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leaders Blog

A new decade, a new year, a new month – what better time to have a proper restart?

This is the time to do it, don’t let the autopilot run your life and career, make sure you are in charge of your journey through the year.

As you kick off 2020, stop and think about how you spend your time and how you can work smarter, not harder. What do you need to focus on this year to achieve your goals and ambitions?


If you chase two rabbits, you will catch neither one

Russian proverb


Part of this is about TIME LEADERSHIP (not ‘time management’ as it’s about more than just managing your time). It is all about self-leadership, leading yourself entails planning your time well, blocking time for the important stuff too, so the urgent stuff doesn’t win every time.  It’s about thinking short- and long-term.

It could look like something as simple as this for example:

The other part is about HABITS & ACTIVITIES – being outcome focused rather than task focused. Ask yourself:

  • What should you STOP doing? (dare to challenge practices that don’t deliver for the overall outcome)
  • Is there anything you should START doing instead?
  • What should you CONTINUE doing? To celebrate your strengths and success and to ensure you appreciate what you already do well.

And then finally, ask yourself:

How will you stick to your commitments of working smarter, not harder?

Who could support you? Who else could you involve, to help you succeed?

And could there a win-win aspect here too, that helps both parties succeed?

Here’s to a smart 2020!


Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.

Peter Drucker

Leadership you can trust

Leadership you can trust

From WeAreTheCity Future Leaders Blog

There’s a lot of talk about trust – all around the world; in politics in particular, but also in business and society as a whole.

We would argue that trust is quite a straightforward thing – without it we have nothing.

We may be able to manage without trust for a while, but over time lack of trust erodes engagement and joy at work.


“No legacy is so rich as honesty”

William Shakespeare


Leaders that want to create long-term, sustainable results MUST be in the trust business.

They MUST earn your trust.

They MUST be trustworthy.

They MUST embody leadership you can trust.

If people don’t trust us, we risk

  • People going behind backs (ours and others)
  • People not daring to speak up for fear of retribution
  • People cutting corners
  • People leaving (employee turnover)

If people trust us, we

  • Invite honesty and differing viewpoints
  • Secure support
  • Build bonds that last

4 tips for how you, as a formal or informal leader, can build trust

  1. Be genuinely interested in people.

Take the time to talk with others and get to know them. Could you trust someone you didn’t know?

  1. Be generous.

Share what you know. Give feedback. Give credit where credit is due.

  1. Be consistent.

Don’t keep people guessing. Be emotionally aware; manage your emotions and the impact they have on others.

  1. Keep your promises.

Simple, but oh so effective. Do what you said you were going to do – or apologise and explain why and what will happen next if you couldn’t keep the promise.

We’re all in the trust business

Trust is the foundation for all great leadership and teamwork.

And in a world that changes faster and faster, trust will only get more and more important.

And we’re all in the trust business – every day, in everything we do.