Category Archives: Leadership

Proof that Leadership training is not a waste of time?


Leaders sometimes as part of their duties can be forceful to ensure the teams and the organisational goals are met. Some as a generalization use aggressive behaviour as opposed to supporting assertive behaviour. In this case brought before the District court, it ended up costing the organisation just over $435,000. Yes, you read that right.

The employee claimed that the managers behaviour was “aggressive, belittling, harassing and or otherwise unreasonable ” at which point she suffered a psychiatric illness.

The employee brought a civil claim against the employer for being vicariously liable for the managers conduct. The employer had a duty of care to the employee. If the employee wasn’t performing to the position description, the manager had a number of avenues in which he/she could table the concerns in a manner which provided a space of fairness and safety.

coaching and mentoring gary tremolada

The manager could have opted for a number of different strategies including:

a. Conflict management, pre-emptive, reactive (a number of different approaches)

b. Informal one on one meetings

c Formal one on one meetings (performance management process)

d. Coaching and or mentoring plans

e. Awareness training in; harassment, bullying, victimisaton and parts of the Fairwork Act

f. emotional intelligence/self awareness training

Not all cases like this will end up in a court room. Though, it does beg the question of “how does an organisation gets to a point where this occurs?” There would have been indicators in the build up to the event.

The effects can be far reaching such as poor productivity, poor quality delivery, poor engagement, grievances, higher attrition rates, general disharmony and bullying. This ultimately affects organisational culture and morale. If you work in  Aged Care you maybe familiar with the Caplan study ’97 and the effects on its residents. These types of training for teams will cost far less than $435,000.

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What are you waiting for?

Source Eaton v TriCare (Country) Pty Ltd [2016] QCA 139 (15/7161) Fraser and Philip McMurdo JJA and Boddice J 3 June 2016

John Kotter’s 8 Step organisational Change model pt7

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Consolidate Gains and Implement More Change

Momentum is everything build on the incremental wins/losses and keep moving forward. Be careful of change fatigue.

Change is a bit like a family holiday. If the car has had all its services it’s less likely to breakdown or runs out of petrol but even a new car breaks down on the side of roads. Its sometimes like a change process that either hits some expected or unexpected challenges. The question is, what can you do?, who needs to be involved?, how do we keep the momentum and meet the milestones?

Situations like this happen for a number of reasons, the main ones poor execution, communication, accountability and capability.Step 7 builds on the previous step generate the short term wins, which will provide evidence for progress to the team and the detractors. Its really about moving forward. Keep the change momentum happening, don’t let there be cessation otherwise the resistors will creep in.

What will become obvious is the interdependencies and further the protection of those interdependencies between each of the departments/divisions. Use a “decision frame” to ensure you have the correct strategic solution and more over collaborate and let the team know the “why” of decisions.

Resistance to change may go underground(which is dangerous because people tend to blind side or sabotage the change) because of the continuing involvement of senior leadership, but it generally never completely disappears.  It is ready to surface if an opportunity arises.  For this reason, successfully consolidating gains and implementing more change is a powerful strategy to counter irrational and political resistance.  It is hard to argue against continuing success!

Part 8 Kotters change model

John Kotter’s 8 Step organisational Change model pt6

Empowering Employees for Broad-Based Action

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BAU(business as usual) is your biggest change killer. Many change efforts end in failure and end many careers for a number of reasons but namely not having sufficient ability to make decisions that ensure you fall/fail in the direction of the change. Ensuring that key people through the organisation are able to make a decision within their locus of control that pushes the change effort forward is critical.

If the Pareto Principle is correct, focussing on the critical 20% will create 80% of the change effort required. Empowering broad-based action is necessary. The organisation is already structure not to change. Think about it. Organisations have structures, policies, procedures, job descriptions that ensure the organisation remains the way it is. To create change means you must disrupt the status quo(take the 20%) and in turn the security and certainty into insecurity and uncertainty. This is where the greatest resistance lies.

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Given change, the leadership team/senior leadership and or change team will need to come up with incremental goals, reward systems, performance measurements etc Change the focus and reward the new metrics. Just remember that when in a change process you maybe required to make a decision in an environment where there is,

a. no information

b. Information is ambiguous

c. Too much information and too little time to decipher it and

d. Too little information

And , you’re still required to make a decision. In a 2014 book “The Elements of Effective Thinking”, the authors suggest in some instances that decision can be impacted in such a way that 40% of the decision you might make will be correct and 60% of decisions could be wrong at the moment you make those decisions because of the above criteria.

What to do? Communication is critical, using decision frames that were created around the time of the change will definitely make the difference in the overall success or failure of the change. Almost everybody needs to be on the bus. Some should be left at the bus stop because the organisation will fundamentally change and won’t fit some of the existing team.

The first four steps of his model while challenging are still easier than Step 5, empowering broad-based action. It is easy to tell everyone to get on board the bus as it travels in a new direction; it’s harder to keep everyone engaged and everything working collaboratively on the journey. Forces will conspire–intentionally and unintentionally–to derail the change effort. By empowering broad-based action, senior leaders and the guiding coalition can avoid having their change effort suffering yet another failed effort.

Part 7 Kotters change model


John Kotter’s 8 Step organisational Change model pt5

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Communicating the Change Vision

Providing teams and stakeholders with the “Big Picture” and “Reason Why”.

Stage 1, “Keep it Simple” so that anyone can understand what is to be achieved? how it’s to be achieved? and more importantly “why?”. Conversations are always around, how is this action or decision getting us closer to our vision and mission.

Keep the communication consistent, constant and on point. Don’t worry too much about errors and mistakes that occur. Use setbacks as setups for the next iteration of the plan or idea. There will be a number of iterations before its right.

Stage 2, listen to feedback coming up through the organisation and from external customers.  Change processes are not a set and forget the deal. It’s more a constant monitoring and challenging the processes.  Change is hardly ever a “straight-line” event. Managing expectations is critical.

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Stage 3, finally “momentum” and “communication” is key.  Progress is critical and ensuring senior leadership and the guiding coalition are kept on track and reminding the team of progress is critical. Squelch “those” who resist, no matter what is put in front of some of your team. They will always see problems and not solutions.

Part 6 Kotters change model

A simple way to break a bad habit by Judson Brewer

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Judson Brewer TED Talk

Can we break bad habits by being more curious about them? Psychiatrist Judson Brewer studies the relationship between mindfulness and addiction — from smoking to overeating to all those other things we do even though we know they’re bad for us. Learn more about the mechanism of habit development and discover a simple but profound tactic that might help you beat your next urge to smoke, snack or check a text while driving.

Trigger, Behaviour, Reward can be broken by being Mindful



Fairwork makes is second “stop” bullying order

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Since 1st January 2014 Fairwork has received approximately 874 applications for stop bullying order.

In the recent case, the Fairwork commission applied a stop bullying order in a Real Estate Office. The employee who was employed as a property manager alleged that she was subject to the following behaviours;

a. undermining of her power and interfering with decisional power

b. belittling behaviour including swearing, yelling and the use of inappropriate language

c. threats of violence, psychical intimidation and slamming objects on the applicants desk

d. coercion of the employee to victimize other staff members

The definition under the Act:

When is a worker bullied at work?

(1) A worker is bullied at work if:

(a) while the worker is at work in a constitutionally-covered business:

(i) an individual; or

(ii) a group of individuals;

repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards the worker, or a group of workers of which the worker is a member; and

(b) that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

(2) To avoid doubt, subsection (1) does not apply to reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.

(3) If a person conducts a business or undertaking (within the meaning of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011) and either:

(a) the person is:

(i) a constitutional corporation; or

(ii) the Commonwealth; or

(iii) a Commonwealth authority; or

(iv) a body corporate incorporated in a Territory; or

(b) the business or undertaking is conducted principally in a Territory or Commonwealth place; then the business or undertaking is a constitutionally-covered business.

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The employee reported the behaviours to the employer at which time the employer conducted an informal investigation with “no” real outcomes. The employer acknowledged that the behaviour by one of the employee in fact did create a WHS risk. that, meant that the bullying in the eyes of the commission would have more than likely continued without any affirmative action taken by the employer.

The identified bully then resigned from the company and took a job with  a related company but in different offices. The bullied employee applied for worker compensation.

Even though the identified bully had been employed by a different part of the business(entity) and was seconded back to the original organisation the Commission was satisfied that bullying would more than likely continue.

The Commission issued the following  2 orders lasting 24 months;

a. Neither perpetrator or victim are to approach one another in any of the workplaces

b. The employer to create, policies, procedures, inductions, training and a reporting mechanism.


Be proactive in your approach to allegations of bullying in the workplace. Demonstrate strong leadership and be the example not the warning

Have an investigation process that can reach a determination based on evidence.

Its far better to resolve issues within the confines of the organisation than have a regulatory body tell you what to do. (That’s a last resort)

Ensure managers, leaders and teams understand what constitutes bullying and make it one of their KRA’s.

Coach, train in areas like conflict resolution, appreciative inquiry etc


source CF v Company A [2015] FWL 5272,