Reference Articles

Managing Performance versus Realising Potential

Dr. David Rock coined the term ‘Neuroleadership’ and is the Director of the NeuroLeadership Institute, a global initiative bringing neuroscientists and leadership experts together to build a new science for leadership development.

An article One Simple Idea That Can Transform Performance Management by David Rock, Josh Davis and Elizabeth Jones references that “Research is leading us to believe that one of the key factors for radically improving the effectiveness of performance management may come from somewhere quite unexpected and generally overlooked – from an organization’s philosophical stance about human nature. In short, whether organizational leaders believe that other leaders are born or made may matter much more than we realized.

The other big surprise is that while people fall fairly evenly into both camps, they are very easily and quickly primed or influenced to believe one way or the other. Unfortunately, many of the tools that organizations use to try to drive performance are unintentionally sending people down the wrong path, priming folks to believe that talent is fixed”

Follow this link for the full article

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Reinventing Performance Management

This article by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall invites reflection around the notion of fuelling performance versus managing performance.

“We ask leaders what they’d do with their team members, not what they think of them”.

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Stress and the Psychosocial Safety Climate

Our stress response in the context of an evolutionary perspective is a response to encounter adversity in our lives, resulting in physiological stimulus and increased attention and focus on the imminent or perceived threat. It is our hard-wired survival mechanism.






Stress in the form of eustress (‘eu’ being the Greek word for good) can be helpful in harnessing our capability to meet challenges, engaging our operating system in the cognitive context to realise our potential.

Distress could be described as an overload of the operating system, narrowing of perspective, and resulting in cognitive impairment and loss of productivity. In essence we have engaged in survival mode.

The primary area of the brain that deals with stress is its limbic system. Because of its enormous influence on emotions and memory, the limbic system is often referred to as the emotional brain. It is also called the mammalian brain, because it emerged with the evolution of our warm-blooded relatives, and marked the beginning of social cooperation in the animal kingdom.

A functional workplace revolves around a good level of social cooperation, organisational awareness around role clarity and expectations, and of importance the level of leadership support.

“Occupational stress is stress related to one’s job. Occupational stress often stems from unexpected responsibilities and pressures that do not align with a person’s knowledge, skills, or expectations, inhibiting one’s ability to cope. Occupational stress can increase when workers do not feel supported by supervisors or colleagues, or feel as if they have little control over work processes[i].”

When we consider the notion of a ‘safe workplace’ this typically leads to identifying physical hazards and implementing the associated risk controls. Psychosocial hazards also exist and are often inadvertently created through organisational practices and the way people interact.

The following extract from The Australian Workplace Barometer: Report on psychosocial safety climate and worker health in Australia[ii] states:

article extract

Several questions we can ask as leaders of an organisation are:

“How would we describe the level of social cooperation in the organisation?”
“How would we rate the current state of worker psychological health and wellbeing?”
“Are our organisational practices fostering productivity and long term sustainability?”
“ Does our leadership actively consider the psychological well-being of self as a leader, and of the people within the organisation?”
Our Organisational Coaching focuses on enhancing both self and organisational awareness at the leadership level. We explore organisational practices and the levels of Social and Emotional Intelligence that contribute towards building increased social cooperation within the organisation, functional teams and increased productivity.

[i] · Text under CC-BY-SA license

[ii] The Australian Workplace Barometer: Report on psychosocial safety climate and worker health in Australia Prepared by Prof Maureen Dollard, Tessa Bailey, Dr Sarven McLinton, Penelope Richards, Wes McTernan, Assoc Prof Anne Taylor and Stephanie Bond University of South Australia Centre for Applied Psychological Research

Safety Culture is a fabric of Organisational Culture

Safety culture is a fabric of organisational culture. Both organisational and safety practices guide how the workforce engage in safe work practices and respond to operational demands at any given time.

There is increasing dialogue around the volume and subsequent effectiveness of practices and procedures that have entered the safety arena with the goal of guiding workplace behaviour. Whilst a core aspect of safety revolves around a systematic process by which hazards are identified, the risks are measured and managed, this is more of a tactical approach towards providing a safe workplace, and is reliant on how the human factor and organisational procedures interact.

The expressed challenge is that procedures can become the master versus the servant, resulting in an overreliance on procedures, limiting the amount of cognitive awareness required to identify hazards and risks, and make effective risk based decisions.

An overreliance on procedures can contribute to a culture of compliance, and requires the necessary supervision and management.

Industry has and continues to dedicate time and resources training people to be safe. This is an essential requirement especially in relation to the human interface with environments of varying degrees of risk. Technical training addresses the required skills and competencies that align with safe work methods and practices and whilst it is an all-important tactical approach, it doesn’t guarantee safety performance.

Safety initiatives are often leader directed versus self-directed. This can contribute to dependency on leaders from team members in identifying and managing risk.

A coaching focus in safety interactions helps create self and operational awareness, cultivating open-mindedness and a capacity for new perspectives around identifying and managing risk, and in turn fosters an ‘aware’ culture. Leaders who engage in coaching their people can generate autonomy in the form of self-governing teams with increased risk and situational awareness and a greater capacity for risk based decision making. 

Our leadership coaching program focuses on building leadership capability to engage the workforce through creating an environment for thinking, not just doing. We develop leaders with an ‘influential’ communication skillset and augment this through practical application in the field at the social level to gain a receptiveness of ‘real time’ operations and how the human factor is interacting within the system.

An ‘aware’ culture is the ‘engine’ that builds resilience within the organisation to manage operational risks and challenges, regardless of the business climate and commercial pressures at any time.

We believe that leadership has the potential to be all encompassing, in both a safety and production context, arriving at a cohesive merger of both.