My son, Luca regularly comes home with interesting facts from school…. Recently he came home and said ‘Mum, did you know that approximately 50% of current jobs will be automated by 2025!!….As he was leaving the room he turned to me and said ‘ But don’t worry Mam, speakers, coaches & trainers will still be in demand!!!

That was quite reassuring to hear…. The skills that are unique to people are, communication abilities, cognitive or emotional empathy, time management, teamwork and leadership traits.

These are skills that can be learned……. Effective communication is no longer an option, it is now an essential skill that cannot be automated by robots or machines.

With a background in coaching, communication & HR, I have given many workshops and presentations on teamwork, leadership & communication.    Here are some of hints & tips I learned along the way!!

Common Sense is not Common Practice….

Treating employees like adult people might be common sense, but it is not common practice.  For organisation, common practice is that they are managed like machines, with their workers treated as gears and levers.  Where improvement depends on monitoring, repairing and replacing those parts.

Management would be better served if they managed the system around the people.  Organisations are complex adaptive systems and good management means taking care of the system instead of manipulating people.  One of the main responsibilities of management, I believe, is that you strive to  improve the working environment as it keeps workers engaged and happy.  Otherwise the organisation fails to grow and generate value.

Managers can be super Leaders… be a leader of influence…

CONNECT    Acknowledgement/Recognition… Babies cry for it, grown men die for it.

To connect with your team, acknowledge them….

Acknowledge publicly not privately.  Speaking well of the efforts of a worker publicly, elevates them not only in stature but also in other peoples minds.

Behaviour in the workshop can make or break a project – encourage and acknowledge positive behaviour.  When you focus on good behaviour, people learn how to behave.  Foster a culture of peer to peer acknowledgement.  Create an environment in which people reward each other because peers often know better than managers which of their colleagues deserve a compliment.  This should be on an on-going basis, not just when a project is completed.  When we recognise each others hard work, it makes everyone feel great.

Encourage some fun with this… you can have a ‘Acknowledgment Board’ where the teams meet and have people pin comment cards– always positive….


Each member of a team brings something unique. They are unique in their talents, ideas and arguments. Team members must feel like they can express themselves without embarrassment or retribution.

Have you built up enough trust on your teams to allow  differences of opinion and approaches where people are given the space to passionately arguing on occasion?

I have worked on many teams – through work and also volunteer teams…. Now they are challenging…. Everyone is passionate about the task, everyone has their own approach and somehow you need to harness their enthusiasm, champion their differences and sustain a harmonious workplace!!

We are all leaders, in our own way.  We have the potential of developing a corporate culture of leadership and being an effective communicator helps to achieve this.


More and more companies are concerned about employee engagement and this transfers very straightforwardly into winning friends and influencing people.

And it is not just about building confidence. Strengthening  inter-personal relationships ensures developing the fine art of getting along with people.  By encouraging effective communication both within a team and also externally with clients you add value to all involved.

Higher EQ

A good speaker identifies with others. Learning to understand and read an audience well increases your emotional intelligence (your EQ) and your ability to understand and impact others. Empathy is a trait not taught in schools and yet vitally important to leadership.


Great public speakers attract opportunities. Why? Speaking makes you visible. You’re in front of the room, so that’s rather obvious. But the fact is that your credibility is enhanced. You become an expert.

Effective Communication plus Teamwork results in Leadership….. the quality of such depends on your choices and input along the way…. Serve your team, add value and you will a Leader of Influence!!

Leadership is all about influence, about persuasion, about taking people from one point and moving them to another. Speaking is part of that process of persuasion and often the most powerful part. Anything that helps increase your influence is generally a good move.

To learn more about our team building programs and effective communication programs, contact us.

Article by: Karen O’Donnell

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