Workforce Development and Leadership Blog

The 7 Principles of Great Group Building

Posted by Ezra Holland on Tue, Apr 11, 2017 @ 14:04 PM

Training season is upon us and The Holland Group is heading out the door to help build skills, have fun and work with tons of fantastic people. In all of our training sessions from Communication Essentials to Teamwork to Play Leadership we always emphasize the importance of developing the group. For example, my business undergraduate students and MBA students at Endicott College always appreciate when I spend a few class sessions earlier in the semester developing the group. Not only is it great for the students, but it’s a great way for me to build relationships and get a sense of the class. 

Groups and group contexts (with peers, with strangers, indoors, outdoors etc) are always in flux with members leaving, joining, in different moods etc. So it is important to continue group building even if it’s just taking 2 minutes at the front end or back end of your day to re-enforce positivity.

As you begin your training season, I wanted to share some principles of group building that we at The Holland Group and Children Together think are important. So with that said…here are…

The 7 Principles of Great Group Building                                                                                     

 (and please stay tuned for some of our favorite activities, next article)group building.jpg

  1. Group Building is about relationship building, which most literature states is 80% of proactive discipline and the creation of positive behavior. And good relationships are a foundation of effective communication and teamwork.
  2. We believe in choosing activities that are inexpensive with very little or no equipment…that can be made from common hardware store items… that are quickly and easily set-up, taught and learned and have multiple variations. We like activities that are flexible and inclusive that celebrate our differences and uniqueness. We also like activities that are energizing and motivating with reasonable opportunities for success for all participants.
  3. In addition to celebrating our individualism we like activities that break barriers, build bridges and give us insights into our contribution to the group process. The best teambuilding activities help foster problem solving collaboration, communication, cooperation, connection, initiative, empathy, caring and other pro-social skills
  4. Group building activities should have the potential to be good “metaphors” that provide teachable moments and applications for school, work, play and life.
  5. These activities take advantage of the power of multiple intelligences (kinesthetic, emotional intelligence, etc) experiential and integrative learning that holistically utilizes our cognitive, spiritual, psychological, social and physical attributes.
  6. The group builders continue to incrementally “stair step” the development of the group process from pairs to small groups to the larger group with the recognition that it is helpful to first laugh and have some success with our neighbor before taking on the neighborhood.
  7. Finally the activities should provide an adjustable mix of laughter, fun, focus, challenge and adventure by mixing cooperative games with low key competitive activities (all infused with a playful spirit).

All in all, it is extremely important to intentionally build the group no matter what you are teaching and/or leading. And as I mentioned earlier, not only is it great for your participants and/or students, it’s a great way for you as the leader and/or teacher to make the connection as well.

Please contact us if you would like to start a conversation regarding training and/or speaking.

415.948.7725 -

Play On!

(Michaelis and Holland)

Playful Teaching PracticesClick Here to See How Our Training Can Help You






Topics: behavior

6 Tips to Increase Communication Effectiveness

Posted by Ezra Holland on Tue, Feb 28, 2017 @ 11:02 AM

"The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has happened"                 -George Bernard Shaw

Personally and professionally, I have made many mistakes in my interpersonal interactions. When thinking about it… many of those mistakes came from not thinking about how I was communicating

Effective communication happens when a message is received and the transfer of information is accomplished efficiently. As I have mentioned in the previous “3 T’s of Communication”article (Timing, Tone and Tact), there are many places where effectiveness might be strengthened and/or compromised. We all have expereince in communicating and know there are many tips and techniques that can help us be better communicators. Here are an additional ...

6 Tips to Increase Communication Effectivenessimgres.jpg

1. Speak to the Audience

Children require different communication approaches than adults, and teens require an approach different from children. Leaders should be aware of differences (i.e. age, cultural, etc) and attempts should be made to reach the audience at its level of readiness, not where the leader thinks they should be. What do you think?

2. Communicate to Share Ideas

Many leaders get caught up in communicating to make an impression on those around them. This type of impression management interferes with effective communication because it is egocentric rather than being other-oriented. The message is not content-focused, but rather self-focused. Being conscious of this, and the reason for it happening, will help keep communication maintain clarity and purpose.

3. Facts and Feelings of Communication

Many times people choose words or deliver information in a way that can offend, shock or hurt the receiver. All communication has an emotional component to it and matching your words and message to the audience helps create effective communication. Leaders should also consider that potential audiences often extend beyond those who are immediately present. What is communicated in one situation “gets around” quickly.

4. Intent vs. Interpretation

Good communicators choose what to say from a variety of options. They understand the person’s point of view, check their own behaviors to better understand how others perceive them, and choose the most appropriate way to send the message.

5. Miscommunication

To minimize miscommunication people must first come to understand the basic principles of communication, which include; we can never know the state of mind of others, we may assume, and we are not always as accurate as we think when interpreting others messages. Keeping in mind these principles, it’s easy to see how miscommunication might happen.

6. Barriers to Communication

Communication skills are learned – poor communication habits can be reduced and good communication skills can be enhanced. In spite of this, barriers to communication exist in many places. In fact…people often interject communication barriers into the communication process without realizing it. Whether the barriers are coming from the sender or receiver…some of these barriers include: prejudging, avoiding concerns, disorganized thoughts, strong emotions, etc. (hmmm…could be a good article)

As mentioned before there is a lot more to effective communication, and the above techniques can help start the conversation. If you have some additional thoughts please let us know, we would love to hear them. Let’s keep the communication going.

Click Here to See How Our Training Can Help You Playful Teaching Practices



Top 4 Types of Active Listening

Posted by Ezra Holland on Wed, Feb 8, 2017 @ 13:02 PM

Have you ever asked someone how they are doing...and that actually begin to tell you, or a child or staff member trys to explain themselves, and we assume or space out on them. Life is busy, and it happens, and it's about communicating effectively . As we mention in many of our workshops...we feel that communication is the foundation for developing strong relationships, and strong relationships are the foundation for developing strong teams. This in return, creates functioning organizations, and reduces the amount of stress that we may have in our daily lives.

For this article we will be focused on verbal communication. In order for verbal communication to have any influence, someone must be listening. As most people have learned, to truly listen requires some work—and as many of us know…it doesn’t simply happen. Listening takes effort, and it’s an active process. This means someone has to be listening in order for communication to have any effect. Anyone can learn to be a good listener. To fully use the communication process no part of it can be passive—every step requires active, conscious effort on the part of those involved. There many types of active listening, and here are…

Top 4 Types of Active ListeningManagement-training-Skills.jpg

1. Empathic Listening

This type of active listening involves relationships and the sharing of feelings. Empathic listening is a process and involves understanding and reflecting feelings. needs and intentions of others. For instance, when listening to an irate customer, parent, child or staff member an empathetic listener might say, (in a calm assertive voice), “I see you feel strongly about this, and how can I help”. As John Maxwell suggests, when someone feels like the listener is truly trying to understand what the sender is trying convey, there is nothing better you can do to build that relationship”.

2. Comprehensive Listening

Listening to understand the material presented – Listening for facts, ideas and/or themes the sender is trying share…is the goal of comprehensive listening. Students commonly use this type of listening when learning in a class and/or staff members when taking direction from their managers.

3. Critical Listening

This involves listening to evaluate ideas. Usually it is used when developing judgments, ideas and/or opinions about the messages of others. For example when looking for facts in the problem solving process during a conflict, leaders will use critical listening skills to bring the together the pieces of truth from those involved in the situation.

4. Appreciative Listening

Appreciative Listeners engage in listening for pleasure. Appreciative listening stimulates the mind and senses listening to others. Leaders and/or teachers often us this when listening to a child tell a story or someone speaking on a particular topic, and participants and/or students use it when they are listening to music, the sounds of nature, etc.

To understand messages, we need to want to listen (this is covered in our book about to be released). The desire and commitment to listen allows the receiver to pay attention to the content as well as identify and interpret the feelings of a speaker. We can build our listening skills by practicing three primary skills sets of listening….attending, following and reflecting (please see my next blog article for in depth descriptions of these skills)

If you are interested in starting a conversation regarding developing a leadership training event…please call at 415.948.7725, or email at

Understanding My  ControversyClick Here to See How Our Training Can Help You

Topics: Listening

8 Qualities of Effective Leadership

Posted by Ezra Holland on Wed, Feb 1, 2017 @ 11:02 AM

Generally, people believe that leaders possess many positive qualities. Effective leaders create a vision, while inspiring and motivating people to engage in that vision. In our training sessions at The Holland Group we ask people to list what they think are top leadership qualities, and it’s always a great list. Below are just of few of those qualities of effective leadership. So here are…

8 Qualities of Effective Leadership


1. Self-Awareness and Identity

An effective leader is one who is self-aware. Effective leaders understand that leadership is a journey, and practice self-reflection to learn more about themselves. Effective leaders develop awareness of their attitudes, talents, weaknesses, biases and strengths. They work on developing their talents and how to apply in the best way.

2. Positive Attitude

P.A.C.E. (Positive Attitude Changes Everything) Most effective leaders maintain a positive attitude in the midst of not so positive situations. A positive mental attitude allows a leader to see the bright side of situations. They have high energy and know how to use to inspire and motivate.

3. Creativity

eativityCreativity involves thinking broadly, a willingness to try new ideas, and not being afraid to make mistakes. Creative people color outside the lines, challenge others to think in different ways and have a good sense of humor. They go beyond traditional and typical ideas, rules and relationships (i.e. break up the status quo)

4. Integrity

Every day people are faced with ethical choices and decisions that impact others. Integrity means doing what is right rather than what is easiest, while showing up on time when no one is looking. It builds the basis of trust between people. Respected and trusted leaders have the integrity and courage to be honest with themselves and others.

5. High Expectations

Effective and respected leaders have high expectations of themselves as well as others. They expect quality, and therefore achieve quality. High expectations carry over in all aspects of leadership…conceptual skills (i.e. expecting to be able to find solutions to challenges) interpersonal skills…(expecting people to positive and upbeat) and technical skills (i.e. Being organized and getting things done in a timely way)

6. Responsibility

A successful leader willingly accepts responsibility for the things that happen individually and organizationally; he or she is accountable to others, but also to himself or herself. For effective leaders, responsibility comes from the awareness that one has the freedom to choose and the knowledge that freedom has its responsibilities.

7. Focus and Commitment

Effective leaders have a focus; they know what they are going for and they can clearly communicate that focus. Commitment refers to being committed to the ideal, as well as to one’s group or organization.

8. Courage

An effective leader has the courage to what she or he believes is the right, to stand up for her or his values, and go against the status quo when needed, he or she has the courage to take risks. Courage involves the willingness to make difficult decisions, to try new things, and to make and admit mistakes so that as much as possible learn from any situation.

In the end, we possess and have the potential to develop amazing leadership qualities. From first year front line staff to twenty-year veterans it is our charge to make a difference in both our personal and professional lives. It is our belief that leadership development is a lifelong journey. 

If you have any questions about our training and speaking engagements, please call us at 415.948.7725 and/or email us at

Free SMART Goals Template for 2017Click Here to See How Our Training Can Help You 

Topics: Leadership

4 Activities to Break the Ice for Your Next Training or Meeting

Posted by Ezra Holland on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 @ 13:01 PM

In any training, meeting or educational experience it is important to warm people up and build personal connections (i.e. breaking the ice). Thus, creating a safe and fun environment, while helping people loosen up. We like to use icebreaker activities at the beginning, as well as, throughout our trainings and/or presentations to help people keep engaged, on point and having fun

The Internet is packed with many great icebreaker and warm-up activities, and we encourage you to check it out. With that, we wanted to share a few of our favorites from our book “Playful Teaching Practices”.

Here are…

4 Activities to Break the Ice for your Training or MeetingPeople-Circle-1.jpg

1. Shakes and Variations

We often like to start our sessions with a series of 15 to 30 second handshakes (“Hi, my name is…” shaking hands with as many people as you can in 30 seconds). And then trying a few funny variations (i.e. soul shakes, Hey, what’s up, …you rock. or you’re amazing, “left handed” “hi, how are you gotta go, etc…) We’ve found that in a wide range of cultures this is the most accessible safe and familiar way tot get folks moving, and interacting. Modify appropriately to other cultures.

2. High Five Partners and Beyond

Have people find a high five partner. The two people slap high fives while simultaneously saying each other’s names five times. Try leaping double high five partners or Do-Si-Do partners using the same principle. What other ones can you think of? Stretch partners? Dance partners? (60’s? hip hop? etc.) Secret handshake partners? Now find a new partner. Make the second or third partner be someone they didn’t come in the door with, and after 3 different sets of partners do a rewind where they have to find all three partners again in 30 seconds and say hello. Also periodically throughout the session; ask them to re-connect with these partners. This also is a great organizing and energizing activity for other partner games.

3. Commonalities

Partners take turns asking each other something they might have in common (i.e. “do you like working with kids?”) With each thing they have in common they grab hands and thrust them upward (in the ‘winning boxer’ pose) and loudly and enthusiastically indicate the number of things they have in common (i.e. “1!” “2!” etc.) Until they get to five. Switch and get another partner and play another round. Don’t forget to initially “coach” for emotional safety and keeping it simple (i.e. “do you have a pulse?” “Are you in this room?” “Do you like pizza?”)

4. Promenade

After team members have chosen a partner, have them stand side by side, and then have them take their partners hand (like in a hand shake), then have them take their partners other hand, still standing side by side, right to right and left to left (promenade dance formation). Now they are ready to pull, wow! Pull again, and again! Each time the gently pull on their partners arms without letting go. They should be doing 180 degree turnabouts so they are facing the opposite directions. Keep practicing. Then demonstrate with your volunteer, moving around the area, showing them that, before colliding with a wall, other pairs or boundaries, they promenade in the opposite directions by pulling. See how close they can get without colliding. Then have every connected pair start moving simultaneously and flipping before ‘crashing’

Adding a few great icebreakers and warm-ups will add some spice to any training, meeting and/or event. Remember…no matter what…always….ROCK YOUR STYLE!J

If you would like more information on our trainings please call 415.948.7725

Or email at

Playful Teaching Practices PresentationClick Here to See How Our Training Can Help You

Bill Michaelis/Ezra Holland

Topics: events

7 Leadership Resolutions for 2017

Posted by Ezra Holland on Mon, Jan 9, 2017 @ 12:01 PM

Happy New Year! I hope the New Year brings you great success and happiness.

2017 offers a fresh start and a new beginning, and It’s a time to re-organize, set goals and list our resolutions. As you know, when we set our goals it’s important to keep it simple and realistic. See SMART goals template below. The other day I sat down to list some of my resolutions for the year, and I thought I would share with you. I’m sure you have similar…

So here are the 7 leadership resolutions for 2017

1. Speedy Responses

This is a big one, speedy responses are extremely important. Whether it is a voicemail, text and/or email. People may not respond quickly all the time, but if we set a personal goal of getting back to people quickly, it sets a personal precedence, and reduces stress.

2.  Represent

How are we looking, dressed appropriately, clean (clean shaven), looking good. In addition, did we have enough sleep? Whether we are front line and/or admin., how we look is important.

3.  Being on Time is Late

As I talk about in many of my workshops regarding timing…If we are supposed to start at 9am, then we show at 8:45, put our things away and get started. In addition, it gives us time if there are unforeseen circumstance i.e. traffic, etc. then we have room for error.

4.  Give Folks Props.

Make sure that you give people props when they are due. People love to hear that they are doing a great job…. Be genuine!

5.  Listen/Be Present

As in many of our workshops… we speak of the importance of good communication in which listening and empathy are extremely important. As John Maxwell suggest, if a person feels like you are truly trying to understand where they are coming from, there is nothing more you can do to build the relationship then that.

6.  Work/Life Balance

Make sure there are things in your life other then work, i.e. working out, sports, healthy relationships and/or just having fun. In addition, the things you eat and drink make a substantial difference in your mood and how you relate to people.

 7.  Visit a Bull

This comes from my 6 year-old son, Lincoln. He has a big list, and this was just under swimming with pigs. Yes, he want’s to visit a bull this year.

Have a great start to the year, and thank you again for everything you do for kids, your community and families. An addition.. please give a call or email 415.948.7725 or

Free SMART Goals Template for 2017Click Here to See How Our Training Can Help You



Topics: Leadership

8 Tips on why Playful Teaching Practices are Important

Posted by Ezra Holland on Wed, Dec 7, 2016 @ 12:12 PM

I'm constantly reminded of Martin Buber’s statement “Play is the exhalation of the possible”. The beauty of play allows us the freedom to define it ourselves. For some, play manifests itself in sports, the arts, outdoor adventure, games and/or so much more. When we play we are allowed to loose ourselves in the activity, and upon our return we become more connected, happier and healthier. Bottom line….personal growth.

As leaders, teachers and managers, we can help facilitate this growth for our staff members, clients and children by incorporating playful teaching into our repertoire. Here are...

Eight Tips on why Playful Teaching is Important smile-1.jpg

  1. Modeling – What could be better than for a child or the group member to see a caring leader who is serious, flexible, joyous and balanced. They just might want to grow to be that leader.
  2. Developmental Knowledge– We know that play is a powerful developmental and growth force in early childhood and throughout life. Why aren’t we using it more rather than less??
  3. Multiple Intelligences – And as children and youth (and adults) continue to grow we know from Gardner’s work that people learn in a variety of different ways (musically, kinesthetically, etc.) Why not take advantage of this using experiential multi-sensory, interactive methodologies that help folks make healthy choices.
  4. Success - Is “success” looked at as student skill development, improved performance, positive attitude, increased effort, student creativity, expressiveness, individuality, group cohesiveness, empathy, or group cooperation? Obviously, our definition of success shapes our teaching practices and our menu (curriculum), and how it is structured and delivered.  Is it "spicy," or “flexible?” Does it offer a variety of learning styles, emphasize small group collaboration, and meet the needs for late developers and the superstar student?
  5. Joy in Learning - Playful teachers develop positive attitudes in their students and help students understand that learning can be fun and joyful. In fact, the African American poet, Nikki Giovanni once said, “Don’t postpone joy” (a good principle of life)
  6. Meta Communication - Playful Teaching Practices emphasize that the “between the lines”, below the surfaces messages are important…your tone, your smile, your learning environment, your methods, etc help create the invitation, permissions, and safety necessary for learning.
  7. Genuine Authority vs. Authoritarian - T.P. emphasizes respect through relationship building and more genuine authority (even when you need to be serious) vs. fear and punishment based leadership.
  8. Stress Reduction - It is in our experience that by incorporating PTP into one’s repertoire, increasing laughter and positive group dynamics – not only is stress reduced in the group but also there is also more healing stress reduction in the teacher/leader.

(Michaelis and Holland, Playful Teaching Practices, 2017)

 With that said, play is not the end all be all. There are times when we need to be serious and take a different tone. However, playful teaching and leading help build the relationship, so that when you do need to have those “serious” conversations, it makes it a little bit easier…and less stressful.

Leadership Training Presentation  Leadership and Teamwork Resources



Topics: behavior, Play

10 Tips to Help Leaders Prioritize Their Lives

Posted by Ezra Holland on Sat, Apr 9, 2016 @ 12:04 PM

“Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason.”          - Dr. Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi

How many of you get up in the morning feeling like there is so much to do and that you will never get it all done? As I grow and pack more experience into my life, I find that there is more and more to do. Whether it’s personal roles as a parent, volunteer or friend, and/or professional roles as a manager, business owner or teacher. There just seems to be more to do, and less time to do it. And, thus unavoidable questions arise: How do we make room to accomplish more efficiently? How do we focus on what needs to be done? And inevitably, how do we find happiness?

Dr. Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s (Dr. C) is the world’s leading researcher on positive psychology and best know for his theory on flow.  Being in the state of flow is one in which people are so involved in what they are doing nothing else seems to matter. The feeling of flow is the same as being in “the zone” or “groove” of life. He states that everyone has this feeling at times, a feeling of engagement, absorption, fulfillment, and skill, and the more we can feel in flow, the happier we will be.

The more you focus you are on what matters and the less rushing around doing things that don’t matter, the greater your state of peace, and therefore an opportunity to grow. You want to make the most of your time and get maximize the rewards. Before taking action it’s important to prioritize your choices and goals based on what will bring you the most benefit and happiness. Here are…

10 Tips to Help Leaders Prioritize Their LivesAction-expresses-priorities

  1. When prioritizing, it’s best to write it down instead of trying to keep it all locked up in your head.
  2. With your list of things to be done, make sure you set time aside to determine what is most important.
  3. Make sure your list is reasonable, and don’t try to do it all in one day. Decide on what is most important and going to give the maximum payoff.
  4. With your list, always make sure you cross things off; the visual will inspire you to do more.
  5. Always ask yourself: “What next action will have the greatest impact towards what I want?”
  6. How big is the anticipated return on my time and resources? If I complete this action/project – what effect does it have on other actions/projects.
  7. Is it better to start a big project or do something quick and easy? Base your choice on level of priority. Is it a grant that needs the upmost attention? Or do you have time do some smaller tasks, so that you can fully concentrate on the bigger and more important task at later time?
  8. If you have two tasks that have the same importance and urgency, choose the task which requires the least amount time and effort.
  9. There are always reoccurring and displeasing tasks (i.e. bills, accounting, paperwork). With that said, all are still important. The question is: what needs to be done now?
  10. Prioritizing is good for daily tasks and professional objectives, but also take time to prioritize your personal life-goals as well. 
For example, places you want to go, things you want to do.

Final thoughts. Try not to overdue it on the prioritizing, because it could be counterproductive to your seeking of flow. The idea is that the more organized you are with the things you do, the more opportunity you will have to find the flow in life, and become a more successful and .

If you have more ideas around this topic of prioritizing and flow, please let us know. Also, if you are interested in learning more about our training and speaking services give us a call or blast us an email.

Click Here to See How Our Training Can Help You  Free SMART Goals Template for 2017



The 9 C's of Positive Assertive Management

Posted by Ezra Holland on Fri, Apr 8, 2016 @ 12:04 PM

Being a good and effective manager is a difficult task. I have made mistakes on numerous occasions when working with kids and staff. This is why I love the work that we do…It’s a challenge.

Over the years I have been trying to be a positive and assertive teacher, leader and manager. With that said, I started thinking about adapting our Positive Assertive Discipline workshop from working with kids to working with managing staff. If you ever read the “One Minute Manager” by Hersey and Blanchard, they suggest that working with staff is very similar to working with kids. The 5’c of Discipline, a component to our discipline workshop, discusses trying to prevent issues before they happen, then addressing what you do when that doesn’t work. I decided to add a couple of C’s to the original workshop. Therefore, here are…


The 9 C’s of Positive Assertive Management






Connection – The question…how are we building positive appropriate relationships with staff members? This includes setting rules and boundaries, while paying attention to the maintenance of the group. As discussed in many of our articles, much of our success when working with people comes down to completing tasks and building relationships.

Consistency – As with kids, we need to have consistent behavior with our staff members. We all have our favorite staff members, and we have those who may challenge us occasionally. With that, the same rules apply to everyone. In addition, if we have multiple managers and/or coordinators we need to all be working from the same rulebook.

Communication – Many of our articles and workshops speak to the importance of effective communication with kids, staff and parents. When dealing with staff it is essential to be clear, concise and open. A couple of years ago, I wrote an article titled the 3 T’s of Communication, which talks about timing, tone and tact.

Coaching – It is essential to keep developing and promoting our staff. I watched a Simon Sinek talk the other day, and he talked about taking the time with our staff members to help them be successful, especially if they are having a hard time. Training, training and training.

 Choices – Many of my college students, recent grads and staff want to be empowered to make choices, and choose what works best for them (within limits). As we know with children, the more we can help facilitate the growth of the staff the better.

Career – During many of our workshops, we talk about the leadership skills that are developed when working with kids and staff. Whether or not we want to eventually work in the youth development industry, become a nurse or a businessperson, the challenges we face and the skills we develop in this stage of development can help us in all parts of our lives. The more that we can communicate career development to our staff members, the more inspired and motivated they will become.

Creativity –How do we develop more creative staff? Creative killers are doing things like micro managing, not giving positive feedback, win-loose competition and being more time focused rather than task focused (plus a few more:) Things that help with creativity…flexible structures, creative managers, autonomy and high quality social networks (plus a few more:)

Caring – As with children and working with parents…staff members need to know that you care about them.   From our experience and research, we know that empathetic leaders and managers get more out of their staff members, therefore creating a more productive and effective organizations.

Consequences – We want to try to keep things positive with our staff, i.e. feedback, communication, etc. As with kids, we need to correct out of line behaviors and/or habits that may not fit within our programs and organizations. When working with staff members, if we find ourselves continually having to correct, the staff member may not be a good fit for the program. As Gerry Price suggests in “Helping People Win at Work”, if you can look in the mirror and say that you did everything to bring that person along, and they still haven’t got there (i.e. all of the above), then it may be time for them to go.

Obviously, there is much more to working effectively with staff members. These are just an idea that I wanted throw out to you. If you have other C’s of positive managers and/or ideas that you could add to this, I’m always open for feedback. The importance is that we train and invest in our staff members so that they become better, so that our organizations become better, therefore we all become better.

Thank you and please let me know with any feedback, and if you want to chat, please feel free to call at 415.948.7275, and/or email at

Free SMART Goals Template for 2017  Positive Discipline  Ebook














Topics: Leadership

8 Traits of High Performing Teams

Posted by Ezra Holland on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 @ 15:01 PM

What makes a team truly great?

Is it having different personalities? Strong leadership? Is it how we reward our talented members? Is it having a flexible structure? Or a more disciplined structure?

There is a ton of research, theories and opinions on what makes a great team. The reason being… it’s a hard thing to do. You are basically putting a bunch of people together with different personalities, backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses, and telling them to perform at a high level.

Building a strong effective high performing team takes being an intentional leader and manager. There are no magic switches to ensure the creation a high performing team. However, if we pay attention to certain traits as we build and develop our team, we will have a higher degree of success. Therefore, here are…

8 Traits of High Performing Teamsimages.jpeg

1.Doing Things Outside of Formal Meetings.

Productive groups take time to connect at work and outside of work in social ways. It doesn’t need to be a large budget event (i.e. donuts and coffee at work, or a potluck). In addition, many organizations hold simple teambuilding activities (i.e. bowling, mini golf, etc.). Doing what we can do to make connections and build relationships.

2. Work-Life Balance

Great teams consist of people who have interests outside of work. A component of many of our trainings are helping participants set personal goals that add complexity to their lives. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi suggests in his Flow theory, the best moments in our lives are not the passive, relaxing times…the best moments are when we are stretching our limits and challenging ourselves.

3. Doing Your Best Everyday

A common trait for effective teams is having members who feel like they are at the top of their game, and doing the best that they can. As Jim Collins suggest in “Good to Great”. Be the best in the world at what you do, no matter what.

4. Focus on the Goal

Great team members focus on the goal of the organization, and know that the purpose is greater than their own ego. Understanding the overall purpose of the organization is bigger than any conflict we might have with fellow teammates will add to the performance of the team. It’s called uniting over the mission.

5. Being able to Read the Situation

Team members who have a higher emotional intelligence help with higher productivity. Basically, those who can manage their own emotions, while managing others emotions help keep the drama levels to a minimum. Empathy!

6. More Women

Women are better at this stuff….period!

7. Diversity

Diversity helps with innovation, having people with different personalities, gender, race and age help with creativity and problem solving. Groups who are homogeneous tend not be as dynamic.

8. Healthy Conflict

Conflict is healthy. It let’s us know that we are thinking about things, and it’s ok to have a different opinion. If we are constantly in conflict, then we need to find help. Healthy dialogue is a sign of a productive and effective team.

As I mentioned there are no easy answers, or magic switches that will bring us all together and sing kumbaya. However, if we pay attention to some of these traits of successful, healthy teams, we will be more productive and have less drama.

Please let us know if you would like to start a conversation on developing specialized leadership training for you and your organization.

Call us at 415.948.7725 or email


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Topics: Teambuilding