Corporate Training Blog Subscribe

Kaleidoskope Virtual Learning AdvantagesThe pandemic has changed the way people and organisations work
together—inevitably and perhaps
more permanently than we expect.

Now more than ever, we’ve come to
rely heavily on technology, especially in overcoming the restrictions of working from home or the staggered schedules of physically reporting to the office.

Right from the initial stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in Singapore, we at Kaleidoskope have been supporting and fulfilling our clients’ learning, corporate training and development needs with our high-performance virtual learning journeys. We’ve designed each of our 90-minute interactive sessions as a growth-enabling resource for when in-person teaching is improbable.

Naturally, one cannot expect the same results by simply duplicating what is taught in a face-to-face workshop to a virtual environment and expect the same results.

Therefore, we have adapted our learning content to cater to a virtual environment, to the different personalities of adult learners and the disparities in learning styles.  

Together with our clients and partners on this journey, we have all learnt to adjust, evolve and adapt to this new normal.

Here’s how your participants can benefit from our approach to virtual learning and how you can continue to sustain your learning initiatives.

TAP HERE to embark on Kaleidoskope’s High-performance Virtual Learning Journeys


Online learning affords a certain degree of anonymity, creating an environment that enables many of our participants to feel more confident in discussions.  In a virtual environment, some visual cues, or social or emotional signals are not enabled.  Participants who may be typically reluctant to join in on face-to-face discussions are often more vocal, and open to speak up during virtual sessions. 

The introverts in teams, or personalities who may be more intimidated by the spotlight, will find virtual learning more engaging because there is now an environment to participate without too much peer pressure.  They now have less pressure, more time to reflect, process their thoughts and present their ideas or inputs.

In a virtuous cycle, they start to be more confident and in so (based on our observations), often leading discussions, presentations and extracting optimal benefit from these virtual learning experiences.

Overall, the online learning platforms let people express themselves more openly and with more confidence.  The “equalising effect” of the pseudo-anonymity creates an environment where there is a healthier exchange of learnings, reflections, and experiences among the participants.

FIND OUT what previous participants say, and the results of their training with us


As most face-to-face workshops go, participants are grouped to discuss among themselves and then present their findings as a team. 

In our virtual sessions, learning activities are structured using a variety of platform functionalities to engage and sustain our participants’ interest. We’ve integrated chats, so you can ask questions and share your thoughts instantly.  Breakout rooms let us split interactions into separate sessions and assign participants to each group for discussions or presentations. Polls and quizzes allow us to create fun and interactive learning bites.  



Remote operations have become a necessity with the current situation of health-related mobility restrictions and safety measures. Nevertheless, just because you can’t get to a particular location or congregate in large numbers doesn’t mean your learning journey should be derailed.

Unlike regular workshops, Kaleidoskope’s virtual training is accessible anywhere there’s a stable internet connection. All you need to join is a laptop, a tablet, or even a smartphone, based on your company’s technical and privacy requirements. 

Our timings are flexible, our workshops cater to our participants’ schedules and our participants can complete their assignments or learning objectives at their own pace.

Moreover, with the pandemic’s financial impact rippling across industries, we’ve re-packaged and re-priced our online learning solutions to reflect our commitment to our clients’ learning and development initiatives.

The virtual environment also means that the expenses of booking physical venues, or providing travel or food allowances are largely eliminated. 

KNOW HOW our approach to leadership training improves your performance


To organize a face-to-face workshop, international speakers, trainers or coaches require a hefty investment in travel fees and accommodation, on top of professional fees.  Then time allotted is often constrained to a day or two.  

In the past few months, we have had opportunities to host international speakers, trainers and coaches on our platform, adding another exciting layer and dimension to our clients’ learning journeys.

MEET OUR TRAINERS who helped shape and innovate today’s corporate landscape


Let’s face it.  Zoom fatigue is real.  And it is easy for most people to zone out or get distracted when they’re sitting through hours of talk during a training workshop.  The same goes for watching pre-recorded lectures and presentations. After a while, screen fatigue sets in, your focus flags, and your interest wanes.

These are going to be obstacles to the learning process.

Our virtual learning sessions are structured around  easy-to-digest learning bites, so participants can grasp it quickly, plenty of discussions and reflections so they can keep continually engaged.

There are  frequent coffee breaks, check-ins, intermissions and intervals, allowing our participants to relax, recuperate and collect their thoughts and catch that breather (or two).

Now that you know what you can gain from Kaleidoskope’s high-performance virtual learning journey, we’re inviting you to REGISTER NOW for the following courses that fit seamlessly into your organisation’s learning phase and your team members’ levels of capability.

  1. Time and Priority Management
  2. Negotiation Skills
  3. Managing Up
  4. Being Mindful
  5. Influencing Skills
  6. Giving Constructive Feedback
  7. Effective Meetings
  8. Coaching Skills
  9. Being Assertive

If you need more information on how Kaleidoskope’s online leadership training can enhance your organisational and individual performance, please CONTACT US, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. #supportlocal

At Kaleidoskope, the learning never stops.

Start giving your staff LEARNING THAT STICKS

How can Emotional Intelligence help our Leaders and Managers in Crisis Management?

Corporate Training Blog Subscribe

How emotional intelligence helps leaders and managers cope with crisisWe are facing a global pandemic that’s testing the limits of humanity. Emotionally charged times often force leaders and managers to make hasty decisions with long-term consequences.

We often forget that leaders are humans too, whose evolutionary instincts are to retreat, take cover, or run away from crisis. To understand what effective leadership entails, we must first recognise what a crisis is.

What Is A Crisis?

A crisis is:

  • “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.”
  • “a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.”
  • “a turning point, when a critical change takes place … indicating either recovery or death.”

Leading through change is never easy, but you can learn it and develop the necessary qualities through effective learning programmes.

What defines a leader is his or her ability to manage a crisis by exercising Emotional Intelligence (EI). And in the midst of it, to inspire, lead, and motivate their team members.

In his book Working with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman drives a critical message: emotional competence is the MAIN FACTOR influencing success in a person’s professional life.

To assess and identify areas of improvement in employee performance, Goleman developed a performance-based and industry-established model based on the five components of EI.

He defines EI as:
“The capacity for recognising our feelings, and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”

Why Is EI Critical In A Time Of Crisis?

EI equips leaders with unique skills to interpret, work with, or work around highly stressful situations. Emotionally intelligent leaders do not give in to an onslaught of emotions. Instead, they actively look for effective coping strategies for handling challenging, tricky, even unprecedented situations.

Most importantly, a true leader develops actions and management mechanisms through a deep and consistent understanding of the organisation’s goals. Doing this keeps him or her anchored—so when a crisis hits, he or she does not panic, deviate, or make decisions from a reactionary perspective.

“Crisis Is Temporary.”

This is the edict of a true leader—to look beyond the challenges and readdress goals with urgency, efficiency, and accurate decisions. The good news is, emotional intelligence can be learned.

Learning how to focus on yourself, on others, and the bigger picture (either your personal goals or your organisation’s goals) is at the core of EI.

As Goleman puts it, “a failure to focus inward leaves you rudderless, a failure to focus on others renders you clueless, and a failure to focus outward may leave you blindsided.”

With this three-pronged awareness, our leaders can be more effective in strategising, innovating, and managing for their teams and organisations.

We at Kaleidoskope can help you embark on a high-performance virtual learning journey with our online session on Emotional Intelligence in Crisis Management—a powerful tool for managers and leaders to be consciously aware and conscientiously trained, in leveraging EI for long-term success.

Spearheading the virtual journey is TEDx speaker, international corporate trainer, and executive coach Nicole Smart. With her high-impact and highly engaging approach, she will bring to life the core themes of Emotional Intelligence and its application to leadership and management.

Nicole gleaned her insights from years of working extensively with governments and corporate institutions around the world. In recent online learning workshops, she worked with diplomats, staff at the United Nations (UN) in Switzerland and senior government officials in Saudi Arabia, empowering them to cope with the leadership and managerial skills to navigate through these difficult times.

WATCH THIS VIDEO to get started on a virtual learning journey with Nicole Smart.

CONTACT US NOW to secure your slots
to a high-performance EI learning journey today!

To continue learning even during the quarantine period,
TAP HERE for Kaleidoskope’s online leadership training.

Start giving your staff LEARNING THAT STICKS

My Blog

Corporate Training Blog Subscribe

Kaleidoskope Virtual Learning

Our virtual leadership training courses ensure that your learning journey continues, even in these trying times.

The entire world has been facing difficult challenges in the past months—vastly changing the global business landscape and redefining organisational dynamics as we know it. With the prevailing health crisis, disruptive innovation has taken on a new meaning across all aspects of life, ushering in the advent of what’s now being called the new normal.

However, with an increasingly dispersed workforce, how can you ensure the continuance of your organisation’s learning? How can you sustain learning engagement across your teams in the absence of face-to-face interactions? How can you optimise the downtime, especially at this period of quarantine?  And when staying home, and safe, is an imperative?

Embarking on Kaleidoskope’s virtual leadership learning journeys is a viable and effective approach. Our online delivery system allows you to leverage, streamline, and optimise knowledge-transfer within your organisation, so learning doesn’t need to stop. We continue to equip you and your organisation with the tools for your learning and development needs.

Make our virtual learning journeys a part of your growth-enabling resource in enhancing your leadership learning experience today.

Online Learning as an Alternative to Training Workshops

In the current environment, the organisation is probably de-centralised, and many working from different parts of the world.  Communicating learning engagement becomes much more of a challenge. Enhanced travel constraints may have perhaps hindered learning plans, and opportunities.  Face-to-face workshops are currently improbable, and there’s no telling when this situation will be reversed.

Fortunately, virtual training platforms don’t require the additional time or expenses of travel, and can be accessed at a time and place that’s convenient for you. They enable your team members to connect directly, regardless of location—a benefit that you can reap long after the mandatory lockdown has been lifted.

Moreover, studies show that online learning platforms are effective in promoting interaction because of the pseudo-anonymity it affords the participants. People who feel too shy to participate in face-to-face group dynamics may now find the courage, given the comfort zone that a virtual environment provides.

At Kaleidoskope, our online learning tools are designed to sustainably support the learning journey with frequent check-ins, supporting, accompanying and engaging learners. Because there are no venue constraints, it’s now easier for participants to reconvene more often, thereby supporting more effective peer-to-peer, facilitator-led learning and interaction.

Safeguarding Your Systems’ Security

System security is naturally a top-of-mind concern for organisations right now, especially with the increased breaches on various platforms that have come to light in recent months. This is why creating a secure space for online learning sessions is our priority at Kaleidoskope.

All our virtual learning journeys are designed to be compatible with your own system requirements and IT security protocols. In fact, our virtual training platforms have effectively, and successfully supported an extensive client base, without compromising IT security systems.

Tangible Takeaways from a Virtual Learning Journey

Our virtual workshops  are short and succinct, sharply focused on disseminating useful information on a wide range of topics that range from leadership skills to effective approaches to management, or simply staying mentally healthy in these times.

Our online learning sessions provide access to a virtual venue for creating dialogues, reflections, and sharing ideas.  To keep our participants engaged, we have incorporated a wide variety of interactive activities into our online sessions, including break-out group discussions, presentations, quizzes and polls.

Graphs, infographics, and other visual aids are frequently referenced in our workshops.

Even e-learning beginners and noobs can reap the many and immediate benefits of our virtual learning journey, as it’s tailored and designed on an interface that’s instinctive and easy to navigate.

Virtual Learning Journey Sessions

Just to get you started, we are introducing a series of leadership learning and skill-building sessions.  

  • Stress Alarms Buttons: where are your stres buttons, and what happens in the brain when you’re stressed!
  • #HappinessHacks: what does happiness at work and in life look like, and how can we cultivate happiness?
  • Time and Priority Management: how to streamline your work and maximise your productivity.
  • Managing Up: techniques to improve your working relationships with your supervisors and managers.
  • Influencing Skills: how to impel others to support your ideas without wielding authority.
  • Giving Constructive Feedback: strategies to using feedback in achieving results
  • Effective Meetings: making online meetings more engaging, and correcting bad meeting habits.
  • Being Assertive: how to get your ideas across by being open, honest, and directJust to get you started, we are introducing a series of leadership learning and skill-building sessions.

With our virtual learning journeys, there’s no reason to stop learning.

At Kaleidoskope, we are committed to delivering innovative and sustainable learning opportunities, and to continue to support you as a learning partner through these extraordinary times and beyond.

Our virtual learning sessions are facilitated by seasoned trainers, backed by many years of corporate leadership experience and expertise.

Learn more about Kaleidoskope’s trainers and find out what it takes to be a leader of learners

Get in touch with us today for details on our virtual learning initiatives that are most relevant to you or your organisation’s needs.

Start giving your staff LEARNING THAT STICKS

My Blog

Corporate Training Blog Subscribe

Lessons from Leaders Born in the Year of the Rat

As we step closer into the Year of the Rat, let’s take a scamper through history and have a quick glance at what are some of the examples, or lessons people born under the Chinese zodiac sign of the Rat can teach us about leadership.  

A lot, it seems, because if the stars are to be believed, Rats are destined for success, especially in business and politics.

The Rat personality is resourceful, versatile, and sharp. Rat people are among the zodiac’s most hardworking and ambitious. They are imbued with boundless energy and distinctly focused on personal goals.

Their innate attention to detail and organisational talents make them effective leaders. Perfectionists that they are, Rats, as managers, are seldom easy to please. However, since they impose the same high standards on themselves, they earn the respect and loyalty of others easily.

In the spirit of the Chinese New Year, we’ve picked some notable personalities that embody the propensity for leadership and success of those born in the Year of the Rat. Whether or not you share this sign, chew on this, or ask us what we can do for you.

Galileo Galilei
15 February 15648 January 1642

Galileo Galilei

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

His single-mindedness in pursuing knowledge has made Galileo an icon of instructional leadership, which is characterised by “an intense moral purpose focused on promoting deep student learning, professional inquiry, trusting relationships, and seeking evidence in action,” according to professor and author Helen Timperley.

In the millennia before Galileo’s time, Geocentrism was central to people’s belief.  The Earth was the centre of the universe around which all heavenly bodies revolve.  

This theory was taken as fact and fully supported by the Catholic Church.  When Galileo supported, and was able to show proof of an alternative view, he was summoned, and subjected to the Roman Inquisition.  He was declared a heretic for disputing the Holy Scriptures. Under duress, Galileo stopped teaching his theory but, 300 years later, the Church admitted he was right all along.

What if Galileo had learnt about managing conflict, he would acquired valuable insights on conflict awareness, balancing between pull and pushing strategies, and harnessing the power of emotional intelligence to conflict resolution.  Perhaps Galileo could’ve been saved from the Church-imposed house arrest he had to endure for many years until his death.    

Jorge Mario Bergoglio
17 December 1936—present

Jorge Mario Bergoglio

“There is a need for financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone. This would nevertheless require a courageous change of attitude on the part of political leaders.”

Since he was elected Pontiff in March 2013, Jorge Bergoglio has been defying the world’s pre-conceived notions of the papacy. Pope Francis first broke convention by appearing on the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica in a white cassock instead of the more elaborate ceremonial vestments.  

That was a start that would mark his papacy.  The 266th head of the Roman Catholic Church adopts a transformative approach to leadership.

And a significant part of his tenure was the restructuring of the Vatican’s financial system, with the objective to create a more open and transparent financial environment. 

Pope Francis’ continued to adopt a leading through change approach, leading the Catholic Church in a world of accelerating change, volatility and ambiguity.  His tenure was characterized by humility, outspoken support of the world’s poor and marginalized, and also a new and active involvement in the areas of political diplomacy and environmental advocacy.

He was also focused on ensuring that the Church is more accessible, more welcoming and relevant in the changing times.  

William Shakespeare
26 April 156423 April 1616

William Shakespeare

“Let none presume to wear an undeserved dignity. O that estates, degrees, and offices were not derived corruptly, and that clear honour were purchased by the merit of the wearer!” —from The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare is arguably the greatest writer in the English language. A playwright, a poet, and a dramatist, he wrote at least 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and several poems. By and large, his works are among the gold standards for creative writing.

Shakespeare died at age 52, but his legacy lives till today. What is now “standard English” is owed largely to Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language published in the 18th century, in which Shakespeare’s works were among the main sources.

Shakespeare certainly had a lot of insights into leadership.  Whether it is the ambitious and amoral Macbeth, the indecisive Hamlet, or King Lear who failed to watch out for yes men (and women), there is no lack of leadership lessons we can draw from his works.

Between writing, producing, and even playing major roles in his own plays, Shakespeare would have found our workshop on managing time and priorities very useful.  Perhaps he may even have churned out more works for our enjoyment today!

Sundar Pichai
10 July 1972—present

Sundar Pichai

“As a leader, it is important to not just see your own success, but focus on the success of others.”

At least 300 million people have Google Chrome as their main browser, and more than 800 million actively use Google Drive. At the helm of developing these products, as well as other Google software, is Sundar Pichai—current CEO of Alphabet and Google LLC.

This Gen-Xer born in the Year of the Rat founded his career on engineering and product management, which eventually led him to join Google in 2004. There, he led the development of the company’s suite of applications, including Chrome OS, Gmail, Google Maps, the VP8 video codec, and WebM.

Pichai is an innovator and an astute strategist whose management style is credited for pushing Alphabet into the trillion-dollar club just recently. He practices what he preaches, living by his leadership mantra “to not only see his own success, but to focus on the success of others”.  HIs people-centric style is all about building his team to be the best versions of themselves.  

Building high performing teams, coaching team members to be high performing individuals, and motivating them to be successful – precisely what our programme on leading and managing teams is all about. The workshop is focused on teaching leaders or managers to create high performing teams through building, coaching and motivating individual team members together to get behind organisational goals.

Shirley Chisholm
30 November 1924—1 January 2005

Shirley Chisholm

“Women in this country must become revolutionaries. We must refuse to accept the old, the traditional roles, and stereotypes.”

Women born in the Year of the Rat tend to be traditional and more family-oriented, according to the Chinese zodiac. But if she were alive today, Shirley Chisholm would be the first to object. Chisholm was the first woman and the first African-American woman to run for US president.

In 1950s America, when conformity with traditional gender roles was the norm, Chisholm was already a recognised authority on child welfare and early education. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected into US Congress, representing the 12th District of New York for seven terms.

In the context of the prevailing culture of conservatism that Chisolm had to work with, she has clearly demonstrated the effective influencing strategies outlined in our programme. Chisholm ran for president in 1972 under the Democratic Party, becoming the first woman to participate in a presidential debate. She was both a transformational and democratic leader—breaking female stereotypes and fighting racism. Throughout her political career, Chisholm worked to raise the national budget on social services, especially on education and health care.

Although the world has changed a lot since the 1950s, leaders and managers today will still find our approach to driving through unpopular, foreign ideas, or policies very relevant.  

Fate Vs. Fortitude

In explaining leadership in terms of nature versus nurture, experts often refer to two opposing theories. Great Man theory proposes that leaders are born, not made; some people have genetic capabilities that make them excel in their field. Conversely, behavioural theorists say that becoming a leader requires keen observation and learning, training and practice.

In our current world of disruptive transformation, continuous improvement and constant innovation are key to keeping abreast of rapidly developing technologies. While one cannot discount the age-old wisdom behind the Chinese zodiac, we at Kaleidoskope believe that success is dependent on a person’s willingness to better themselves.

Do you have what it takes to be a leader

As Nobel Prize-winning philosopher Albert Camus said, “Life is the sum of all our choices.” So, if you’re ready to become an effective leader in the face of rapidly changing organisational landscapes, ask us, and we’ll send you scurrying off on your journey to high-performance learning. 

Start giving your staff LEARNING THAT STICKS

You know how leaders are often called upon to be strong and decisive? What is adaptive leadership? Learn more about our Leadership course!

Leadership & Corporate Training Insights

Do You Practise Adaptive Leadership? Your Organisation Needs You To.

Business Storytelling – A Critical Skill For Great Leadership

You know how leaders are often called upon to be strong and decisive? Someone people can look up to, or who can motivate others to do their best. Someone who knows what it takes to succeed, and can take the rest of the team with them on the way to success.

But disruptions and transformations continue to take place at a breakneck pace–a scenario that Singapore is all to familiar with. As such, the burdens that leaders need to carry on their shoulders, and the weight of the decisions that they need to make, increase tenfold. This means that today, more than ever, organisations are calling on their leaders to be adaptive–a trait that can only be optimised through leadership training.

What is adaptive leadership? And why does everyone in your organisation need you to practise it? Find out as we also take a look at what adaptive leadership can do to help an organisation grow, and what you have to do to become an adaptive leader.


Not a Position, but a Practice

Adaptive leadership is a systematic approach to leading that allows leaders to respond to changes in a situation that could have a major impact on their organisations. It’s the approach, or the act of leading that takes centre stage, instead of the title a leader happens to have.

While researching at Harvard University, leadership experts Dr. Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky developed the adaptive leadership framework to show leaders how to get everyone—not just key decision-makers—involved in the problem-solving process.

These experts identified the kinds of problems organisations need to solve, and what leaders and their teams need to solve them. These problems or adaptive challenges are highly technical and often recurring problems that aren’t always well-defined or have clear-cut solutions.

Instead of merely coming up with solutions on their own and handing them over to staff to carry out, adaptive leaders facilitate collaboration that encourages contributions from staff as well as management to develop the solutions. By empowering everyone to act in becoming part of the solution, everyone becomes a leader in their own right.


Breaking Away with Business Agility

Because this practice breaks away from the traditional, hierarchical model of leadership, adaptive leadership may feel awkward or uncomfortable at first. But since many of the changes that today’s organisations have to deal with need a quick response, adaptive leadership gives them a framework for giving that response without having to go through bureaucratic red tape.

This is where you’ll find that adaptive leadership and business agility go hand in hand. Indeed, Adaptive Leadership: Accelerating Enterprise Agility author, Jim Highsmith, writes that an adaptive leader must develop an agile mindset.

With agility in mind, adaptive leadership can also be defined as a set of principles as well as practices that drive organisations to keep learning, which equips them with the capabilities for adapting and thriving in the face of change.

Among these practices is distinguishing the essential from the expendable and breaking away, again, from the status quo—if it means finding a better, more efficient way to do things and to solve problems. In so doing, the entire organisation and every individual in it will also be able to evolve slowly, but surely.


Organisations Need Adaptive Leadership

This evolution is precisely why organisations need adaptive leaders, because only the organisations that are able to respond effectively and efficiently to disruptions and other changes will survive and become profitable. Standard operating procedures or technical expertise just aren’t enough anymore for resolving problems or adaptive challenges.

With adaptive leadership, you create a whole new corporate culture that champions experimentation, discovery and innovation in problem solving. Team members acquire new skills and behavioural patterns alongside their managers as they take a renewed, more positive approach toward work.

Collaborating on a regular basis also enhances working relationships within teams, breaking down barriers commonly found in top-down corporate structures and enabling a free-flowing exchange of ideas. Seeing that their contributions are welcome and appreciated is also a real morale- and confidence-booster among the staff on any level.

Your teams readily turn failures as well as successes into opportunities for learning, which also include an awareness of industry trends and developments. By keeping close and constant tabs on what your target market is looking for, your organisation will be able to keep on providing better service and improving your bottom line.


Becoming an Adaptive Leader

Adaptive leadership as a leadership style isn’t acquired overnight, but you can start adopting the approach by taking note of what your organisation needs you to do whenever there’s an adaptive challenge to be faced.

  • Assess the problem at hand. Take careful stock of what needs to be done, and keep on gathering and analysing data to inform your decisions even as you act. Get multiple interpretations of the issue to get a sense of how urgent or how soon you need to find a solution.
  • Assess the people on hand. Take careful stock of who is capable and available to tackle the problem, including yourself. Just as important is taking note of who are affected by the issue, as well as the “default response” they may have in this situation.
  • Ask for insights. Remember when we said that adaptive leadership was about getting everyone involved? Well, now is the time to do it. Discuss your findings and thoughts on everything you took stock of and get their perspectives of the issue before working together to find that solution.
  • Promote the solution. Once you’ve collectively decided on what needs to be done, make sure everyone believes in the solution and has confidence in its efficacy. In inspiring your team or the entire organisation, make sure you’re delivering the right message in terms they can easily understand.
  • Monitor and adjust as needed. Give the solution enough time to work while keeping an eye on how it’s working out for everybody. Be sure to take note of what worked and what didn’t, and to again involve everyone in gathering feedback and refining the solution.

In advocating the development of an adaptive or agile mindset, Highsmith says a leader must be open to change and be willing to explore and to create a vision. An adaptive leader must also know how to facilitate discussion and teamwork, and have the courage to view issues and possible solutions, even if they might seem to be contradictory.

We know that’s a lot to take in, but becoming the adaptive leader your organisation needs is possible with tailor-fit leadership training initiatives. Talk to us at Kaleidoskope to discover how you and your team can benefit from our Adaptive Leadership programme, today.

Fill out our form to receive full details on how you and your organisation can benefit from mastering the art of High Impact Facilitation. Just a few fields and you’re on your way to becoming a highly effective trainer.

Storytelling is essential to leadership—find out why as we discuss the anatomy of a story and what you need to become a good business storyteller.

My Blog

Corporate Training Blog Subscribe

Business Storytelling – A Critical Skill For Great Leadership

Who doesn’t love a good story?

Seriously. If you were in the shoes of your staff, and you had to listen to yourself talk about why you need to restructure so-and-so division or what your company intends to do about your new competitor, would you rather: Sit through half an hour of graphs and charts? Or 30 minutes of a spellbinding narrative?

Writing for the Business Times, Helmi Yusof relates how it’s become second nature for us to pay attention to, and appreciate stories. When told skilfully, the best stories are riveting, keeping listeners bent on tenterhooks until they find out what happens next, all the way up to a satisfying, if not always happy, ending.

In the capacity as a leader, you’ll often have to use words to explain, encourage, empower and evangelise—actions that take a whole lot more than dry data, a Powerpoint presentation, or impersonal instructions to get started.

To spur people into taking productive action on your explanation and encouragement, into using the power you’ve given them, and into believing in what you have to say, you can say it through masterful business storytelling.

Let’s take a look at what storytelling is, what storytelling is in the context of business, why leaders need to know how to tell a story, and some advice for boosting your business storytelling as a leadership skill.

Anatomy of a Story

Stories are facts, wrapped in context, and delivered with emotions.

Stories work because it’s concrete, for example, the language used is specific, and not abstract.

It’s memorable.  Stories are often visual and convey emotions.

It’s impactful.  Narrative is the oldest method of holding attention, human beings are “hard-wired” to listen to stories.  Remember all those stories that your grandmother used to tell? I’ll bet you still remember a couple of those.

It’s credible.  Stories use concrete examples.  And examples way more powerful than facts.

So what makes a powerful business story?

It’s when it has a definitive time, and place marker.  When a sequence of events lead to something happening. People’s names are mentioned.  Dialogues happen. The unexpected happens, and finally there is a business point!

Man Using Storytelling on Presenting Business Ideas - Kaleidoskope Leadership Blog

Becoming an Effective Business Storyteller

There are several reasons why leaders need to become better storytellers. Stories humanise a business and its brand, making them more relatable, engaging, impactful and memorable in the eyes of their audience. The more your audience is able to relate, respond to and remember your story, the more likely they will become loyal to your brand—particularly if they are given opportunities to take part in the story itself.

You might consider turning your brand story into an interactive, evolving saga—creating room for growth or new chapters written by your audience while staying true to your core storyline. Reflect on how many of the world’s best stories are created not just by one author but through collaboration, or are expanded upon by succeeding generations of writers.

A good story can help you differentiate yourself from the competitionIf you should happen to tell a similar story to that of your competitor (after all, how many fairytales have a prince, a princess and a “happily ever after”?), your chances of standing out depend on how you tell your story.

Now, here are some ways to help you become a better business storyteller. (No, NEVER start with “once upon a time.)

1. Share a single story, or several. 

Many business leaders already have the habit of telling an anecdote or two to illustrate a point, which is laudable insofar as the anecdote is relevant. You might share your short story at the start of your talk, or tell one every time something that needs a little reinforcement crops up.

But another way you might use this technique is to tell just one story. Begin your narrative at the start of your presentation, and lay the rest of the story out during the different parts of your talk, until you wrap the sequence up when the presentation ends.

Which leads us to the next point.

2. Build your story library. 

Source for stories … your own stories, stories other people tell you, or from books, movies, TV.

Keep these handy by recording them down, and developing your personal storage system.

3. Learn the story.  

Don’t try to learn the full story, rather, focus on capturing the key details, imagine it happening, and be clear what is the business point you want to hit home.  And finally, practise, practise practise!

4. Know your audience. 

There are different stories for different purposes and objectives.  What do you need to achieve? Establish rapport, and make a good impression?  Or do you need to introduce a new strategy or explain business decisions? Or do you need to influence the audience, or simply to share a success story?

Whatever the objectives, you need to be clear what you need to achieve from your audience.

Bear in mind that storytelling shouldn’t be formulaic, and that storytellers should be able to adapt to specific audiences and specific strategies and objectives.

5. Remember: It’s not about you. 

Storytelling is about building a relationship between the storyteller and an audience. As a storyteller, you’re talking to your audience in order to reach them and get them to react.

Speakers who speak only about themselves, e.g. here’s what we can do, our capabilities, our track record, our resources, portfolio and so on—are bound to lose their audiences long before they make it to the punchline.

Focus your story about your audience, and they’ll be more likely to listen to what you have to say.

6. Get help if you need it.

Understand what makes a powerful business story, the different types of business stories, developing impactful business stories using the Story Framework, and how to sharpen your storytelling abilities from our master storyteller, Paul Stuart.

And here’s a parting thought:

“The shortest distance between two people is a story.”

At Kaleidoskope, we have programmes designed to help key decision makers like you hone their leadership skills and storytelling proficiency, particularly when making presentations. To start telling better business stories and becoming a master storyteller, get in touch with us, today.

Start giving your staff LEARNING THAT STICKS

While the handful of leaders we discuss here are really not dealing with the corporate challenges, it’s still a relevant discussion. These leaders embody the paragons of the leadership qualities that are just as badly needed today as they were during their time.

My Blog

Corporate Training Blog Subscribe


It’s true, it’s super tough being any sort of leader, these days. Business conditions are immensely volatile, the next tech development could be the one that puts your company out of business. Everyone on your team seems to have their own agenda, and nobody is ready to come to a consensus. Global warming is real, and the ice caps are melting in Alaska.  And oh, they want to know what your next official statement will be on social media.

But if you think being a leader today is tough, try thinking about what leaders had to wrestle with back in the daywithout the benefit of much hindsight, dealing with wars, natural disasters and without the technological support we have taken for granted nowadays.  They didn’t have our guide either: a guide specifically for leaders.

While the handful of leaders we discuss here are really not dealing with the corporate challenges, it’s still a relevant discussion.  These leaders embody the paragons of the leadership qualities that are just as badly needed today as they were during their time. See if you practise (or would like to practise) one or more of the types of leadership as one or more of these world leaders.

Sir Winston Churchill

What is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory.

As Britain’s Prime Minister in the 1940s and 50s, Winston Churchill has gone down in history as  one of the foremost leaders during World War II. Morale was low among Britons during the war, but Churchill rallied them with his now legendary communication skills, and kept things going with his indefatigable resolve to fight back against the Nazis.  

Stand-out communication skills are typical of the democratic type of leadership, although prior to his successes in the Second World War, Churchill exhibited more qualities belonging to the autocratic leadership type. These qualities, which involve not consulting others and steamrolling over all other opinions, led to many mistakes.

Leaders are humans too!  They commit their fair share of errors, and Churchill’s decisions at Gallipoli in Turkey, and in Ireland cost thousands of lives. But even these mistakes remain instructive to today’s business leaders.  Data mustn’t be ignored or taken out of context when making crucial decisions.

These, coupled with the fact that he had no place for other points of view (Admiral John Fisher) also led to disastrous decisions in World War I. What probably saved us all was his willingness to admit these were mistakes, an unstoppable faith in his own ability, and an iron resolve and drive to move on.  And as we all know, the rest was history.

Theodore Roosevelt

The best executive has sense enough to pick good people.

The 26th and youngest ever US President in 1901, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt is also considered one of the greatest and most beloved American leaders. Roosevelt’s presidency is characterised by action, and KPIs:  it broke up over 40 monopolies, promoted the conservation of nature, and fought corruption in government offices. 

His support for the construction of the Panama Canal has been cited as an example of the Laissez-faire type of leadership. This is team leadership, a conscious decision to delegate tasks, and empower his team members.  It meant he trusted his team to do their jobs well!   

Roosevelt was open to working with different kinds of people, even if he didn’t see eye to eye with them. He leveraged strengths and complemented weaknesses, to build a cohesive whole working toward the realisation of a vision.  

Rossevelt was open to diversity of views in his team.  He appreciated different points of view, leveraging on different perspectives, and trusted his team enough to delegate and power.  In doing so, he harnessed the power of the team to create magic.  

Sun Tzu

A leader leads by example, not by force.

Chinese military general and war leader Sun Tzu is best known for authoring The Art of WarWhile little else is known about him other than his being born in Ch’i State around 500 BC, many business leaders continue to take their cue from his writings. These writings started becoming popular in Europe in the 1700s, and in the US some 200 years later. 

If the type of leader Sun Tzu was may be inferred from what he wrote, he might be said to have exemplified coaching leadership. This leadership style focuses on the team member.  He takes an in-depth interest and understanding of his team members, and is focused on building everyone to their peak performance.  Sun Tzu says “you have to believe in yourself” and “know yourself and you will win all battles”. 

In relation to this, Sun Tzu says you need to be humane, or know how to relate to your team members as individual human beings, not mere minions to perform a task. Treat your team members as family, as you would your own children, and focus on nurturing, and understanding their individual circumstances.  Believe in them, guide them, coach them as you believe they are capable of coming up with their own solutions. 

Sun Tzu was first and foremost a strategist, so it’s natural that he exhibited traits of the strategic type of leadership. These leaders focus on crafting strategies that creates high performance in their teams.  They leverage on their in-depth understanding, and analysis of each team member, gracefully, and effectively moving each part to fit into the bigger picture of their strategy. 

Lee Kuan Yew

A leader without the vision, to strive to improve things, is no good.

The founding father of modern Singapore and the country’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew  faced the challenges of a nascent republic head-on with his characteristic no-nonsense approach to nation-building. Thanks to his unshakeable resolve, the country has come to take pride of place in the regional and global economy, where it remains to this day.

During his three decades of leadership, Lee Kuan Yew encouraged racial harmony and foreign investments, drove infrastructure development, strengthened the country’s military and successfully eradicated corruption in the government.

As a textbook example of the autocratic type of leadership, Lee Kuan Yew brooked little opposition from his political rivals or the press. It may be reasoned that the prevailing political climate at the time of his rise to power necessitated such strong-willed and decisive action. He may also be seen to embody transformational leadership for driving large-scale, progressive change, as well as visionary leadership, secure, and unstoppable in his vision for a country that not many people share, or can even imagine.

Among the many, vividly demonstrated leadership lessons that business leaders stand to learn from Lee Kuan Yew for generations to come, perhaps the most salient is to never let anything distract you from the fulfilment of your vision. Though he was often criticised for being dictatorial, he stayed his course and masterfully orchestrated the transformation of his country in a single lifetime. 

Indira Ghandi

For they who serve their country, nothing is impossible.

India’s third, and first, only female Prime Minister, Indira Ghandi served two terms beginning in 1966, and again in 1980 until her assassination in 1984. While her administration was plagued by controversy and was enforced at times by dubious means, her determination and single-minded dedication to serving her country continues to inspire people around the world today.

Despite significant personal problems and constant criticism, Mrs Ghandi brought India to recognition on the global stage. Her firm, skillful handling, and mastery of foreign policy, particularly involving the tricky situations in Pakistan and Bangladesh in the 1970s, and her work with the Non-Alignment Movement in the 1980s were major contributions to peace in the region.

Also in spite of being described as cold, aloof, or even rude in private, the public Mrs Ghandi may be said to exemplify the charismatic type of leadership.  The leader’s unique personality is brought to bear on the leadership style or approach. She was much admired for her unwavering tenacity, and remarkable will and ambition to build a strong and dynamic India.    

Nelson Mandela

Lead from the back—and let others believe they are in front.

South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela is celebrated around the world for his fight against apartheid and emerging from his 27-year imprisonment for the cause with the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation. A Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1993, he was the archetype of the soft-spoken yet authoritative negotiator he became in his later years.

Like all of us humans, Mandela’s career was often dogged by fodder for critics. His early days in politics favoured armed struggle as a means of achieving racial equality, and his time in office saw the gap between the nation’s rich of both races and the poor continue to widen. Yet, his struggles to do right by all of his people continue to shine through.

Apart from being a sterling example of the cross-cultural type of leadership, “Madiba” was clearly also a transformational and visionary type of leader.  He clearly has given his entire life to driving real change, and it is probably in this leader, Madiba, who most exemplifies resilience in the face of challenges.  

How will you mark your leadership style in this millennium?  

While we may not be battling challenges on the international stage, we are all leaders in our own teams, our organizations, and in our little eco- systems.

Let the leadership and coaching trainers at Kaleidoskope help you become the type of leader you want to be, as well as the leader your organisation needs. Ask us about our leadership training programmes, today. 

Fill out our form to receive full details on how you and your organisation can benefit from mastering the art of High Impact Facilitation. Just a few fields and you’re on your way to becoming a highly effective trainer.

Start giving your staff LEARNING THAT STICKS

Most coaching methods focus on solving a “problem”, rather than building the solution. It’s an easier approach. If you hit the Search button for “Employee Coaching” online, the first few options that pop up promise you to teach you “how to fix performance problems”.

My Blog

Corporate Training Blog Subscribe

Coaching is a powerful way to help employees unlock their potential. And this necessitates a high-impact leadership training, particularly in Singapore’s fast-developing business landscape.

Most coaching methods focus on solving a “problem”, rather than building the solution.  It’s an easier approach. If you hit the Search button for “Employee Coaching” online, the first few options that pop up promise you to teach you “how to fix performance problems”.

But here at Kaleidoscope, we take a different route.

Instead of looking at weaknesses, or “performance problems”, our Solution Focused approach looks to the future, the coachee’s strengths, and their goals. By empowering you to look at your own capabilities instead of where you’re currently stuck, we build a map of actionable and sustainable solutions.


How is Solution Focused coaching different from other approaches?

A trained Solution Focused coach uses a strength-based approach to address solutions rather than problems. The spotlight is shifted from the problem to the solution.

When we de-link the problem and the solution, identifying the root cause of the problem becomes secondary, and the conversation focuses on the solution. The coaching conversation goes on to explore “What’s Wanted” instead of “What’s Wrong”.

It can be difficult to distance the solution from the problem.

A Solution Focused coach, therefore, might ask what a coachee has done successfully in the past, perhaps in similar situations, or what does the future look like …when the problem is resolved.  By focusing the conversation perhaps on a coachee’s past successes, or a positive future, a Solution Focused coach surfaces the coachee’s resources and abilities, empowering the coachee, and helping him understand that they are already on the way to finding solutions.

The dialogue is focused on helping the coachee form a clear picture of their preferred future, instead examining their problems under a microscope.

The coachee’s insights are built as a result of the dialogue that takes place during coaching, which is why we say that a Solution Focused approach is about building solutions.

Let’s see a recent, real-life demonstration of this …

Mr. Tan, a senior director at a public sector organization, recently found out that his team was very unhappy with his level of engagement through the results of a 360-interview.

As the interviews were in written form, there was no platform for Mr Tan to defend, or oppose to these criticisms.  During the coaching session, Mr. Tan started getting defensive in explaining why his employees were unhappy with his performance. “The millennials in my team are really problematic … these guys take things for granted, they come in late and leave on time,” he says.

I observed very clearly that a wall of defensiveness was in construction.  The rapport I had built with him at the start of the conversation was crumbling. I flipped the 360-feedback booklet over and took the conversation in a new direction. “Mr Tan, you’ve been with the organization for a long time.  There must be something you enjoy doing here to have stayed for 32 years. Are you still happy here?”

There was silence. Mr Tan looked at me, a little stunned, then his eyes slowly looked away and gazed out of the window. I waited. After a while, he finally spoke, sounding resigned.

“You are right. I’m not happy.”  

“Yet you have chosen to stay for 30 years. Let’s suppose you are happier somewhere else, what would you be doing differently?”

“I’d be retired, spending more time at home. But my wife … she doesn’t like me to be at home. She only likes my supplementary credit card.” It was clearly a very sensitive topic and a tender moment. Mr. Tan was nearly in tears.

“How would you like your relationship with your wife to be like instead?” I watched him visibly perked up as he excitedly started talking about the “good-old days”.

As we progressed in the conversation, he became slowly aware that his relationships with people, including his wife, were very transactional. The clearer he was about where he wanted to be in the future, the more driven he was to improve his relationships with people now.

The first step in his journey was thinking about how he could show more affection for his wife (isn’t it always? …happy wife, happy life), closely followed by how to bridge relationships with his younger team members.

This is what we meant by de-emphasizing problem solving.

Through asking questions, and guiding the conversation to raise his awareness rather than be fixated on fixing the problems, Mr. Tan was given space away from the overwhelming negativity of his problems, and brought to a place where he could generate his own solutions.

Paradoxically, by focusing less on problems, we expand the possibilities and create more sustainable solutions.


Who Should Learn Solution Focused Coaching?

Anyone can benefit from Solution Focused coaching, no matter where you may be in your career, or which rung you are on the corporate ladder.

This coaching approach helps coachees realize their full potential, and employees break through self-imposed limits.  Solution Focused coaching is an ideal approach in today’s fast-paced world. The concept is simple and straightforward.

Most importantly, Solution Focused coaching creates a hopeful and positive environment that empowers instead of overwhelms.

If you’d like to train solution-focused coaches in the house at your organisation, send your enquiry to us at Kaleidoskope, today.

Fill out our form to receive full details on how you and your organisation can benefit from mastering the art of High Impact Facilitation. Just a few fields and you’re on your way to becoming a highly effective trainer.

Being a good leader isn’t something you can memorise, or take lessons for then consider yourself an expert, afterwards. While skills and certain principles may be taught, it’s up to you to make a conscious effort to put them into action.

My Blog

Corporate Training Blog Subscribe

John F Kennedy once wrote that “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” As the leader of an entire nation counting on him to steer them through delicate foreign relations, economic difficulties, racial discrimination and other domestic issues, this US President knew he couldn’t afford to let his leadership skills slide.

Being a good leader isn’t something you can memorise, or take lessons for then consider yourself an expert, afterwards. While skills and certain principles may be taught, it’s up to you to make a conscious effort to put them into action.

There’s no real substitute for the experience you gain in the field as you pay close and careful attention to the impact of your actions on those you lead. This doesn’t mean, however, that the skills that a good leader ought to have can’t be learned or imparted in the form of guidance or mentorship.


A Guide Designed for Those Who Guide

To help you and the leaders in your organisation evolve your leadership abilities, we’ve put together this compact reference as a guide that acts in much the same way as a lighthouse for ships on a turbulent sea. It can be easy to lose sight of your role’s meaning or purpose amid the frenetic activity of your day-to-day, and the uncertainties of today’s business environment.

With entire teams of people and their respective leaders clamouring for your attention and multiple responsibilities demanding to be fulfilled, it can be helpful to take a step back and remember

  1. What it means to be a leader
  2. What are the critical traits a leader needs to have
  3. What a leader needs to do to address internal issues within the organisation
  4. How can a leader rise to the occasion to meet external challenges

This “quick refresher course”, if you will, just might help you keep your leadership goals in sight and within reach, and keep you on the path toward achieving them.


What It Means To Be A Leader

There are many definitions of who a leader is and what he’s meant to be doing, but they all might be distilled into this basic concept: A leader is a leader not because of the title he has, but the role he has to fulfil—and that role is to serve those he leads, and not himself. This means putting the needs of the organisation first, and making sacrifices toward this end.

Being a leader means being responsible for everyone in your charge, and constantly thinking of the greater good, which sometimes means overriding the individual. The larger the organisation or the more people you have under your care, the greater your responsibility.

This is one of, if not the guiding principle in making the tough decisions which, as a leader, are your job to make on a daily basis. When things get complicated, fast, ask yourself how a course of action in one way or the other affects everyone involved—from key management all the way down to maintenance. Everyone, not just a chosen few, must be able to benefit.


What Are the Critical Traits A Leader Needs to Have

It’s interesting to note how a list of characteristics that people expect their leaders to have, might often be seen on similar lists pertaining to heroes, idols, or anyone people look up to. But while we offer you a checklist of 20 Qualities of a Good Leader in Times of Change, we also point out that these qualities generally aren’t acquired overnight, nor on your own.

When we say “on your own”, we refer not to your personal initiative or drive for self-improvement, but rather to the fact that leadership doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Qualities on our checklist such as vulnerability and generosity, for instance, particularly require interaction with others to develop.

After going through this checklist and ticking off such qualities as you consider yourself to possess to an acceptable degree, it might be helpful to look back at the list later on to see whether you’ve improved. You might even make one or more of these qualities the object of a sort of “new year’s resolution” for you to work on.


What a leader needs to do to address internal issues  

In every organisation in every vertical across industries, teams are made up of people, and no two people are ever alike. As diversity in terms of background, skills and specialisations continues to abound in the workplace, it falls to you, as a leader, to make sure everyone is able to work together as smoothly as possible.

We offer you some advice for How to Manage A High-Performance Team Made Up of Different Personalities, reiterating the need for empathy and the ability to reach out and connect with people. While office cultures vary between organisations, the need for mutual respect, tolerance and trust between co-workers is a must at any level.

If a breach in this trust should occur or a line should be crossed, which does happen sometimes even in (or sometimes especially in) the closest-knit teams within “family atmosphere”-type cultures, it falls to you to restore harmony. You might refer to your organisational values and ask yourself, again, what the best course of action would be as regards the greater good.


How Can a Leader Rise to Meet External Challenges

  • Political issues
  • Economic trends
  • Technological developments
  • Natural disasters
  • Social questions

These are just some of the myriad factors affecting business growth, and as a leader, it’s your duty to see that your organisation is able to react in a timely fashion and to adapt accordingly.

Providing a prompt and effective response to challenges as they happen is the function of business agility. An organisation encumbered by a rigid hierarchy or bureaucratic procedure, for instance, would find itself quite unable to move quickly should an opportunity (or an impending disaster) present itself. Review the reasons Why A Good Leader Needs to Understand Business Agility.

It’s not enough for an organisation, however, merely to react—especially in the midst of the likes of a downward trend or negative backlash to an unforeseen event. An organisation must be able to adjust or change its team structures and business processes, for instance, and it’s up to you as a leader to effect these changes as needed.

This entails keeping an open mind and a willingness to learn, and while it’s undeniably admirable to adhere unflinchingly to a set of values and a work ethic, clinging to outdated procedures or methodologies will do your organisation no good. Ask yourself, Do You Practise Adaptive Leadership? to find out whether you’re the kind of leader your organisation needs.


Learn From Other Leaders

Being able to adapt, or to evolve as a leader comes with the territory of business growth. As with growth in general, not changing into something better is precursory to death—or stagnancy, at best. You owe it to the people you lead to keep on learning to become a good leader. It’s your responsibility to them as well as to yourself.

The good news is that you’re not alone—nor should you be. At the heart of your evolution as a leader is the ability to listen and empathise with the needs of those around you, within and outside of your organisation. Learning opportunities are just waiting to be found within every interaction; all you have to do is to seize them as they come.

Find guidance and mentorship specially designed for leaders and leaders-in-the-making with trainers who know what it is to be leaders, themselves. On top of decades of experience in leadership and management training, executive coaching, and business agility, our trainers have held key management positions in leading multinationals across the region and beyond.

Meet your mentors at Kaleidoskope, now.

Fill out our form to receive full details on how you and your organisation can benefit from mastering the art of High Impact Facilitation. Just a few fields and you’re on your way to becoming a highly effective trainer.

How do you keep your team running like a well-oiled machine when its parts don’t seem to fit together? Find out how in our latest blog.

My Blog

Leadership & Corporate Training Insights

KALEIDOSKOPE BLOG How to Manage a High-Performance Team Made Up of Different Personalities DECEMBER 2018

When it comes right down to it, all men aren’t created equal. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it comes to assembling your business team. Having team members with different backgrounds, as well as skills and specialisations, is what drives innovation and ensures that you have all the bases covered by receiving inputs from all possible sides.

It’s up to you, the team leader or manager, to see to it that everyone on your team is performing their best, contributing all that they can, and is happy while working with everyone else. This, of course, is much easier said than done, as many teams in today’s workplace have members who may be about as alike as chalk and cheese.

How do you keep your team running like a well-oiled machine when its parts don’t seem to fit together? It all boils down to taking a micro and macro view of your team, which means relating to individual team members, and considering the needs of your team as a whole.


Go, Team… Players!

Acknowledging everyone’s individuality is the first step towards unity. While that may seem self-contradictory, it makes sense when you think of it as an assessment of the way someone fits into your team. Getting to know each team member through regular one-on-one’s will enable you to adjust your management style accordingly as both coach and team captain. Many descriptions and evaluations of the various personality types exist (such as this one by Deloitte), but to give you a fresh and hopefully clearer perspective of team dynamics, we have our own sporty take on workplace personalities. We’ll also give you a hint or two as to how you may be able to adapt to each of them or relate to them on a personal level.

  • The Most Valuable Player (MVP). These are your super achievers who are very good at what they do. They’re quick on the uptake, able to work independently, and readily learn what they need to, as needed. They are also often able to help others out whilst performing their own tasks and have a healthy amount of confidence in their abilities.

    Even if they may not express it openly (or even be aware of it), MVP’s look for affirmation of their achievements. However, there are MVP’s who, knowing just how good they are, might be a bit too confident. If such is the case with one of your own, try having a two-person huddle to remind your star player that everyone else on the team is just as valuable as he is.
  • The Defender. These are your introverts, the “strong and silent” types who are great at what they do, but aren’t the type to broadcast it. Because of this, other team members might get the idea that defenders may not be as smart or slacking off. In this instance, communication has a crucial role to play in letting everyone know what everyone else is actually up to.

    Bear in mind that it’s not that defenders are stand-offish; indeed, many of them are just naturally diffident—but this does not in any way detract from the often high quality of their performance. As you encourage them to be more communicative and assure them that they will be listened to, be sure to check in with them regularly in a friendly, unobtrusive manner.
  • The Cheerleader. These are your social butterflies who get along with everybody and want to make sure everyone is all right. In terms of performance, many of them do tend to be above average and excel at project management. Team members generally feel comfortable around them and may look to them for both work-related and moral support.

    Because of the way they seem to know what’s going on with everybody, cheerleaders might give the impression that they are nosy or a source of workplace gossip. They might also seem to be spending more time on the office grapevine than actually working. Again, open team communication and a quick tête-à-tête may be all you need to get them back on track.
  • The Wildcard. These are your creatives, the artistic, unconventional types who don’t seem to think in the same way as everyone else, and therefore tend to be a tad unpredictable. Yet, these are the team players who usually (not exclusively) come up with the ideas that could (and often do) make a whole difference to the team’s overall output.

    Though they may not always appear to be, wildcards work as hard as anyone and are usually more emotionally invested into their work. Because of this, they need to know that their work is respected or appreciated. As you give wildcards the space they need to ideate and create, channel their energies to make sure that their innovations remain aligned with team goals.
  • The Benchwarmer. Let’s be honest, every organisation has them, but don’t let their name fool you—these team players play a role that’s just as important as the rest of the team. While they may not particularly stand out in terms of performance, they are the backbone of your team whom you should be able to count on to give their hardworking best time after time.

    While not every benchwarmer has the potential to become an MVP, they have strengths as well as weaknesses just like everyone else. Reach out to them so you can work on identifying these strengths in order to build them up, as well as compensate for the weaknesses where possible. Don’t forget—these team players also have a hand in carrying out your game plan.

United, We Stand

The winning strategy for your personality-diverse team also hinges on how you understand and facilitate the way your team works as a single unit. In writing for Fast Company, Ted Leonhardt points out how it’s possible to set norms or rules of conduct for your whole team that everyone can observe regardless of their individual personalities.

These norms may vary between teams and organisations, but they generally include reminding everyone of the objectives that the team needs to reach together, and that everyone has an important role to play in meeting those objectives. Remind everyone that they need to show respect towards everyone else on the team, and that no one should be left out or left behind.

Assure everyone that they’re not alone on the team and that you and everyone else are ready to help when necessary and to listen when they have something to say. But remind them likewise that everyone is counting on them to perform their tasks well, and to complete them on time.

And just as you continue to build personal, individual relationships with each member of the team, you can also get to know them collectively by working alongside them wherever possible. Also make it a point to celebrate victories (big or small) with them, and to be there for them (as well as learn from it) when things don’t go according to plan.

Leading and managing teams is something we know a lot about at Kaleidoskope, as our trainers have helped key decision-makers as well as those with leadership potential to become better, more effective leaders. Find out how you can hone your own leadership skills along with those of your fellow managers by getting in touch with us at Kaleidoskope, today.

Start giving your staff LEARNING THAT STICKS