How to give constructive feedback

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Our trusty Feedback-o-Meter from our Greater Collective workshops

Communicating effectively in team-based environments in the workplace is extremely vital for growth and wellbeing. However, one of the biggest factors that make us apprehensive to communicate effectively, is giving and receiving real-time feedback.

In fact, feedback and effective communication are one of the top-rated skill-sets to have as an employee as highlighted in the research conducted by Foundation of Young Australia (FYA) regarding the future of work. Over the past decade, FYA have found that ‘soft’ skills like great communication, interpersonal skills and giving feedback are what the strongest employees all mutually possess. Furthermore, FYA discovered that businesses that emphasise the importance of building and harnessing these skills have enjoyed an increased capacity of total employment.

Feedback is completely vital to the growth of a business because it enables a business to reflect on themselves, what to change, and how to implement those changes. While it is a vital and necessary asset to have, it often causes a lot of stress and problems due to people either misinterpreting constructive feedback and criticism as personal attacks. People’s ambiguity and also the subjectivity of the matter can make it confusing – and ineffective.

As underscored by Ben Wigert, lead performance management research at Gallup, “Employees need regular, formal and informal conversations with their manager. For instance, employees and managers can better understand expectations, workloads, priorities and roadblocks by completing informal, daily ‘quick connects’ lasting five to 15 minutes.”

Here are our tips for effective communication whether it be with your fellow co-worker or your wider team:

  1. Goals: Have a goal in mind for the conversation, so it doesn’t waver.
  2. Timing: Ask the other person if it is a good time for them to receive feedback. Do not give feedback just for the sake of it.
  3. Listening: Think of the 80:20 rule a little differently: 80% listening, 20% speaking.
  4. Situation: Always put your feedback into context. Determine the ‘where’ and ‘when’ of the situation that you are referring to.
  5. Behaviour: Characterise the specific behaviours that you want to address.
  6. Impact: Explain what the impact of the behaviour has been on both you and the wider team.


Our first Breakfast Roundtable Recap – Insights from Google

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“Can we, as a team, take a risk without feeling insecure or embarrassed?”

Last Monday, we hosted our very first Breakfast Roundtable at WeWork in Pyrmont. Despite the early Monday morning start, we were thrilled to meet and engage with like-minded individuals who joined us at our breakfast where we talked about the importance of people and culture to a business.

During the roundtable, we discussed how people are the bearer of ideas and how these ideas are often the game changer when a business grows and changes over the years. We went down memory lane as we conversed about the changes in workplace culture over the years, either due to the rise of technological advancements, the value of people, or the resistance to change.

“By failing, you learn.” – Vito Carrozzo, Chief de Mission of First Australians Capital & one of our attendees.

The warm presence in the room invited a lot of laughter and created a bubbly and fun energy which propelled discussion with one another. Over a delicious breakfast together, the wholesome atmosphere enabled everyone to feel relaxed and unafraid to churn out their ideas! We all then further delved into the root of people and culture as well as our journey from being ex-Googlers to now a growing startup.

We also didn’t want anyone missing out of our Breakfast Roundtable! Throughout the entire event, we uploaded snippets of our event onto our social media like Facebook, Twitter & Instagram so no one missed out. Here are some snapshots of us in action below:

Overall, one of the biggest takeaways with The Breakfast Roundtable was that it brought people on a journey, with everyone taking away something important from the event – whether it be valuable insights, a deeper understanding of ThinkChangeGrow and our mission, or just meeting us and networking with new people!

We would like to give a warm thank-you to everyone who came to our first Breakfast Roundtable event on a Monday morning!

Do you believe that culture eats strategy for breakfast like we do? We will be hosting our second breakfast roundtable on the 7th of August where we will be sharing and discussing our insights and much more. Secure your spot today.


The Future of Work- What is Needed from Leaders?

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A few weeks ago, we had the privilege of hosting a fantastic Meetup at the Collective Purpose space at Woolloomooloo. Despite it being a Monday evening, we were thrilled to see so many people brave the cold to come and join us.

The Meetup started around 6pm and there was a positively infectious energy going around as everyone started to get to know each other. We enjoyed some snacks, refreshments and pizza (of course) and everyone was encouraged to write down their thoughts on a few posters that we had put up on the walls.




After everyone got to know each other, our brains were simulated and we were ready to engage in thoughtful conversation. Hiam began the discussion by explaining how technology is disrupting the status quo. More importantly, she explored the impact of this on the nature of the workforce, workplace hierarchies and incentives. It was fantastic to see so many people contribute to the discussion and offer their professional and personal insights into the issue.

We also had a couple of people email us saying that they couldn’t attend the Meetup, however they were still interested in discussing the topic. Therefore, we started a #thinkchangegrow on our Twitter page where we were live-tweeting all evening to make sure that no one was missing out on all of the action! Hiam was super tech-savvy and started a livestream on our Facebook documenting all the events that unfolded throughout the evening.



By the end of the night, we were able to share our perspectives regarding the relationship between automation and jobs. We also ended with a thrilling game of Kahoot! where we were all confronted by some alarming statistics about how the workforce will change dramatically by 2030. It became clear to all of us that technological change is inevitable and that leaders and managers will play a very important role in ensuring that this change is integrated seamlessly into the workplace.




Overall, it was a very enjoyable evening and we are glad that we were able to share our thoughts with such an innovative group of people. It was inspiring to hear how passionate each person was about the future and we have no doubt that the future of work will be full of positive change.

Don’t forget to follow our Meetup page to connect with other like-minded individuals and of course to stay up-to-date with the details regarding our upcoming Meetups.

Does a Team really need a Leader?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leadership, Teams

Teams are becoming like self-driving cars…they don’t necessarily need one appointed leader to run the team day-in-day-out. Just like a car is doing away with one driver and is becoming ever more sophisticated at things like forecasting trouble ahead, getting in and out of tough situations, overcoming fatigue and human error…the same is happening with teams. We explore the power of Collective Leadership in our flagship leadership program designed for anyone who has ever needed to step up and take the lead at some point in their career…

The future of leadership is in the collective.

The Greater Collective reinforced the power of collective leadership – as opposed to individual leadership and unravelled how critical it is for team work if an organisation is serious about change. – Ruth & Carolen.

The whole premise of The Greater Collective was to propel our participants headlong into a real challenge – no fake scenario’s, no made up problems. We wanted to stretch their minds, push them out of their comfort zones and more importantly, nurture their unique strengths as a leaders.

So we thought we’d ask participants what’s stuck for them since…

When we collaborated with a NFP to solve a real challenge, in this case the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, not only did we want to build leaders who would become expert navigators and instigators of change but we wanted to highlight how integral it is to simply be aware and understand. After all, the crux of real change is our deep understanding of it. What are we pushing for and why?


When I reflect now on the training, I hope I became a better leader, but for sure I became a better person. I see life somewhat different now, I understand cerebral palsy better and I understand people who have it better. Our education is so focused on teaching us the axioms and rules… we are not taught well enough about the people and all the problems people have.” – Igor

The textbook definition of a ‘leader’ is ‘the person who leads or commands a group, organisation or country’ but in that one intensive month, our participants breathed a whole new meaning into that. A leader isn’t just someone who leads a group. A leader is someone who is genuinely empathetic and understanding. Someone who has a true interest and passion in making a positive social impact. A beacon of inspiration to those around them.


I was really interested in the idea of learning the type of leader that I could be or that I was. It appealed to me because it had different aspects to it. Being a part of a group that makes a difference but also learning about yourself. I actually think that they did a really good job of allowing you to do both those things.” – Lauren

The next Greater Collective starts June 5th – limited places are available,

Young leaders, driving without a license

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leadership

Ferrari California

It always astounded me, how linear and over simplistic the process is to become a leader. You excel in your role, for example you might be in sales, so you hit your target consistently, your customers rave about you, your manager looks great because you’re bringing in the numbers and then BOOM you get the keys to a Ferrari.

Well not a real one but the equivalent of one, you get promoted and are given a team to manage. Surely if you can do so well in your sales role you can easily teach others to do the same…right? Wrong.

The skills needed to do well in your own role are not the same as those needed to run a team successfully. To do well in your own role you primarily need to be a self-starter, someone who takes initiative, someone who can prioritise their day really well, stay focused on what’s important…which is typically quite a defined goal. Whether it be number of customers to acquire, revenue target to achieve, number of upsells to get.

Again I’m just using sales as an example. The point is the goal is really quite defined and the variables are not too difficult to navigate. You do love working with your team and of course you need to rely on them to a certain point but 80% of your success is controlled by you.

It’s very scary when you all of a sudden get promoted into your first management role, as you’re no longer in control. In fact that 80% you can just kiss it goodbye and give to your team. As your performance is now measured 20% by what you do and 80% by your team!

You quickly realise people are not clones of you and can often do things differently. They don’t prioritise the same stuff you do. You presume they do, yet they don’t. How terrifying!

I watched high performers take on management roles and flounder, typically within their first 6 months. The ones who survived did a few key things differently. Read the full list here.

I fully empathise with how difficult it is to be a great manager. You are asked to be so many things, the captain, the counsellor, the controller, to name a few and are typically only given the tools needed to become a successful manager very late in the day. Usually, after you have received the keys to the Ferrari. That’s a bit like getting your first driving lesson after you have been given those keys, it’s a bit late.

As part of the next generation of leaders, it’s important to take the time to explore your leadership style…early…ideally before you get those keys. Take time to learn what drives you as a leader, develop a narrative that you can take with you to any team and is authentic to you and your journey.

Learning how to adapt to very different personalities, some that might frustrate you, is crucial to do early. If you can squeeze in some time learning how to effectively coach others and how to give really truthful, actionable feedback then you will have built a very strong foundation as a leader of the next generation.

Developing Leaders early is a huge area of focus for ThinkChangeGrow where we believe in the power of people first. However, a one-day course can’t cover all the key elements I mentioned, and allow you to network and build the relationships that will turn into a support network throughout your careers.

So we have created a one month, high impact leadership Bootcamp – ThinkChangeGrow for Future Leaders starts October 15th at UNSW Sydney.

Join us if you are ready to;

  • Discover what the best leaders do differently from the rest
  • Unearth your own authentic leadership style
  • Learn how to build your personal brand narrative, defining your vision to become a thought leader in your space
  • Develop your coaching skills so you can empower your team
    And much more…

We look forward to being a part of your leadership journey and arming you with the skills, insights and tools needed to get those P Plates.

What kind of leader do you want to be – The lover, with a woeful ballad?

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“Leadership is a lot like love. Everyone thinks it’s special, but hardly anyone agrees on a definition” (Peltier, 2010), and yet lists of top leaders like The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders are being compounded regularly and agreed upon.

How to define and measure good leadership

As there is no commonly used leadership definition available, many different models of leadership exist. Some focus on personal qualities or traits, some on behaviours and actions, some concentrate on the quality of the context and some examine the interaction between the character of the leader and the situation. Additionally, it’s important to say most of the current leadership literature shows a distinct American/European bias, has a masculine tendency and is favouring individualism and autonomy.
Measuring or assessing leadership effectiveness are both equally difficult, and the most comment approach used is whether an organization is successful.  We need to ask, however, at what point in time were the measurements taken, how is success defined, and by whom? And then there is the question: how can a leader be extremely successful in one context but fail in others?

Research on leadership

Modern leadership models look at charisma and traits, interaction between leader and followers, leadership styles, decision making principles of leaders, personal drive, and developmental stages of leaders – e.g.  The seven ages of the leader in parallel with Shakespeare’s seven ages of man (The lover, with a woeful ballad: For emerging leaders one of the toughest is how to relate to former peers who now report to you.) The aim of the research is to figure out what constitutes good leadership and how to develop and prompt it.

So, what constitutes a good leader?

Personal qualities

One thing is clear, there are no universal traits that will guarantee good leadership. For one trait you can name a good leader and a not so good leader. Nevertheless, there are traits that arise most frequently through research and seem to be important qualities to lead successfully: establishing collaborative relationships, creating a climate of trust and emotional maturity are amongst them.

Leave your email to receive the full list of the 11 most frequently occurring leadership traits in recent research.

Situational fit

Not all positions or organisations are suitable for all leaders. Individuals and organizations need to assess carefully the demands of the organisation and its context to find the perfect match.

The most important aspect, however:

Having the right mindset

Not everyone is interested in being a leader – and organisations are advised to respect that. But those who want to be leaders don’t necessarily have the right mindset to be a leader. Leadership programs offer tools and techniques to learn the skills needed to become a good leader (as we do with our ThinkChangeGrow for Future Leaders program), however, the tools are not the key for change. It’s the mindset that drives the tools!
It takes a willingness to learn, to adapt, to think reflectively, to change perspectives, to value others perspectives and to personally grow. It takes a growth mindset to be a leader.