How Sabotage Kills Teamwork

“Our resilience is untested until we suffer setbacks” Liz Sheppard, clinical psychologist and peak performance coach to Olympians and Athletes.

Not sure about you, however I’ve always found leadership feels like 2 steps forward and 5 steps backwards most days.

Everyone wants a piece of you, there are 1000 things on the to-do list, firefighting issues, meeting after meeting and then invariably at the end of a day… we have to ‘switch off’ and ‘show up’ for our other life and be present for family.

Staying on top of it, is pretty bloody testing!

Now you’re probably very familiar with the term being physically fit and strong. How it’s measured by whether you’re wanting to lift heavier weights, last the 90 mins of a soccer game, build endurance to run a marathon etc.

If we talked emotionally fit? What comes to mind?

You’ll probably think about being able to deal with your emotions to a greater or lesser degree. When it comes to emotional fitness some of us find handling our emotions easier than others, and some of us find some emotions easier to handle than others.

Yes, you heard that correctly. Some of us can handle the positive emotions: excitement, joy, love, hope, interest, enthusiasm etc, however we may struggle to handle or know how to deal with our own or others negative emotions like anger, frustration, fear, shame and guilt. So we’ll suppress them, either by not acknowledging or addressing them in others, or attempting to put a band-aid or lid on our own.

Unfortunately like most things the band-aid might not cure the problem. Or when a lid is put on something, if it’s hot enough, the pressure high, then the pot will boil over.

Similarly our own emotions will explode out of us, often at the most inopportune times and unfortunately at the expense of and highly impacting those around us.

Years ago, standing at a filing cabinet in an office, in an executive leadership role, I had just finished a phone call, left my office to check a hard copy file in a manila folder (yes those were the days) and discovered a problem. Within 2 seconds, I turned around and roared across the room at a certain staff member.

It was loud, it was harsh and very direct.

Not my finest hour.

If I’m being very honest, I unfortunately tend to do that still. We can. We’re human.

However in a world with so much pressure and stress, it’s helpful to find different ways to cope.

We’re working on ourselves as leaders, and what about the team, how are they tracking with recognising and handling their stresses, the pressure? We all sabotage ourselves in various ways in the work environment and it hits teams like a tonne of bricks, impacting people’s:

  • well being
  • ability to communicate effectively
  • ability to speak up, share opinions, direct others
  • ability for accuracy, attention to detail
  • ability to brainstorm problem-solve and achieve

We can all be stopped by distraction, perfectionism, over-achievement, etc.

Whilst short term band-aid fixes give immediate reprieve, it’s not helpful long term.

The pressure still bubbles away underneath.

Instead we need to understand the root causes of this sabotage impacting team productivity and performance.

Back to the filing cabinet, the root cause there, way back then and still is, when I get triggered.

Our ability to understand root causes to shift negative unhelpful emotions to positive useful emotions and behaviours is a game-changer for teams.

I’m a hyper-achiever and a stickler. This means a dependency on constant performance and achievement (for my own self validation and respect) combined with perfectionism and a need for order. Also a controller as I love to have control and take charge of situations.

Nowadays rather than focus on emotions and the lid required, it’s about identifying what’s at play…

Which sabotage strategy is more dominantly triggered or is it a combination?

Is it more hyper achiever?

Attempting to pull others into the vortex of hyper-achievement and getting frustrated and angry when they don’t meet the pace and high expectations?

Or is it stickler?

Mortified when someone does the ‘wrong thing’ according to my rule book and set of standards. Provoking resentment, anxiety, self-doubt and resignation in others, who may feel continually criticised. No matter how hard others work it is never enough for a stickler!

Or is it controller?

Always wanting to have a hand in and control situations and people. Controller gets results, however at a cost to others’ feelings, more resentment and does not empower others to utilise their own capabilities and strengths.

There are 10 of these sabotage strategies.

Today I’m sharing only 3.

These are my most dominant and evil.

Yes evil, because they’re like the dark forces at play. They used to happen without my knowledge and awareness.

However when we catch them coming….

If you’d like to know how:

Step 1: Recognise the sabotage strategies at play. Catch them before they blow out

Step 2: Use your self-command skills and build mental muscles to press pause/calm yourself

Step 3: Then engage your own superpowers of your sage wise self

Are you curious to know, understand how these sabotage strategies impact the working environment, relationships, results and outcomes, not to mention health and happiness as a leader in business and even at home?

Next week, I am planning a short 30 – 40 minute training to talk more about this topic. If you’d like to hear more, message NO MORE SABOTAGE to me here.




P.S Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you develop your tourism business leadership capabilities and achieve consistent business growth:

  1. Grab a free copy of our E-Book – How to Attract, Train and Retain Your Tourism Talent
    It’s the core principles for success in attracting new tourism talent, training new and existing staff, then retention strategies to ensure you keep the keepers  Click Here
  1. Join the Tourism Business Leader’s Facebook group and connect with like-minded leaders focused on building highly effective teams
    It’s our Facebook community where smart leaders get to learn more about creativity, leadership and performance for tourism business success. — Click Here
  1. Create Your Tourism Pro-Team and Drive Consistent Growth
    Helping tourism business leaders develop their skills to improve engagement, accountability and performance of the team and business. If you’d like to work with me so you can stop being reactive, have the difficult conversations and drive performance to get the results you want and know the business need and can achieve then… message PRO to me here and I’ll get you all the details.
  1. Let’s get the Whole Team Together
    Would you like a different perspective and someone else at the front of the room or on zoom/teams to lead regular and consistent team building, accountability, and engaging learning experiences, that drive results and outcomes for individuals, teams, and the business? If you feel a little challenged with everything going on, maybe sounding like a cracked record saying things repeatedly, or actually not 100% how to motivate and drive the team, given the current nature of business, it may be useful for us to chat. Message TEAM to me here… and tell me a little about the business, your team, and what you’d like to work on together.


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