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Thursday, 20 October 2011 05:54

Nock Oddy - Swinburne, 2011

'Michael has an excellent facilitation style and is able to engage and inspire his audience with ease. He combines his sound theoretical knowledge and expertise with a relaxed manner and an entertaining sense of humour. If you are considering engaging Michael for a learning and development project I would seriously recommend that you do so.'

Nicholas Oddy

Associate Director (Industry Solutions)

Swinburne University of Technology, 2011

Thursday, 20 October 2011 05:52

Barry Tomlin - lyondellbasell 2011

'Michael is able to deliver the training topic(s) whilst relating to the individual's experiences. This approach has allowed the participants of the course to achieve the most out of their training. (A truly remarkable skill). It also brings out an enthusiasm within the participants that I have not seen.'

Barry Tomlin

Operations Trainer

lyondellbasell, 2011

Thursday, 20 October 2011 05:48

Jeffrey Koit - CIMB 2011


'A trainer, facilitator and presenter extraordinaire - that's Michael Peiniger for you! He prepares well for his lessons; is very sensitive to the local context and surroundings; and make adjustments willingly and carefully along the way, always making sure that the key lessons of each session/class is indeed taken away by the class.'

Jeffrey Koit

Senior Vice President

Group Human Resource
Malaysia, 2011


IMG 0061The addition of an 18 month old labradoodle (pictured) to our family has taken us on a roller-coaster ride. The last 15 months have been an exercise in joy, commitment, frustration and persistence. When I think on the impact our new member has had on the rest of the family, I have realised that it is not very different to a new person entering a team in business. I have also realised that animals know an awful lot about being in a team – they have existed and survived in packs for thousands of years.

Here are some of the lessons learnt with Jake on being a good team member and being a good leader of a team.

1. The team rules need to be understood and applied by all members of the team / pack.

2. You need to protect your team from outside forces.

3. Listening and being present are important to your team.

4. Greet your team members like you are meeting them for the first time every day.

5. Consistency is crucial to trust and understanding.

6. Trust is built over months, not seconds.

7. Learn the things that you shouldn’t do in the team.

8. Remember that each team has different rules to live by.

9. Show respect for your team in ways that they appreciate.

10. Understand the unique behaviour and skill set you bring to the team.

11. Look after your team and they will look after you / You have to meet the needs of your team.

12. Breaks in discipline / performance can’t wait until later to fix.

13. Leading the team is not a half-hearted, part time responsibility.

14. The leader needs to guide the team clearly and precisely.

15. The leadership hierarchy needs to be understood by all of the team.

 What are rules governing your team? Are they understood by everyone? Does everyone apply them? Consider the list and check to see if your team meets the criteria set out by Jake.



0902-014 n1 cweb4x6Need help with developing the skills of your team? Michael Peiniger is a leadership and team development specialist who helps CEO's and heads of business 'develop leaders' within their organisations. As a specialist facilitator working with the top businesses in the country, Michael can provide your managers, supervisors and aspiring leaders with the skills, knowledge, behaviour traits and attitudes that will make them successful in challenging negativity in your business. To discuss your needs, call Michael on 0409 627 270, email

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or hit the link below. 


Thursday, 20 October 2011 01:43

Book Review: The First 90 Days

first-90-daysIt doesn’t matter what role you currently fill (CEO, Operations Manager, Supervisor or Team Manager), there is a period of transition that takes place when you transition from one role to another. Whether the role is internal or external to the one you are in at the moment, every role change brings with it a different set of challenges, expectations and frustrations. The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins looks at how a successful transition transition into a new role can be accelerated, while highlighting the pitfalls that many Managers make.


Key Points included in the book:

  • How to meet the 10 key challenges necessary to accelerate your successful transition into a new leadership role
  • How to diagnose your organization’s situation
  • How to handle the challenges and opportunities of four new leadership roles


Why we like it:

  1. Recognition that what made you successful in one role might not make you successful in another. Michael Watkins encourages readers to analyse what made them successful in previous roles and what (if any) of those skills can be transferred to a new role. Analysis rather than blind faith in previous success is a vital lesson to learn as a leader.
  2. The concept that successful leaders do not need to be good at all things. This fits with the ‘Kameleons’ approach to leadership (in short, the chameleon cannot change its colour to all in the rainbow, it has specific colours and environments that it can adapt to and avoids the ones it can’t).
  3. The realization that leaders at all levels of the organisation can (and should) set themselves and their team short and long term goals (that go beyond KPI’s set by the business).
  4.  It provides clear and logical steps and actions that can be taken rather than relying on pithy management / motherhood statements. Transitioning leaders need actionable steps to follow rather than guiding principles.


If there is a limitation to concepts in this book, it is that it is pitched more at the middle / senior Manager transitioning to a new role than a supervisor / team leader transitioning. The lessons are still applicable, but less able to be fully implements with a role with rigidly set KPI’s and direction from above.


If considering a new role or preparing to step up and take on a new leadership challenge, this book is worth the read to ensure you solidly prepare for your future success.


Have you read the book? What do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts or reviews.

Monday, 17 October 2011 07:20

MetaMorph CCGS 5


'I thought it was great having Mr Peiniger come and give both year 6 classes a session about teamwork at the beginning of the year. Mr Peiniger had us take part in some activities exercising our leadership skills. My team didn’t go so well, but we all learnt how to effectively support each other and it really enhanced our teamwork skills.'

Year 6 MetaMorph participant

IMG 0061Lesson 13 - Team Development Lessons Taught by my Dog

Owning a pet, much like deciding to have children -  is not a decision to be taken lightly. You are responsible for the welfare, care and protection of something / someone other than yourself. This task requires you to perform many different roles requiring many different skills – some of which are innate and others that you learn as you go. All of these tasks require responsibility and dedication, and are not dissimilar to the requirements for leading a team.

IMG 0061Lesson 12 - Team Development Lessons Taught by my Dog

Discipline has become a dirty word. The word itself brings up connotations of punishment and detention (at least in my mind anyway!). A new dog in the house has forced us to look at discipline in its truest form, that it, correcting behaviour that is not at the right standard. The same behaviour change process applied with Jake is also used by successful leaders managing successful teams.

IMG 0061Lesson 11 - Team Development Lessons Taught by my Dog.


While the concept of looking out for your team is not new, many people seem to forget that the process is ‘give and take’ rather than just ‘take’. A common mistake amongst new team leaders / supervisors is to assume that they can ‘take’ from their new team without giving anything in return.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011 03:07

The Insidious Effect of Negativity

The topic of this article was borne from the vast differences in culture that I experienced working with two different clients in the recent past (names and references to the specific businesses are not necessary).

Have you ever walked into a room and felt that the ‘vibe’ or culture just wasn’t right?

When first walking in to work with a client, you get a feel for the interactions between people, the discussions that take place in the corridors, the set up of the office spaces and the general demeanour of people as they interact with you. From first impression, something about Business A just felt ‘off’. The culture wasn’t toxic – I have worked in environments where the culture was so spiteful and hateful that I have learnt to recognise the signs – just not quite right. Several weeks later as I started the first training session with one of the groups I would facilitate, I was faced with arms crossed, a lack of talking between participants and a general lack of energy in the room. It wasn’t boredom, stress or fear that I could feel in the room – it was negativity.

The negativity that the group displayed manifested itself in several ways and could be heard through many different comments:

  1. Introductions were short when shaking people’s hands and discussion was muted.
  2. Management was referred to as ‘management’ or in discussion as ‘us and them’,
  3. Comments about other staff were frequently derogatory and not in the other person’s presence,
  4. Comments such as ‘we have tried that before’, ‘they don’t listen’ and ‘why bother’ prevailed when discussing areas for improvement or change.
  5. Small examples of positive behaviour and ideas were quickly knocked down.

I remember commenting after the training that while I found the group interesting and enjoyed the training session, it felt like the life and positivity were being sucked out of me. While I find groups such as these the most challenging and rewarding to work with (and turn around), it takes an emotional toll and is a bit like being on a rollercoaster as you ride the ups and downs.

Is you team or work culture like this – generally negative and sucking the life out of you?

I contrast this with Business B. Business B felt positive and ‘up’ from the moment I met the first person and was demonstrated by:

  1. Introductions were polite, eye contact was made and people had a smile on their faces,
  2. ‘We did this’ and ‘we do that’ was the language of the day – there was no ‘us' and ‘them’,
  3. Negative comments were about behaviour and actions rather than about people and judgments,
  4. New ideas (raised by either the group or me) were considered, debated and argued over to find the merit in them (and written down for future planning), and           
  5. One idea sparked another new idea and further comments.

I left the training session feeling like I had made a difference (similar to Business A), but I felt like I had just been a spark and that the energy came from the group. Rather than feeling drained, I felt buoyed by the response of the group and more energised than when I had started.

The differences between the businesses and the impact it had on the people within those businesses could not have been more stark. What sparked this article was the recognition that the differences were not only based on business culture, but that the culture was reinforced by every little action and reaction that took place between people in the business.

So what can be done to limit or prevent negativity in your workplace?

  1. Remove yourself from the negative behaviour. We can all make choices – do you have to be around the negative behaviour? I heard Paul McCarthy (paulmccarthy.com.au) explain part of his childhood and his dream of being successful. To paraphrase, he said ‘to be successful, I decided to surround myself with successful people’. The same applied for negativity. If you want to be positive, surround yourself with positive people. Who are the people that have the greatest impact on your life / work life? Are they positive people?
  2. Challenge the behaviour. For some reason negative behaviour or pulling someone down (particularly in Australia) can often become accepted behaviour. In fact, I have been the negative person in the room on more than one occasion. There is no need to accept the behaviour. When I was called on my behaviour by one of my peers, I was genuinely surprised – I hadn’t thought I was being negative until I had it repeated it back to me – and they were right. What negative behaviour have you created or accepted in the workplace?
  3. Provide an alternative view / idea / decision. Identifying negative behaviour is only the first step to improving your environment. Providing a clear picture of what you would like the behaviour to be, for yourself and others, clarifies what you want.
  4. Recognise the impact you have on others. We all have bad days, make bad decisions, make negative comments. The difference is the location, intensity, emotion and audience you display your negative behaviour to. Is your negative behaviour limited, or displays in front of everyone.
  5. Be aware of the signs. Negative behaviour is 'insidious' because it can creep up on you and impact your ability to work without you realising it. Look for the signs. Make the choice to have an impact on the behaviour rather than let negativity wash over you.

Is your business environment more like Business A or B? What choices can you make to change the environment that you work in? Do you need to be more positive in your work environment?



0902-014 n1 cweb4x6Need help with addressing negativity in your workplace? Having trouble challenging behaviour that stifles creativity? Michael Peiniger is a leadership and team development specialist who helps CEO's and heads of business 'develop leaders' within their organisations. As a specialist facilitator working with the top businesses in the country, he can provide your managers, supervisors and aspiring leaders with the skills, knowledge, behaviour traits and attitudes that will make them successful in challenging negativity in your business. To discuss your needs, call Michael on 0409 627 270, email

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or hit the link below. 


About Kameleons

We develop leaders that build high performing teams to deliver improved business outcomes.
We refine leadership skills and behaviours for optimal people performance.
We utilise individual strengths and addressing skill deficiencies to meet and exceed personal and business expectations.

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