September 22, 2022

Meeting Topics 22 Sept – 7 Oct – PEOPLE: The ‘Work’ of Managing Your People by Angela Porfiriadis-Walker – Just pick up the phone – Mel Curwood LEADERSHIP:

Meeting Topics 22 Sept – 7 Oct – PEOPLE: The ‘Work’ of Managing Your People by Angela Porfiriadis-Walker – Just pick up the phone – Mel Curwood LEADERSHIP:

Just Pick Up the Phone - Mel Curwood Leadership

Meeting Topic


This fortnight’s article is contributed by Angela Porfiriadis-Walker from Core HR to kick off our People Pillar for this year. As you prepare for your upcoming 60-second introduction, read the article and consider how YOU can become a better ‘people’ manager or leader – even with people you don’t employ! Perhaps it’s your accountant or V.A. Perhaps a contractor who helps you complete work when you’re uber-busy. Remember – how you show up as a manger or leader can make or break their day (and possibly your business!).

The ‘Work’ of Managing Your People by Angela Porfiriadis-Walker

Being a manager of employees can be HARD.  Your team can leave you bursting with pride… or bubbling with frustration. The same challenges can be experienced when managing contractors or those other suppliers you have engaged to grow your business and thrive!

It’s hard to be responsible for your work, but now you are responsible for the ‘work’ of others. Managing your ‘people’, no matter how that looks is one of the hardest parts of owning a business.

Here are 10 things you can do to be a better Manager (in all areas!) – WARNING, WHAT FOLLOWS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE (it’s just nice to be mindful of those things we forget in our VERY busy lives)


Be clear in your expectations of what you want your ‘people’ to do.  Putting it simply, they cannot read your mind.

If you haven’t told them what you need, don’t assume they will deliver.  Next time someone underdelivers on what you wanted, ask yourself whether you specified EXACTLY what you wanted.  Asked Tracey to send an email to Mrs Smith on her recent order?  Annoyed she emailed Joy Smith and not June Smith?  It’s on you.


As children, we are taught common manners.  We must say ‘please’ when we ask for something and ‘thank you’ when we receive it.  Amazingly, we seem to forget these common courtesies in our work life.  Saying please and thank you is a very small act of appreciation and recognises what your ‘people’ are doing (or have done) for you.  And if you are that person who’s into issuing directives “I direct you to do this now”, please – just stop.


If Brent, your website designer has created imagery which does not reflect you or your brand, ask them about it.  Don’t leave it to the internal monologue:

  • “It’s against my values which I have emailed over, but maybe he had a look at competitors’ websites; I DID ask him to get it to me quickly…” (You’re assuming the whole mind-reading thing again).

If Brent’s continued designs and suggestions are not appropriate, you will get frustrated.  When you do bring it up, he will wonder “where has this came from?”.  It’s the same principle for if Sally is late to work (“
but she lives out east”) or Donna who didn’t submit her report on time (“she’s had a busy week”)

If your people are used to you asking questions, they won’t be as defensive if you DO need to challenge something in the future.  (Also, if you had innocently asked the very first time, they may have thought twice before repeating the same behaviour!)


Your job is to enable your people to do their job.  Not do their jobs for them.  Yes, you are very experienced.  Yes, you may know the answer.  Should you always tell them the answer straight away?  No. Should you take it over and do it for them because it’s ‘easier’?  No.  Ask yourself how did you learn those answers? By doing it.  Don’t rob your people of the opportunity to improve or learn.

Don’t fall into the trap of us control freaks (I think I can safely say there are a few of us out there). Ask questions.  “Where do you think we could find the answers?”, “What are the options?”, “What would YOU do in my situation?”. Yes, sometimes it is much faster to do it yourself. But it’s only going to make you resentful long term – and it’s what you are paying someone to do.


As a junior HR person, processing payroll, I had an irate employee threaten legal action when their final pay was incorrect.  Mortified, I confessed to my Finance Manager.  Her response (with a smile) was “I know. You didn’t check the leave calculations. Better fix it then”.  I was dutifully chastised.  I spent 2 hours recalculating, gave a long and heartfelt apology, and thereafter have NEVER made another mistake with a final pay again.

The best way to learn how to do something well is to do it wrong, and then have to fix it. Failure is uncomfortable and undoing or fixing a mistake is painful. Humans are naturally inclined to avoid repeating an unpleasant situation.  If you can let your people make a mistake without impacting business too much, let them. Then be ready to help them navigate through fixing it!


No matter how you have engaged with your people, there are two things you should memorise about each person if you can.  If you don’t know these things, get cracking!

–          What do they think their Strength is? (Their view – not yours)

–          What do they think their Weakness is? (Their view – not yours)

Understanding strengths and weaknesses will help you allocate/organise work, overcome barriers, know what info you need to be super clear on and ultilise untapped skills.  The benefits are endless!  The more you know about each person, the better.


Recognition doesn’t need to be some fancy pants HR program providing certificates and rewards for an overly complicated set of criteria. It doesn’t need to be a hamper of condiments (you are paying them already).  Recognition is strongest when it is based on understanding.  Show your people you understand.  You understand the effort they expended to get it done.  You understand the painful elements of what they would have encountered.

Talk with authority as to what happened and how they would have felt. Managed a customer complaint? “Sheesh they seemed super annoyed at the beginning, but you managed to turn that around”. Finished a long painful project with a demanding business owner (that’s you!)? “Wow, you’ll be pleased to have tidied that one up! I know it was a long one but it’s really going to make a difference to my business” or “That was awesome, and I loved the graphs. I was blown away”.


Think of the worst boss or client you have ever had. What did they say or do to earn them this illustrious title?  Don’t do it. Be conscious and recognise when you start emulating the same behaviours.

Were they dishonest? Pride yourself on being open and transparent. Did they give you jumbled instructions? Be precise and organised in your communications. Did they have anger management issues?  Catch your own anger before it boils over.


As a manager, you have a magical power. You can make or break your team’s day. Your behaviour and attitude at work (and in life) is contagious. As a leader, your attitude is 10x more contagious than anyone else’s.

As you know, being a client also has magical powers. Their praise can make us soar, get us through the next working month, help us deal with another difficult client. They can also crush us, drive us to distraction and make us wonder if this ‘biz gig’ is worth it.

When you have a bad day, you can guarantee it will flow through your team and those suppliers you engage with.  We have all been there. Bossman arrives at work and a darkness descends on the whole office.  Client calls and starts the conversation with “we have a big problem and you need to fix it!”  That’s it, day ruined, sinking heart and lump in your throat.  If you approach your people with an upbeat and success-driven attitude and show them how much you appreciate their part in your business, then you can inspire a fantastic and productive day.


Just be you.  Don’t try to change into what you ‘think’ a good business leader or manager is if it doesn’t feel right or natural.  Don’t try to copy someone else’s style or over-inflate what you do.  ‘Fake it to make it’ is not genuine. It’s more important that you recognize how to leverage your own personality, strengths and weaknesses than pretending to be something else. You’ll hate it and your people will see right through it. Honesty builds rapport and rapport builds strong relationships.

Being a manager and/or a business owner can be hard, and even the most experienced and inspirational leader or business leader will say it’s an endless cycle of learning. There is no magic formula for being a Great Business Owner and powerful leader, but I can guarantee it can be one of the most rewarding experiences to see your team and your business THRIVE!


Core HR is an HR consultancy for SME and Business owners. We are dedicated to providing cost-effective and comprehensive solutions for small businesses to effectively manage their HR needs across HR, Recruitment, Training and Health and Safety.  Find out more at:

Next Meeting Topic

The article below was contributed by one of our long-term Venus members. Mel Curwood’s world was turned upside down a few months ago, and she wanted to share what she has learned through that experience in the hopes that it may help someone who may be going through something similar. As you prepare for your 60-second intro, consider sharing what this has brought to mind for you – is there something that has struck a chord about your own self-leadership in times of extreme difficulty? When something totally unexpected happens that takes all your focus and energy, how do you keep going?


Just Pick Up the Phone – Mel Curwood

Tuesday 8th March 2022



“Hi Caro.  It’s Mel here.. There is something wrong with John.   Can you please txt me when you’re awake.

Many Thanks





“Call if it suits x”




“Ambulance here now.. assessing .. Thank you.”



How is he x”




“He’s stable and they are giving him fluid.  They said they may give him a blood transfusion at some stage.  They are also going to do a colonoscopy at some stage.  They have also run some blood tests.   He is having a sleep at the moment.

Thanks so much for your help this morning.   The ambulance drivers confirmed that he was in a bad way when they arrived.”


Monday 14th March



“Hi Caro.  Just spoke to the Doctor.   They found a tumour”    . . . .


I knew that something was very wrong, but I never thought we would be beginning this journey.

What have I learned about myself as a person and about self-leadership?

Here is the extract from a Zoom recording of our May Growth Roundtable:

“I’ve learned a lot, ..  It’s been a very intense month … My husband had an event about two months ago where he passed out and I had to rush him to the hospital and we subsequently found out that he has bowel cancer and it has metastasized. We found out about one month ago that he is …. stage 4 … he’s a 46 year old awesome person so yeah I’ve learned alot about myself in the last month.

…I’ve learned  some things that you wouldn’t think to learn about yourself – but what it has taught me is that I tend to go into overdrive and I get busy being busy which gives me something to focus on, but it means that my stress levels are so high I’m just constantly on adrenaline…

…I’m having to re-learn how to ask for help and how to accept help and how to look after myself so that I can be in the best possible position for my family…

…I’ve also learned that you can have the darkest of days and then the next day you can still have a brilliant day and  to remind yourself of that when you’re having those dark dark days … the next day is quite likely going to be a lot brighter…

… I cannot reemphasize enough about how much Venus has meant to me during this time. The first people I picked up the phone and asked for help from were all Venus ladies both current and previous and the help that I have been able to put in and around myself… around my family in all kinds of different ways has all been fundamentally initially from Venus ladies, so that’s been awesome.

I’ve also learned that I can have a balance from focusing entirely on my family and what their needs are but then I can focus on my business and that’s o.k. …. when it first happened I thought, ’How am I ever going to be able to run a business … If I don’t work, I don’t earn an income… What the Fuck am I going to do?’

… but I’ve learned that having my business is something that doesn’t just provide income. It nourishes ME and allows me to bring value into the lives of others, and I think the more I focus on helping others, then it helps me to switch from what’s going on in my own life into a sense of purpose and a sense of passion that’s outside of the situation. I can get in my car and go for a drive and go serve some people.”

Questions and Food for Thought: How do Business Owners keep going when their world is turned upside down? I remember thinking to myself: Just Pick Up the Phone, Speak to Somebody and Add Some Value.“


Wednesday 3rd August



         “We have been so Blessed with all of the support we have received so far with  John’s Journey back to full health – Thankyou all so much.

Over the next week or so it would so wonderful if all of our incredibly supportive friends and family could take a moment here and there to pray or envisage or focus on John’s tumours shrinking down like little raisins.

John is doing so well and we want to focus on him getting better and better.  We have all experienced both little and big different times in our lives … It’s time to add another xox.💕

Thursday 4th August




Next Thursday John has another CT Scan before we meet with his oncologist later that day.  This particular CT Scan is to determine how well everything is responding to the current treatment…It would be so awesome for John to be able to stay with his current chemo if possible as we know his body handles it really well :)


Thursday 11th August




“Thanks Everyone:)  I’ve just dropped John off for his CT Scan. We are both understandably nervous xo

We are so appreciative of all of the good wishes. My thoughts and wishes now are for peace and calm no matter what the outcome but mostly of course Shrinkage :).”


Thursday 11th August



“The Thing no Guy at the beach was ever pleased to say…




If you’d like to chat to Mel, you’ll find out more about her here:

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