What is a Tribe?


A tribe is a large family or another group that someone belongs to, however it is wider than you might think, as it’s also about how your build and manage the relationships within this unit.


Our ability to build and retain strong social ties is a fundamental part of our wellbeing.


According to a 30-year longitudinal study involving more than 12,000 people who were all part of an interconnected network, Harvard researchers found that the odds that any one individual in the network would be happy increased by 15% if someone they were directly connected to in the network were happy. Further, if a direct connection’s friend was happy, the direct connection’s happiness increased by 15% and the original individual’s happiness increased by 10%, even though that person had no direct interaction with, or in many cases did not personally know the direct connection’s friend.


People high in social well-being are three times as likely to be engaged in their jobs as those who are struggling, and five times as likely as those who are suffering.


In the business context, high performing teams are also more likely to deliver great business results, than ones that are not high performing.


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Finding Your Mojo in Your Tribe


The following 8 steps will help you find your mojo in your tribe, thus assisting you in getting the best for you and the tribe.


  1. Commit to a shared purpose


Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organisational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie


People need a compelling reason be of the tribe, and this is why the tribe needs to create and communicate an inspiring purpose or vision of the future.


The purpose sets out your tribes’ or organisation’s why – why you all get up in the morning to do what you do. You need to develop this partly by understanding the values of the people in your tribe, partly by understanding the capabilities and resourcefulness of your tribe or organisation, and partly by conducting an intelligent analysis of your environment, and selecting the best way forward within it.


  1. Buy Into and motivate others and deliver the purpose


“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi


Your Purpose needs to appeal to your tribe’s values and inspire them with where you’re going, and why.


Use storytelling as part of your call to action: this will help people appreciate the positive impact of your purpose on the people you’re trying to help.


Nothing significant happens unless you encourage your tribe. So, make sure that you know about the different kinds of motivation, and use these to inspire your people to deliver their best.


  1. Get or set clear goals


Following on from a clear purpose, you as a tribe member and the rest of the tribe, need to know what goals are required to achieve that purpose.


On the occasions that tribes don’t function well, it’s often because there’s a lack of communication and understanding about what the tribes’ objectives are.


  1. Build ever-stronger, trust-based relationships with your tribe


Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is a success.” – Henry Ford


Focus your attention on others in your tribe and work hard to help them achieve their goals and dreams, and keep working hard on those relationships, to build trust.


If you are the leader, meet your tribe members individually to understand their developmental needs, and help them to meet their goals. What do they want to achieve? Where do they see themselves five years from now? How can you help them reach this goal?


You can build trust with your people by being open and honest in your interactions.  Remember the stronger the relationship, the more likely it is to endure the difficult times.


  1. Be flexible – know your place and the place of others


“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” – Mother Teresa


Psychometrics in understanding tribes


One way to encourage and nurture personality diversity is Psychometric profiling.


Understanding what both your and your tribes’ preferred personality type is by using psychometric tests is an established method for helping build stronger teams and stronger relationships.


How we can use psychometrics in developing teams and relationships, is not about all just understanding our own profile but that of others, and the ways in which we can maximise the benefits of the differences and minimise the potential for conflict and friction.


Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – Determining personality type


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.


To identify personality type, the MBTI separates 16 different typologies, based on which side of each scale is dominant.


The four psychological scales are as follows:


  1. Extroversion or Introversion
  2. Sensing or Intuition
  3. Thinking or Feeling
  4. Judging or Perceiving


Although one side of each scale is thought to be dominant for each of us, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way we can relate to the world. However, this is usually our preference and the style we use most naturally.


  1. Be positive and grateful (thus releasing Oxytocin in yourself and others)


Being positive reinforces positive neural pathways and fosters more positivity. As stated earlier, you will be 15% happier if someone else in the tribe is happy.


We can spread more positivity in our tribe quite simply, here are a few suggestions;


  • Simply smile more
  • Give genuine compliments
  • Be polite and friendly
  • Show an interest in the person
  • Crack a joke or two / tell funny stories
  • See the funny side of situations
  • Focus on people’s strengths more than weaknesses – remember the positive v negative bias – we need 2 or 3 more positives to outweigh a negative.
  • Give a helping hand
  • Be grateful (see below)


  1. Deal well with difficult people


 “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”  – Carl Jung


Prof Stephen Peters talks about relationships in his book The Chimp Paradox. He is keen to emphasise that in a relationship, be it work or home, we fundamentally have to accept that we cannot change the other person, only they can do this. We accepted them for what they are and we have decided if we want to change our approach towards them. He says that you can either;


  1. Accept the person for who they are
  2. Change the way you approach the person
  3. Get out of the relationship


The latter is somewhat difficult in a work situation, and we may not be able to accept 1. So that really leaves us with changing your approach. You cannot expect anything in return from the person for your change, if they respond positivity this is a welcome bonus, but it should not be taken as a given.


  1. Be a great communicator


“To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins


Be involved and active within the tribe. If you sit silently while someone else discusses an idea that you know won’t work, you could damage the team’s chances of achieving its outcomes. If you have got an alternative suggestion that might be more effective, then share it with the tribe.


When you communicate within your tribe – whether showing support or challenging their thinking, it’s important to stay positive and respectful. Even if you disagree with someone, don’t become emotional. Being objective and fair will make a good impression; getting upset and angry won’t.


Try to do as much face to face, more than half of all communication is in body language, without it the message changes, the phone is better than text, as around 40% of our communication is in voice tone and pace etc. Less than 10% of language is in the actual words we use.


The Yellow Brick Road Journey


All 8 of these steps were apparent when Dorothy took her tribe along the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City:


  1. Commit to a shared purpose

Dorothy had a personal purpose – to get home to Kansas, to get there she thought she needed to see the Wizard, Scarecrow wanted a brain, the Tinman needed a heart and the Lion needed courage. They all thought these would come from the Wizard. So, as a Tribe, they were united behind the common purposes.


  1. Buy Into and motivate others and deliver the purpose

Dorothy uses the song again We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz to reinforce the purpose as each new team member joins.


  1. Get or set clear goals

Dorothy and the gang learnt that they had to kill the witch – a clear goal, which they executed with no hesitation.


  1. Build ever-stronger, trust-based relationships with your tribe

Dorothy builds Ever-Strong, Trust-Based Relationships with her Tribe. To begin with, she regularly reminds her team members of the purpose of their work to get to the Emerald City and get home. She’s a role model for her team and demonstrates integrity. Also, she sets high expectations, but “walks the walk” to demonstrate the standards that she expects.


  1. Be flexible – know your place and the place of others

You couldn’t have had a more diverse team! A young girl with big dreams, a tinman with a big heart, a scarecrow who was a thinker, and a lion full of courage.


  1. Be positive and grateful (thus releasing Oxytocin in yourself and others)

All that singing as they went on their journey definitely lifted their spirits.


  1. Deal well with difficult people

The Witch – enough said!


  1. Be a great communicator

Back in Kansas, Dorothy tells Aunt Em how she just kept telling everyone;

No, Aunt Em, this was a real, truly live place. And I remember that some of it weren’t very nice, but most of it was beautiful. But just the same, all I kept saying to everybody was, I want to go home. And they sent me home.


Understanding your tribe and how to strengthen it, is the finale of the Yellow Brick Road LEAD WELL PROGRAMME.  Here are what past delegates thought of this session:


I feel this course has given me a fresh lease of life 10/10

Communication, taking and listening Is so important in working better with your tribe. I loved the listening exercise 10/10

Made me realise how important my tribe is in the success of my business 10/10

My communication skills have improved 10/10

Steady build up of modules to create a well-balanced self and leadership programme. I really liked the Skype coaching / meetings to keep focus and momentum. That worked well. 9/10


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