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103: Celebrating Pride, Unbossing Explained, PLUS We launch our Summer Book Club! – This Week in Work 4th June 2024

In this episode, we celebrate Pride Month, kick off our Summer Book Club, and dive into the Weekly Workplace Surgery.

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Welcome to Truth, Lies, and Work, the award-winning psychology podcast brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

In this episode, we celebrate Pride Month, kick off our Summer Book Club, and dive into the Weekly Workplace Surgery.

Segment 1: News Roundup

  • It’s Pride Month! Celebrating self-identity, inclusivity, equality, and love. Discussing five ways to celebrate Pride in the workplace.
  • Al introduces a new trend called “Unbossing” and its potential impact on workplace culture.
  • Leanne explores the connection between humor and mental health, citing recent studies.

Segment 2: Summer Book Club

Welcome to our Summer Book Club! Our first pick is This Is Why You Dream by Dr. Rahul Jandial. This fascinating dive into the purpose and potential of dreams explores how dreaming fortifies our ability to regulate emotions, processes and stores memories, amplifies creativity, and promotes learning. Discover how dreams can forecast future mental and physical ailments and how lucid dreaming can be used to practice real-life skills and rewrite nightmares. In the tradition of James Nestor’s Breath and Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep, This Is Why You Dream opens the door to one of our oldest and most vital functions, unlocking its potential to radically improve our lives.

Segment 3: Workplace Surgery

In this segment, Al and Leanne tackle your workplace questions in the Weekly Workplace Surgery. This week, they address issues such as dealing with a micromanaging boss, strategies for easing into a managerial role after a promotion, and tips for creating mini-surveys for managers who care about their team’s well-being. Tune in for actionable advice and expert insights to help you navigate your work challenges.


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The Transcript

⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

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Leanne Elliott: Hello and welcome to Truth, Lies and Work, the award winning psychology podcast brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network, the audio destination for business professionals. My name is Leanne. I’m a business psychologist.

Al Elliott: My name is Al. I’m a business owner.

Leanne Elliott: And we are here to help you simplify the science of work.

Al Elliott: Yep. Welcome back. Welcome back as ever. Now I said, I’d start, I’d do this only for the first few, but actually I’m going to do every time. This is Tuesday episode where we have. Three things we have. First of all, the news roundup will tell you the latest in the world of work. Secondly, we’ve got a segment which we’re playing around with.

So, um, it’s going to be different this week. Oh, you’ll find out. And then thirdly, we’ve got this world famous weekly workplace surgery where I put your questions to Leanne and she answers them expertly and perfectly because she is an incredible human being, but also a very, very good business psychologist.

There’s a

Leanne Elliott: lot of pressure there. We’ll see how that goes. Yeah. I

Al Elliott: mean, if you do a really bad job, then I will edit this bit out. Okay. Okay. Lee, what time

Leanne Elliott: is it? It is my favorite time of the week. It is time for the news roundup. Cue the jingle.

Al Elliott: Okay, Lee. So what have you seen this week?

Leanne Elliott: It is pride month.

Happy pride to all of our LGBTQ plus listeners, friends. Family, colleagues, happy, happy pride, pride month. It’s such an important month. It’s such a joyous month. It’s such a colorful month and it celebrates everything to do with self identity and inclusivity and equality and love. Love is love. And it brings me so much joy.

Of course, it is going to raise some awareness and education around the discrimination that still exists in society and quite rightly influence key policy changes, both in government and within organizations. Um, and I’m just really enjoying at the moment, my newsfeed brimming with so many wonderful, colorful articles and resources.

Um, it’s just bringing me a lot of joy at the moment, even was it Saturday kitchen last weekend.

Al Elliott: Yeah. I’m sure you have something in America, Canada, Australia, Bangalore, you have the similar kind of thing. But yeah, it was, it was a, it was a big celebration. Do you know what’s quite funny though, is that in my Twitter feed, I haven’t seen one single post about it.

Leanne Elliott: Twitter quite straight. Or maybe just people you follow.

Al Elliott: Well, there’s potentially that, but I think it’s just, it does just remind us that this is so important.

Leanne Elliott: It really is important. So, I mean, one article that, that I want to draw your attention to today was actually from a website called GBTSpeaker.

They specialize in, um, finding that keynote speakers from the community, um, and they talked about five different ways that you can celebrate pride in your organization. If your question is, why would I want to, um, perhaps you’re new here. Um, I’ll put some of the episodes in, in the links. We are huge allies of the LGBTQ plus community.

We believe in inclusion. We believe in celebrating all. Everything that it means to be human. And it is just simply the decent human thing to do, to create organizations in which everyone feels a sense of belonging and in which everyone can thrive. You want to be commercial about it. It’s also really good for business.

Again, I will leave some links in the show notes, cause that’s not why we’re here today. I’m assuming that you do want to celebrate pride because you want to show that your business is worthy of investment from employees and customers. So here are five ways, Al, would you like me to listen for you?

Al Elliott: Yes, please.

Leanne Elliott: So the first one they suggest is to organize a charity fundraiser. Um, it’s just one of the best ways to support the pride initiative. Um, and actually put your money where your mouth is and take some action. I think a lot of things that we’re going to see over the next few weeks are brands changing their social media icons to include the rainbow flag.

And that is a very positive public stance, but also I think we need some action in there with some genuine impact. So organizing a charity fundraiser or even, I don’t know, taking a percent of your profits in pride month and putting them towards one of these charities organizations, it could be a really great way, um, to, to support them.

Alternatively, if you don’t have the, um, financial means, you can You might have the time, think about volunteering opportunities, raising awareness, we need to do an episode on volunteering because it is increasingly becoming a very interesting topic of research and one that is showing incredible benefits, both for organizations and individual wellbeing.

Um, so you go, that’s, that’s the first one. Second, book a speaker, hiring, you know, an external speaker to discuss their experiences as a member of the community, um, to, to educate your staff on some of the challenges that the community faces can be really positive. There are some phenomenal speakers out there.

Of course, I’m going to recommend Danielle and Sophie Wood at BelongingBase. They were on the podcast quite recently talking about how, um, about their own transgender love story and how they’re now helping organizations create all Awesome workplace cultures where people belong. They are launching belonging bite sized tomorrow, the 5th of June, which is a series, a free series of videos that is going to be sharing lots of advice and experiences about creating these, um, cultures that foster belonging.

So do check that out. Tip number three, similar theme, a workshop. Could be something nice to include in your June calendar. So this could be some training sessions. It could be how to, um, improve inclusive language within your organization. There’s a whole, whole load of things that, that we can do. And again, I would recommend checking out belonging base for a starting point for those.

And, and I guess on that same theme, something really simple you can do in the fourth tip from this article. Is to evaluate your, um, your quality diversity policies within your organization. Um, do they need updating? Are you representing the various races, genders, and sexualities that exist today? And what are you doing to reduce bias within your organization?

Uh, we talked quite a lot about that over the last couple of episodes, didn’t we, with our episode 100 and particularly Katherine Garrett. So that is another resource we’re looking at. Resource worth checking out. And finally, something really simple that I think we can all do. What if you just decorate your office a bit, you know, hang a rainbow flag, some banners, it is celebrating pride, but also shows members of your team, members of your organization, that you are an ally, that you stand for equality and such, um, you know, visual representation can actually make a really, a really big difference.

big difference, particularly if it’s something you’ve never celebrated before. Um, something really simple, but shows that you are supporting the cause and supporting the celebration and the education that June is dedicated to. So there you go. That’s what I thought I’d, I’d bring up our little pride month awareness.

I’m sure we’ll talk about that a bit more as June goes on, but tell me, what have you seen this week?

Al Elliott: One of the things that I have seen is a term called. Un bussing. Um, and if you, we are from the north of England, so it’s un bussing if you are from the south or from America. Um, and un bussing is basically the removal of middle managers.

It is gaining popularity for a number of reasons. First of all, from a marketing point of view, I kind of like it. I, I like, I like the, uh, I like the, the sound of the word. I think someone’s done a really good job with that. But basically it’s all about, uh, removing this middle management. So the idea is that you can, first of all, you can cut costs.

Well, that’s an obvious one. But the second one, which is slightly less obvious is that people have been working remotely, haven’t necessarily had someone, you know, leaning over them at their side who can help them with things. So they’ve become kind of a little bit more. I suppose independent. And so the argument is not saying this is what we agree with here.

But the argument here is the remote working has meant there’s less requirement for sort of an on site direct manager. But the final thing is, and it’s these pesky Gen Zeds again, the final thing is that Gen Zed just don’t like them. The research has shown that Gen Zed like autonomy, they like freedom, they’re able to create better when they’ve got this autonomy, they don’t have someone sort of standing over them telling what they do and micromanaging.

Now this can obviously boost their creativity. Um, it helps them with responsibility, but the most important thing I think, and this is what Gen Zed seemed to stand for, it’s all about empowerment for Gen Zed. So they feel empowered to go and do their best work because they feel like they don’t need anyone looking over them.

The other consideration about this is that every decade or so, there’s a new idea in management. So perhaps this is it was managed by walking around with Tom Peters in the eighties and then nineties. I can’t remember what it was in the 2000s. There’s always been a new idea. The kind of, this article suggested there’s three main issues with it though.

The first one is mentorship. If you don’t have a manager, a good manager is usually a good mentor. And if you don’t have a good mentor, then how are you? You’re not going to learn as quickly. It’s unlikely you’ll learn as quickly. The second was just general support. As Leanne’s talked about before, when she was managing and she had an amazing boss, both of them, her boss supported her and then she supported the people underneath her.

In fact, I think there’s one manager belief, Leanne, and then another one behind that. And the whole idea was that you’re supporting. It’s nice to know someone’s got your back. But the biggest, I think the biggest problem with this is the interaction across the generations. If you don’t have someone, and traditionally a manager is the next generation of, I know there’s arguments against that, but traditionally your manager is the next generation or generation above you.

If you don’t have someone like that, Then you’re not interacting with anyone from a previous generation apart from perhaps parents or friends of parents. And you know, when you’re 25, someone who’s 40 seems ancient. So then there is a potential issue that you’ve got this sort of echo chamber where you’re just talking to all the Gen Zs and therefore you believe something is true because everyone says it.

Leanne Elliott: It comes down to a similar theme we’ve seen with Gen Z as they’re getting a bit more vocal because these environments, and let’s not forget, we, we give a lot of credit to Gen Z and, and I think we just actually give credit to youth because it’s the younger people with the fresh ideas that tend to want to disrupt and, and shake things up.

But that, let’s not take away from what are more than likely the Gen X and older millennials of our workforces that have created these environments where Gen Z feel that they can talk up perhaps, um, or indeed maybe it’s just the influence of social media. But I think what Gen Z is demanding is effective management.

I don’t think they’re saying unbossing. I don’t need a boss. I can do it on my own. I think they’re saying if you’re not going to be an effective manager, I’m better off without you and actually all the research shows that to be true. So I completely agree with your point. I think mentorship is a big issue.

I think a sense of camaraderie and belonging is, is going to be lacking if we get rid of too many, uh, middle managers. I also think particularly, um, in terms of wellbeing stress could become a problem. We know that, that leaders can be quite good or line managers can be good at filtering organizational noise and keeping things away from employees that are going to detract from the job they need to do.

So I think there is definitely an element of throwing out the baby with bathwater. But I also think if time isn’t up in the next two years around crappy management, and if time isn’t up in terms of employees demanding better management, um, then I don’t, I don’t know what we’re doing and I don’t know why we’re here.

Um, and I mean us, I mean you and I, um, because it’s, it’s, it’s so overdue. So yeah, if this is another trend to again, give us some vocabulary and bring the topic into the, into the light, I’m, I’m cool with that. But the overall sentiment of, of kind of what my theory is out and what my fit always is with these types of things is a business owner is going to hear and go, that’s all I need to do.

I just need to eliminate middle management and that’s what my people want. And that’ll be better for them and their performance in there.

Al Elliott: Just want to jump in a second. I think, I think just by saying I’m going to get rid of all middle management is like saying I’ve put a pride flag up in the window, therefore we’re now inclusive.

Leanne Elliott: I think it’s, do you know what? I think you’re right, but I think it’s more the cause and effect is lost in these things.

Al Elliott: Right.

Leanne Elliott: It’s not a case of not having managers will improve the performance and well being on a ton of your workforce. It’s probably that removing bad managers will improve those things.

Actually, then, then, Implementing great managers or training your people to be great managers. You’ll probably see the same impact, if not more, uh, more than absolutely more over, over a period of time. So, yeah, I think that’s the main thing is I just think sometimes the, the what. is executed very quickly in entrepreneurial organizations without thinking too much about the why.

Al Elliott: Cool. Cool. If you do want a masterclass in management, then go back to the episode with Dave Klein. Um, who it’s just a great episode. He’s a fabulous manager and he also has a course which you can join. I think there’s a new cohort coming out. We’re not getting paid to say that, although Dave maybe. Send us a check.

Anyway, the link will be in the show notes. So Lee, lastly, what have you, what else have you been looking at this week?

Leanne Elliott: Yeah, I wanted to stay on the theme of, of joy, um, after my first, um, article on pride. Um, and, and I saw an article in the, it’s a British Psychological Society’s research digest, which is, is that ironic digesting in such a long title?

I know I’m not sure I really understand irony, but speaking of irony, kind of, can humor improve our mental health? What do you think?

Al Elliott: Yes, 100%. I think they always say laughter is the best medicine. I know if I’m feeling a bit, bit glum, I’ll go and watch some really dark humor by Jimmy Carr or someone like that.

Um, I have a very good friend who, um, who sends me horrific stuff. I hope that my phone never gets seized, but some horrific jokes and stuff through, but it always cheers me up. So yes, I think humor definitely helps with mental health.

Leanne Elliott: There is actually some recent Um, interesting research looking at the relationship between, um, a person enjoying dark humor and, um, psychopathy.

Um, but that’s not what I’m talking about today. Perhaps another time. That’s something we can now

Al Elliott: talk about privately when we finish this.

Leanne Elliott: But no, there is, there is absolutely evidence that humor, um, can, can help us with all sorts of different things from coping with stress. To helping us with depression, boosting our move, even attracting a mate.

So this article, um, shared a few different pieces of research. Um, I thought I’d share some of the kind of headline findings with you. I’m not going to go the such and such et al 2019 because Al doesn’t allow me to do that on the show, but I’ll just share some headlines. And if you’re interested in the actual articles, get in touch, I’ll send them to you.

Al Elliott: So you’re going to do a digest of the digest. A

Leanne Elliott: digest of the digest. Yeah. So headline one, research seems to suggest that depressed people seem to enjoy memes with depression related themes more than non depressed individuals.

Al Elliott: I have seen a lot of those memes recently. Really? They make me feel quite uncomfortable.

Like, I understand we’re normalizing mental health, but at the same time, it’s got memes of like me, my life, and then, um, my depression or my anxiety behind it. And it’s like, Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know enough about it, but it makes me feel kind of uncomfortable. But anyway, Probably

Leanne Elliott: because you’re a, you’re a non depressed individual.

I think it’s a sense again of that, that case of not being alone, isn’t it? And representation of in the world of how I’m currently feeling perhaps. Um, but yeah, it’s interesting. Early work has also found that positive humor can help people cope with emotional stress and that anxious people might have used funny memes more during the pandemic to cope.

And a final headline, um, it was a U S study of more than 1, Science students found that 99 percent felt 99 percent felt that when a class instructor used who humor, this improved their learning experience. And many reported that classroom humor also reduced their stress, improve their relationship with their instructor and help them to remember what had been taught.

Al Elliott: Well, that I’ve actually got a story about that. There was a, there was a teacher at my middle school, uh, called Mr. Clark and every, every lesson was just really funny. And then. Our class did the best out of all of the classes in French in that year. And I felt that during that year, I didn’t sit down and do any work whatsoever, but we loved his lessons and we, we excelled.

So yes, a hundred percent behind that.

Leanne Elliott: Memory is something else we need to talk about as well. Cause I’m really cool research on exactly on storytelling and memory and, and recall. Um, and, and with that humor and, and recall, it’s also been found that Apparently it’s easier for people to remember facts about government policy and politics when it’s conveyed in a humorous way.

Um, and similarly, um, if messages around quite serious things like climate change, um, are encased in some kind of humorous message, it increases willingness to take part in activism and to recycle. Um, interesting. It is quite interesting. So I’m not sure if Rishi Sumac or Sunak or Keir Starmer is listening as the run up to the UK summer election is ongoing.

Maybe try and be a bit funnier guys. Maybe.

Al Elliott: I’m not sure they’re listening. I think they’re too busy ordering the movers because they’re both in the moving house. Anyway, so talking of story, storytelling, Lee, you’ve got a brand new segment for us, which we’re going to be doing over summer. What have you called it?

Have you got a snappy title for it?

Leanne Elliott: Um, truth and lies, summer book club. Oh

Al Elliott: God, you’re not in charge of titles.

Leanne Elliott: Why did you ask me?

Al Elliott: That was awful. What do you

Leanne Elliott: want to call it?

Al Elliott: If I could think of something clever, I’ll say afterwards. No, I didn’t put this back in. Anyway, so the truth and lies and

Leanne Elliott: books,

Al Elliott: truth, lies, words and books, words and work, work and words.

We’ll work on that.

Leanne Elliott: I don’t know. I was just thinking that the, the summer seems to be coming. Obviously, it depends where you are in the world. We’re in, we’re in Bosnia in central Europe and summer feels like it just started today. We just had an uptick in temperature. The sun is shining. The pool is ready to be filled.

We all All those decades. Um, in the UK, I don’t know, maybe it’s raining. Maybe it’s been nice. Of course, if you’re in the Southern hemisphere, then you’re entering autumn and winter. And for that, I am, I’m, I’m very sorry, but right now in the Northern hemisphere in Europe, it’s sunny and it makes me want to go outside and pour myself a glass of cool white wine and pick up a great book.

So I thought, what if. We shared some of the books that we’re currently reading and maybe check in every week. Maybe if we share a book a week, I’ll share one, you show one. And then we will check in as we go as we’re working our way through it. Maybe some, some, some highlights, some key lessons. And then maybe listeners get in touch with those and recommend books that we should be reading.

And we’ll all just have a summer drinking wine and reading together. The wine is optional. Of course, if you don’t drink, that’s fine.

Al Elliott: So Leigh, should we kick off with your book?

Leanne Elliott: Yes. My first book is by Raoul. Jan Dial. Jan Dial. How do we say it?

Al Elliott: Raul. I don’t know. Is it R A H I L?

Leanne Elliott: So it’s Raul. Um, but yeah, J A N D I A L.

Jan, Jan Dial. I’m going to go with.

Al Elliott: Yes, Jan Dial. Do

Leanne Elliott: you ever find that? And again, probably a segue that you can cut out if you want. Um, But because we’re learning Bosnian at the minute, we’re learning another language and we’ve, we’ve learned Spanish previously when we lived in Spain. Do you ever find pronunciations really hard because it’s like, am I doing this Spanish?

Am I doing this like Bosnian?

Al Elliott: There’s a beer, there’s a Serbian beer called J E L E N, which means deer, like a reindeer. Um, and, um, and so in Bosnia, I think and Croatia and Serbia, you call it Jelen. Then in Spain, you’d call it Helen.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah.

Al Elliott: And in English, you call it Jelen.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah.

Al Elliott: And it’s like, what? Anyway.

Leanne Elliott: So if you don’t know where the person’s name comes from, so I’m looking at this and I’m thinking like, if it was Spanish, it’s, it’s Raul Jandial.

If it’s Bosnian, it’s Rahul Jandial. And if it’s Just in English. I don’t know, Raoul Jandile.

Al Elliott: If you’re listening, Raoul, then drop us surname.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah.

Al Elliott: Anyway, back to the book. Anyway,

Leanne Elliott: Raoul writes. Raoul has written a book called This Is Why You Dream. Great book title, Raul. I saw this in the airport actually when I was flying back home.

Um, and I had to buy it. Um, it’s tagline is what your sleeping brain reveals about your waking life. Psychologists listening. I think you’ll be really intrigued by this because I think when anyone asks us about the psychology dreams, we think Freud, We think bullshit. Um, this is really interesting cause Raul is a neurosurgeon.

So this is kind of meant to be based in kind of the scientific breakthroughs of neuroscience and brain scanning and, and perhaps what our dreams and particularly our recurring dreams, um, could, could mean and could help us with. Um, apparently he explains. Blaine’s how dreaming of an exam might help you score up to 20 percent higher and why taking a long nap could make you better at problem solving.

I’m really intrigued. I haven’t started reading it yet. This is how real the book club is. So if you’re interested, I will leave a link, get your copy. We’ll check in a couple of weeks and see what we all think. But I’m excited about this one.

Al Elliott: Lovely. The book club is so new that I didn’t know that you were going to ask me for a book.

So we’ll maybe alternate. So I’ll do my book next week and we’ll check in with you and then you do your book the following week. Yeah. Yeah. Because I haven’t got one prepared.

Leanne Elliott: Okay.

Al Elliott: So

Leanne Elliott: that sounds like a better structure anyway.

Al Elliott: So can you

Leanne Elliott: tell we’ve been on holiday guys Transcribed I don’t feel like we kind of got the flow of this episode,

Al Elliott: do you?

Yeah, we, we took, uh, we took about 10 days off my birthday, which was lovely. We did all the pods before we left. Um, and that’s the magic of scheduling and, uh, and we went to Malta and it was absolutely lovely. And we didn’t think about podcasting for about eight days and now we’ve come back and this is the first one.

And, um, I think the technical term is a car crash, but anyway, let us know, let us know in the comments right. We will be back in just a second with the world famous workplace weekly words. Let’s see. I told you we’ll be back. We’ll be back. Give us one second. Welcome back to the world famous weekly workplace surgery, where I put your questions to Leanne.

Lee, are you ready? Not

Leanne Elliott: really.

Al Elliott: Okay. Well, so this person, question number one, am I wrong for reporting this person as being autistic? Wait. This person, I could tell you everybody’s jump in there. This person writes, I have a colleague who works with me in the phone repair shop. He does all he shows all the signs of being on the spectrum, monotone voice, difficulty translating or detecting emotion, completely unaware of how customers he’s talking to are reacting to what he’s saying.

He himself has even stated that he thinks he is autistic. On his own, it doesn’t sound like grounds to report him, but then things get a bit tricky. A young girl brought in a phone and another young girl, I’m guessing it was sort of teenage, maybe early twenties. So young girl brought in their phone. And as the phone was transferring data, my coworker, without telling the woman, the mom went on the person’s phone and added himself to her Snapchat.

He then snapped her. I’m guessing that’s like sending a message, uh, to a Snapchat with what he thought was a joke, which said a picture of him saying, be careful who you leave your phone with. Hmm. I laid into him and I’m saying that women have to deal with this a lot right now. So this kind of stuff is not cool.

It would make someone feel very uncomfortable, possibly even scared. I told him he’d crossed several boundaries there, but he didn’t seem to get it. He couldn’t see that he’d done something wrong. So I reported him to HR, but I feel awful about it. Was I in the right? Perhaps should I have been more supportive?

Lee is a hell of a story, isn’t it?

Leanne Elliott: Really? Is this person his manager?

Al Elliott: No. Coworker.

Leanne Elliott: Coworker. And he was there. I got a bit lost in the middle there. He was there when the kind of creepy thing with the Snapchat happened.

Al Elliott: Mom, daughter come in the shop. His coworker did a snap of him. I don’t know whether you do a snap, you take a snap, um, sent it to her Snapchat after adding him on her phone while he had a phone in hand.

They walked out, um, all a bit creepy. Coworker went, that’s not cool, dude.

Leanne Elliott: And then reported said person to

Al Elliott: HR.

Leanne Elliott: The key bit of information that is missing here is how that report to HR was made. If it was made with all of the rich detail you’ve given us in terms of your, your feelings that this person might be neurodiverse and might benefit from extra support and training, then it’s probably a very positive thing that That you did, I would always probably before you report, I mean, you said you laid into the colleague.

I understand fair. It just sounded a bit, it just sounded a bit creepy and you know, yes, good for you for being an ally for, for women’s rights. Um, Equally, that’s probably as well followed up by a, do you feel that you need some extra support? You’ve mentioned you think you’re neurodiverse. You’ve mentioned you think you have autism.

Is this something that, um, you’d benefit from exploring further and perhaps seeking a diagnosis and then exploring coping mechanisms and also how as colleagues and managers, we can support you better in this environment. Um, But, and then, you know, you’d want then that person to go to HR. So I don’t think you should feel awful.

I think if you haven’t, um, if you haven’t had that conversation with HR that actually it’s coming from a place that this person requires more support, you might want to follow that up with a conversation. Um, but it’s really tricky without, without knowing more. I think ultimately, you know, if this person feels that they are identifying with traits of, of autism, um, I mean, they’re not a psychologist.

I don’t think you’re not a psychologist. I don’t think so. You’re going to have to seek professional advice and, and support and assessment, uh, to better understand that. Um, and that’s the missing piece of information there, really. This person is neurodiverse, um, then their behavior takes a very different lens than if they actually went through the assessments and they’re not neurodiverse.

That then becomes a very different conversation and, and then maybe quite rightly reporting that behavior to HR. Um, so I think it’s this assessment diagnosis that we’re, we’re missing here in this scenario. So I think if there is a way to follow up with HR, um, with the individual and maybe go down that route, um, in terms of that assessment, then that was probably going to be a more positive approach and probably do a lot to alleviate your guilt.

Al Elliott: Good answer. I think that from a business point of view, if I would want to know that this had gone on, uh, because even if there was no malice behind it, the perception is malice. And it’s also, that’s a great story for a tabloid to, uh, uh, to ruin your business with. So yes, very, very good advice. Question number two, this person writes, I’m lost at work.

I’m 25. I have a very well paid job at a pretty good company. My boss is good and the work is relatively straightforward, but I dread going in into work in the morning. All of my friends seem to have followed their passion and have done stuff they love, but they earn about 25 percent of what I do. So my first fear is that if I did quit to follow my passion, then I’d take a huge pay cut, which I could just about afford, but would considerably restrict what I can do with my spare time.

The second problem is that I genuinely don’t know what my passion is. I spend most nights watching TV or scrolling the internet. I’ve never really had any major hobbies. Should I stick it out or should I blow up my life, but perhaps start enjoying work again?

Leanne Elliott: No,

Al Elliott: she shouldn’t quit.

Leanne Elliott: Yes. No, you shouldn’t.

You shouldn’t quit right now. The reason is you don’t, this requires exploration. You’re 25. This isn’t an uncommon problem. This isn’t an uncommon problem when you’re 35. So I think first of all, let’s normalize how you’re feeling. This is a very common feeling for somebody to have. As they are either embarking on their career, their early career stages, or indeed mid career and they’re thinking, this isn’t right.

It’s a very, very normal, very, very common experience. The reason I say no, in terms of quitting your job is that until you understand what it is that you want from work, that’s going to bring you more fulfillment and joy, you’re putting yourself. At quite a large risk in terms of just practically and financially, but also in terms of your own wellbeing, you know, there is, there is going to be some of your, um, some of your needs that are being filled by this, this, this job that you’re currently in, you said, you know, you dread going, but it also sounds like the work’s okay and your manager’s all right.

So no knee jerk reactions, I don’t think this requires coaching. This requires talking to a career coach like myself or all the, all the hundreds of others out there. I would suggest that you talk to one that either specializes in career transitions within your. Age group. Um, so that, that kind of early stage career or a coach is going to help you explore different aspects of yourself, different needs that you have, um, the psychology of you as a person and looking at what other, um, careers or, or.

Or even other activities could bring you this joy. We often pin a lot on work and it’s probably because there’s podcasts like this out there that say about how important work is. And of course it is, but there are many places to get your fulfillment and get your joy. Some of that be from work. Some of that’s going to be from your family and friends.

Others that can be your community. It could be that your creative outlet is to start a podcast or write a blog or write a novel and see where that goes. There’s many different ways that you can look at fulfilling your needs and feeling more satisfied, um, without just saying, well, I’m going to quit my job and that will fix it.

That won’t fix it because until you figure out a way to fill the void, taking anything away isn’t, isn’t really gonna, gonna help much. So yeah, my thought would be, don’t quit your job. Um, Understand that this is a very common experience, workplace experience. Engage a coach to explore this and make some plans and come to some conclusions.

Um, and finally try not to, and bring this up with your coach as well, um, that it’s something you’re struggling with, but try not to compare yourself to other people in your friendship group. We’re very good at projecting what, what you’re going to do. We think people will see as success, particularly in our early career in our twenties, there’s lots of masking that goes on.

There’s lots of projection that goes on. There’s lots of, you know, suck it up. This’ll be okay because I am only 20 and right now. That money is important because I want to buy a house by the time I’m 35. Um, so I’d, I’d take your friends with a, with a pinch of salt or indeed, um, as a source of inspiration, how did they find their passion?

Ask them how they found the thing that they, they love and, and the pros and cons of that. Um, Yeah. Exploration and discussion is needed right now. No, no sudden decisions. I don’t think

Al Elliott: 100 percent agree. 25 does. I mean, 25 is like the new 45. I think people have, you see some people on tick tock or who are standing next to expensive cars, jewelry and going, yeah, I’ve made a million dollars and I’m 19 and it’s like, shut up, man.

Just cut it out.

Leanne Elliott: I’m almost 14. I’m looking at these kids going how the how you’re 20. Good for you. But it’s an exception. It’s not typical.

Al Elliott: It is. And so there’s, there’s, there’s a song which by Baz Luhrmann, yes, the, um, that the film director called sunscreen, which came out. Oh dear. before you were born, but search on Spotify for it.

Um, and, uh, and one of the lines in there is, um, some of the most interesting people I know, um, at 55 still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. I’ve totally paraphrased that and mess that up, but go and listen to the song. The whole point is you’re 25. This, this next 10 years about finding out what you want to do with the next 10 years, it possibly going to be what you’re going to do for the rest of your life.

But don’t make these big decisions and don’t be fooled that your friends have followed their passion and they are very happy because they are only potentially four to eight years into their career if they love making pizzas and they’ve created and they’ve built a pizza van and they’re out doing that, ask them again in 10 years time, whether they still are as passionate about pizza when they have to do it seven days a week and have done it for like 15 years.

So the grass is always, Leanne always says the grass always seems greener. Yeah. It’s not necessarily and just find something if you don’t know what your passion is. Don’t worry about it. You’ve got probably another you’re 25. You’ve probably got 75 more years of healthy life to find out what you’re gonna love.

So chill out. Enjoy your life. Try lots of different things.

Leanne Elliott: Um, and I think as well, this idea of kind of having a Rather than seeing one source of fulfillment, like see it as lots of little different streams that are going to trickling in and they’re filling up your glass because the dangers as well as if, if one day one of those goes away and work as a good example, if you get laid off, your glass is empty all of a sudden.

So we want to spread out our risk. We want to spread out our sources of fulfillment, lots of different ways to do that. Two exercises that come to mind and just Google them. Uh, the wheel of life is quite a good way of kind of assessing different aspects of your life and how satisfied you are. You are with them and we just help you start to enter this, this way of thinking, this perception in terms of, of, um, of holistic, um, of a holistic life and all the different, different things that can, can contribute to your happiness and your fulfillment.

And as always, Dr. Audrey Tang vitals, um, again, Google it, buy her book, Leaders Guide to Resilience. It’s not just for leaders. It’s just for people who want to, who want to be. Pretty good functional humans, really. Um, but yeah, I’ll get in touch. I’ve got some resources I can send you as well.

Al Elliott: Lee, are you ready for question number three?

Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s relatively long, but I think there’s a short answer to it. Okay. So here’s the background. Uh, I’ve been in the same company for 14 years, moved up to a leadership position about five years ago. Now, recently the senior leadership team have changed and it goes on to say, sorry, I’m saying he actually, they go on to say, I’m so sorry.

They’re going to say it was actually the CFO that moved into the CEO role. And since then, almost all the people above me have been let go. Additionally, one of the people on the same level as me is on a PIP. And I’m gonna ask you what that is in a second. And even though I don’t think they really did anything wrong, I’m genuinely scared that I am next.

So are there any signs that a PIP is on its way to me? Can I, can I look out for it? Can managers use PIPs to get rid of people rather than redundancy? Is it even legal? I’m in the UK, by the way. So, Lee, can you start with a PIP and then just tell us the two key questions is, do you think as an employee, you can predict whether a PIP’s coming and can you use a PIP to get rid of someone?

Leanne Elliott: A PIP is a performance improvement plan. Um, so it’s the, it’s the action plan that’s developed as part of a performance management process to, with the intention, developed with the intention to help you improve. Um, and stabilize your performance again to then a point of growth, not as a dark side way of managing out the business, but of course it depends on the organization.

There are going to be managers that will use performance improvement plans or PIPs, um, as an alternative means to redundancy because they don’t want to pay a severance package. Um, So, yeah, I mean, so I guess you don’t necessarily know, it might be worth talking to that colleague who is currently on a performance improvement plan and seeing how their experience is of it.

Regardless, I think what, one of the challenges, things that you’re in. Is that the organization you’re in has gone through a fundamental change in its culture, and that change has been driven by a very financially minded leader now being in the top spot, that’s CFO, they are much more transactional, they’re much more bottom line focused.

Um, so it’s not a surprise that all these cost cutting initiatives have happened. Equally. It might’ve been necessary for the viability and financial health of the organization. Often we see CFOs promoted into a CEO position when this tough stance is needed to ensure that the ongoing future of the business, I think it’s a case of.

You’re in your threat state right now and you’re looking around and everything seems uncertain, ambiguous, and a threat. Um, that’s natural. That’s a normal psychological reaction to this ambiguity. The question I would ask is probably what do you want? There’s enough red flags. Your organization has appointed a CFO into the CEO role, who has then subsequently made a lot of cost savings.

That to me, Suggests that the organization is in a bit of financial trouble and therefore there’s always going to be a risk of redundancy in terms of performance improvement plan. I don’t know. It sounds like actually the people above you did, did we, did we know that our other people above them were got rid of because of the PIP or.

Otherwise, no. It

Al Elliott: just says that they were got rid of.

Leanne Elliott: Okay. So, you know, if we, if we assume that it wasn’t a PIP, then maybe they were regular redundancies. It might give a bit of credibility to the performance improvement plan that your colleague is on. If all the people above you got, got rid of because of a PIP, then that’s a PIP.

You know, tells you the answer. Pips on its way. I think in this case, the organization you’re in is unstable and it’s going through a significant change. If you don’t have that relationship with your manager or indeed the new CEO to have that conversation about how safe your position is, and shame on them, by the way, they should have these conversations.

Pips should never be a surprise. Good managers will never throw a performance improvement plan on, on you. You’ll know it’s coming for months ahead because I’ll be having those conversations to facilitate your, um, improve your performance. Before a performance improvement plan is necessary, but that’s best practice and it sounds like the organization you’re in isn’t there.

Um, so yeah, I think it’s a case of, of really deciding what you want. There’s plenty of red flags. I’m not sure you need to wait for another one. I think at this point I would be having those conversations, dusting off my, my CV, updating my LinkedIn and starting to think about where, where I might want to move to if, um, If, yeah, if I, if I do have that, if you do get made redundant, if you do, um, have a pip sprung on you, um, or indeed just decide that you want to be in a more stable environment, I think, I think that the time is volatile, so be prepared.

Al Elliott: It doesn’t sound like it’s the, it’s going to be the place that you’ll be in 20 years time, unless something significant changes. Uh, so like Leanne says, just be a little bit more proactive and, um, that’s all really, really good advice. And now we know what a PIP is. Uh, for, for me being old PIPs was when you used to run out of credit on the payphone.

You just go peep, peep, peep, peep, peep. And you, you’d only got five seconds left. There you go. That’s, that’s, that’s my, that’s my, this is why I don’t get involved in the questions. Okay. So that is, I think a wrap for today, Lee.

Leanne Elliott: Cool.

Al Elliott: Anything else you want to say?

Leanne Elliott: No.

Al Elliott: Brilliant. Well, join us on Thursday when we are, we’ve got the amazing Jonathan Bennett, and he’s talking about the lonely leader, which is, and he goes through the three biggest challenges of leading a growing organization.

This guy is just such a lovely guy. You’re going to really enjoy that. So join us on Thursday. If you’re not subscribed, click subscribe, because it’s going to help other people find the pod, but also it’s going to, it’s every single subscribe. Every time you subscribe, a fairy gets his wings. There you go.

See you next week. Bye bye.

Leanne Elliott: If I took the poison out of the food, then the, the p the animal wouldn’t die. But if I also didn’t give them the food die. Do you know what I mean?

Al Elliott: No.

Leanne Elliott: So

Al Elliott: talking about Leanne,

Leanne Elliott: it’s kind like saying, I don’t know, what am I trying to say? Let me think of a bit of analogy.

Al Elliott: I told him he’d, I told him he’d lost.

I told him he’d lost.

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