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107: Adam Grant on Hybrid Working, Dealing with Burnout AND Hugging Trees..? This Week in Work 18th June 2024

Join your hosts, business psychologist Leanne Elliott and business owner Al Elliott, as they delve into the latest workplace trends, insights, and tips to help you create an amazing work environment.

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Welcome to another episode of the Truth, Lies & Work podcast, the award-winning psychology podcast brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

Join your hosts, business psychologist Leanne Elliott and business owner Al Elliott, as they delve into the latest workplace trends, insights, and tips to help you create an amazing work environment.

Segment 1: News Roundup

This week’s news roundup kicks off with an intriguing new concept: Forest Bathing.

We also discuss a recent tweet by Adam Grant highlighting the benefits of hybrid working.

Lastly, as Pride Month continues, we explore the financial challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. From securing stable housing to healthcare costs, we discuss the importance of financial well-being and its impact on this community.

Segment 2: Book Club

This week, Leanne recommends “The Psychology of Secrets: My Adventures with Murders, Cults, and Influencers” by Andrew Gold. This fascinating book dives into why we keep secrets and their psychological impact, featuring stories from cult leaders to everyday people.

Al’s pick is “Find Your Yellow Tux” by Jesse Cole, the owner of the Savannah Bananas baseball team. This book offers excellent marketing advice and emphasizes the importance of discovering what makes you unique.

Segment 3: Workplace Surgery

  1. Building Rapport in a New Leadership Role: A listener recently started a new leadership role and seeks advice on building rapport with a tenured team across three locations.
  2. Dealing with Burnout: Another listener shares their struggle with balancing work and social life, leading to burnout.
  3. Success: Logic or Manifestation? We explore the debate between using logical decision-making versus manifestation and personal development for achieving success.


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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 True the 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: We are here to help you simplify the science of work.

Al Elliott: Yes. Welcome to another Tuesday episode. Where we’ve got for you, we’ve got the news roundup. We’ve got a book segment, which is relatively new. I think it’s just here for the summer. And then we also have the world famous weekly workplace surgery. See, I said it right this time, Lee.

Leanne Elliott: I’ve been practicing in the mirror.

Al Elliott: I mean, you’re a tiger. That’s what I’ve been doing. Is

Leanne Elliott: that your morning

Al Elliott: affirmation? It

Leanne Elliott: is. I need

Al Elliott: some face paint so I can put the tiger face on you.

Leanne Elliott: Do it again.

Al Elliott: I’m a tiger.

Leanne Elliott: I like it.

Al Elliott: Okay, Lee, before we kick off, is there anything that you need to tell us? Tell me, tell the listeners.

Leanne Elliott: Is there? I don’t, I don’t think so.

Al Elliott: It did sound like I was expecting you to say, well, yes, well, actually I ate the last Jaffa cake. Are you

Leanne Elliott: exposing me for something? Um, I didn’t eat the last Jaffa cake actually, I believe there’s still some in the cupboard.

Al Elliott: There’s one because I’ve had the penultimate Jaffa Cake.

Leanne Elliott: Did you eat the second to last Jaffa Cake?

I ate the

Al Elliott: second to last Jaffa Cake.

Leanne Elliott: Speaking of Jaffa Cakes.

Al Elliott: Yes, this is going to be the world’s best segue. Carry on, Leigh.

Leanne Elliott: It’s my favourite time of the week.

Al Elliott: It’s Jaffa Cake time.

Leanne Elliott: Nope, it’s time for the news round of Al Kila jingle. Oh,

Al Elliott: questions always. Okay, Leigh. So, what have you got?

Leanne Elliott: I have a new term for you.

Al Elliott: I like a new term. I know.

Leanne Elliott: Forest bathing.

Al Elliott: Oh, yeah. Uh, yeah, this sounds a little bit new agey and a bit, um,

Leanne Elliott: Woo.

Al Elliott: Woo is the word I was looking for. I was trying to think of whether you were going to kick off me saying the word woo.

Leanne Elliott: No, well, he, well, apparently forest bathing is becoming a thing. It’s a therapeutic method, if you’ve not heard of it before, of connecting with nature.

And it basically involves immersing oneself in a forest setting to engage the senses. census fully minus the distractions of our digital devices. Essentially, it’s going for a walk in somewhere green.

Al Elliott: Yeah, I was about I was about to call. Excuse me. Sorry.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah. Yeah. You don’t have to get naked. Um, it’s probably better if you don’t, unless.

Can you though, if you want to? Well, if you’re at a nudist beach, why not? In fact, I think you have to if you’re a nudist beach, don’t you?

Al Elliott: But if you’re in the New Forest, perhaps, you know, around a children’s play area, maybe keep, keep those pants on, perhaps?

Leanne Elliott: Yes, maybe. Clothing is, is encouraged. Um, but research into forest bathing is also now becoming a thing, and it’s growing.

Um, so, um, And it is actually showing some significant health benefits. So I was reading an article, a 2018 meta analysis. So a meta analysis, that’s when we take the data from lots of different studies and put it all together to have a massive sample. And then we analyze that. So it’s like, it’s like the, the king of the studies, the meta analysis.

Yeah. But a meta analysis highlighted that forest bathing reduced blood pressure, cortisol levels, which is our stress hormone, and heart rate amongst participants. So basically it puts us in a more calming state, more impressively, regularly engaging in activities like forest bathing, decreased rates of diabetes, lowered cardiovascular disease, and and overall mortality.

Al Elliott: I have a theory. It’s because one, you don’t have your phone with you. So that reduces your cortisol. And two, there’s not too many Gregg’s bakeries in the forest. So perhaps that’s what’s reducing your, your fat levels and your diabetes. Perhaps

Leanne Elliott: you have just, just called out the old age argument. And when it comes to any type of human behavior research, we talk about causation or correlation.

And what you’re suggesting that is we’re talking about Correlation. And in fact, the forest is not the cause of such health impacts, but we don’t know this. Dr. Kirsten McCowan from the University of Derby does though. She actually said that she was initially initially sceptical about the practice, but has found compelling evidence of its benefits.

Her research in the UK has shown that forest bathing can improve heart rate variability by 12%, potentially shifting individuals from From high risk, um, category for cardiovascular disease to a low risk category. So it seems as though spending some time amongst the trees might well be good for our health.

Um, investigation is going on, but theory suggests that that nature might be good for us. It’s, um, it’s almost a bit daft really, isn’t it? When you think about it, that it’s like, Oh my goodness, maybe nature. Is actually where we’re meant to be as a species, having done that for millions of years, not only just since the industrial revolution, but 150, 200 years ago, actually now live the life that we do.

And arguably with technology in the palm of our hands only for the last 20 years. And it’s a wonder why we’re struggling. Um, but that is the breakthrough. Apparently we need to go back to nature.

Al Elliott: That’s what we’ve done for millennia. We’re not probably not millennia, but we’ve done for a very long time as a species is be outside.

So yes, definitely everything in moderation, including forest bathing.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah. I mean, I think, I think you’re right. I think this, this could be, is it, is it actually the walking that’s helping? Is it the breathing more consistent? It’s helping. Is it all not having, you know, those constant dopamine spikes from our phone?

There could be a whole lot of reasons. And I don’t think it’d be a massive surprise to anybody that actually going outside and taking a walk is going to be good for you. It’s like your mum used to say, isn’t it? Get outside. It’ll do you some good. And she was usually right. And apparently according to science, she was.

Al Elliott: Do you know what you should do? I’ve read, I read this story about this very clever couple, brother and sister. And what they did was when they went into a forage, they just dropped sweets on the ground so they could find their way back out. So just a thought. I mean, I’m just, this is just life hacks. These are, these are life hacks.

Leanne Elliott: Let’s move on, Al. What have you got?

Al Elliott: Well, Adam Grant.

Leanne Elliott: Oh yeah.

Al Elliott: The Adam Grant, the guy who, if you’re listening, Adam, get on the pod. We’ve, we’ve been, we want you on the pod. Anyway, so Adam Grant is like the grandfather of all workplace culture. He tweeted the other day. He said, Managers, keep your people, let them work from home two days a week.

And before you yawn and go, yeah, yeah, we’ve talked about this. But specifically here, we’re talking about is two days a week. He quoted this experiment with 1600 people over two years. Um, and there were randomly assigned hybrid work and what this study found. Was it was increased satisfaction, reduced quitting, especially for women and long commuters, and there was zero downside of it.

Um, I will link the tweet in the show notes, but this is basically the report by a guy called Nicholas Bloom. Someone else called. Now I’m going to read this. Ruobing Han, I’m so sorry if I butchered that, and James Liang. And there is an abstract which, from what I’ve understood from the end, is basically a summary.

But even that was a bit too verbose for me. So the couple of things I picked out was, here we ran a six month randomized control trial investigating the effects of hybrid working from home on On 1, 612 employees and a Chinese technology company in 2021. I love how scientists don’t go, Oh, we did 60 like marketers ago.

Oh, we did it. We did like almost 2000 people. They were like, no, 1, 612. We found that hybrid working improved job satisfaction and reduced quit rates by one third. The reduction in quit rates was significant for non managers, female employees, and those with long commutes. If you’re a manager, hold on, I’ve got something for you.

Hybrid working did not affect performance over the next two years. We found no evidence for a difference in promotions over the next two years. And if you’re a coder, hybrid working had no effect on the lines of code written by computer engineer employees. Interesting. I wonder if they were forest bathing at the time.

395 managers in the experiment revised their surveyed views about the effect of hybrid working from a perceived negative effect minus 2. 6 to a perceived positive effect, 1%. Basically, what it’s saying is hybrid work might work for some of us full time, and it might not work for some of us at all. But this study is telling us that in this particular situation, two days a week was the magic number.

Two days a week working from home, and it did not damage performance, reduced quit rates, and just basically made everyone a little bit happier. Which I think we all kind of, I think, I’m guessing most of us knew that. But, um, I don’t that two days a week is kind of a magic thing.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah, it does seem to be, isn’t it?

Two or three days a week seems to be the magic number and I guess it’s just somewhere in the middle, isn’t it? Um, it’s interesting the research that’s coming out now on hybrid work and, and I think we talked about some a couple of weeks ago as well, that showed a similar thing that it had no impact on, on performance, um, negative.

All positive, really. Um, it’s just where you work, isn’t it? It’s context. And I think this is where hopefully the research is going to really emphasize. It doesn’t really matter if your employees are in office or at home. It’s about the environment you create for them, the culture you create for them.

That’s going to motivate their performance. Nice to see that managers start to change their mind. I understand that lack of control, how you’ve always done it and you can be a bit, a bit, um, uncertain. You can feel a bit insecure in your ability to lead. Um, but yeah, I think it’s good and I think it’s no surprise is it female employees, those with long commutes, um, people with other, other aspects of their lives to balance, it gives them a bit more flexibility, a bit more time back and therefore makes them more productive.

Um, yeah, I think it’s really interesting. Longitudinal study, always nice as well. Over two years. So yeah, long, long may this flow of, um, hybrid research continue. We always said, didn’t they? That, that hybrid was the great experiment following the pandemic. Um, and we’re starting to see the results of this experiment now.

And I think it’s, I think hybrid is going to be here to stay.

Al Elliott: Yeah, I agree. I agree. And it’s, and, um, again, we don’t, we don’t often quote Bezos and Amazon here. And we, in the same, Sentences, workplace culture, but they do have a great way of looking at decisions for the call. One way doors and two way doors.

Um, hybrid. If you’re a manager, a leader hybrids, a two way door, you can just start it and say, right, we’re going to trial this for six weeks and see how it goes. And you can always roll it back as long as you speak to Leanne. If you’re gonna do this, by the way, because Leanne will tell you exactly how to, how to set this up and so that it doesn’t blow up in your face, but it isn’t a one way door.

So it’s definitely something which I think if you’re not trying, you should try two days a week and see what difference it makes. Lee, what else have you seen this week?

Leanne Elliott: Well, we are in week three of pride month now, and there has been a flow of so many wonderful organizational and individual spreading awareness about the challenges faced by the LGBTQ plus community.

And one that I think is really important for business owners to know about Is a significant financial challenges faced by the community. And this is an article I saw and it framed it in a way that I’d never really fully considered before. So it mentioned that for many in the LGBTQ plus community, securing basic necessities like stable housing, It’s really difficult because there’s discrimination from landlords and the threat of eviction is a real concern, especially for those forced from unsupportive family homes.

Shockingly, actually, there’s some research that shows that nearly one in five, um, LGBTQ. Brits have experienced homelessness at some point, which really just highlight the impact of that type of discrimination. And that’s just one aspect. Um, you know, the financial strain extends to many other aspects of life as well.

Um, often people in community find themselves. paying a premium to live in larger, more accepting cities where the cost of living can be substantially higher. It’s estimated that members of the community will spend up to 200 a month on taxis because they don’t feel safe walking at home. And of course there’s healthcare.

This article featured Thea Bardot who identifies as trans non binary. She uses she, they pronouns. Thea points out that trans people in particular are burdened with a specific set of additional overheads to ensure that. Outward image matches up with who they are inside and given the huge waiting list, particularly in the UK, um, they actually went private and acknowledged that she’s privileged to be able to afford, um, something that, that a lot of trans or non gender conforming people can’t.

Um, and these are just a handful of financial challenges. Really. We’ve not really talked about the cost of having children. Again, the impact of discrimination in the workplace and how that can impact career progression and therefore salary increases. So I think this is perhaps overlooked for business leaders who do have members of the community in their workforce.

And, and that there’ll be the vast, vast, vast majority of businesses out there, especially as the, you know, the cost of living crisis continues. Financial wellbeing is a really important concern for the LGBTQ plus community. And it’s a sad reality that living this, Safe and authentic life requires significant financial planning.

Uh, this article went on to highlight, um, the work of Kelly Ann Winger, who’s a queer entrepreneur, um, and helps others in the community with financial planning, um, because many people will be cut off financially from their families after coming out. So if you are looking for better ways to support your employees, are part of the community, financial wellbeing is a really, really great place to start.

And one that will actually benefit all of you. All employees, but if we take the time to individualize that support, as we’ve talked about so many times on the podcast before, it’s going to have a huge impact. If you want to hear more on that, you can go back to episode 55 with Professor Sir Kerry Cooper to hear more on financial wellbeing, how you can individualize that support and what it will mean for your people and your business.

But really interesting consideration, I thought, and one that I’d never really pieced together. in that way before the importance of financial well being for the queer community.

Al Elliott: The key here is, as Leanne’s always said, is don’t go, right, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to create a new thing for the community.

Go and find someone who in your, in your organization, uh, who’s part of the community and say, look, This is what I’ve heard. Is there something we can do? And don’t forget, this doesn’t necessarily have to affect your bottom line. You know, if there’s just, there could be anything, it could just be like, you could, you could potentially just do a little bit of financial coaching.

And with someone, if you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve done well, you probably know how to make money and you probably know how to save money and invest money. So it could be something as simple as that. So it is definitely something we need to be thinking about. And I’m kind of pleased that, that we’re all, um, we’re all starting to think this way because it does sound like we’re.

We’re working through the challenges slowly, but we’re working through them. That concludes the news roundup. So we’re on to the next segment, which is our wonderful summer book club. The idea of Lee Ann’s a couple of weeks ago, which I think she just sprung on me when we were actually just recording the thing and said, I didn’t have a part.

I didn’t have a book. Anyway, so what we’re going to do basically, I’m going to tell you about her choice of the book for this week. I’m going to tell you about mine. As you probably have guessed, I’m more business owner, entrepreneur sort of led. So mine’s going to be slightly more that direction. Leanne’s more business psycho.

Well, she is a business psychologist, so it’s going to be more that direction. Hopefully we’ll find something that’s going to appeal to everyone. Leah, what have you got?

Leanne Elliott: I’m excited about this one. And again, when I, when I first showed my book, I haven’t started reading it. So you can start with me and we can read it together.

Um, but I’m, I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s called the psychology of secrets, my ventures with murders, cults, and influences by Andrew gold. What a title it’s here. If you watch it on camera, quite a sexy little, uh,

Al Elliott: Purple and yellow. That’s cool. Nice. Isn’t it? Oh, is that our colors?

Leanne Elliott: Plus orange.

Al Elliott: Okay. So what’s in the book late?

Leanne Elliott: Well, the psychology of secrets is actually Andrew’s first book, but chances are you have heard of him. Andrew is an investigative journalist, a podcaster, a filmmaker. He’s an award winner. Indeed. Um, in all of those categories, I think you probably would have heard of him.

of the podcast heretics. He is the host. He’s created documentaries for BBC, HBO. Andrew is a pretty big deal. Um, yeah, I saw it for the title for the cover. I put it in my basket immediately. Looking into it a bit more, the book dives into why we keep secrets and what really happens in our brains when we spill the beans, apparently we all carry around an average of six.

And half of the time, these secrets involve something sketchy, like a lie or money issues. Andrew Gold has talked to everyone on his podcast through his work as a journalist, people from cult leaders to everyday people. Um, and he has figured out what secrets say about us. It does look like a really interesting read.

I think, especially if you’re into psychology. Or if you just love a good mystery, I think it’s going to be good for you. So I’m going to start this as my homework for this week. And I’ll, I’ll report back.

Al Elliott: I love it. I’m excited. And also slightly nervous about you quizzing me on one of my 13 secrets. It’s interesting though.

I did hear once someone say that behind every fortune is a lie. Um, and, um, That has rung true for almost every single successful person I’ve met. Now there doesn’t have to be a massive lie or a terrible lie, but I think that there’s always a little bending of the rules.

Leanne Elliott: Oh, what a great question to include in our founder stories.

Al Elliott: No, we can’t ask that because no one was going to, no one’s going to say that. So my book recommendation is called find your yellow tux by Jesse Cole. I read this maybe about a year and a half ago, two years ago, I heard him on a podcast. Um, in fact, it might even be story brand, which is part of the, this is before we joined HubSpot as part of the HubSpot network.

Really, really good podcast, by the way, JJ Peetson. Awesome. Um, and, um, it’s called find yellow tux. And basically what happened was this, Jesse Cole, you’ve got the kind of the first part of the story where things weren’t going well, he was on his backside, hadn’t got any money. And then he ended up buying the Savannah bananas, which is a baseball team somewhere.

I’m guessing Savannah, but I don’t even know what state that’s in. Is it Georgia? Cool. Okay. So he bought the Savannah bananas, which was a, which was basically the local baseball team that wasn’t doing very well. They’d get 10%. They’d fill 10 percent of the stands every single week. Um, and so he took it over and it’s an absolutely phenomenal story.

It’s not only great for marketing advice, but what’s the core thing behind all of this is working out what makes you different. Hence he wears. A yellow tux to every game. And that’s what makes it different about Savannah bananas. Now, of course there is much more to it than that, but the core part of it is saying, what’s your story.

So instead of spending two days on a retreat coming up with, let’s be honest, frankly, bullshit values. Then read this and you’re going to come up with your actual origin story. Now what’s interesting about your origin story is number one, it sets you aside. It’s an interesting thing to talk about because when you talk about recruitment, then you obviously, people want to work for a company that’s got a good story.

Everyone wants to work for those, but it’s also going to be the core basis of your employer brand. Now, if you are interested in doing them in, in building a great employer brand, then we have got the amazing David Thompson from Employer Brand Made Easy Company, who’s coming up in a couple of weeks time.

And it’s going to be an entire masterclass on how to build an employer brand. And if you read this, you will be doing some prep work and you’ll be 80 percent of the way, well, maybe not 80, but you’ll be 40 percent of the way there. If you can work out what your story is.

Leanne Elliott: I must admit, Al, I’ve just been thinking about the name for the past couple of minutes.

The Savannah Bananas. I actually, while you’re talking, also Googled, just in case I was wrong, but Savannah is indeed in Georgia. Look at me. Maybe it’s a skill that I have. You could throw a city email and go, this is a state. Probably not. Don’t try. Um, but the Savannah Bananas. I wanna, I wanna. England.

Al Elliott: No, Birmingham, America.

Leanne Elliott: Birmingham. Oh, there’s a few, isn’t there? There’s a few Massachusetts,

Al Elliott: Alabama. Carry on.

Leanne Elliott: I bet there’s a Birmingham in Massachusetts.

Al Elliott: There probably is. Anyway, sorry, you were talking about Birmingham and your uncanny ability to guess which state a city’s in if it was randomly thrown at you. Carry on. You were talking about Savannah Bananas.

Leanne Elliott: Bananas, indeed. Um, now it does, it sounds really interesting, actually. And I love, I love things like that. We’re hearing a lot that now aren’t with the Euros happening about the little superstitions of, of sports managers and owners and players. Um, so I love that he, he wore his yellow tux. It sounds like a good read.

Is it, is it an easy read? Is it a funny read?

Al Elliott: really easy, really simple. Um, and, um, he’s written quite a few books on him around it, but it’s just really good fun because he gets the, he gets the baseball player, these massive baseball players, men. He gets them to dance and they’re like, they were never going to dance.

People walked out and said, I’m not doing that. And in the end they obviously came back and it was, um, basically it’s glee, but for baseball.

Leanne Elliott: Oh, sold. Should have led with that out.

Al Elliott: So there you have it. If you are reading those, then jump on LinkedIn, uh, tell us, just search for truth, lies and work. You’ll find there’s lots of bits and pieces that is going on there.

Just tell us how you’re getting on with it and whether you enjoy it and tell us one of your secrets as well. Lee, we’ll be back in a second after the very, very quick break with our world famous weekly workplace surgery. See you in a second. Okay. Welcome back. We are out in the world famous weekly workplace surgery, where we have three questions that I’m going to put to Leanne.

Although, did you just say that we’ve, there’s one for me? So I’d be only two for you.

Leanne Elliott: There is, there is one for you this week.

Al Elliott: Lovely. So these are the questions. Leanne is a business psychologist. Yeah. In case you haven’t worked it out by now, and she’s an expert in workplace culture. And so she will be answering these late.

Are you ready for question number one?

Leanne Elliott: Yes.

Al Elliott: Okay. I recently started a new leadership role and will be adopting a team of eight who are all tenured within the company. I’ll be flying out and visiting the three locations where they work. What are some ideas to begin to build rapport? Ideas for when I get the team members together.

Now they have put here, not like happy hour or group activities, but more actual work activities and hopefully something to make them feel it was a good use of time and productive.

Leanne Elliott: Um, I think it’s, it’s great that you’re asking the question to begin with. Good for you. One thing that worked really well for me and I think works well for any manager, and I’ve heard a lot of people, um, recommend this when they first go into a new team, um, is.

It is really just to get to know them, but get to know them in a really open and authentic way. And it depends on what the state of the business is. So I went and took over a contract that needed significant turnaround performance was not good. Um, so I went in, I knew there was a lot of frustration. I’d heard noises that people would generally.

Pissed off. Um, so I did what was called a, um, shit posting session. I mean, it was a full day event in the morning. I was like, I don’t, I don’t know you. I don’t know this contract. I know the business that we’re in, but I don’t know the challenges that you’ve faced here on this contract in this region. Um, and specifically with, um, Yeah.

With the challenges you’ve had. So tell me, and I said, I’m going to be brutal. Tell me the worst, the good, the bad, the ugly, be brutal. There is, um, confidentiality. What you say here will not leave this room. Um, if you need to be, um, a bit candid about other leaders in the business, please do so respectfully, but.

Openly, honestly, um, and just moan, just moan, moan, moan, moan, moan, moan, moan all morning. And it took a little time for people to come out of their shell. Um, and, and, you know, often you have to come with your own example as well. Um, so for example, I was like, well, if it was me as a coach here, I’d be really frustrated that I don’t have a set base where my customers can meet me and I spend all my day running around, um, and just offering things like that.

Um, so that was the morning session. The afternoon session, you then switch focus to actually go right. Okay, now we know the problems and now we’ve got it all about out of our system. We’re all feeling a bit of relief that weight is off our shoulder. What can we do about it? What can we, what solutions can we come up with together to try and make this best at what can I do as your manager, your senior manager to help this help make this better?

What can your direct manager do? Um, And it was everything from logistics to just getting better coffee and cups of tea, uh, to reducing travel, to making sure that expenses were paid quicker because people out of pocket, um, having sex. There was so many different things that came out of this session. Um, and people felt energized at the end of it.

Caveat and a warning though. In that scenario, there were at least two people who weren’t getting on board with it, who weren’t enthused by it, who just wanted to stay in that moaning state. And that for me indicated that these two people were going to leave the business very shortly because they were not going to engage in that change.

And for me, that was like, cool, because I need people who can change. I need people who are on board. And now that I’ve seen this behavior, I can start planning your replacements in advance. Um, So yeah, that’s the only thing if you’re going through change of life to leave people, if the business isn’t a good place, just sit down with them one to one and have a similar conversation.

You know, what are your frustrations? What can I do to make your job easier? Um, and then do it, you have to follow through on that. You can’t leave any broken promises early on because that’s just going to erode the trust. And so that’d be the thing. And be really honest if they give you three things that, They want you to fix, say, right, I can fix one, one’s not gonna happen because of X, Y, and Z.

I’ll see what I can do about the other one. Um, that’s what I do. Get to know them. Have a chat. Um, going with empathic concern, what can I do to make your job easier? Will go pretty far.

Al Elliott: I love that. I love that it goes along with the, the ideas that managers are there to support the people who are in their team.

And secondly, just if you listen to someone. Then even if you go, Leanne and I used to be in the Samaritans in the UK, which basically listening service, if you’re in distress or despair, you’d ring up. And even if you’re feeling suicidal, you can still ring up and we would just go, okay. And so how’s your day been?

Are you feeling suicidal? What do you think death’s like? All that kind of stuff. We, we basically just listen to them, ask the question, listen to them. They, people didn’t ring up hoping us to talk them out of things. People didn’t ring up hoping us to have answers. People rang up because they wanted a nonjudgmental conversation with someone which they couldn’t have with their friends.

If you are a manager and you are able to sit there, shut up, listen. And at the end of the go, there’s certain things I can’t do anything about, but let me try and do something about this. You’re probably 80 percent away there actually.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I think it’s, it’s judging the situation as well as Nate, you know, if people are under a lot of pressure, then their ability to come up with solutions might take a bit more time.

It might need a group scenario. It might be that they need you to be more decisive for them initially. Um, it’s having that emotional intelligence and that self awareness as a leader, that’s going to go far because it’s these, It’s that, that first 90 days in your management role is possibly the most important because if you can’t earn, and I say earn because it’s earned the respect and trust of your people, there’s almost no coming back from it.

There’s almost no coming back from it. Um, so yeah, I think you just have to sit down with openness and humility and not necessarily the solutions unless that’s what they’re looking for. Listen.

Al Elliott: I love it. As, as always, another fantastic answer. And I think that if you are in that situation, let us know, um, if you want, like Leanne offers free half an hour, if you qualify free half an hour session, uh, for any, any listener.

Um, so if you want to chat about something, then just check the show notes, you can find a way to book us some time with her. Question number two, Lee. This one’s a little bit sad. Um, let me read it to you. I’ve spent the last ten years working so hard at my job and I’m really pleased with my progress. I’ve now got a decent salary and the job title I always wanted, but this has meant my social life has been non existent.

So last year I really tried to up my socializing game and I started making much more of an effort, but nothing seems to work. I think I’m a nice person and I hope I’m interesting, but nobody seems to want to hang out with me. I’m also really worried about trying to get people at work to like me, because if they don’t, then everyone at work will know I’m not a great person to hang out with.

I’m at the point of thinking I should just abandon my social life and spend all my time working hard. I suppose I can make friends later in life. But of course, I’m worried about burning out, and I’m worried about starting to resent work, because if that happens, and I can’t enjoy my job anymore, then I feel I won’t have anything to get up for in the morning.

That’s really sad, isn’t it? You feel like you just want to go give this person a hug and just go, I’ll be a friend.

Leanne Elliott: I’ll be a friend. I think this is quite a common situation for a lot of people to find themselves in, particularly people who are ambitious. What is it you always the, um, like the biggest lie in the Bible is that.

Jesus at 30 had 12 close friends or something.

Al Elliott: The least believable thing about the Bible, and I’m sorry for anyone listening who is a big Bibleophile, but, um, the least believable thing about the Bible is that a man in his thirties had 12 close friends. Yes.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah. So I think it’s, I think it’s a very common thing actually for people who, um, are focused on work and understandably in that early career to try and get to that point of emotional, of, um, financial stability and the level they want to be at.

Um, things do fall away. Um, that’s just the way life is. Um, it’s good that you’ve, uh, you’ve recognized this imbalance and want to do something about it. Um, I think that the danger is, and I think this is where it will need a little bit of untangling, is that I understand that you’re, you’re feeling you’re burning yourself out by trying to socialize so much to make these connections, but also it can work the other way around that because you focus so much on work, you’re burning out.

Um, and that causes us to want to disconnect socially. So it could even be that your, the lack of socialization has actually been a sign of burnout for a few years. And now you’re trying to correct it. It’s just that it’s that added, um, added time pressure, I guess, that the reality is that relationships are the one thing that will, um, help us live happier and healthier and longer, it’s been found in so many studies, longitudinal studies, and very Harvard, the famous, very famous Harvard one, for example.

Um, relationships and support networks are really, really important. So you’re right to prioritize this. Um, my thought would be, if this is putting pressure on you. Take the pressure off a little bit. There’s plenty of ways to gain fulfillment away from work. There’s plenty of ways to build relationships and connections with people without actually defining them as close friendships.

Close friendships are actually very rare. Um, I would look at something like an exercise called the wheel of life. Just. Google it, basically kind of, you rank your, um, where your life is on various different points, whether it be, uh, money, relationships, work, health, fitness, uh, those types of things, and maybe see what else might be a bit lacking, for example, let’s say, or community, I think is another one.

So let’s say it’s, um, health, maybe you’ll go and join a gym and maybe that, um, you know, that. The chemical benefits you’re going to get from exercising, all that adrenaline, the serotonin and all the, all the good stuff, um, will give you more energy to go out and socialize. It might be that you’ll meet people at the gym, or if you have other hobbies, um, particularly if you have very niche hobbies, there’s lots of different online and in person communities out there.

There, um, you know, from joining a choir to going to some kind of like comic con for Doctor Who. Um, another thing as well in terms of community volunteering is a really good way to make, um, connections with people with like, that are like minded, that share your values and they can turn into friendships or indeed relationships.

That’s how I met Al volunteering. Um, so I would say take the pressure off that it has to be your social life. Otherwise, You know, you’re cutting yourself off from everything except for work. There’s many different ways that you can, um, expand your world and, um, expand your opportunities to meet people and connect with people.

Um, other than just trying to be the cool, funny one at work who makes everyone laugh. Um, so I would say that. It’s something like the, um, the Wheel of Life exercise. There’s another one in Dr. Audrey Tang’s book, The Leader’s Guide to Resilience on Pillars, which is a similar theme. Um, just have a little look at that again.

Also, you know, a coach can sometimes be good to run some of these ideas past, um, or indeed, you know, call the Samaritans. A lot of people think the Samaritans is just if I’m feeling in, you know, that way. point of, of feeling suicidal. And it’s not. A lot of people we’d have call up just to, for things like this, to run through thoughts and ideas and worry that they, you know, would be isolating themselves, that their stress was getting too much.

Sometimes you just need a sounding board and Samaritan is a really good free option if you’d can’t afford, um, to engage a coach or a counselor or something like that, but that would be my advice. It sounds like we just need to take some pressure off. We’ve got the right idea. But just need to take some pressure off and explore different ways of expanding our, our horizons, our environment, enriching, um, our, our relationships.

Al Elliott: Totally agree. Totally agree. Um, I would say that cause I’m, I was the same. I didn’t really have any friends, close friends until maybe I was sort of like 1920. Um, and I think you get to the point where, especially if you’ve got this work ethic of like, I’m going to do really well at work. These are my priorities.

This is what I’m getting off. And these are my goals. If you approach socializing the same way, you’re going to come across as a bit weird. So don’t go out there and think, right. So my goal is at this event to get five numbers and go out for a coffee with one person. It doesn’t work like that. Um, the second, the second thing is, I think is just.

Almost like link to the last answer is just listen. If you get really good at listening to people, they will tell you, oh, you’re the most interesting person in the world. And actually, you’ve not said anything. What you’ve done is listen to them. If you listen to people, they will like you as long as you don’t, as long as you listen properly.

Um, and there’s lots of, there’s lots of stuff out there about listening, but really. The key is just have in your head two or three phrases that you can use when someone asks you about you, answer, and then just a key phrase like, sorry, did you say you were in, you were a doctor at the end of your thing, brings it back to them and they will go, yes, I am a doctor.

I do this. I do that. Let them go on. And then that you will find that you, it will come naturally to you. You can’t, you can’t push this.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah. Thank you for, for that question. I think, I think by the sound of it, you know, that focusing on work alone isn’t, isn’t the answer. Um, but yeah, some, some ideas there for you.

Al, are you ready for a question for you?

Al Elliott: Yeah.

Leanne Elliott: So this listener says, I’ve been learning about successful people like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Larry Ellison. They all seem to think and make decisions using logic and first principles, but on YouTube, business gurus talk a lot about things like manifesting.

Translation, fake it until you make it and personal development. What do you think about these different ways of becoming successful? What has been your experience?

Al Elliott: This is a bit of an interesting one because, um, my first business I started and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Then I went bankrupt and then I still didn’t have a clue what I was doing and I also had no money.

So it was very much my second business. I kind of had to fake a little bit till I made it, but you’ve got to be careful with that because you don’t want to be faking it to the point where you’re, you’re hiring, you know, you’re renting a car, a Rolls Royce or a BMW to turn up at a client’s appointment. Um, because that’s just going to come across inauthentic.

I think the disparity you’re seeing potentially is that the, there’s some people who use the fake it till you make it manifestation, et cetera, et cetera. They’re trying to change your mindset around success. Whereas, and that’s a strategy. Whereas you talk about the Bezos and all the people who have made it, they talk very logically.

They’re talking about tactics and tactics of success. And so I think that you will start off with the strategy. And then as you, as you get better, more and more successful, um, um, then you will end up concentrating on the tactics. So if you’re starting from zero, then you need to make sure first of all, you’ve got a good attitude towards money, because a lot of people will, you will inadvertently use, uh, use phrases like money’s the root of all evil or filthy rich.

And they don’t realize that they’re actually telling themselves that those people who have money are filthy money’s filthy. You be careful around that because you’re going to make sure that you that you feel like you are worth someone giving you some money. And that’s the first sort of mindset to get over.

Then the next mindset to get over is that or to adopt is that you can do it. And that’s where your manifestations might come in. Now I did use manifestations and Tony Robbins and stuff when I was flat broke on my backside with no money. Um, and yes, it did help, but I don’t use them now. So I think just try it.

I think really when when we talk about manifestations, it’s not you sitting in a chair cross legged You know just saying or like my joke at the beginning going you’re a tiger. It’s nothing like that It’s just trying to slightly change your mindsets and give you the confidence if you start running You wouldn’t go and watch a YouTube video on how Usain Bolt runs and do the same thing as him You would start at, you would, you’d go and watch YouTube video on how to start, how to run your first 1K, how to run your first 5K.

You’re not there. Don’t compare yourself to this up here, who’s a billionaire. Compare yourself to someone who’s doing a hundred grand a year, who’s doing half a million a year. And then just continually move up the scale so that whoever you’re looking, comparing yourself to, whoever you’re thinking you’re emulating, is probably ten times what you’re doing at the moment, not a hundred thousand times.

Lee, did I ramble a bit there?

Leanne Elliott: No, I think that was a really good point. I love that. If you’re learning to run, you wouldn’t look to Usain Bolt for tips. Um, I think that’s a really smart point. I think the thing is, you know, we can probably name these tech leaders on one hand, the ones that we can remember and we’ve heard of because they’re sensationalized and talked about all the time, because it is, it is.

Rare to see these founders go from zero to multi billion pound businesses. Um, so I think that’s the point, isn’t it? It’s, it’s a typical, so looking at that as your, your blueprint for success is, is problematic. I would be more inclined to figure out. Who inspires you? Personally, I don’t find Jeff Zuckerberg particularly inspiring.

Um, but I find Adam Grant quite inspiring. I find John Amici pretty inspiring. Um, I find the people that we have on our podcast inspiring, different leaders, um, that, that come on, um, because I think it’s cool. Jeff just last week talked about, 210, 000 a year. I find leaders like that inspiring. I think it’s just that, that idea that, oh, if I want to be in successful business, I need to aspire to be this person on a pedestal.

And it’s like, no, just, just, I think the best role models or the best people that inspire us are that we just take little bits from, little lessons on, and then we create, we use that to create our own approach and our own style and our own definition of success. And that’s sustainable, um, in my eyes, but, um, good advice there, I think.


Al Elliott: I think we’ll lastly, just to throw that in there, we are talking about Usain Bolt, then. If you know Usain Bolt’s diet, I bet Usain Bolt doesn’t eat much ice cream. And so what I’m trying to say is that if you want to be a Bezos, then you’ll have all the good, but you’re also going to have all the bad, potentially very costly divorce.

Doesn’t seem like a particularly happy or confident human being has given up his entire life and his hairline to his business. So what we’re talking about there is that you can’t say, Oh, well, I want all his money, but I also only want to work two or three days a week. You’ve got to choose. It’s a, you can’t just pick and choose from the famous people of all the stuff you want.

There’s going to be sacrifices and you’re going to ask yourself, are you willing to make that sacrifice to get that reward? And it’s okay to say no. Leanne and I have both said, said all along, we’re not willing to make the sacrifice. So therefore there’s no point thinking about the reward that if, that if we did that particular thing, we’d get no, not interested.

So that’s a really grown up way of looking at it. I’m sorry. I hope that was the answer you’re If it wasn’t, then let us know.

Leanne Elliott: Then write to somebody else.

Al Elliott: Yes. I look forward to your letters as I keep saying.

Leanne Elliott: Awesome. I think that wraps up another, another This Week in Work Tuesday episode. I enjoyed that one.

Oh, it was good. Yeah. It was really good. She says, you tell me, maybe it’s rubbish. I don’t know. Yeah. I was like, it was okay.

Al Elliott: It was okay. No, it was really good. Uh, join us on Facebook. com. Thursday. What have we got on Thursday? We’ve got someone special on Thursday, haven’t we?

Leanne Elliott: Yes, we are talking to Dimple Dabhalia, an incredible, incredible professional.

Um, I, I can’t even really summarize it in a way that’s gonna, gonna make much sense, but basically humanitarian work, high pressure, life and death. How do you deal with that? How do you come out the other side as an intact, functioning human? Well, Dimple will be here on Thursday to tell us how. So

Al Elliott: we’ll see you on Thursday.

Leanne Elliott: Bye.

Al Elliott: Bye. To

Leanne Elliott: hear more on Financial Ballot, we’re on the.

Al Elliott: I need you to react to that. Don’t just say something.

Leanne Elliott: Oh, in words.

Al Elliott: Yeah. If you think it’s a big pile of rubbish, then tell us that as well, but maybe privately, maybe, I don’t know. Now tell us publicly, we’ll, we’ll tell you you’re wrong. Say it again. These are, I don’t know what I was going to say there.

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