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109: Hero Tax, Creepy Co-Workers and When is a Pilot Too Old to Fly? This Week in Work 25th June 2024

Hosted by Al and Leanne, this episode dives into the latest news, lively debates, and practical advice for today’s workplace.

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Welcome back to Truth, Lies & Work, the ward-winning psychology podcast that simplifies the science of work.

Hosted by Al and Leanne, this episode dives into the latest news, lively debates, and practical advice for today’s workplace.

Whether you’re a business leader or just passionate about work culture, there’s something here for you.

Key Talking Points:

1: News Roundup

Hero Tax: Why Heroic Jobs Earn Less Money

We discuss the “Hero Tax” phenomenon. Why do jobs perceived as heroic, like firefighters and teachers, often receive lower pay? What does this say about societal values and workplace policies?

Top Traits of 10/10 Candidates

What makes a top leader? Adriane Schwager, CEO of GrowthAssistant, shares five essential traits: hyper-competence, self-awareness, versatility, problem-solving skills, and resilience.

The Retirement Age Debate

Should the retirement age be raised? We analyze the implications for various professions as more Americans approach retirement.

2: Truth or Lie?1

Are Motivational Quotes Really Motivating?

In our new segment, we take on pop psychology trends and ask our audience if they hold true through LinkedIn polls. This week, we explore whether motivational quotes genuinely motivate people or if they’re just fluff.

Tune in to hear the results. Want to get involved? Share your thoughts on our LinkedIn page and join the conversation.

3: Weekly Workplace Surgery

Handling Uncomfortable Coworkers

Ever had a coworker make inappropriate comments? We offer advice on whether to report the behavior or continue avoiding them.

Summer Fridays: Perks at Risk

Worried about losing your summer Fridays? We discuss strategies for addressing changes in promised perks. How would you handle this?

Setting Boundaries at Work

Are you struggling to maintain professionalism while avoiding personal drama? We share tips for setting clear boundaries. How do you set boundaries in your workplace?

Resources

All the links mentioned in the show.

Connect with your hosts

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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: 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 Leigh Anne. I’m a business psychologist.

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

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

Al Elliott: Welcome to the Tuesday episode. This week in work where we have the news roundup followed by a mystery segment that Leigh Anne often sneaks in and I don’t. No, what’s, you’re gonna see, you’ll see, and finally by the world famous Weekly Workplace Surgery where I put your questions to Leigh Anne. So shall we get started with your favourite time of the week, Leigh Anne?

Leanne Elliott: Yes, it is my favourite time of the week, it is time for the News Roundup Q, the jingle. So

Al Elliott: what have you got, Leigh Anne?

Leanne Elliott: I have a new term for you, Al.

Al Elliott: Yep, we like a term, go on. Do you want

Leanne Elliott: me to do the alert? Can we still do that?

Al Elliott: If I’ve still got it, I’ve, I’ve swapped hard drives, so I might have to dig through an old hard drive and find it, but yes, I will try and put an alert in here.

Leanne Elliott: New term is hero tax. Hero tax. Yes. So I guess following on a bit from the theme of our episode last Thursday, when we looked at how to deal with the world’s darkest jobs, and it’s a similar thing, I guess. So hero, hero tax is the idea that those that put others first at work can actually And in terms of money, much less.

So this was first reported on the BBC website a few weeks ago, but I am seeing reaction to it in quite a few places this week. So the kind of roles that the article suggests, um, may experiences hero attacks are firefighters, those in primary care and even teachers. So the article says. People largely assume that heroes simply don’t care about fair compensation for the work that they do.

This is a clear fallacy in inferential reasoning and logic, explains Matthew Stanley, who is a postdoctoral research associate at where? Duke University, but what’s that school called?

Al Elliott: Sorry, sorry, Matthew Stanley. We are, we are giggling a little bit like children at the

Leanne Elliott: Fuqua,

Al Elliott: Fuqua School of Business. Um, I hope we’re saying that right, maybe Fuqua?

Anyway, carry on, Leanne.

Leanne Elliott: Um, the University of Duke in the US or Duke University indeed. Um, so yeah, the consequences in the workplace can, of course, be serious. Stanley’s research suggests that, um, this, this heroization may lead to poorer productivity. Renumeration and can lead others to turn a blind eye to policies that result in worse working conditions.

We do seem to be less concerned about poor treatment, he says, if the people who are being exploited are heroes. And there are various studies that have, um, have kind of underlined this in the past as well. I think that, I think the key here is, is really remembering that yes, there is, um, an incredible altruistic drive that comes with being in these, I guess what I’d refer to as human services.

Based professions. I too have worked in, in essentially human services and me and my colleagues used to laugh that we were the most ego driven people in the world because it felt good to help people, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t also need great working conditions, fair renomination and everything else that comes with it.

So I think there is a danger that because this, this sense of purpose really drives our extra efforts and our willingness to put more into our jobs, that we’ll do that indefinitely. and, um, and not for, for fair pay and benefits, which isn’t the case, which is why we’re also seeing so many strikes, I think, in the public sector in the UK at the moment.

Al, thoughts?

Al Elliott: Yeah, I mean, it’s, it was quite, quite disturbing when you read the, to the people who participated in this survey, they’re kind of expected that people who worked in these hero jobs, Oh yeah, they don’t want like more money. They don’t care about, um, about the sort of like the culture in which they work at.

And, uh, and they even said, I think I’ve got a little something here where they said, Um, generally people worry less about the fair treatment and proper compensation. This is the people who they asked about proper compensation, these people, which seemed quite a quite a worrying sort of sort of trend.

Leanne Elliott: It is worrying is worrying.

And I think it is again, it’s this, um, I think it’s this misconception generally that this is if this is your vocation, if this is your calling, that’s not about the money. Um, It doesn’t mean that it’s not about money at all. These aren’t volunteers. They aren’t, you know, working for free. Um, they’re working extremely hard.

And as we heard last week, often it’s sacrifice to their own mental health as well. Um, so quite right that people are standing up and starting to demand, um, fairer pay, um, particularly in line with inflation in the UK. Um, yeah, about time.

Al Elliott: Absolutely. So I was trolling Twitter, which I’m never going to call it X.

Trolling. Trolling. Sorry, not trolling.

Leanne Elliott: You’re one of those Twitter trolls, Al. I’m not on the Twitter, so I wouldn’t know.

Al Elliott: To be honest, I don’t say anything on Twitter. I just, I just sit there with popcorn and see what goes on. But yeah, so I was, I was trolling um, Twitter, um, and I saw this post by the amazing Adrianna Trotter.

Adrianne, I’ve only ever seen it written down. Adrianne Schwager. Adrianne is the co founder and CEO of Growth Assistant, which is a group, which is helps marketing teams focus on results by providing full time offshore employees. She has interviewed literally thousands of candidates and she found that 10 out of 10 candidates as she describes, especially the leaders have got five things in common.

So here are the five things. We will link to the full post. You’re going to read through to it because I have slightly, um, what’s the word when you, um, I knew he said plagiarize. I didn’t mean plagiarize. I summarized. Exactly. That’s exactly what I meant. But the first one is hypercompetence. They go beyond just getting the job done.

They are very Clear about delivering exceptional work, being reliable, taking ownership, especially in unfamiliar areas. Number two was awareness. They have a clear understanding of their strengths, their weaknesses, the likes, dislikes, and most importantly, their blind spots. Number three was versatility.

They are very adaptable and willing to take on various roles and they recognize their limitations but are eager to learn and improve. Number four was problem solvers, which of course is what you want in your business. They are happy to look out for problems and opportunities and design effective solutions and proactively steer the company in the right direction.

I think Adriana said that, uh, they always make it rain. And the final one was quite interesting. Resilience. She found that most people who are 10 candidates have burnt out. They’ve experienced burnt out, but they’ve learned from it. And this has helped them to understand their limits, recognize the mistakes, and know how to avoid future burnout.

Now we’ll link to the full post in our show notes, and you should definitely go onto Twitter and follow her because she is pretty amazing. Any thoughts on that, Leigh?

Leanne Elliott: Yeah, I think I do have a bit of beef with this, actually. These are quite general traits, aren’t they, and behaviours. It’s all about how you’re going to specifically define that within the constraints of your organisation and measure it to know if these people have it.

My beef more comes from, again, I’m really tired of, The emphasis being on the individual in terms of making themselves a 10 of making sure that they don’t burn out. And that really frustrates me because equally I would, I would be more excited by this if Adrian had flipped it and she was like, these are the five things.

That we provide for our employees to make sure that we have 10 talent in our organization, how we develop talent in our organization, that would get me excited. You know, she’s talking about how that, how they enable people to take ownership, how they build people’s strengths and self awareness of leaders.

How they provide access to other projects or departments of functions to allow people to be versatile and adaptable in, in what they can do. Um, if they help, you know, they create an environment of psychological safety where you can innovate and problem solving in that really proactive manner. Or, you know, we’re creating those environments where rest and recovery is prioritized and people don’t burn out because we, we create an environment that supports their wellbeing and their mental health.

I just think it’s a lazy, it’s a lazy thing to go, you know, anyone who’s burnt out, who has hit that rock bottom is going to be the best person to employ because they’re the most resilient. And yeah, maybe, but what a crappy thing to put people through. If anyone has actually experienced burnout, it’s one of the most difficult and disruptive things that you can experience.

So to assume that actually it’s better to just let people get to that Breaking point. I just think is is a bit distasteful, actually. Um, so, yeah, no, not a fan. Sorry, Adrian.

Al Elliott: Well, I was going to, uh, to tag her in and say, Look, we featured your tweet, but I don’t think I will anymore. I think what’s interesting about that is that, that she came, came in it.

And I also saw it from, from, uh, The lead from the business owners point of view going. Yeah, great. We now have this checklist of um, of what we want from a 10 out of 10. And of course you’re coming from completely the other way. The, the work, the, the workplace culture side of him. Um, and so I mean, that’s why we have business owner, business psychologist.

That’s what, that’s the dynamic because we can have arguments like this. I agree with your points, but I also think it’s nice to know. I think that post simplifies things massively for me because I go, okay, well, if I, if I, if these are the five things I’m looking out for. great. Well, that’s what I’m looking out for.

Leanne Elliott: I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t put this much effort into actually developing your people rather than the effort of trying to find these people naturally out there in the organizational wild.

Al Elliott: I think that’s a valid point. I think, to be fair, in the defense of the tweet, it was it was Of course, she’s very prolific on Twitter.

She will probably put this out because she wanted people to start saying stuff like you’ve said in the comments, because that’s how you get engagement and that’s how you get followers. So, um, I’d imagine that it’s not necessarily what she’s thinking, although it’s probably based on something she’s thinking.

But, um, anyway, it got engagement. All right. Didn’t it? Leanne, what have you got next? What have you seen?

Leanne Elliott: Well, I saw something this week in 2027, which isn’t that, isn’t that far away now, just a couple of years. Uh, we are going to have a record number of Americans about to turn 65. Um, the question is, should they be forced to retire?

So in France last year, there were riots as there often are, um, as they increase their retirement age from 62 to 64. But what about those who want to keep working? Well, a lot of jobs allow workers to retire whenever they like, but some jobs are impossible to keep doing after you turn 65. In the US, the Airline Pilots Association already forces pilots to retire at age 65, but a lot simply don’t want to, or can’t afford to.

Barry Kendrick is a president of Raise the Pilot Age, and he emphasizes bottom line, I want to keep flying. Kendrick, a professional pilot who recently turned 66, retired from a major airline after flying Boeing 777s internationally. So although he still flies smaller planes, he’s He’s ineligible to fly for major airlines, which of course pay the most.

He says, I’ve taken a 60 percent pay hit to do what I’m doing now. Highlighting the financial impact of monetary retirement age. So despite passing all necessary physical and cognitive tests, Kendrick is forced to take jobs that pay less and can end up being far more stressful than flying a larger airline.

Aircraft. He says a small airplane is a different environment. He, uh, that’s actually physically more taxing than what I was actually doing before. So the mandatory retirement age doesn’t reflect the capabilities and desire and desires of experienced pilots. It seems, um, who do remain fit and qualified to fly.

So this is a question I’ll should take. Certain jobs have upper age limits. And what is the impact in 2027 when 4 to 5 million people in the US suddenly are eligible to retire?

Al Elliott: Well, I think that, uh, newsworthy, if you follow the news this week, you’ll see that there’s going to be a debate with the two, well, the current president and of us, and then the one who wants to be president who cannot bring myself to name, however, what I think one 78 and Biden’s 81.

So, I mean, if we are, it, it, there’s been a lot of slack, a lot of flack for, uh, Biden recently by saying that he’s just not capable and he’s too old. I’m not sure why replacing with someone who will be 82 by the time that he finishes his term is a much better idea amongst all the other reasons why I believe, but the least

Intro Music: of my concerns about him becoming president again.

But,

Al Elliott: but anyway, in the, in the effort to stay slightly balanced. So yes, I can definitely see that and I can see with. Uh, something like maybe, you know, like heart surgery. Uh, definitely you can, you can tell, you can tell as you get older that you do have slightly or a lot of people feel slightly less, um, able to do things as quickly, think as quickly.

So yes, I can see that side of it. I think all that this guy’s asking for was his name. Kendrick. Um, I think all he was asking for, yeah, Kendrick, all he was asking for is to go from 65 to 67, to give an extra two years, which doesn’t seem a big ask to me. And I’m not quite sure why the union is so against it, but anyway, that’s, that’s a different, uh, different discussion for a different sector.

But the fact is I can see there should be a top limit to certain jobs. I can see that. I can also see there being a top limit to something that’s a job is very stressful or very physical. Yes, I can see that there should be something, but I don’t know. I mean, that’s one of the reasons why I was interested when, when, when you told me about this is I can see the pros and the cons.

Leanne Elliott: It’s tricky, isn’t it? Cause on the, on the flip side, there’s, there’s protests in the UK of teachers that don’t want the retirement age to go up. Um, I think, and I think this is a problem, isn’t it? It’s these sweeping generalized rules that force people to make a choice. I think it’s really that lack of control and that lack of, of autonomy that people are frustrated by rather than necessarily the, the rule itself.

I know I can, I can see, yeah, commercially different things for this. I can see that potentially insuring somebody over the age of six, five might be tricky. It might not be necessary that the airline. is, is, you know, hard and fast on that rule. It might be the insurance they can get in terms of that sense.

Um, I mean, it does seem make sense that if you’re flying with a large airline, larger airplanes, you’re going to have more crew. So you just pair people up with potentially younger people. But as long as you’re passing all the cognitive and physical tests, then I, I appreciate his frustration. Why should he be forced to retire?

Al Elliott: And if he’d have Sully’s shoes, the one who landed in the Hudson. Perhaps they wouldn’t, uh, wouldn’t have had the skill or the expertise to do that. So, okay. So that’s the end of our news roundup. I believe there is a mystery segment here, Leanne.

Leanne Elliott: Yes, I have a mystery segment for you, Al. It’s called truth or lie bang on brand.

Al Elliott: I love it. I love it.

Leanne Elliott: I thought it would be fun this week to start this little segment called truth or lie. So basically taking popular psychological principles that people have heard of, or indeed pop psychology trends to see if our listeners or people in our network thought they were true, that thought they were a truth or a lie.

So this is the question I posed this week via a LinkedIn poll. The question is motivational quotes are motivating truth or lie? Hmm. And to really start actually the motivational quote that I left was from Raul Jandiel, um, if you know you are, if you know, you know, um, which is, uh, you’re never more alive than when you’re dreaming.

What do you think our motivational quotes?

Al Elliott: I know they, they work well on Instagram for engagement. And there’s, there’s, there’s numerous accounts up there who just post, I don’t want to use the word bullshit, but something like that. Basically, if you, they’d make it in Canberra and post it and, and they get millions of people following them.

Are they truly motivational? I would say that’s true. There is a quote which I had stuck on my wall when after I went bankrupt and when I was building my second business, um, there’s a quote by, um, Oh my God, I can’t remember his name and I can’t remember the quote, but basically it was, uh, it was a really motivational quote that I looked at every single day and really motivated me even though things weren’t great.

And so, yes, that motivated me. So I would say That is true.

Leanne Elliott: Nice. Well, our listeners, our network agreed, um, but only just 42 percent thought that it was true. Um, 33 percent thought it was a lie. And, uh, the remaining were, we said other, um, or weren’t sure. There were some really insightful comments too. So Mandy said, Sarah, who is a learning and development consultant.

She said, I like positive affirmations. They help frame or reframe thinking. I’m for motivational quotes. This was followed up by Rita Ernst, who is a positivity influencer and previous guest on the show. She agreed saying that quotes can create the perfect pause, contemplation, or reset. They shift thinking, even if the thought is.

That’s rubbish. And finally, we had a comment from Pavle Grujic, is how I want to say it in this, if, if, if assuming they’re from the Balkans, um, who is CEO and founder at, uh, Macross development. Um, he suggested that motivational quotes can help. But, um, only as much as people think discipline is key. I think that’s a great point, actually.

I think it is how much power we give to these things, how much a particular quote will resonate. And like we’ve always said, you know, if it works for you, if something gives you the vocabulary to explore how you’re thinking and feeling, and that’s a really good start, but what does the science say? Well, I did a little research and the research suggests that motivational quotes can in fact, help you.

Influence one’s mindset and emotional state, often leading to enhanced motivation and performance in various settings. So one study highlighted in a review from the American Psychological Society, uh, that delved into the broader impacts of self motivation and the role of emotions in enhancing performance at work.

So the research underscore the significance of positive emotions. And job satisfaction in mediating the effects of motivation on job performance. So basically saying that motivational quotes therefore could theoretically boost positive, boost positive emotions, thereby enhancing motivation and performance, or be it perhaps indirectly.

Um, motivational quotes have also been analyzed for that ability to align individuals with their intrinsic goals and their personal values, or Which of course, both are critical to motivation. Um, and this alignment can lead to better engagement in work and productivity, particularly if individuals feel that the messages in the motivational quote resonate with their personal aspirations and ethical standards.

So is it true are motivational quotes motivating? Generally speaking, yes. It is true. Um, the direct effects as always with these things, um, may not be explicitly documented and there’s always the old age argument of cause and effect, but it does seem that motivational quotes can shape our emotional responses and that in turn can impact our levels of motivation.

Thoughts?

Al Elliott: To be honest, I’m all for them because I think they’re harmless as long as you don’t rely on them to give you all the energy and motivation you need for the day?

Leanne Elliott: Yeah, I think so. It also, you know, it’s the positive emotions, isn’t it? That sense of hope, optimism, um, part of our psychological capital, it all, it all feeds together.

Is it the motivational core itself? Probably not specifically, but something that, as you say, it’s something that resonates with us and that aligns our, our values and our beliefs and, and probably our ambitions as well. So there you go. Any thoughts on what the truth or lie could be for next week? Al?

Al Elliott: I’ve got one.

Um, , we, I like something called Lie to Me, which is a really daft sort of house style, uh, drama from the, from the us. It’s all about micro expressions and the, I, the, the idea behind the show is this. This guy, the main protagonist, can tell what someone’s thinking just by a micro expression. Is this true, or is this just a lie for the sake of idiots like me who like to watch stuff at night?

Leanne Elliott: Interesting. So what your question is, can microexpressions indicate if somebody’s telling the truth or if they’re lying?

Al Elliott: Yes, it’s meta. We’ve got an inception here. Is it a truth or lie that you can tell a truth or a lie from a microexpression?

Leanne Elliott: challenge accepted. I’ll report back next week.

Al Elliott: Fabulous. Now, if you do like this podcast, uh, then sit tight because here’s a great recommendation for another podcast.

You’re going to love, I’ll see you in a minute. Welcome back world famous weekly workplace surgery time. Lee, are you ready for your first of your three questions?

Intro Music: Yes.

Al Elliott: I’ve recently, this is what they’ve written. I’ve recently started a new shift at my job. And while I’m on good terms with most of my coworkers, there’s one who consistently makes me feel uncomfortable.

This male coworker who often interacts strangely with myself and another female colleague says things that feel inappropriate. Despite sharing my concerns, they’re usually dismissed, but from by management with comments like, Oh, that’s just how he is, or he’s harmless. This coworker has crossed boundaries multiple times, making me uneasy.

For example, he wants asked my personal email without clear reason. And he made a really weird remark about my typing skills and applying a level of admiration that failed a bit. Weird. Additionally, when my husband came to work, he acted very intrusively, pretending to verify who it was by grabbing his name badge and pretending to study it carefully.

Hmm. His comments about having dinner together and offering to buy me things also contribute to my discomfort. So while others seem to accept his behavior, I can’t shake the feeling. They do so to avoid further issues. This situation has led me to avoid him and dread his presence at work. So given this coworkers only around once or twice a month, I’m torn between keep my distance.

or addressing the issue with my supervisor. I don’t want to be responsible for someone losing their job, but I also don’t want to continue feeling uncomfortable at work. So should I tell a supervisor, should I just avoid him and hope the situation improves on its own? Leah.

Leanne Elliott: This is tricky, isn’t it? And you know, it’s tricky because there are, I’m sure there’ll be lots of people listening going, Oh, just get over it.

It’s not that bad. He’s a bit weird, but, but you know, the, the sad, The sad fact is that often women will present complaints like this and they will be ignored and a percentage of them will escalate to a much more serious scenario. So management should be taking all concerns like this very seriously and addressing, um, that with, with the individual who’s making you feel uncomfortable, whether that is intentional or not, it’s not about intentionality.

It’s just about how, you know, this person’s behavior is impacting your experience of work. And as we know, workplace culture is defined by the worst behaviors tolerated. My issue wouldn’t be with, if I was your manager. That, um, that I’d necessarily think this person means to be intimidating or means to make you feel uncomfortable, more that they’re lacking self awareness.

And therefore that conversation needs to be had for their own good, both in this job and in the future as well. I would, I would be inclined to raise it with your manager again. I’d be very specific in terms of the, um, instances that have happened that are making you feel uncomfortable. Um, and why, um, If there is a place to escalate it beyond your supervisor, your manager, would that be to a regional or even ask that somebody from regional sits in, in this meeting or HR representative sits in with this meeting as well.

Um, it seems as though if you’ve not been able to resolve it with your, with your supervisor so far, or indeed with the person who is making you feel uncomfortable that you are going to have to escalate this to the next level. I wouldn’t be inclined to just let it go because I also think as well, this is where, um, You know, kind of organizationally speaking, socially speaking, um, these behaviors can continue, um, in terms of, of making people feel uncomfortable, whether they are women, whether they are, um, people of color, whether it be anybody, whether it be a, you know, a guy who’s, who’s feeling uncomfortable.

Really good looking. Um, it’s these kind of social norms and constructs that don’t go corrected will continue. Um, so yeah, I would raise that. I would try and escalate it beyond that. Um, I mean, the other option, depending on where you are, if you are in the UK, you could contact somebody, um, like ACAS to see exactly what your, your rights are.

Um, but really it’s those internal channels. And if that still doesn’t work, I. guess the only thing you could do is, is ask to not be on shift with this person. It’s only twice a month. I can’t imagine it’d be that disruptive in terms of the scheduling. Um, so go for a more practical approach, like, like that and avoid this person altogether.

Al Elliott: Excellent advice. I mean, one of the last, one of the things I’d add onto this, just from what you’ve said before, I think is that if you do keep some kind of email chain, so even if your manager says, well, there’s not, you know, they’re not doing anything to warrant taking action. Then just by emailing every time it happens, sending a quick email saying, I don’t expect to do anything about this, but I just want to flag it.

You’ve got then that audit trail. So if it does escalate, you’ve got something to, to provide evidence, I suppose. Yeah.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. Good advice.

Al Elliott: Okay. So question number two, when I started my current job, one of the big perks they advertised was summer Fridays, where we’d finish the day at noon.

Intro Music: Hey,

Al Elliott: we always like, we all, we all like a cheeky

Leanne Elliott: finish on

Al Elliott: a Friday.

They call it in the UK, in the North, particularly, they call it an early dart, which I thought was really nice. So, but anyway, fast forward six months, and now they’re saying this, the company is saying they might not do this anymore. This perk was a big reason I took the job in the first place. I’m already frustrated because I was promised flexibility that I don’t have thanks to a stubborn manager.

Now with this summer Fridays perk potentially gone, I feel like I’ve been totally misled. I feel like I can’t trust a company that pulls stunts like this, but my friend says I’m being oversensitive. What should I do?

Leanne Elliott: Um, you’re quite right. You can’t trust a company who, who breaks promises because those, I understand.

It’s like, you know, not having Friday afternoon off in the summer. Is that really enough to completely, you know, leave your job but looking at somewhere else? No. But if it’s part of something else that’s happened, that’s taken away the flexibility that you’ve been promised in your working, um, then it erodes trust.

And as it erodes trust, then. Then that impacts your willingness to invest your effort in, in that job and your willingness to engage and then will influence your motivation, your own personal levels of fulfillment. Um, I have a very low tolerance level for anyone who breaks promises in terms of, of work without a significant, um, reason, without clearly communicating it.

Without proposing an alternative. Um, cause I just think it just screams to me that we’ll, we’ll say all these things to get people in and then once they’re in, then we’ll just change it. It’s fine. Um, And I think that can escalate into all sorts of things as well, couldn’t it? In terms of your own development, in terms of promotion opportunities, particularly the company gets in trouble in terms of how they’ll handle redundancy and things like that.

It’s just those indicators that to me think, if this is a more serious situation, they’re probably going to handle it in a similar way. And that could be a lot more, um, disruptive and potentially detrimental to your career, your personal professional wellbeing. Um, so I don’t think you’re overreacting. Is it big enough to just jack in your job and walk away?

Depends on your circumstances really. Um, but I, I would, yeah, I’d, I’d say my, I’ve got a red flag up. I’ve got a red flag up and I think you’re right too. No kind of necessarily immediate or knee jerk reaction, but certainly something to kind of keep your ears and eyes open to what else might be out there.

Um, and, and I think you know, at this point, this place isn’t a long term.

Al Elliott: It’s like anything. If you, if you, you know, if you buy a service from a company and then suddenly they put the prices up, double the price or something happens, you just lose that trust. And once you lost the trust. You’ve, it’s just, it’s very hard to go back for.

Okay, Lee, I’ve got my final question here. Now, weirdly, last week we had someone trying to get more colleagues to talk to them. This week, it’s kind of the opposite. So here, this person writes, as a department head, I need to stay professional, but I’m struggling with some workplace interactions. Talking to people about work related issues is part of my job, and I’m always available to help with those.

However, I don’t want to hear about personal drama or become friends with anyone. My focus is on getting work done, not on socializing. Despite my subtle and not so subtle hints to deter personal conversations, my colleagues don’t seem to get it. I’m close to telling them outright to leave me alone. I’m guessing that they might be a bit stronger than that.

Any advice on handling this whilst staying professional? Maybe chuckle this one. So

Leanne Elliott: what’s, what’s the, so they’re, they’re a head, a head of, regional head? Yes,

Al Elliott: they’re a department head, and they’ve got no problem with anyone coming to them and telling them about their work, problems, issues, anything to do with work, absolutely no problem.

What they don’t like is when someone comes to them and goes, Oh yeah, so um, at the weekend, me and the kids went so and so and we had this, and they’re like, I don’t care. They just don’t want to hear it.

Leanne Elliott: What’s the problem? You just want them to go away? Leave them, leave them in peace?

Al Elliott: They, they write, I’m close to telling them to leave me alone, basically just don’t come and see me at all.

But I want to stay professional, but I want them to stop coming and bothering me with, with their weekend bullshit.

Leanne Elliott: I’m not really sure what to say to this one, to be honest, because there is an element I think as a manager, where you have to kind of, if you’re building relationships, you do have to kind of.

Put up with a bit of that sometimes and what they’ve been up to at the weekend and, and, you know, maybe some potential issues they are having in their personal life, because that could be a sign for you to dig deeper, or it could be a sign of, of things happening that may result in impact to their, their performance at work.

So I think actually it’s your, as a manager, it is kind of your business to have an idea on what’s going on in people’s personal lives. If they’re willing to share it with you, um, cause I think it just kind of, you know, gives you an indication, particularly people have families and stuff. Um, um, in terms of, it sounds like you just maybe need to set some of your own boundaries in terms of when this happens and maybe how frequently, um, I mean, it could be as simple as, as, you know, saying, Um, so guys, I am, I’ve got some really deep, deep work to do, deep thinking work to do today.

What I’m going to do, cause I don’t want to be rude and tell you to like, to go away when I’m doing it, because I am interested in what you did at the weekend. Um, but if I’m at a point where I don’t want to be disturbed, um, I’m just gonna put my headphones in, or if it’s online, I’m going to have my, you know, do not disturb on, on Slack.

Obviously it’s an emergency. If you really absolutely need me, please do, do come and get me. Um, but just as my little, little bit of advice. Boundary set up because this is, this requires some deep thinking work. Um, could be an option. I mean, if it’s escalating to a point where other people in the team are feeling like this, and it is becoming a bit of kind of a, um, you know, just lots of chatter and gossip and that.

Is impacting work performance, then that’s a different thing. That’s then taking it down, potentially a conversation around, um, using work time, potentially doing something like a team charter, what is acceptable behaviors, because again, all of these informal conversations are actually what, what a lot of organizations crave because it builds these authentic relationships, which really just positively impact our engagement in our work.

Um, so I think to be honest, it sounds like you’re going to have to get over this a little bit. It’s kind of part of your job. To, to get to know people on this level and to breed these types of relationships. Um, if it’s not impacting performance and I think you need to just suck it up and set some personal boundaries, if it is impacting performance, um, then fair enough, something else needs to be done.

Um, and my view would be to, to think about some kind of, of team charter kind of, um, intervention event, um, to kind of set some ground rules collectively, um, of how work time is, is spent. And my thoughts.

Al Elliott: It is part of the job, obviously, of being a boss, is that you have to take an interest in your team because you’re not managing, you know, a bank of computers here.

You’re managing people. Um, that said, I would probably ask the, the person who wrote this in to think about why is it that they don’t want to talk? As most human beings want to just chat about stuff. Why not easy? I mean, there could be a very specific reason. I mean, certain people who we’ve spoken to before, perhaps neurodiverse.

Um, they don’t understand how to have conversations. Um, they don’t really and they don’t like it makes me very uncomfortable. Fair enough. That’s a different thing. But maybe it’s just that you are overwhelmed. Maybe it’s just that there’s so much going on in your life that you think I haven’t got time.

I’ve got enough of this crap in my life. I don’t need someone else’s. And I I have a sense from reading between the lines that All is not well, either at work or at home with, with you when you’re, uh, when you broke this in, because I think it is an odd, it’s, it’s an unusual thing to ask.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah. Good, good point, Al.

Good point. Yeah. I guess that’s the thing, isn’t it? If they’re feeling under pressure as well, they’ve, they’ve not got as much energy to invest in that type of, um, type of activity, which doesn’t feel productive. Um, I mean, the other thing I’d say is I understand that the professionalism thing of it as much as I, you know, get to know my team and, and know about their, their family and, and kind of, you know, what they’ve got going on in the world.

I’d as a senior manager would always be very, um, aware of things like socials, like I’d probably maybe go to one in three social events.

Al Elliott: Yeah. So

Leanne Elliott: when people basically going out drinking and, you know what I mean? The night out, I’d maybe go on one in three and I’d stay for a couple of drinks and then I’d, I’d go, uh, because one.

inevitably people get drunk and then start telling you stuff that probably do push the lines of what you do need to know as a manager. And two, I think there’s, is just that, that separation as well of kind of like, you don’t want, do you want your manager in your room, in the room to see all of that stuff?

You want to give the team chance to, to build those relationships as well. So I understand that, but I think ultimately, yeah, if, if assuming everything’s fine with you, um, Then I think you just need to suck it up.

Al Elliott: And if you can’t suck it up or you don’t want to, then maybe management isn’t for you and that’s okay.

I think a lot of people get go. I need to be a manager because I want a promotion. You know, not everyone is cut out to be a manager. Um, and maybe you’re not. And I don’t say that to be detrimental. Just have a good, honest conversation with yourself. If you won’t talk to your staff, at least talk to yourself.

Okay. Lee, that’s the end of our world films, weekly workplace surgery. Um, I’m gonna, I’m gonna send it every so often. I’m going to send a few of these questions your way just to see, because when I read that I was like, I wouldn’t know how to answer that. It’s only when you were talking that I thought about the person who might have some, some issues, um, themselves.

But yeah, honestly,

Leanne Elliott: like if you’re listening, I don’t, I don’t see these questions beforehand. Um, I don’t know what’s coming. So yeah, that one kind of got me. I said, what, what’s the issue?

Al Elliott: Okay, so I think that’s it for now, Lee. Is there anything else you want to add?

Leanne Elliott: No, that is it. We’ll be back on Thursday with, um, our interview.

We are bringing you a kind of cool episode, actually. I introduce myself every week. I tell you, I’m a business psychologist. You might be sitting there thinking, I’m not entirely sure what a business psychologist is. And at this point, I’m afraid to ask. Well, we are asking and answering that for you. What is a business psychologist anyway?

To help us answer that, we will be joined by Dr. Haley Lewis and Paula Brockwell, who are both chartered occupational psychologists. So we will see you and explain all of that on Thursday.

Al Elliott: Bye for now. Bye bye.

Leanne Elliott: Inferential. I’ve never heard that word before.

Al Elliott: I never

Leanne Elliott: have. Add it to my list of quotient.

Al Elliott: Uh, that’s coming up. We also have a word, why can’t I say this today?

Leanne Elliott: So Mandy, Sarah, who is a learning and development consultant said like, um, sorry, start again.

Al Elliott: It’s not going that well, is it? Okay. Start again.

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