26 - Organizational Detox

Somebody's gotta go... but it's not us because we're on a roll with this one kids. Tyson & Alexa are joined by workforce transformation expert Julie Bartkus to talk about how to detox your organization. We cover toxic workplace behaviors, people throw chairs, we boil some frogs, and as usual... sh*t gets real.

Release Date: December 2021


[00:00:00] Speaker 1: Warning, this podcast is about the realities of working in people operations. This is not a stuck-up PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy outdated HR practices. We'll get real here and we assume no responsibility.

[00:00:16] Speaker 2: And we had a strict, no alcohol policy, and everybody was like, "Oh, don't drink. HR is here." Meanwhile, and like mid-crack of beer.

[00:00:24] Speaker 3: If they're that disengaged before; they're gonna be that disengaged in the office. They're gonna be sitting at their desk looking at Facebook.

[00:00:29] Speaker 4: They are going to find ways [unintelligible 00:00:30]

[00:00:31] Speaker 1: This is the people problems podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson Mackenzie.

[00:00:40] Alexa Bargio: Tyson. What is up?

[00:00:43] Tyson Mackenzie: Yeah, I need to ask you; I need to know how the Killers was. Let's just- let's just-


[00:00:46] Alexa: Oh, the Killers. It feels like so long.

[00:00:48] Tyson: Everybody wants to know what happened at the Killers.

[00:00:50] Alexa: Oh yeah. The Killers were awesome.

[00:00:52] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:00:52] Alexa: They, but I killed it. No, they were great. Yeah. The Killer's concert was pretty fire. I will say when planning a super-secret holiday party in the future, I probably will not do it on a Tuesday evening in an effort to not like run into everyone's holiday parties and to just be like the company party and, "Okay, we'll break up the week."

It's a lot to go to a party or a concert on a Tuesday night and then like get on a plane the next morning and then try to do anything with the next day. So, I think the team had a great-great time. It was abnormally cold for Chicago for that particular day. It was like 22 degrees the whole day. We had a great time. Everybody popped around-

[00:01:25] Tyson: [unintelligible 00:01:26] indirect cost, is that like no one did shit the next day.

[00:01:29] Alexa: Yeah, exactly. So, like it was supposed to be 36 hours. Let's just call it 48 because I don't think the team did anything the next said.

[00:01:34] Tyson: Right-right.

[00:01:35] Alexa: But it was great. The-the concert was awesome there. No-no surprise. Great. Great performers.

[00:01:39] Tyson: Okay.

[00:01:40] Alexa: Um, yeah, it was- it was really cool. And they did like, they gamut like it was a full two-hour set, some new stuff, a lot of old stuff, you know, he's just sort of an incredible live performer. I've been to a lot of-- and the other thing I forgot is like, live performances have just come a long way.

[00:01:54] Tyson: Right.

[00:01:54] Alexa: Like I remember in high school and stuff like you would go to a live concert and you'd be like, the acoustics in here were so bad that I understood about 10% of that. And this was like, the acoustics were incredible, the stage set-up was great. The lighting was ridiculous. Like it was just, the whole thing was-was awesome. So, the team had a good time.

[00:02:09] Tyson: Oh, seems like it's been forever. Like I, the, the thought of like going to a concert on a Tuesday is just it's-it's- it's so far out for me at this point. Like I couldn't even imagine, like-

[00:02:20] Alexa: But we'll have to get you as part of the super-secret holiday committee for next year-

[00:02:24] Tyson: Seriously-

[00:02:25] Alexa: -like let's get you in on it. [crosstalk] You're basically an extension of the team at this point so I'll have to- I'll have to get you a-a concert ticket next year. How are you? How's everything?

[00:02:34] Tyson: Same old, same old. I actually had like a moment today. Like, I will share this transparently. Not today, but like the last couple weeks, I-I actually was starting to miss work a little bit.

[00:02:42] Alexa: Oh yeah. Oh, we got ways to go but you're like, you're only a couple months into this thing.

[00:02:45] Tyson: No, it's only been 12 weeks. It's been 12 weeks out of my 12-month mat leave. And I was like, I started getting like a bit of the itch and I'm like, I don't know what it is, but like, I'm someone who needs to have a project. So, I need to be busy. Like I need to be doing something all the time. So, my latest project is that I'm building a Montessori playroom in my living room. So-

[00:03:06] Alexa: What does [crosstalk]?

[00:03:06] Tyson: [crosstalk], so basically like Montessori is like a way of learning for kids. Basically, you try to like teach them how to like be real humans versus like faking stuff. So quick example, you would feed them like a banana versus banana mush. You would let them choose the toys that they wanna play with versus like giving them something or putting them in something. And the toys are supposed to mimic like real life more so, any who? So, I've been doing some research because a girl's gotta have a hobby and-

[00:03:33] Alexa: That [unintelligible 00:03:33] was because you have time.

[00:03:34] Tyson: So, I got nothing else to do. And so, yeah. So, we'll see how it goes. I've like ordered some of that, the stuff. So that's what Santa's bringing for Christmas this year is a new playroom.

[00:03:42] Alexa: Cool. Well, if you really have a lot of extra time to kill, I, uh, I know a podcast that could use your help. [laughs]

[00:03:47] Tyson: But the thing is it's like- it's like the the time that you have to kill is like, while I'm holding the baby, while I'm feeding the baby. So, like, it's like, okay, anything that I can do on my phone with like one hand. So, buying stuff is definitely something that I've been doing a lot of and, uh, going on Pinterest to find ideas for my Montessori school or my Montessori playroom. So-

[00:04:07] Alexa: Anything you can do with a thumb and one hand.

[00:04:09] Tyson: Right.

[00:04:10] Alexa: Got it. Cool.

[00:04:11] Tyson: Exactly.

[00:04:12] Alexa: Yeah. You're looking for productivity tips for pregnant and-and new moms. Uh, it is one-one handed with a thumb.

[00:04:18] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:04:19] Alexa: I love it. Cool. Any big plans for the holidays?

[00:04:21] Tyson: Not really like I'm having my in-laws for a holiday dinner this weekend, which will be amazing. And then my family for Christmas morning and then the in-laws for dinner and then my mom's for boxing day. It's like a whole thing. Like you have to go to like, it's like the four- [crosstalk]

[00:04:35] Alexa: All the houses.

[00:04:36] Tyson: -kinda thing. Yeah.

[00:04:36] Alexa: Gotcha.

[00:04:37] Tyson: Yeah. So, it's a lot.

[00:04:38] Alexa: Gotcha. All right cool.

[00:04:39] Tyson: With the newborn.

[00:04:40] Alexa: With the newborn, what lover's gotta kiss the baby, you know. Cool. All right. Well, I am gonna move us with that to pops in the news. [music]

So, our article today is called The Generation Myth; Why When Your Born Matters Less Than You Think? And really what this is, is this is a book review about a book called The Generation Myth by this guy, Bobby Duffy. And it's actually really interesting because I think especially in this industry, we fall very prey to a lot of the like, "Oh, Millennials, this and, oh, Boomer's this", and that crap is everywhere in, in the HR space.

And actually, according to our British social research, Bobby Duffy, a lot of that is lazy myths and superficial punditry, which are his words, not mine, which is kind of great to hear because I think it does us a lot of disservice to categorize people sort of. So, uh, sort of so topically, and the article really just talks a little bit about what the book is about, which is obviously a much bigger, deep dive on this.

And I will obviously not do it justice. You should read the book of this interest you, but what he articulates is basically that there are sort of three major categories of things and experiences that affect the behaviors that we tend to talk about as largely generational. And those three things are period effects, life cycle effects, and cohort effects.

So, period effects are the experiences that affect everyone regardless of their age. So, things like the 2008 Financial Crisis, right. Things like the-

[00:06:06] Tyson: Things like the pandemic.

[00:06:06] Alexa: -like 9/11 or the pandemic, right? Like that's not a generational thing.

[00:06:10] Tyson: [crosstalk] It's pandemic.

[00:06:11] Alexa: Yeah. We all went through that.

[00:06:13] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:06:13] Alexa: Um, yeah. This is not a period effect. This is a fucking lifetime at this point.

[00:06:17] Tyson: This a- [chuckles] this is a lifetime.

[00:06:19] Alexa: Yeah. So, a life cycle effect. So, the second body is life cycle effect, which are changes that occur as people, age, or result of major events in your life. So, you got married, you had kids, you, whatever, whatever, right? And those are like, those things just change because you are aging. So, people like tend to gain more weight when they age, or they tend to have issues with aging parents. Like those are things that that's like an effect that it has on you specific to where you are at in your life cycle.

[00:06:42] Tyson: Mm-hmm.

[00:06:42] Alexa: And then the third is cohort effects, which are the attitudes and beliefs and behaviors, common amongst people of a particular generation. So, he's like the problem with this is everybody just associates all of the things about generations with the cohort effect, it's actually not doing the convers any justice. And what it does is it gives us these like unfair biases about generations, right?

And we're like, "Oh no, you know, bias is so bad. And you-you know, you can't judge people on race and ethnicity and all these things", but like, I'll just demonize you for like the generation you were born. Like, that's not- that's not good. And some examples that come out of it that they give in the article. And I'm sure there's many, many more in the book are about how, you know?

So, for example, often claim that people in their 20s are fickle job-hoppers who do not stay loyal to employees-- employers. It's true that the young tend to change jobs when voluntarily-- tend to change jobs voluntarily more often than their parents. But that's actually been true since the 1980s. Millennials actually turn out to be 20% to 25% less likely to switch jobs voluntarily than members of Gen X at the same age, because secure permanent jobs are scarcer than they used to be.

So, people are always like, "Oh, Millennials never stay anywhere." And it's like, "Actually they stay in jobs more than the generation right next to them." So, they get this bad rap, but it's not actually true if you compare. Similarly, another example, he says, "Young people are said to be more purpose-driven and to care more about ethical sourcing of products, but international surveys show that Millennials and members of Gen Z boycott products less frequently than baby Boomers or members of Gen X do to protest corporate behavior." I think we probably care-

[00:08:17] Tyson: Yes, because we can't afford to.

[00:08:17] Alexa: -more about purpose in their work, yeah, [unintelligible 00:08:19] that too.

[00:08:19] Tyson: We can't afford.

[00:08:21] Alexa: But also, I think there's a difference between like I care about what I do all day and the purpose that that has versus like, all right, you know, lush cosmetics, I'll give you a look and maybe accidentally eat one of your soaps. Uh, but you know, I-I'm not gonna stop using your product because of something, right?

[00:08:36] Tyson: Right.

[00:08:36] Alexa: But apparently Boomers do that all the time. [crosstalk] So there's a lot of misconceptions about generation that was interesting that someone wrote a whole fucking book about it.

[00:08:43] Tyson: Yeah. And like, look like, I feel like I'm like noticing now 'cause I feel like as a Millennial, like I was-- when I started my career, obviously as anyone who starts their career, I was the youngest generation in the workplace, right? So now I'm no longer the youngest generation in the workplace and I'm starting to see things that younger people are doing. And I'm like, "Ah, I just like am more like resistant to change." So, I don't think that it's so much a generational thing as it is like every human is resistant to change and- [crosstalk]

[00:09:11] Alexa: Well, and it's a function of like your life cycle, right? Like you just had a daughter, you-you're married. You're not- [crosstalk]

[00:09:15] Tyson: Right but-

[00:09:16] Alexa: -anymore.

[00:09:17] Tyson: So, like, when we think about people, we can say like the judgment might be like, "Oh, people who are, uh, baby Boomers aren't as tech-savvy." But like, I think it's more resistance to change cause that's what I, that's how I feel personally. I'm like, "You know what? I don't really wanna-wanna change this. Or like, I don't wanna do something new necessarily because-because of that."

So, there's just certain things that I'm starting to realize now, like, as I feel like I'm aging that I'm like, "Uh, like all these new people who have like the energy to do that can do that. And I'll just focus on like what I'm doing." But yeah. I don't know. I've never really been much for generation stuff. I think maybe as, again, as a Millennial, we got shit on a lot, but I think the older generation you're always gonna think is like far behind and from like, you know, oh, they're not adjusting.

And the younger generation is gonna be like, you're trying too much new stuff., you know, what I mean?

[00:10:02] Alexa: Yeah. The article starts out by saying, "Millennials, roughly those born between 1980 and 1995 have been demonized as narcissistic snowflakes who spend so much on avocado toast. They can't afford to buy property." [chuckles]

[00:10:13] Tyson: Let's talk about narcissistic, okay? So, quick little anecdote here before we move on and introduce our guests. So, I just like started to try to make reels on HR-Shook, and like they are so bad. It's almost funny. Like I can't line my mouth up with like the sound. So, I'm just like- I'm like--

[00:10:29] Alexa: I have seen a few of your attempts this week

[00:10:31] Tyson: Oh and--

[00:10:31] Alexa: As the person who's like never on social media, I've actually seen your trial.

[00:10:34] Tyson: It's literally like it's literally so bad but I'm like I first of all cannot be bothered. Okay. Like one like this is kind of a cute idea but I just can't be bothered. Like I-I give it one or two takes max and if I don't get it, I post it anyways. And like I got so much other issue to do. You know? So, like I think about these kids, these little babies that are coming in and making all these TikToks, and like how much time it goes into making those.

[00:11:00] Alexa: Yeah, [unintelligible 00:11:00]

[00:11:00] Tyson: So maybe I am being judgmental and just old but like, "Don't you have anything else to do?"

[00:11:04] Alexa: No that's what everyone they I know is. Everyone they know is on those fucking platforms. Yeah. No

[00:11:08] Tyson: Gosh.

[00:11:09] Alexa: That's like me. I'm sorry. I've never been on TikTok. I probably won't be, my team is like we need to be on TikTok. I'm like, "Do we, I don't know." I [crosstalk]

[00:11:16] Tyson: Yeah. I'm [unintelligible 00:11:17]

[00:11:17] Alexa: I'm like kind of or sort of in Instagram a little bit now when I'm like still resistant to that.

[00:11:22] Tyson: I, Yeah.

[00:11:23] Alexa: I can't tell of it.

[00:11:24] Tyson: I can't do TikTok 'cause again like I just, I really can be bothered. I just don't have the time. And again, maybe it's 'cause I'm just an old faddy-daddy now but who knows?

[00:11:30] Alexa: Okay. I'm pretty sure you're younger than me but, uh, all right. So, with that note, not being ages we're gonna introduce our wonderful guest today. And our guest today is Julie Bartkus. She is a leading authority on workplace transformation. For the past one year, she has helped leaders across the globe transform their workplace culture from negative and destructive; to happy and productive.

Her approach is a holistic one. As her clients know that a personal transformation is required to achieve a total team transformation. Julie, we're very excited that you're here today. Thank you for joining us.

[00:11:58] Julie: Woo. I'm really excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

[00:12:01] Alexa: Of course. I'm very excited to talk about workplace transformation.

[00:12:05] Julie: Mm, it's a good word, right? Transformation.

[00:12:06] Alexa: It's big. Yeah.

[00:12:07] Tyson: I like detox. That was-that's what I'm interested in.

[00:12:10] Alexa: Oh yeah. We're-we're gonna get there.

[00:12:10] Julie: Oh, the workplace detox movement.

[00:12:12] Tyson: Yeah. That's powerful.

[00:12:13] Alexa: We're gonna get there.

[00:12:14] Julie: Yeah.

[00:12:15] Alexa: Um, well-well before we jump into what is workplace transformation Julie tell us a little bit how one gets into said field and a little bit about your background up to this. And then we'll-we'll jump right in. We got lots of detox to talk about.

[00:12:26] Julie: [laughs] Sure. Well, my journey started many, many years ago. I think I'm probably older than both of you. [chuckles] but I started in corporate America. I worked a variety of positions, uh, management, in retail, in childcare. And then I did a stint in corporate for about eight years. And what I realized is that every time that I was promoted into a management position where it was like Hey guess what? You're gonna get to-to lead some staff. It was like there was no manual.

It was like there was no guide telling me how to do this. So, I learned through trial and error that sometimes nothing's gonna work., you know, and then other times well what is it that it really takes to be a successful leader?

And for the past 20 years, I've been working in industry where it's really tough to hang on to high-quality staff. So, we learned that we really need to make a transformation happen and give more meaning to the workplace that we're creating. So, people stay for more reasons than just the pay, or just the benefits, or just the fancy office that they have.

Why is it that people really want to stay part of an existing team? We find that detoxing and a transformation is really an essential part of that.

[00:13:39] Alexa: And what do we mean by- by detoxing and transformation? What does that mean?

[00:13:43] Julie: Transformation means making a big change happen. Finding a permanent solution to a challenge that we typically put band-aids on. So, I think about band-aid solutions and I'm sure you've experienced, you know, your fair of band-aid solutions in the workplace, right? It's like oh we're not functioning as a team. Let's do a team-building activity and everybody performs well during that team-building activity and they get along, and then we get right back into the workplace and it's the same old same old.

So, what we're talking about with transformation is really breaking the cycle of the patterns that we have, the repeating patterns in the workplace so we can experience new reality. It's talking about a permanent lifelong, well a work lifelong change with transformation. Now detoxing is really clearing out the behaviors that aren't serving us in the workplace.

And if you think about coworkers you've worked with you could probably think about yeah, I wish they would've detoxed that. [chuckles] But-but it's really about finding what's not working and removing that. And for the past 20 years leaders have called me from all around the world saying, "Julie, what do I need to do to have a motivated team?" And my response is one of, "Well what do I need to stop doing so that your time is used more effectively, and in the process, you gain a motivated team?"

[00:15:05] Alexa: Okay. So, let's double click on that because that all sounds wonderful Julie, but I'm gonna need some specific examples.

[00:15:10] Tyson: Yeah. Let's talk examples.

[00:15:11] Alexa: Let's talk examples.

[00:15:12] Tyson: Let's think about like let's like work through like a hypothetical situation.

[00:15:17] Julie: Let's do it.

[00:15:17] Tyson: So, let's think about the most toxic workplace or team or-or situation, right? So, let's-let's say, you know, the manager is managing-

[00:15:27] Alexa: Do you have an example? Wait does do you have an example Julie of like a really toxic terrible place you've worked with?

[00:15:33] Julie: [laughs] Well, you know, they all have their share of challenges, definitely., you know, we have workplaces where it's like employees go out to lunch together and they don't come back. They just quit. So, to me, that's probably one of the most nightmare situations is where people are just like leaving and as a leader, we don't know why this is happening.

[00:15:52] Tyson: Yeah. Like I wanna know the details. Like I wanna know like the-

[00:15:55] Julie: Specific gossip. [chuckles]

[00:15:56] Tyson: I wanna get down to like the specifics. Like are people feeling, like is this as bad as like people are feeling bullied, are managers like 'cause this is what I was gonna say. Like the most common situation that I see with like shitty managers is that they manage up really, really, really, well. Okay. So, you've got someone who's managing up and looks like a superstar to their superiors.

But as a manager, they're doing all sorts of things like, you know, not delegating work properly, not communicating to their staff. I've seen situations where managers will take work that their staff did, and then manage up and make it seem like they did that work. So, all these like really toxic behaviors that we can see in management.

So, I'd love to sort of like work through an example of how like A, you identify like what the toxicity is. Is it the manager? Is it the colleagues? Are there is there, you know, gossiping happening, whatever.

[00:16:44] Julie: Yeah.

[00:16:44] Tyson: So how do we identify like what are the toxic traits? Let's start there, maybe.

[00:16:48] Julie: Well, y- you've- you've named several right there, you know? And it's really about looking at what are the symptoms that we're seeing. So, a lot of times we're thinking that the symptoms are the cause like we have workplace gossip. That's a cause but it's not really a cause, it's really a symptom of other things that aren't functioning well within the organization. So, then we have to back up once we identify the symptoms. So, I'll have a conversation with the leader and she's like, "People aren't being team players. People aren't coming in on time. People aren't, you know, smiling at their coworkers. They're not showing up for staff meetings. They have every excuse not to be here."

So, all of these different kind of symptoms. Gossiping or talking to the lady at the grocery store about where they work and they're not coming and talking to me. There is, uh, what I call silency conspiracy going on where we make an announcement at a staff meeting and I ask people for feedback and they don't give feedback to me. But then we take a break, and they're all, you know, gathered in the corner talking about the situation.

So, these are all things that we have to recognize as symptoms and the leaders are typically pretty aware of what the symptom is. The confusion comes into play when we think the symptom is actually the cause of the problem in itself when it's not. So, it's not necessarily a thing that we're gonna be treating, we're gonna be backing it up as step and saying, "Hey well what's the leader doing, that's really leading to these symptomatic behaviors that are happening among the team."

So, we start with symptoms, we have to talk about symptoms. We have to talk about the worst destructive things that we're seeing. And it could be depending upon what industry it is; somebody not coming in following dress code. We've had people not having good hygiene in the workplace. We've had people who are the gossip in the workplace, where they're going around to all the different departments or depending upon what kind of environment, we're in, but they're going around and they're just being the staff spokesperson.

Where they're making sure everybody knows everybody else's business, you know, and that's very toxic.

[00:18:40] Tyson: Right. So those are situations. So, when we think about okay so you've listed a few symptoms here. So, when we think about the actual cause or like the root of the symptom, right? Are you saying then like it's always the manager? Like I might say in that situation, it's that asshole-employee that's going around, right? Like it can't always just be the manager. Like what other causes are there?

[00:19:02] Julie: It could- it could be the-the asshole-employee [chuckles] but it could also be in-in terms of this thinking about it from a different perspective. Okay. So, who hired this person? Who didn't fire this person? Who didn't confront this person when they started these poor behaviors?

So, to me that's how it always comes back to the manager is that we have to take full responsibility for what we created with our team because we hired them or we didn't fire them or we didn't coach them. So, there's a big responsibility even though there's a person who's being just a total jerk. That might be true but where does the responsibility really fall for that organization or that team being positive, being productive, being happy, and high functioning.

[00:19:47] Alexa: And what are some of the pitfalls of that? Because I imagine sometimes Julie you come up against people who are like, "But that's not my fault. That's not my leadership issue."

[00:19:57] Julie: Right. I've had leaders who are like, "Hey fix my team. When they're fixed, give me a call. Call me back in," and like our leaders, yeah, right. And I've had leaders who have said, "You know what? I want you to do a team program. And I want you to really get to the bottom of the issues, talk to them, find out what's happening. And I'm not going to be there but I want you to record it so I can hear everything that was said about everybody in the room." So, if a leader doesn't-

[00:20:22] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:20:23] such assholes.


[00:20:25] Tyson: Fire-fire that guy [unintelligible 00:20:27]

[00:20:25] Alexa: What an asshole thing to say. Yes, exactly.

[00:20:31] Julie: [unintelligible 00:20:31]

[00:20:31] Alexa: I'm not gonna be there, but I wanna all the shit. I want to know all this shit my team says, because clearly, they trust me so well. That's how we got to this position.

[00:20:37] Julie: Is that like, right? I mean, if they did, they would just be telling you to your face and saying, "Hey, listen, having a little issue here. And here's how I'm feeling about this." And it would be conducive conversation when that's very constructive and goal orientated. But that doesn't happen a lot. We get all this emotional stuff going on and it's like, "Hey, wait a second, it becomes a power struggle to where it's like team members doing this leaders doing this. We're pulling in opposite directions, and we can't get on the same page."

[00:21:04] Alexa: Yeah. So, if you were to distill this down, right, so you've got all these symptoms, you've sort of identified maybe like this symptom is being caused by this particular challenge. But if you were to distill this down to like, maybe two or three like major categories of behavior, what would those be?

[00:21:21] Julie: From a leader's perspective, or from an employee's?

[00:21:23] Alexa: It doesn't matter, either?

[00:21:25] Julie: Yeah. So, when we look at leaders, one of the big thing is lack of follow-through. That's a huge one and we make a lot of commitments. We make a lot of promises, we go through our day, and we're saying, "Yep, I'll do that. Yep, I got this. Yep, I'll do that," and then it doesn't get followed through on. And we're crazy busy and we think our team knows how crazy busy we are. But what's going on in their mind is, "I'm not that important," or "Oh, she forgot about me."

And then it could lead to that person going and telling Employee Number B, "Hey, you know, what, so and she said she was going to do this, and she didn't actually, follow through with you?" And the gossip starts spreading. So, when we look at the symptoms in the workplace at all, will lead to gossip, it will all lead to turnover in employees, and just really, disruptive outcomes, the worst that we don't want, right?

Because we don't want to bring people in and then oh, now they're turning over and we have to hire again and now they laugh that we have to hire again. We really, want to bring people on board who are going to stay with us. And if we bring in that asshole employee, as you say, we have to ask ourselves, "Well, am I doing a good enough job interviewing? Am I asking the right questions to weed out those people who are going to be you know, expressing those kinds of behaviors in the workplace?"

[00:22:40] Alexa: Wait, pause? What type of question would you recommend to ask to weed out the assholes? What's like a question that you can ask-

[00:22:46] Tyson: In life.

[00:22:46] Julie: Yeah. Well, you have some specific behavior [unintelligible 00:22:49] right in life. Exactly. Well, we could talk about the dating world. [crosstalk]

[00:22:55] Alexa: Let's not. Let's not, let's not. I'm recently single. Let's not.

[00:23:00] Julie: It's really the same kind of thing. And what I would look at, as a leader, is where have I made a hiring mistakes in the past? So, if you're taking responsibility for the workplace that you created, you could say, "Okay, this employee does this. I hired them. What interview question could I ask future employees to weed out this kind of behavior?"

So, we really take a look at what are the mistakes that you've made as a hiring manager or as a leader previously? And then what kind of question would rule that person out? And that's what we do, we have clients all day in and out is like, brainstorm good interview questions to ask them. To me. It's a very personalized approach.

[00:23:42] Tyson: Yeah, it's hard. It's hard to like to- to gauge in an interview some of those more like personal things, like those personal characteristics, right? Because everyone's on their best behavior in the interview, unless like, you get a good recommendation from someone like maybe hiring based on-on recommendation from someone else. Because like, it's- it's hard to weed people out that come in, and then all of a sudden, it's like, oh, like, that was probably not great. And like, yeah, I'm just trying to think of like, what type of questions could be asked to catch on to that kind of- [crosstalk]

[00:24:14] Alexa: I also- I also think like it matters how people see you handle that too, right? Like if there's like a kind of unknown problem on the team or amongst the dynamic like-- and you're seen as a leader who didn't address it or let it fester or said they dealt with it and didn't. Like I think people expect that, especially on growing teams, like you're not always going to get it 100%, right?

Like not everyone's going to be perfect and you can quality control at all the steps and the first one is obviously hiring. The next one is like early in their career like, "Okay, are we holding you to the right standard? Are there any red flags here?" And then it's like, "Okay, this this person has like chipped away at their goodwill over a while." Like, "Why has this not been addressed?"

It's at the point-- like you want to get there before it's at the place of sort of workplace gossip, right? You know, it's nice to put it on the interview, but also like sometimes you Just have to hire so fucking fast like.

[00:25:02] Julie: Right, right, right?

[00:25:03] Alexa: What are you gonna do? Yeah, you gotta get it wrong sometimes.

[00:25:06] Tyson: It's a lack of follow-through.

[00:25:07] Alexa: Yeah, what else? It's a lack of follow-through what else we got?

[00:25:09] Julie: So yeah, so lack of follow-through is a big one. If we were to categorize one set probably see, another one might be venting and complaining about your staff to other staff members, that's a big one. Where we often have leaders, who have their trust and confidence in the organization and they will go and share different things with that person, even though that person is among the team.

So, it's really important that leaders have a source where they can vent their frustrations and challenges too to somebody who is not a member of that team that you're managing. So that's another big one that comes up.

You know, another one that may come up is lack of confronting problems. Another one is lack of leading by the vision or not even having a vision where the vision just becomes to make it through the daily stress, as opposed to really getting into people's hearts, and turning that passion on with what your vision is, and getting them bought into that.

And that's missing for many organizations where it's like, "We just got to get through the stress, we throw them into the fire, good luck." [chuckles] But if we get them sold into the vision to where their heart is there, and they're really feeling it, it's gonna be a whole different situation with the employee.

[00:26:19] Tyson: Your symptoms, and then you drill down to the cause. I'm anxious to move on to the, the detoxing part but Alexa- [crosstalk]

[00:26:27] Alexa: Well, so I- so I have a question. So, I have a question. So, so lack of follow-through, venti- venting and complained to your team, not leading, you know, by vision, or definitely, at least by example. What would you change about that list if you were to say for the employee, not just the leader? Like what are the what are the sort of like common behaviors of employees that you could bucket this into like two or three of them that you're like, it's almost always, you know, the following like two or three things?

[00:26:49] Julie: With employees, I think it's really important to help them build their skills in a couple of areas. And you can let me know if I'm answering the question here. Employees really need confidence-building skills, they need conflict resolution skills, and they need listening skills. And to me, it's really the back on the responsibility of the manager to make sure they're getting those skills, or to at least assess where they're at in the interview process.

But if we look at workplace dysfunction, and why we need a detox, we have to look at those things as being missing or things that can be improved. Because if we're not listening, or might be misconstruing information and then if we're sharing that information with the wrong people, the people who can't help us solve the issue, it's just contributing to the toxic environment where workplace gossip is running [unintelligible 00:27:38].

[00:27:39] Alexa: Yeah, so one of the things I'm shocked I haven't heard you say, and then we'll move on to the detox because I know, Tyson is eager to get there. But what I haven't heard you say is like, there's just a general lack of trust, which I think tends to be when you explain all these situations like this person didn't tell this person or this person is talking about this person is that there's like a general lack of trust that everyone is on the same fucking page?

[00:28:03] Julie: Right.

[00:28:04] Alexa: Like, I trust that my manager who may not- is not perfect, because they are also human, has gotten my best interests at heart and is also trying their best for the team. That's it. It's a much harder attitude to criticize people with regularly then like, "I just don't believe they have any fucking idea what they're doing. I think they're in this for themselves," right? That's what people tend to say about managers who manage up. That's why managing up is so toxic.

I also find that if you're really good at managing up, you're almost always terrible at managing down. They never seem to go hand in hand-

[00:28:31] Julie: Ah, I hate those people.

[00:28:32] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:28:32] fucking worst. Yeah, I can't deal with those people. And when- when I know someone's trying to do it to me, I have like a visceral reaction. I'm like, "No, no, don't kiss my ass. I have no fucking interest in that, like, we're gonna have a real conversation. You kissing my ass doesn't get us anywhere." But I'm shocked, Julie, do you- do you find that there is constantly trust issues, or you think that is just again, kind of like a symptom of--?

[00:28:55] Julie: I was gonna ask you that question. I was gonna ask you, what do you think? Is that a symptom or a cause?

[00:29:01] Alexa: I'm sure I could-- You know, I probably need a specific example, but I think there's lots of things that people do to cause people to not trust them. Lack of communication.

[00:29:09] Tyson: Lack of follow-through.

[00:29:10] Alexa: Right, that's a reason to not trust somebody.

[00:29:13] Tyson: Then you lose trust, right.

[00:29:15] Alexa: Lack of communication. Hey, why, why- you know, why did you do that? Or you asked me for feedback. "You know, you didn't ask me for feedback before or you asked me for feedback at the wrong time." Like, "Now, I don't trust that you wanted my input." Yeah.

[00:29:26] Tyson: I would say here's the thing, though, like, we talk a lot about the managers and how like people leave organizations because of managers and blah, blah, blah. But like, I-I have always thought that like employees have just as much role to play in this as a manager, right? So, we it's not it's not all about the manager all the time.

So, anything that we said about the manager recently, you know, lack of follow-through gossiping to people within the team, all those things would directly apply to employees too, right? So, like a lot of those behaviors probably, like transfer over. And like even when you think about vision or following a vision and like, "Yes, okay, the manager's said to like have-- state what our vision is, what our goals are," whatever, all that typically stuff that turns out to be fluffy. But you, as an employee, like you also-

[00:30:09] Alexa: Bullshit, is that what you wanted to say?

[00:30:11] Tyson: It turns into bullshit. Yeah. Because you, as an employee, you have to be in it to-to for a reason, right? Like I always say people who are disengaged need to find a new job, it's not up-to the manager to make sure that the employee's engaged.

[00:30:21] Alexa: Right.

[00:30:22] Tyson: Like if you're sitting in a job and you're disengaged, like why do that to yourself? Like, leave then? And then that's where the turnover comes. And-and some people do. But I do think that a lot of those behaviors that we listen for managers probably would be similar for, for employees. It takes two sides, right to-to.

[00:30:37] Alexa: Right.

[00:30:37] Julie: [unintelligible 00:30:37] to tango.

[00:30:38] Tyson: The trust. Yeah-Yeah.

[00:30:39] Alexa: Yeah and-

[00:30:39] Tyson: especially when we talk about trust.

[00:30:40] Julie: Mm-hmm.

[00:30:41] Alexa: I think not a lot of organizations do a good job of communicating that expectation upfront, which is like, "I am your manager. Here is my role. My goal, and my role is to optimize you for what we need. your role in that is to communicate with me what you need, articulate, like these things. Like 'I have these expectations of you,' and this is a relationship where you have to participate."

Like, if you are unhappy that you have ownership in that, you have autonomy in that, you have a responsibility in that. And that is a corporate expectation. Like we expect that if something is irritating you, you are vocal about it to the appropriate channels, not talking shit to your colleagues and then in your-- to your manager. You're like, "Everything's great. No, I'm cool. I'm just interviewing on the weekends. No big deal." I think that's where-where shit starts to get really toxic.

[00:31:27] Tyson: Yeah. I hate that. Yeah

[00:31:29] Alexa: Yeah. Well, it just like you, if you don't set that expectation upfront, a lot of people-- people are very conflict- [unintelligible 00:31:35]. People are super, I'll say it. Most people are pussies, like most people just will not say what they actually we think is why when you find people that do, it's actually very, at least for me, it's very refreshing. I love those people. [crosstalk] I love those people. 'Cause I'm like, I know exactly where I stand with you. Like I have, there's no guessing, right?

[00:31:53] Tyson: Yes.

[00:31:53] Alexa: But a lot of people do not get the freedom or have the trust upfront to do that. And so, I think that breeds just a lot of like, you know, it's like- it's like, I hate to say it's like dating. Like, "Oh, I don't, hmm, I don't know if I should tell her that I don't like that cause then she might think that I'm judging her and then--" or you know, or him, or like it just, people get very like, "Oh, I don't know what I should say and not be honest about." It's like, you should just be honest about it. And if it blows the thing up, then like better-better safe than sorry, you know?

[00:32:21] Tyson: And that's a perfect example too. So, if you want that kind of employee think about what kind of questions you could ask to determine is this person that kind of standup person who's gonna speak their mind? So, you'll be looking for specific examples of when they've done that in the past.

[00:32:37] Alexa: Right. [crosstalk] example of time you would say something hard to someone you loved.

[00:32:38] Tyson: So, when was the time you were, yeah so when was the time you didn't. Right.

[00:32:42] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:32:43] Tyson: You can ask them, "When was a time that somebody did something and you spoke up about it in the workplace and how did you confront that to where you got a positive outcome? They go, "Oh, like I-I don't speak up. I just kind of go with the flow." So, you gotta identify, what do- what does your dream team look like? What are the characteristics? What are the qualities?

And to me, the trust issue, that's definitely a symptom because trust gets broken along the way. And if we do our due diligence with the interview process, we should have a certain amount of trust, right?

[00:33:13] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:33:14] Tyson: Because it's really hard to go into an organization where they're saying, "Well, we don't trust you until you prove that you can be trusted."

[00:33:19] Alexa: Right.

[00:33:20] Julie: That's really tough. But to me, from what I've seen in the workplaces I work with and-and remember I've been called into very destructive workplaces where we have to do a total transformation. It's always trust somewhere along the line, got broken from one end to the other. And how do we quickly reestablish that?

[00:33:36] Alexa: And how often can you reestablish that versus being like, "Okay, we just gotta cut ties and start over here."

[00:33:42] Julie: Exactly. And that's the thing sometimes there's that proverbial red line that gets crossed that, "Oh, there's no going back."

[00:33:48] Alexa: Yeah. All right. Well, let's talk about it. Let's get into the detox. So, let's-let's talk through like, what is a detox, Julie, when you do a detox with an organization and walk us through like the full gamut of what that is like?

[00:34:01] Julie: Woo. All right. How much time do we have?

[00:34:03] Alexa: Not enough. Not enough.

[00:34:04] Julie: Not enough. So, when we look at a workplace detox, the first thing that we wanna do is get really clear on what the vision is of the leader, of the manager. What kind of employees do you wanna have in place? What does it look like for you? What are they doing, and how are they paving in the workplace?

And then we put together what I call a dream team characteristic list, where we're listing out all the different behaviors, characteristics, and qualities that's gonna make up our ideal team.

So, we're really going back to a place where the manager or leader gets really excited about the opportunities for the team that they want to create. Granted, they're position, where they can hire the people that they want, because there's some organizations where it's like, "Hey Julie, I have no control over the people who I hire."

So, then it's a matter of having some dialogue with the people who are in charge of hiring to see if we can get on the same page. So that would really be the first part is looking at creating the vision, looking at what is it that we want to create and cultivate.

And-and most often in organizations, it's even starting with looking at the Help Wanted ad. What kind of magnet is that for our organization? Is it pulling the right people in? 'Cause a lot of times, people feel fear and desperation and they're responding on those emotion like, "Oh, somebody just put need to get the ad out from 10 years ago, they belong--"

[00:35:25] Alexa: They combine that with a constant news cycle about the great resignation. And you're, people are really functioning at their best right now.

[00:35:33] Julie: Right-Right. So really-

[00:35:35] Alexa: For fear-mongering.

[00:35:36] Julie: Yeah, exactly-exactly. And there's businesses, you know, with the staff signs on their doors, the saying, "Hey, we don't have enough staff. We closed early or be nice to the ones that we have. And it's all fear."

[00:35:49] Tyson: Mm-hmm.

[00:35:50] Julie: But there are also organizations who are thriving in this time and they are getting the staff that they want in place and they are serving their customers to full capacity. So, it's really interesting to look at the dynamics between the two, and to me, that's-that's the detox gap is that we have to look at what's not working.

[00:36:07] Alexa: Okay. And what-what happens when you identify in an organization, and it's the detox that what's not working is you've just hired the wrong people. Like you just ha-- you have just hired for sort of a fatal flaw that the-the business case for trying to get all of these people to not be who these people are, is just not gonna work. Like you just hired for the wrong kind of person.

Do you like work through a, like a reduction in force? Like, do you work with them to like individually work with each person to see who can get there? Like, what's your plan of attack?

[00:36:39] Julie: That would be my approach. My approach would be to share the vision with each one of the employees and let them know what specifically you talked about, just putting it out there and being that authentic person. You put it out there and say, "This is what I need from you to help this vision grow." "Is this vision important to you?"

And you get their buy-in on that vision. They say, "Yeah, that-that vision's important to me." "Great. Well, here's how we move forward." And you could even ask the employee, "What can you do to help bring this vision to life in a bigger way?" Or you brainstorm together the specific action steps.

And one piece that I think is missing a lot is objectives per position in different organizations. Lot of people come into a team and they don't even know what am I gonna be measured against in order to know if I'm gonna be successful or not. So, we wanna make sure that there's clearly defined objectives in place to where an employee can look back six months and go, okay, these were my objectives that were established for me. These are the goals I've achieved. And I'm like 50% of my way to get all of these objectives accomplished. So that's pretty- [crosstalk]

[00:37:41] Alexa: Yeah, I rarely see that

[00:37:42] Julie: -that has to be there.

[00:37:43] Alexa: I rarely see that done well. Like that is a very, very difficult thing I think for managers and employees to do well. ' Cause you either set them with like specifics in mind. So, it's like recency bias. Like these are all the things I'm gonna do because these are all the projects that I'm working on right now, and then you check them off in the first, like three months, right? And then you don't look at it again.

Or-or you set them for the full year and then you never check back until next year when you go back and you're like, "Oh, I did everything like maybe in the first month or something." So, the goals aren't pushing you for, pushing you enough or-or-or whatever. Um, or it's just like a Check-box exercise, right? So that's- that is really challenging. Or you set goals and then they change in the first quarter. And then the whole thing just kind of goes out.

[00:38:27] Julie: Yes. So, we have to redesign this.

[00:38:30] Alexa: Yeah, exactly-exactly.

[00:38:30] Julie: Yes, it's true.

[00:38:31] Alexa: That's definitely a challenging thing to do well.

[00:38:33] Julie: It's-it's true. You hit it right on the head. It-it is challenging and that's why it's not happening a lot or not happening correctly. And when I-I meet with leaders and we're-we're on-site together, it's like, let's draw out the objectives for your staff. Here's the overall goal. Here's the overall vision. Now, what would the objectives be that are gonna support the goals and the vision coming to life?

Leaders also have to look at this for themselves. Do they have a clear understanding of what their own objectives are? And a lot of times they don't even have objectives that are clearly written out for themselves to say, "All right, this is how I know I'm gonna be successful this year is by me accomplishing these objectives."

And it might be hiring right or eliminate some- eliminating some of the toxic behavior. So, it's really looking at those things and getting clear on it.

[00:39:22] Tyson: Yeah. And You've been thinking about like the objectives versus just like check- a checklist of things to do of also like, you know, this is how I want my team to look at the end of next year. Something like that, right? Like this is the makeup of the team that I expect or-or-or some of those outcomes.

[00:39:37] Julie: Yeah. And the objective could even be, I'm gonna feel amazing about the people who I have in place working for me.

[00:39:43] Tyson: Right.

[00:39:43] Julie: I wanna feel like they are a dynamic cohesive team. So, objectives can even be different things that you're gonna feel.

[00:39:50] Alexa: Feelings. Yeah, I like that.

[00:39:51] Julie: Like sure that the vision's come to life.

[00:39:53] Alexa: I do like that. Yeah. So, we hire- we hire, right. We, uh, not performance manage, but we goal set. I imagine performance management is in there as well.

[00:40:04] Julie: Absolutely.

[00:40:05] Tyson: Yes. Yeah.

[00:40:06] Julie: Yes. We-we have our own process that we introduce and it- it involves having regular consistent one-on-one meetings with each member of your team, so that they're getting that feedback, because we know that feedback is one of the top motivators. Getting regular consistent feedback is huge when it comes to eliminating a lot of the symptoms that you'll experience before you experience a detox.

[00:40:29] Alexa: And then what about getting rid of bad actors? Is that on your list? Is that- [laughs] that part of--[crosstalk]

[00:40:35] Julie: Bad actors or good actors?

[00:40:38] Alexa: My mind immediately goes to, when I hear detox is-is eliminating people.

[00:40:43] Julie: Yeah, and it doesn't mean that you have to just go and fire everybody, although it could be an approach. It could be an interesting one, but to really stretch yourself. See if the people you have are willing to change and have that conversation. And to me, that's really interesting because I've seen people change on a dime when communication is effective and when they are confronted in a positive manner saying, "Here's the vision, here are the goals that I need to see from you or the action items that I need to see from you. Let's check back again in 30 days, see how you do."

But it takes getting buy-in at that first step, because if somebody comes up to you and says, "No, you know, that vision's is-is really not that important to me." Their heart's not gonna be in the work and you go, "Oh, okay. This might be somebody who I would look to replace once I get my help wanted ad drawing in those amazing candidates."

[00:41:34] Alexa: So what's an example of that? What's an example of like a behavior you saw that you were just like, "This guys-- this is rough." Like this-- there's just something toxic is going on here. And you clearly set goals and a vision and like, what was the- what was the behavior that changed and what was like the general industry?

[00:41:50] Julie: Yeah, one that's coming to mind is two employees. I was sitting in on a mediation and they actually started throwing things at each other. They-- and it was women. It was women. And they just had so much pent up rage inside of them and they hadn't confronted issues and they were holding things in from like 10 years. So they didn't know how to communicate. They didn't have what I call a conflict resolution system in place, which is just guidelines for resolving conflicts in workplace.

And, you know, women, we need-- generally need a little bit of our coaching on, "Hey, how do I say this? And how do I do this? And how do I not hurt her feelings?" If we hold that in for 5, 10, 15 years, and then all of a sudden we're asked to confront the issues, it can become quite explosive. And that was one of the most dynamic situations that I've experienced, where chairs were being knocked over and I was like, "All right, I'm leaving this room for my own safety. [laughs]

[00:42:43] Alexa: You sound like a marriage counselor, Julie.

[00:42:45] Julie: Right. Well, you know, sometimes it borderlines on that, because you're really [inaudible 00:42:47] deep inside of people and I've had even people in workplaces refer to each other as my work husband, my work wife, [laughs] 'cause they're working in teams together. I know. Right?

[00:42:58] Alexa: Yeah. I've heard that.

[00:42:59] Tyson: So after they threw the chairs, was that enough to get out all that 10 years of pent up anger? Is that all they needed?

[00:43:06] Alexa: Do you- do you let 'em box it out a little? Or like, like at what point you go like, "Okay, you gotta get it out and now we gotta deal with it." Like, is it one chair? Is it two chairs? Like how many chairs can you throw?

[00:43:15] Julie: And I think it was one person, you know, it's a little bit like being on Jerry Springer for a moment. So it was one person throwing the chairs and just really irate. And what we had to do was pull them back to the vision, talk to them about specific action steps, and then give them some constructive communication skills to see if they could talk it out. Now sometimes when that much time has lapsed, it's really hard. Just like in a relationship, if you don't talk to your husband or your partner for 10 years about a situation that's bothered you. Oh my goodness.

[00:43:43] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:43:43] Julie: What's that gonna be like in 10 or 15 years? And can you go back to that really cool place, that energy that you wanna feel when you're in a really good relationship? Can you get back there?

[00:43:53] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:43:53] Julie: Some people can. Some can't.

[00:43:54] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:43:55] Tyson: I couldn't imagine going 10 years. I'm a very-- I- I'm confrontational in the sense that I don't like having conflict. So I'd rather be confrontational and be like, "Hey, what's up?" Like versus like letting it simmer and like eat at me for--

[00:44:08] Julie: Fester.

[00:44:09] Tyson: Fester for like 10 years. I couldn't imagine. I'd rather just like talk it out. But yeah, that's wild. So--

[00:44:14] Julie: Can you even imagine. You know, and I will tell you this too, another really toxic workplace situation is when we decide that a certain side or a certain location's gonna close and nobody is aware of it. I know- I know this was on the news recently about the Zoom call where he let everybody go on Zoom so if you're one of the unfortunate ones--

[00:44:31] Alexa: How the fuck are people still making that- that like how the fuck better.com? How the fuck? Is, that's my question for that guy? Like really, really? You thought it was a good fucking idea? Okay, cool. Great.

[00:44:42] Julie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then how- how are his other team members gonna be impacted by this? You know, and that's the thing. It's like, well, the ones who are gonna be gone, you know, they're gonna be kind of out of your way, but you know, they say-

[00:44:53] Alexa: Survivors.

[00:44:54] Julie: -every person who's impacted negatively in the workplace by like right-sizing, downsizing, a layoff, it's like four to five other people are really negatively impacted.

[00:45:03] Alexa: That's lazy.

[00:45:04] Julie: So think about these people's coworkers and this company's reputation.

[00:45:07] Alexa: I- I think it's lazy. My question is-- so I-I-I kinda get, truthfully, I get the like pointed fuckups, like the guy just made the wrong call. Like he just made-- like he and his team made the wrong decision about how to fire 900 people, just full stop. It was one decision and they fucked it up.

[00:45:24] Julie: Yep.

[00:45:24] Alexa: However, what I- what I hear when I hear these two employees have had pent up aggression for 10 to 15 years, or I've walked into a workplace where there's these constant negative behaviors or we're at the point where we need to do a fucking detox is like, how the fuck did they get there? Like how did it get that bad?

And I've been in more than one toxic environment, trust me, and- and I always, like, my takeaway is always like I was too-- I was complicit in this for too long. Like I contributed to this environment myself, once I knew it was bad. And now my mantra is like, as soon as you feel the tides turn, like, full stop, you either gotta get out or-or get somebody in to help. But like, how do-- why-why Julie? Why does it get this bad?

[00:46:09] Julie: I think, personally, I think--

[00:46:11] Alexa: Death by 1,000 cuts or what?

[00:46:13] Julie: Right. Well, I think women especially are very pain tolerant. Is that we tolerate a lot-

[00:46:17] Alexa: Amen to that.

[00:46:18] Julie: -emotionally, right? And it just becomes like that [unintelligible 00:46:22] of the- of the frog. Have you heard about the frog and the boiling water?

[00:46:26] Alexa: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:46:27] Julie: Yeah. So it becomes like that, where it's like the frog, it just tops in the water's warm. And then we slowly turn the temperature up and before you know, it, the frog is boiled. And that becomes like a lot of us too, it's a like, wow, wait a second, it wasn't that bad, and now how did I get into this place? And it's because slowly by slowly, another destructive thing happens, another destructive thing happens, another destructive thing happens, and then before we know it, the water is boiling and it's really tough to get out.

[00:46:53] Alexa: Yeah. Are you ever mindful-- I mean, I'm sure you are, but like how do you deal with the line between personal and professional, especially when you're talking about like conduct and behavior and-- Because I would argue-- I- I would guess that when you're sometimes dealing with very irate employees, that what you've got is probably some context on those people that might be missing from like the topical work arrangement.

And, you know, you've got this, you know, I'm just making this up, like guy going through a divorce, who's getting hosed by his ex-wife, who's all fucking uptight about something. So he's on his team about X. And then, you know, the teammates are doing this, this and this. And so they don't trust him. And then, you know, this other corporate thing came out and so that's something else popped off. Like there's a lot of context that's very individualized-

[00:47:37] Julie: Right.

[00:47:37] Alexa: -that can be surrounding a lot of toxic behavior. How do you address that without like getting up in everybody's shit? [laughs]

[00:47:45] Julie: [laughs] Well, you know, I was- I was in that situation where I was going through a divorce and I was the one being toxic in the corporate environment where I was sharing. I was on the phone talking and my manager would hear me loudly talking about all my personal issues that were going on. I was the one going out and having a- a muffin in the corporate cafeteria and talking about my husband and the divorce and all that.

And he did something that I thought was incredibly brilliant. He basically told me, "Hey, this is work. This is your priority and we can't have you talking about this personal stuff in the workplace." And I really took that to heart because it was a great learning opportunity for me. But for also everybody else who I now had the opportunity to teach and- and guide in creating a- a positive workplace.

You have to take responsibility for the words that come outta your mouth. And if you don't want your words to be repeated or printed on social media somewhere, for everybody and anybody to tune into, it's probably something you should not be sharing in the workplace. And that's how I would be looking at it, especially in today's day and age where everybody's got their cell phone and there's, like, you don't know you're being recorded.

Everybody can hear anything that's going on. And if you don't want it to be recorded for permanent record, don't state it. And this is why it gets really interesting when we use the words, "We're all a family." I'm like, are we really family [unintelligible 00:49:07]

[00:49:07] Alexa: We-we do not-- We do-- Yeah, we do not [crosstalk] [unintelligible 00:49:10] We are anti-family.

[00:49:13] Tyson: We're not a family.

[00:49:14] Alexa: We're not a fucking family. I am not your fucking mom.

[00:49:17] Tyson: You have to be so careful too with that, because like, it is really easy to just wanna like let off steam with a colleague or like, you know, shit-talk a situation or gossip, or like, "Oh my God, like, you know, this is happening." A little bit of that I think is healthy because it actually helps build trust with other people. So like you need to have that buddy-

[00:49:34] Alexa: Gotta be a human

[00:49:35] Tyson: -like, where you can be like, "Oh my God, like, what were they thinking on that meeting? Like, I-I didn't take anything away from that or blah, blah." But you also have to be really careful 'cause like it can burn you depending on like what you say to that person. It can come back to you. And like you wanna also just be cognizant of like how you are coming across. Like you don't wanna be negative Nancy all the time. Right? Like bitching, complaining all it's, you know, I'm on the phone with Tyson again and she's just gonna be like shit-talking the company, like you don't want that.

[00:50:00] Alexa: It's really easy to get caught in those cycles. It's really easy.

[00:50:03] Tyson: It's very easy.

[00:50:03] Alexa: That's why, when it starts, when the culture starts to tip, it's really toxic. It's like a fucking tidal wave.

[00:50:08] Tyson: Yeah. And look like-

[00:50:10] Alexa: You just gonna go, like, "What is my job here? Like what-what-what is my-- What do they pay me to do? Why am I doing it here? What am I trying to get out of every day? And like, usually it's not like-

[00:50:19] Tyson: And not just the drama, like people just-

[00:50:21] Alexa: -talking shit in the office.

[00:50:22] Tyson: -people just get so excited over like that sort of like shitty drama, like that toxic negative drama, which, um, you know, it's-it's-it's not good. But I-I do think though, like if we're looking at this detox, like I do think that they're, like sometimes people just have to go, too. Right? Like we haven't really gotten there yet.

But I think that's kind of like the final step is like, we've done everything we can, but like, I always say like, "I will- I will sit around and try to performance manage someone who has a performance issue," like if they're not technically there or whatever. But when I hear about someone who's toxic, honestly, as-as the HR professional advising that manager [crosstalk]-

[00:50:57] Alexa: I have watched get single hire fuck up an entire organization's culture inside of like six months. Like a single bad. It's like a fucking domino.

[00:51:07] Tyson: Yeah. Like that, like interpersonal--

[00:51:08] Alexa: One bad hire just fucks the whole thing going forward, and then it is, you just like-

[00:51:13] Tyson: Like you can't performance manage that, you can't performance manage-

[00:51:15] Alexa: Somebody pooped in the pool. Yeah.

[00:51:17] Tyson: -a-a bad person, so to speak. Like, you know what I mean? Like those people have to go 'cause like, you-you-you really can't. Like if you don't trust someone, like, honestly, like it sucks, but like my typical recommendation is like, no. If-if-if they're a little bit slow on producing or maybe they're not as technically great, yeah, let's give them all the performance management we want. But I don't know, some of those personality characteristics, if-if they're not great and they're poisoning the team, it's-it's out for me.

[00:51:42] Alexa: It's almost- it's almost-- It's just actually-- It's actually just a smarter decision to be like, "I'm not going to try to performance manage you. I-- you're just-- It just swift and out. Let go.

[00:51:51] Julie: Yes. Yes. Let go of the energy, be free of the energy. But also if you're not the hiring manager and you're not responsible, make sure you're documenting too, because it's easy to sit in the frustration, and before you know it, we talked about pain tolerance, it's three, four months later, and it's like the same issue over and over and over again. So even just in a notebook, date it and write initials or have code names for people. [laughs] Whatever you have to do, but make sure you're documenting it to-

[00:52:15] Alexa: Totally.

[00:52:15] Julie: -see if the problem is escalating or if you're having an-- your own emotional reaction to the situation so you could really be firmly grounded when you do decide to let the person go, that there's no repercussions that are gonna come back at you.

[00:52:29] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:52:29] Julie: You've got to document it and better yet, if you could talk to the person about what you're seeing, even better.

[00:52:34] Alexa: It's also really, I think I-- my advice to people is always like articulate it, write it down, because like sometimes though for example, you know, I've-I've had situations even recently where it's like a colleague is frustrated with another colleague, and you're like, "Okay, technically, you know, you both work for the same person so it's not really your job to give this person feedback, but it's clearly affecting your ability to get your shit done," right?

Like it's the-- you guys work together, you two you're on the same team, there's no way you're gonna avoid each other. And it's not necessarily a situation where you need to mediate, but more like, if your feedback is this strong and your emotional response is this visceral, you need to articulate this as clearly as you can. Give that feedback to whoever the hiring manager is, they can take it or fucking leave it.

It's not your job to manage that person. But what I find is that it almost always deescalates the emotional reaction, is like, "Okay, I actually put my thoughts in writing, and like, yeah, it pisses me off when this person does this or doesn't take ownership for that," or what-whatever the situation is. But as soon as they write it down, it also gut checks them, because it's like, "If someone were writing this shit about me, could I say the sa-- could I- could I hold myself to this standard?" Right?

And it takes a lot of the emotion out. It just makes people feel like, okay, it's not this big, scary blob of anger towards this person or this situation, it's like, "I actually boiled it down to like, it's just these two things I need them to-to do better. Like I just need ownership and articulation," or whatever the fuck it is. But I think that's great advice, which is like document it, but also like write it down. Like don't bitch. Articulate how you would give this person feedback in a performance review.

[00:54:06] Tyson: But if you need to bitch, you can also like write your bitching down and then get rid of it.

[00:54:11] Alexa: Yes, just don't send an email. Yeah.

[00:54:12] Tyson: Just get rid of it, just like let it out, tell it to your cat-

[00:54:15] Alexa: Yeah, which is great. Yeah.

[00:54:17] Tyson: -something else, just get that off your chest.

[00:54:18] Julie: Write it down, burn it. Burn it in your fire place.

[00:54:20] Tyson: Burn it.

[00:54:21] Julie: Write it on-- Write it on some toilet paper and then flush it, you know.

[00:54:24] Alexa: Yeah. The things- the things wolf probably knows. Oh, man.


That little fucker.

[00:54:31] Julie: Absolutely.

[00:54:32] Alexa: All the darkest secrets. All right, Julie. Well, we're gonna move on to our People Problem, which is where Tyson takes a question from a listener. Uh, you wanna- you wanna give us our problem today, Tyson?


[00:54:55] Tyson: Yeah. So as we-- you draw on the end of the year here, oftentimes managers wanna hold meetings that are like either celebrating the year or like thanking people or showing gratitude or appreciation. So the question is, how do you do that well without coming across as phony? Because we've all sat through those meetings where we're just like, this is when we're texting our buddy on the side like, "Oh this bullshit." Right? Like the manager with the toxic positivity and like, "Oh, you're-- we're so grateful to have you. This is the best team." So how do you, as a manager, hold a meeting like that for your team that is meaningful and not coming off as phony?

[00:55:34] Julie: Would you like me to tackle that?

[00:55:35] Alexa: Go for it.

[00:55:36] Tyson: Yeah. Go for it. We kind of just round table. Yeah.

[00:55:39] Julie: You know, and it's-it's really interesting too when I work in organizations and the leader will come in and say, "You know what? I know I've been a real bitch this month, but man, I just love you all, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you." And then the team members just kind of look at each other and roll their eyes.

[00:55:52] Alexa: And they're like, "You have been a real bitch."

[00:55:54] Tyson: Thank you for acknowledging you've been a bitch- [laughs]

[00:55:57] Julie: Well, I guess that's a good thing.

[00:55:57] Tyson: -that's like maybe a good thing.

[00:56:00] Alexa: [laughs] Yeah.

[00:56:00] Julie: Right, right.

[00:56:00] Alexa: Well, you got one of those right. Yeah.

[00:56:03] Julie: Right, exactly. But it just really leaves people thinking that you're giving them some lip service and you don't-

[00:56:08] Alexa: Yes.

[00:56:08] Julie: -want that to happen. What I love to do is pull it back to the reasons why you hired people, if you're responsible for hiring them, or the real accomplishments that you've seen them have in the past month or two months, and bring some real examples up and say, "Hey, our vision is to do this. In order to bring this vision to life, we need people who are doing this, this and this and this and this. And I wanna take this opportunity to share with you some of the things that I have seen here amongst team members that are really going to help enhance the vision."

And if you are responsible for hiring, you can let Sally know, "Hey, I hired you for this reason, because you're really excellent with resolving conflicts in the workplace, and no chairs have been thrown and people are smiling when you're talking to them, and I wanna let you know how much I appreciate that." This is going back to our- to our chair throwing example.

But- [laughs] but really being sincere with the compliment, and I see a lot of people getting stuck here. They don't know what to say that's positive, that's nice. So something might come across like, "Oh, I like your sweater," and you don't. And if you could find real examples that serve the vision, that you're very authentic about, that's gonna be your best bet.

[00:57:24] Tyson: For sure. Yeah. I like having specific examples. I also think going back to, like-- I know we kind of joked earlier about like, "Oh, you acknowledge that you're a bitch," or whatever, but like sometimes acknowledging where we didn't shine, you know. We-

[00:57:36] Alexa: Yeah, totally.

[00:57:37] Tyson: - actually didn't show up in the situation, we really needed to do that a lot better. It didn't work. And I think being real about some of those things, um, is- is super important too.

[00:57:49] Alexa: Yeah. I mean, I-I always look at the year-end stuff as like, if it's just all positive, then it's just bullshit. Right?

[00:57:55] Tyson: Right.

[00:57:55] Alexa: But if it's like, "Hey, here's some shit we did really well. Here's some shit we didn't do very well."

[00:58:01] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:58:01] Alexa: "Here's the vision for the future. I want everybody to take a break and when you come back, I want you to get fired up about the shit we're gonna do." Right?

[00:58:07] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:58:08] Alexa: Because then it's like, okay, we- we don't do everything perfectly, that's never been the expectation, but also to Julie's point, like-- and the whole reason we're gonna keep doing things and trying to get better is because we're in sear-- you know, search of this sort of greater purpose and you all have a role here and, you know, without you, we couldn't have done the things well that we did well.

Uh, and we have bigger fish to fry together in the future. So I-I think, yeah, it's also like, I feel like sometimes people try to make the year-end thing like a little too much of a thing. And you don't-- like, you don't have to fucking force it. Like everybody knows it's the end of the year, everybody's ready for a fucking break. You know, sometimes like your calendar year isn't even really the year-end for you. Don't-don't force it. Be, you know, with all things, I think you should be authentic.

And like, you know, so obviously don't make an open-face shit sandwich, which is still my maybe favorite People Problems phrase. Be realistic. Here's where we did miss the-- Here's where we missed the mark. Here's where we did well. And here's the role you guys played in that. And here's what we're about to go do together. Like, let's get fucking fired up. See you in the new year. 'Cause that's real, right? You know, it's not any different 'cause the year's ending, like feedback is feedback. You know, performance is performance and everyone knows where they stand.

[00:59:14] Julie: That is a crazy important point, is that when you come to these year-end events, it shouldn't be like, "Oh, you're a totally different person. Who are you? Now you're all positive and happy and you're appreciating us." It should really be an extension of who you are on a regular basis in the management of your team. I also wanna talk about for a moment, just firing people up. If you wanna get them fired up, have everybody share why they do what they do. Why are you here? Why do you do this? What-what intrinsic-intrinsic rewards do you get from being part of the team and bringing this vision to life?

[00:59:51] Alexa: Yeah. I just think people overemphasize the end of the year shit truthfully. [laughs] But like-

[00:59:55] Tyson: Yeah. They're, they're brutal. And it's the same. Like it's the same--

[00:59:58] Alexa: I think your team can tell when you're being authentic, regardless of whether or not you're like giving an end of year recap or like you're buying them gifts or, like, that's why I put so much thought into that fucking super secret holiday party, because it is very important to me that my team understands like, oh, she fucking thinks about this. Like, this was not like she just threw hack together a bunch of shit. Like she we- they went a little nuts on this. And that means a lot to me. That makes me as an employee feel important, right? That this was thoughtful, but I don't have to say that.

[01:00:23] Tyson: And you did something that worked for your team. Right? [crosstalk]

[01:00:25] Alexa: Exactly. And it was very authentic to my team. Exactly. It was very specific to my team. So you gotta do what-- like, does your team love data? Great. Does your team like, you know, recaps and videos? Cool. Do that. Like, does your team hate when you all get together 'cause it's a pain in the ass and the Zoom, like connection sucks? Then don't do that. Yeah.

[01:00:41] Julie: You know, also your party was a reflection of you and it was a very unique way that you chose to appreciate your team to have that party.

[01:00:48] Alexa: Not for everybody.

[01:00:49] Julie: Not for everybody? [laughs]

[01:00:51] Alexa: Not for everybody.

[01:00:52] Julie: But-but also bringing your unique--[crosstalk]

[01:00:53] Tyson: Going up on a Tuesday. I don't know. [laughs]

[01:00:56] Alexa: On a Tuesday. Going up on a Tue-- Maybe that's the video we'll play on the recap. That's the music on the recap. Yeah. All right, Julie, where can people find you if they like what you have to say?

[01:01:08] Julie: If you're enjoying what I have to say, please come and visit me, Julie Bartkus. J-U-L-I-E B-A-R-T as in Tom, K-U-S.com. And there's a free getting unstuck session there that you can claim and we could have a conversation and see how we might be able to move you forward.

[01:01:23] Alexa: Nice. Well, it was wonderfully fun detoxing with you or at least talking about detoxing with you.

[01:01:27] Julie: By talking. Yeah.

[01:01:28] Alexa: Yeah. Thanks for being here.

[01:01:30] Julie: Thank you for having me.

[01:01:31] Alexa: You're very welcome.


This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Baggio, with audio production by [unintelligible 01:01:35] of [unintelligible 01:01:36] Harmonies. Our intro music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes at--

[01:01:43] [END OF AUDIO]

#notHR #hr #humanresources #besthrpodcast #hrpodcast #peopleops #peopleoperations #hrpodcast #funnyhrpodcast

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