46 - All the Feels

We're joined by Mollie West Duffy (of Liz + Mollie) to talk about their new book 'Big Feelings' out now!... We discuss Mollie's shockingly new and helpful insights on the overly discussed topic of burnout, the role of emotions in work and the workplace, and how to generally be ok when things are not so ok. This ep is a sort of proverbial tonic for your sore, aching soul; drink up!

Release Date: May 18, 2022

[00:00:00] Female Presenter: 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 This is not a stuck-up, PC, compliance-based, or employment law podcast about stuffy, outdated HR practices. Shit will get real here and we assume no responsibility.

[00:00:16] Alexa Baggio: Just another day in the office.

[00:00:18] Tyson Mackenzie: There's nothing better than a bunch of people who work in HR getting a round table and sharing these stories. We have this out-of-body experience in HR where you're like, "How did I get here?" HR is not that bad. It's not.

[00:00:29] Alexa: Come hang out with Tyson and I on this podcast. We'll make you laugh.

[00:00:31] Female Presenter: This is the People Problems podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson Mackenzie.

[00:00:39] Alexa: What's up, Tyson?

[00:00:41] Tyson: Not too much. I do come today though with anger, I feel like. I don't know if it's just me, but I've been seeing a surplus of HR hate memes and people-

[00:00:54] Alexa: It might be because you live in HR meme land. [chuckles]

[00:00:55] Tyson: -doing Reels of like, "Oh, the HR department's so impatient. They don't let me ask them questions," and blah, blah, blah. I feel like I have to start clapping back because it's just so annoying. I'm like, "Okay, well, maybe if you didn't ask the stupid questions, the HR person wouldn't be angry at you."

[00:01:13] Alexa: This is why you have the loyal following of HR Shook, is because you're like, "Wait, let me make a meme out of this fucking ridiculous-- your request for HR to be this scapegoat here." That's why people love you.

[00:01:23] Tyson: I feel like I've made it now though because I have so many trolls, I posted something and it's all trolls being like, "Boo HR, the HR sucks," and blah, blah, blah.

[00:01:34] Alexa: We got to add a segment about your trolls. We got to add a troll section to this podcast. That's pretty highly [unintelligible 00:01:40]. Well, I don't live in HR Memelandia like you do, but I feel like this might just be such a very successful algorithm, feeding you things that make you--

[00:01:50] Tyson: That just make me angry. Oh my gosh. That would be exactly it, eh?

[00:01:53] Alexa: I think this is just social media doing its job. Exactly. Maybe it's time to put it down for a few days, take a break. Your followers will forgive you. Actually, speaking of which, I got to do some housekeeping, people who will not forgive us, our advertisers of this podcast, if I do not read the following.

Today's episode is brought to you by Ink'd Stores. Are you looking to build your company swag store, no minimums, no cost to build, no monthly host fees, all the merch, and none of the fine print? Visit inkdstores.com, I-N-K-D-stores.com, and mention People Problems to Jay and the team today.

In addition, our episode is brought to you by the People Ops Society, a group near and dear to both Tyson and I. Join hundreds of People Ops professionals to share war stories, exchange ideas, and best practices, share and download resources, and just be yourself. The People Ops Society is a community of new and experienced practitioners built for the "people" people by the "people" people, no salespeople or sponsor participation allowed. People Problems listeners can get 20% off an annual membership with the code PPLPROBLEMS20 at peopleopssociety.com. That's P-P-L-PROBLEMS20 at peopleopssociety.com.

[00:02:56] Tyson: Love it.

[00:02:56] Alexa: Ready to go.

[00:02:57] Tyson: Love People Ops Society.

[00:02:59] Alexa: Love me some pops. All right. If you're feeling up for it and you're willing to Whoosah through the hate that you're feeling, I think it's time for Pops in the News.

[00:03:07] Tyson: Let's do it.


[00:03:18] Alexa: Our article today is very short. The headline is Workers are Suing their Bosses to get their Work from Home Costs Reimbursed. This one is interesting. This is an article in LA Times. It is basically an article about how quite a few employers-- This article mentions over 20 class-action lawsuits that have been filed. I'm sure that means there are many more, but basically, because when employees were required to go home to work during the pandemic, their expenses like phone, internet, energy use, heating, cooling, and office supplies added up to a series of usually for $50 to $200 a month it says, employees are actually suing to recoup those costs.

Basically, the argument is saying that this could be up to five-plus thousand dollars a year, depending on what the issue was, and that basically, a series of Los Angeles attorneys has filed at least 25 lawsuits to collect unreimbursed business expenses from employers. About half of those have been settled, I would assume that's because the amounts are not large enough for them to make a big stink about it. It's interesting because there's an employee quoted in here who was actually part of the better mortgage layoff, which we've talked about many times on this podcast.

He claims that after he was ordered to work from home, starting in March 2020, he had to foot the bill for work expenses, including his internet use, extra electricity, and use of personal laptop and cell phone at a total cost of "several thousands of dollars". This person is one of the people suing, and then they basically just mention Liberty Mutual, Wells Fargo, Visa, Oracle, B of A, and a bunch of other people have been sued in a similar fashion for similar things and that basically the employer community has no idea what to do with this. What do you think, Tyson?

[00:05:05] Tyson: It's a little bit different, I think, from a Canadian perspective because a lot of the way-

[00:05:09] Alexa: Always. One of the Canadian perspective.

[00:05:13] Tyson: Like everything in Canada, things are government subsidized. The difference here--

[00:05:18] Alexa: Goddammit. [chuckles]

[00:05:19] Tyson: Yes. In Canada, a lot of these things are tax deductibles, so our governments are providing resources for us to either use them as a tax-deductible, or I know during the pandemic, our province lowered hydro costs, or I don't know how it works in the States, but here there's peak hours for hydro, so they change those rules and stuff like that. Most employers here, what they do is they'll try to reimburse you up to the point where the amount that they reimburse becomes taxable income because they don't want you to get hit twice with the taxes.

What they'll do is we have approved sums that we can give people based on whatever is taxable income, and employers will usually reimburse that. Then the government covers the rest, but what's interesting is in order for things like working from home to be tax-deductible, your employer has to give you a form that basically says, "I certify that this person's working from home." What's interesting is employers are withholding those forms. I've heard of a couple of people who went--

[00:06:28] Alexa: Just know I'm not going to say anything--

[00:06:30] Tyson: They're just not giving these forms, and I don't know why, what the reasoning is because I've had-- this is going back to our episode about HR questions but someone came to me and was like, "Why the hell is my employer not giving me this form? I went to the HR person of course looking for this form, and they couldn't give it to me." Then of course, I said, "Well, you should ask payroll." They just weren't distributing these forms, so I have no idea why. Maybe that was a one-off situation, but you do need this form that basically certifies that you work from home.

I guess that would be the difference here, but aside from that, come on, man, internet, I think we get like $60 a month or something in Canada for internet before it's taxable income. It's such a low cost for the employer. Things like that, it's just ridiculous that they wouldn't pony up.

[00:07:14] Alexa: Well, I hate that you have a fucking thoughtful response every time you're like, "Well, in Canada, we just already thought about this and we treat people decently." In the States, to be clear, in the States, there are lots of things you can take tax deductions for if you work from home, if you're self-employed, if you work from home, I don't know that-- I'm absolutely not a tax expert.

In fact, I spoke to my CPA today and was embarrassed about half the things I had to ask him, but I think there's a fine line here, which is, look, the government's always going to lag the population, right? That's the whole idea of governance is you let the people get mad, and then you say, "Okay, actually, they've got some points. Maybe we can govern something like allowing people who work from home to take an extra set of deductions." There actually may have been some stuff that we did. I'm clueless. I have no idea.

What I think is fascinating that you can sue for anything in this country if you have $70 to file, so I think this is probably a little bit of that, but it's not entirely fair, in my opinion, I'm just going to play devil's advocate here because I get to, it's my podcast, I can do what I want, it's interesting to me to make the argument that now all of a sudden my employer has to pay my internet because I'm using it a couple more hours a day. It doesn't change the amount you pay for internet. Internet is a fixed cost.

If your internet is $50 a month, and maybe you can write that off at the end of the year probably, I would venture to guess, if you work from home in some fashion, it's a little ridiculous to be like, "Well, I work from home, so now you have to reimburse me for my internet." It was one thing to say, "Yes, now that you work from home, we are going to pay your internet," but to assume that there's some extra incurred cost because you were at home is not true.

[00:08:54] Tyson: Maybe that's another difference though.

[00:08:56] Alexa: Maybe you would've paid $50 a month anyway. If you have internet because you have to work from home, that's different, and you're like, "Oh, I already had a cell phone."

[00:09:01] Tyson: It's different here though, I think because-- I guess that's true if you have an unlimited plan with a rate that you pay the same each month, but here, oftentimes you get 300 gigs and it starts eating into that amount, and if you go over-- here's an example. When I started-- we all know that my internet sucks. What I was actually using is a little thing, a contraption that--

[00:09:23] Alexa: [chuckles] Yes. The entire team knows how much your internet sucks.

[00:09:27] Tyson: It used the internet from the LTE, which is from the cell towers, and I only paid for 50 gigs, and I only did this because I was working from home. I ate through that 50 gigs in five seconds because I needed it for work, and I went through it in a week. That was an additional cost that I would not have paid if I wasn't working from home. Now, I've since figured out the internet thing to work better, that was maybe a unique situation, but I guess it depends on the way your internet is, right?

[00:09:53] Alexa: Yes, most places, they just start to throttle you if you hit your limit, which is fucking annoying, I agree, but it's a little different than being like, "Oh, all of a sudden, I'm using so much more WiFi because I'm at home. You got to cover--" Look, I think it's probably plausible that if you're-- I think the more interesting example in this article is actually people who I think they're quoted in the Bay Area saying, "Well, I used to go to campus, and it used to cover my lunch and used to cover my dinner. It used to cover my dry cleaning."

It used to cover all the shit that it sounds lovely that someone would cover. Then people started to go home and went, "Oh, fuck. This stuff costs a lot. It costs a lot to feed myself three times a day. It costs a lot to do my own dry cleaning," and now all of a sudden being like, "Oh, you need to make up the expense to me." I don't know that I buy that argument entirely. I'm curious to see how the [unintelligible 00:10:39]--

[00:10:39] Tyson: I don't either because, again, in Canada, all of that extra is income. You're taxed. If you're getting free lunch in the office, you're paying out the yin-yang on taxes. It might be worth it if you don't want to have to deal with that, but you get taxed on all of that. The employer really just needs to pay you more to make up for it, the expenses that you have--

[00:11:00] Alexa: Yes. I think that's what I took away from it is maybe if you're meaningfully asking for this-- but also it's probably less expensive to not have to come into downtown San Francisco every day or to Palo Alto or take the shuttle.

[00:11:13] Tyson: Totally. There are so many other cost savings. Yes.

[00:11:15] Alexa: Get the extra hour of childcare. It feels a little unfair to be like, "You owe me five grand for these expenses." It's like, "Wait a minute. I just saved you 5,000 miles a year on your car. Wait a minute. I just gave you two hours of your day back. Wait a minute." There's some other-- I don't know. It feels a little premature to be like, "Employees are so shitty." It's like, "I don't know."

[00:11:31] Tyson: I like a little working from home allowance.

[00:11:36] Alexa: I agree with you. I totally agree with that. I think there were lots of employers that adjusted pretty readily to that, who were like, "Yes, we got to do this." I worked with many of them when the pandemic hit, it was like, "What do we do here?" I was like, "All right. Let's talk about what's fair." Not every employer can probably afford to do that, but if you're saving on something like three meals a day in a cafeteria, maybe you throw them a couple of hundred bucks to get an ergonomic chair and pay the WiFi.

[00:12:00] Tyson: Totally.

[00:12:01] Alexa: Anyway, I'm curious to see what our guest thinks, and I'm also just excited to introduce our guest. Our guest today is Mollie West Duffy. She is one half of the very beloved and famous duo, Liz and Mollie, and is the co-author of No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work and Big Feelings: How to Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay. She was previously an organizational design lead at the global innovation firm IDEO and a research associate for the Dean of Harvard Business School.

She has worked with companies of all sizes on organizational development, leadership development, and workplace culture. Her writing has been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Entrepreneur, and she has taught design courses at Stanford and USC. Mollie loves personality tests and I am also privileged to call her a friend from many moons ago back at Brown University. Mollie, welcome to People Problems.

[00:12:45] Tyson: Welcome.

[00:12:46] Mollie West Duffy: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

[00:12:48] Alexa: How do you feel about work from home stipends and suing your employer for your internet costs?

[00:12:52] Mollie: I was laughing along. I love what you said. Anyone could sue anyone in this country. It is amazing what happens. I have seen this-- there was the whole, "You can take your office chairs and your monitors home," and then some companies were like, "Actually, we need you to bring them back," and people were-- they were upset.

[00:13:13] Tyson: We raided the offices, took everything. [laughs]

[00:13:17] Alexa: Really?

[00:13:18] Tyson: Yes, my previous employer. We just all went into the office and just grabbed our shit.

[00:13:22] Alexa: Oh, that's kind of awesome. I did that at my gym, but they were like, "We're going to loan you these barbells, and then you need to bring them back." I was like, "Okay, it's a barbell. I understand."

Awesome. Mollie, thanks for being here. I'm super excited to hear about the book. Before we jump into all of that, tell our audience a little bit about your history in this space, how you got to be Mollie from Liz and Mollie, and a little bit about the work you do.

[00:13:43] Mollie: Absolutely. I actually studied organizational studies in college. Alexa mentioned we know each other from college, which is a very--

[00:13:53] Alexa: We must have had classes together because I studied the same thing.

[00:13:56] Mollie: I know Alexa also studied that. It's such a niche thing to study.

[00:14:01] Alexa: I had no idea what it was when I was studying to be clear. [laughs]

[00:14:04] Mollie: I know, and I didn't know what I would do with it. I just knew that I liked psychology, but I wasn't as interested in abnormal psychology and all of the psychological experiments. I was like, "I like sociology. That's psychology for groups," but I was less interested in looking at tribal people. I was more interested in looking at, I guess, our modern tribes which is our workplaces. That's how it started. Then I did research at Harvard Business School. I really liked the work that I did there, but I didn't want to be an academic.

[00:14:41] Alexa: Smart girl.

[00:14:41] Mollie: I did research on leadership development and loved that. Then I ended up doing undergrad school and then I worked at IDEO and I did organizational development. We called it organizational design because it was a design firm and everything was from a design lens, but basically it was helping organizations think about their culture, their organization structure, team structure, learning and development, team communication, team processes, and all of that. I have always been HR-adjacent, which is why I love this podcast, and I have a lot of respect, and I work closely with a lot of HR leads, but I have never been a more traditional-- I've never had the title HR in my title.

[00:15:28] Alexa: Okay. I'm sure Tyson has questions about leadership development and research and all those things. We can go there, or I would love to hear a little bit about just what led you to some of the stuff that you've written about and why the focus on feelings and emotions basically which has been the focus of now two books for you.

[00:15:49] Mollie: Sure, yes. I love to write. Writing is the way that I like to process information. If I want to really understand something, I write about it. So I just started writing for-- I had my own blog and I wrote on that for a while, and very small niche publications. Then I met my co-author Liz, who was also interested in this space, and she is an illustrator. She does these New Yorker-style cartoons that I think do a great job at visualizing things that are hard to verbalize.

[00:16:21] Alexa: They're fantastic. They're truly awesome.

[00:16:24] Mollie: They're very simple, and it's like, "Oh, yes, that's how I feel." I was like, "Hey, would you want to collaborate on some articles together?" I just loved working with her, and still to this day, I love the moment in the process where I get to see how she's taken our writing and turned it into drawings. We ended up writing an article for Susan Cain who had a platform called Quiet Rev at the time. We wrote this article. It was called Six Illustrations, that showed what it's like to be inside an introvert head.

That article, for whatever reason, really went viral. A lot of people who were introverts said, "It was really helpful for my partner who's an extrovert to understand what it feels like and vice versa." From there, a book agent reached out and we were like, "Well, we don't want to write about introverts because Susan wrote a great book about introverts. What would we be interested in writing about?"

We both felt like when we had joined the workforce in our early 20s, we had to be professional, and there was no room for emotions, and yet in the rest of our lives, we were fluent in emotions. We talk about emotions all the time with our family and friends, and then over the course of the decade of our 20s, we realized, "Oh, emotions can be helpful at work.

We just have to figure out when to express them when not to express them, how to deal with them because there's a lot that we can learn from them."

So the first book was about-- No Hard Feelings was about what can we learn from emotions at work, and this idea of emotional fluency. Going beyond emotional intelligence which is the ability to understand your own emotions and others' emotions to emotional fluency, which is-- so figuring out what to do with those emotions. Again, when do you express them? When do you listen to them? When do you not listen to them? When do you not express them?

[00:18:16] Alexa: I was like, "When? Tell me everything."

[00:18:20] Tyson: Hold on. Hold on.

[00:18:21] Alexa: Go ahead.

[00:18:19] Tyson: I need to know, was there-- looking back, you said when you were in the workforce in your 20s, you had to be super professional. Was there any moment that sticks out to you where you felt like you maybe expressed emotion in a time where you shouldn't have, or was there one of those moments that you had that might have influenced that topic of that book?

[00:18:42] Mollie: Oh, yes. Well, I worked at a startup that I will not name, and I had a lot of misgivings about the direction that the company was going and the way that the CEO was leading. It came from a place of caring deeply about the company and I raised these concerns, and other people who were higher up than I was were like, "Okay, that's fine, but keep that to yourself. We don't want to hear that."

I think there's that, and then I think on the other side of things, when I worked at IDEO, I was a consultant and I led consulting teams. A piece of feedback that was given to me was when I'm first getting to know people, I can come across as cold and like, "I don't care and I'm just too focused on the work." I had to figure out how to express more emotions, especially in the beginning, when you're like trying to get to know your team and trying to get to know your client, so I had to lean into it from that side of things as well.

[00:19:52] Alexa: Is this why you love personality tests?

[00:19:55] Mollie: I love personality tests. Yes. [chuckles]

[00:19:56] Alexa: What's your favorite personality test? Are you like an old-school Myers-Briggs person? Are you--

[00:20:02] Tyson: Enneagram?

[00:20:04] Mollie: I do love both of those. I am an INFJ and I'm an Enneagram Type 2.

[00:20:12] Alexa: I don't know my Enneagram.

[00:20:13] Tyson: I think I'm a 9.

[00:20:14] Mollie: I do also love their-- DiSC is a really popular one that a lot of workplaces do.

[00:20:19] Alexa: I'm high D, high I.

[00:20:22] Mollie: [chuckles] High D, high I. There's a version of DiSC that is done with birds, like the animal.

[00:20:26] Alexa: Yes, I've done that training. I'm an eagle or something. Owl, eagle?

[00:20:32] Mollie: Yes, I'm a dove, and it's just so sticky.

[00:20:35] Alexa: I'm the aggressive one.

[00:20:35] Mollie: I really love that one.

[00:20:37] Alexa: I think it's the eagle maybe, owl, I don't know.

[00:20:40] Mollie: Yes, you're the eagle.

[00:20:41] Alexa: Yes, I'm the eagle, that's amazing. I remember that. That was a good training. Tell us about the journey here, and I'm curious, Mollie, how much of this leads into some of the research and the history you have with leadership development also. I cannot imagine these are separate really in any way, but tell for people who have not read all the books and done all the things, and don't read HBR like everybody that's on this podcast right now, a little bit about the framework of leadership, oh, sorry, emotional intelligence that's been where you started from with this that's a known entity of emotional intelligence and what the creation of emotional fluency is, if there's a matching framework that goes with it. Talk to us a little bit about those two concepts and how you got from one to the other.

[00:21:27] Mollie: When we think about expressing emotions at work, a framework that we write about in No Hard Feelings is called being selectively vulnerable, which is vulnerability is a hot topic, Brené Brown, we love Brené Brown, but you can't be 100% vulnerable, you can't share all of your feelings at work. There's this balance that you need to walk between on the one hand sharing enough so that people see that you're human and they feel that you're empathetic, but then, again, not sharing too much so that people aren't like, "Oh my God, I'm going to back away now because this person is showing way too much emotion."

It's a tight rope that we have to all walk and it's different by each person in each situation. It has evolved to what we-- maybe 10, 15 years ago, this started. If you look back 20 years ago, the ideal leader was seen as somebody who was very stoic, did not show any emotions at work, and that has changed. What we want from our leaders now is we want to see a little bit more emotion, especially when they're doing something like announcing layoffs. We want to know that they also feel really sad about this and they're struggling too, and they feel all these things.

It's figuring that out, and yes, the leadership development piece of it, when I was doing research at Harvard, one of the things that I was helping with was leading workshops for new CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, so people were running big, big companies. Bill George, who's a great professor at Harvard Business School, would lead this session where he talked about-- he played this video of the CEO of Firestone and the announcement that he gave when that company had to do a recall of their tires. I don't know if you all remember this back in the '90s when they were catching on fire because they were very dangerous.

In the video, he didn't really show a lot of emotion, and Bill George takes this video and walks through it minute by minute and says, "Here's a better way to respond in a crisis. You have to show emotion, you have to show that you are caring about the people who are your customers." A bit extreme example, but I think we see that in a lot of political races, we see that from the leaders in our companies as well.

[00:23:51] Tyson: I was just going to say before we move forward, why do you think people resist showing emotion, why do leaders resist showing emotion?

[00:23:58] Mollie: A lot of it is how they came up within their organizations and they saw leadership modeled. We learn how to be leaders from the people who lead us, and models of that. I think it was just they didn't see it modeled in a good way and I think there is a fear of traditionally being seen as weak, and that people want to see this more stoic model. That's I think recognizing that what people want has shifted. People want to see more from their leaders.

[00:24:29] Alexa: Also, it's still tricky though because as a leader of a team, I never know when I'm supposed to be infallible, and when I'm supposed to be like, "I need to express some stress to you because I need you to get the point. I need you to understand that I'm stressed, so maybe you should be a little stressed, but I don't want to stress you out so much that you fear for your future or you lose your faith in me." That's a really fine balance of, "I'm being a human and I'm trying to also not scare the shit out of you at the same time."

[00:24:59] Tyson: I can't help but wonder though, and maybe I'm being super sexist in saying this, is that historically leaders have always been men, and culturally it's-- "Don't show emotion. Men are not supposed to show emotion." That's what we teach little boys, which is so wrong. Now we're moving into this place where hopefully, we are seeing a lot more women into leadership roles and even just the way we teach our sons to be more emotional, that sort of thing, because gone are the days where it's like, "Oh, little boys, they can fall down, and no big deal." I wonder if that influences this at all as well.

[00:25:38] Mollie: I think you're spot on. It's something that we say this style of leading is a more, again-- gender is a spectrum.

[00:25:48] Tyson: Absolutely.

[00:25:49] Mollie: About using more female style of leading, but it is a style that is beneficial for all genders.

[00:25:56] Tyson: Absolutely.

[00:25:57] Alexa: It's a little more nurturing.

[00:25:58] Mollie: Yes. We can all-- this is not just for women.

[00:26:01] Tyson: I'm not saying that only women lead this way. I think culturally, we did a lot of bad stuff to little boys saying that they can't have emotion where we should have never done that. Now we're going to undo a lot of that.

[00:26:14] Alexa: It's a vicious cycle though. I don't, myself included, don't know a single female CEO that does not have males as role models. When you go to get advice in hard situations, you get a lot of leadership that has a lot of that relic mentality in it that's like, "Don't overdo the emotion," but--

[00:26:32] Tyson: Women sometimes overcompensate and they're even harsher sometimes because they're feeling like they don't want to show that weakness. I've seen that a lot.

[00:26:40] Alexa: What I will say, and this was actually a turning point for me that gave me a lot of faith in my ability to find mentors and to do good work, and unfortunately, this person and I are not in super close touch anymore, but I used to have a mentor in a prior gig. I was the second in command of the startup. One of our board members took me under his wing, and this guy was just the epitome of the perfect board member.

He was just such a good guy. He cared about the experience of our customers. He cared about the experience of our employees. If you were to ask him something in a board meeting, he'd give you the perfect lip service that you're like, "How do I clone this man? How do I be this person?" Former CEO of many Fortune 500 companies. I was like, "This must be why he's successful." Then I met someone who used to work with him and she was like, "Oh, no, he used to be absolutely fucking terrible." He used to be the hard-charging, like up your ass, no emotion, and I'm like, "This guy's like a God to his board room." [crosstalk]

[00:27:42] Tyson: He must have read Mollie's book. [laughs]

[00:27:44] Alexa: No, he got training. He got a coach because he was leading this Fortune 500 company. The leadership was like, "Your people are not responding to this style of leadership"

[00:27:53] Tyson: That's a good coach.

[00:27:54] Alexa: He went through a year and sum of coaching and he just leaned into it, pun intended, I guess. He came out like this wildly different executive. She was like, "He's night and day from where he was." I'm like, "That gives me so much hope that we can do this with other people."

[00:28:12] Tyson: That is good because oftentimes you hear about those types of things failing, the harsh person being more resistant. Let's talk more about that though, and your experience, Mollie, just in the research and stuff, what are the things that make people actually change? I don't know. Is that too big of a question maybe? [laughs]

[00:28:31] Alexa: Explain human behavior.

[00:28:32] Tyson: How do we get people to change? [laughs]

[00:28:36] Alexa: No pressure.

[00:28:37] Mollie: I think working with a coach can be fantastic. Many coaches do 360 evaluations, which I think is so powerful in-- it's very easy for someone to be like, "Well, it's just that person who thinks that," and they may hear it from multiple people, but they're hearing it from multiple people at different times versus hearing it from many people at once and having a coach walk you through like, "No, no, everyone said this is a theme that came up," and having the space to digest that and then have accountability towards what do we want to change around that?

Coaches can give specific actions and behaviors. I think, a really powerful coaching question, there's a coach who I love, his name is Jerry Colonna, he wrote a book called Reboot, and he's considered the CEO whisperer, especially with startup CEOs. He asked this question that I love, which is, what are the behaviors that I am doing that are making me complicit in creating the situations that I say that I don't want? That's so easy to be like. "Well--"

[00:29:43] Alexa: Identify my own culpability.

[00:29:45] Mollie: Yes. It's like, "It's other people," or, "It's the business. We need to make the profit margins, all these things." It's like, "No. Yes. That may be true, but what about you? What are you doing? What are you hearing that you're doing?" Then again, it's about finding examples. I really mean when we say it's hard to learn how to be a leader without having some good examples.

Sometimes the coaches even are the examples themselves, which is why sometimes it can be helpful for leaders to work with coaches who are former leaders and are like, "I've been there, and here's a better way to say that," because I would guess in 20 to 30 years we will be having a very different conversation just because we will have more examples of people like this, I hope, but we are not there yet.

[00:30:36] Alexa: I hope you're both right. I also think these things can be a little bit hard to get your hands on, which is why I think good examples of them and public examples of them get clung to which can be good and bad because if you have good examples of a CEO doing something very vulnerable and having a good moment and doing something, like if the Firestone CEO had done it well, having that recorded, but it can also spiral in the other direction where you get a bunch of people that's like, "Well, every CEO I see talking is up there, not apologizing for shit, and not taking responsibility for anything. That must be the way."

There's some unfortunate backlash to the zeitgeist there as well. I think it is positive to have these conversations going into the future of all of this and just the idea that it's okay to say leader and emotion in the same fucking sentence, that's not a new thing. I think the staying power in a way, and I actually have not listened, I know this will be shocking to people. I have not listened to a lot, if not most of her stuff, like the staying power of Brené Brown and Adam Grant and some of those researchers who really talk about the more human aspects of a lot of this stuff still being around. Brené Brown was not a one-book wonder, she was not a one Netflix special wonder.

[00:31:55] Tyson: She's onto something.

[00:31:56] Alexa: She's onto something, and her and Adam, and that whole category of social scientists is onto this idea of there is a paradigm where emotion and support and some of these things we talk about is not being really related to the business realm are actually very much related, and they're not going anywhere. So it's giving us permission vis-à-vis research to say, "It is actually okay to bring things like emotion into a workplace conversation," which I can imagine. My first job was on Wall Street, I would've gotten laughed out of the fucking office, and I've been like, "Let's talk about our field today, guys, because I want to throw a chair [unintelligible 00:32:34]." [laughs]

[00:32:37] Mollie: I think you make a great point, which is, Brené's books have only been out for five years.

[00:32:46] Alexa: Still a new field.

[00:32:47] Mollie: It's a very new field. The authors we could count on one hand, and I wish that there were 10 more Brené Browns because not everyone wants to read-- her particular writing, I love her, but maybe they want to read it from someone else.

[00:33:01] Alexa: To be fair, they're academics. There's always this back and forth between when you're an academic. "I'm a practitioner. You don't know what I know, I don't know what you know," but the academia always has to lead some of these conversations. I think it's great that it's a new category.

[00:33:15] Tyson: I was just going to say, I'd love to-- when this podcast comes out, obviously, your new book will be out for people to get. We've talked about the emotion side of things and showing emotion. What about now when what a lot of people are feeling is just not good emotions at all? We have leaders leading through a time that is completely-- we don't know what's happening, we don't know what to expect, it's very volatile. Everyone's freaking out. Now, what do we do Mollie? Help us. [laughs]

[00:33:48] Alexa: What was the one we did recently about the incidents of anger and explosive behavior? It was the Atlantic article- [crosstalk]

[00:33:54] Tyson: Yes. Everything is fucked. [laughs]

[00:33:55] Alexa: -you may have seen it. Everything's fucked. It was the Atlantic article about why is everyone acting so weird, and basically about how people have been locked in these weird places for two years.

[00:34:06] Tyson: We know about big feelings, right?

[00:34:08] Alexa: Yes. Exactly.

[00:34:10] Mollie: Yes. I think I just read that article. I think I tweeted it because I loved it so much. There's a phrase in it, I don't know, I'll find it, that I really liked. Our next book that just came out, it's called Big Feelings: How to Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay. It's about difficult emotions and it's funny because we wrote this book No Hard Feelings, and then we were like, "Actually, there are some hard feelings." [chuckles]

[00:34:34] Tyson: I love that.

[00:34:36] Mollie: It's work and life. The chapters are Anger, Regret, Comparison, Uncertainty, Despair, Burnout. I'm forgetting a couple, but anger you mentioned. People are angry. There's a lot to be angry about. I think in a workplace context, there are people who tend to suppress their anger and we have an assessment on our website for you to figure out your anger expression styles.

[00:35:08] Alexa: Throw stuff [laughs] Chair thrower.

[00:35:11] Mollie: Yes, exactly. [crosstalk]

[00:35:12] Alexa: Just kidding. Just to be clear, I've never thrown anything, not intentionally.

[00:35:18] Mollie: Well, I think there's many ways of suppressing as well. There's healthy ways of dealing with your anger and throwing chairs is not healthy but also suppressing anger is not always healthy. Women historically, have not been as comfortable or have been socialized to not be comfortable sharing their anger. Anger is a deeper sign usually of fear so we are angry because we're afraid that something that we don't want to happen is going to happen or just happened and we're afraid of what the fallout of that looks like.

Or it's a sign that something we care about has been violated.

[00:35:59] Alexa: Feelings hurt.

[00:36:00] Mollie: Ourselves, our friends, our feelings, some of those things have been violated. It's helpful, it gives us information. The key is how do you get in a headspace where you can listen to that information rather than just yelling about it and that is the trick especially in a workplace context. One thing we mentioned in the book that actually came up in a workshop of ours somebody said, "When I'm feeling really angry what I say to people is I'm having a strong reaction right now, I need a second."

It's not blaming anyone, it's not saying I'm furious at you, it's just naming the reaction that you're having and we've all been there. Everyone has been where you're like, "Oh, I'm about to be out of control [laughter] and so there's some respect and people are like great go take care of that. Come back to us. We'd rather have you do that and say, 'Hey, can we return to this conversation later on tomorrow.'" something like that.

[00:37:00] Alexa: I always try to articulate that my anger is not pointed at someone. Like when you get on with customer service and you're like, "I'm going to punch this person if they read one more script at me." Then you're like, "The anger that you're hearing in my voice is not directed at you I understand that you cannot control this but I'm fucking pissed about the following."

[00:37:23] Mollie: When you have anger directed at you so we also heard this in another workshop this woman shared that she had a boss she was an executive assistant and she had a boss who would get angry. She knew that it wasn't about her but she still was on the receiving end of it. Finally one day she said to him, "When you get angry when you use that tone with me, I shut down and actually am not able to listen to what you're saying and so I'm not able to be effective in my job."

He was using language that he could hear of you're having the opposite-- You want me to listen so he's getting really angry but actually, I can't deal with your anger so I'm shutting down and I'm not listening to you at all. That helped him be like, "Okay, how do I calm down so I can say this in a way that she can listen."

[00:38:11] Tyson: Using eye language.

[00:38:12] Alexa: [crosstalk] How did she get to the point where she can identify that. How would you coach someone that you're like if you were a coach, Mollie, for a minute you've got a friend that you're talking to and they're like I've got someone with big feelings on the regular in my orbit how do you get that person--

[00:38:28] Tyson: To have self-awareness?

[00:38:30] Alexa: Not even self-awareness just to be able to have a lens to look at like okay, I've got this person that's always angry or I've got this person that's always worked up or I've got this person that's always deflecting or this person that's always fearful. It doesn't matter life, work, whatever how do you give someone a framework to actually say okay, big feeling cloud over here. Let's try to dissipate this a little bit so that you could get to the point like that woman where you can recognize and [crosstalk].

[00:38:56] Tyson: That's like teaching emotional intelligence I feel like.

[00:38:58] Alexa: Well, but can you do that even? I don't know.

[00:39:02] Mollie: I think there's a couple things. One is to try to identify the shared goals or objectives. In this case, the way that she approached it was well, what does he want? He wants me to be good at my job in assisting him and I am not able to be good at my job when he does that. It's pointing out we have a shared goal, we want me to be able to be good at my job. This is something that's getting in the way of that. It's like the classic what's in it for me. There was a college class it was called persuasive communications and that was a big thing what's in it for me as your audience member.

[00:39:38] Alexa: Shout out to Barbara Tenenbaum, we love her.

[00:39:41] Mollie: [crosstalk] Love Barbara Tenenbaum. Then the second piece is this phrase that they actually teach at Stanford Graduate School of Business they have something called the touchy-feely class which is all about emotional intelligence for business school students. One of the big takeaway phrases that they teach in that class is when you blank, I feel blank. That first blank is an observable action. When you raise your voice, I feel, or I can't concentrate and so you're not judging. You're not saying-- When you're a mean person, I'm observing this thing. That is a fact that you're doing and here's how it makes me feel.

[00:40:21] Alexa: Right. When you're a piece of shit, I don't like it. It's not as effective.


[00:40:27] Tyson: That'll just make them angrier.

[00:40:28] Alexa: Yes, if you use the tools correctly, kids.


Alexa: The touchy-feely class. I love that. I was talking to a friend who used to work with a bunch of professional athletes and they had a course on one of the teams that one of his clients worked for and it was called Life 101, it was Adulting 101, which is where they teach them how to manage a checkbook basically and how to do basic life skills for pro athletes. The touchy-feely classes feels similar. Anger. Was a great one. We're going through our emotions really quickly here. Regret, I just read Daniel Pink's book on regret. It is fantastic. What was the other one? Comparison and despair and then burnout.

[00:41:10] Mollie: Comparison, despair, uncertainty, and burnout. Uncertainty and burnout are both big workplace topics.

[00:41:17] Alexa: Yes, let's talk about those a little bit. Burnout's been hot for a while now.

[00:41:24] Mollie: [laughs] I know we were like, do we have anything new to say about burnout?

[00:41:27] Alexa: Let's talk about what you have to say about burnout. What do you want people to know about burnout now that you've dissected it yet again? What are your big takeaways? Fresh eyes on burnout.

[00:41:38] Mollie: Yes. I shared in the book, I have experienced big Burnout. After our first book came out, we were doing a ton of traveling. I had been traveling for work. I got really sick right before the book came out. For three weeks I was on the couch and then I got injured and we were thinking about moving from New York to LA and there was just so much going on. I had to take some time.

For the rest of the fall of 2019, I had to take time off from doing book events. Liz did them all herself, which was very nice of her. I had to say no to a bunch of other things that I had been involved with. I had to say to my job, I'm not going to travel anymore. I just had to rethink my life. I feel that everyone has, or who talks about burnout publicly has this story.

I just did a podcast the other week where somebody was really, really struggling with burnout and got such a bad injury to their eyes because of eye strain and it just went from there.

Anyways, so the thing about burnout that I don't think I realized before doing research was that it's very pernicious. It affects our own ability to understand that we are burned-out. When you're heading towards burnout, you're riding on adrenaline and it feels good because you're like, "I'm doing a million things, I'm getting it done." That adrenaline keeps you going until you crash and you're like, "Oh, my God. I can't do this." We have to look for the early warning signs because our bodies lie to us and they're like, "You can keep going," or our minds tell our bodies like, "You can keep going."

One of the early signs that I share, because it's sadly true is when you are so busy that you feel like you would like to get sick because that would force you to take a break. I don't know if either of you have felt like that, but we say that people and they're like, "Oh, yes." [crosstalk]

[00:43:35] Alexa: The question is how recently have we felt like that?


[00:43:41] Mollie: I'm like, "Yes, that's a bad thing." I've been there and that's a bad thing to be feeling.

[00:43:44] Alexa: I wish I could make the Tina Belcher noise right now.


[00:43:51] Mollie: Those sorts of things. We think a lot of times when we're in this space of burnout, it's black and white thinking. The only way that I can deal with this is if I quit my job or I move to a different city and sometimes that's not possible. It really unfortunately comes down to the hard work of looking at your days and at your week more critically on saying, how can I be nicer to myself.

If I look at a week and I have two or three days of back-to-back meetings, I know how I'm going to be feeling after those two or three days because I've done that many times before and I cannot do that to myself again. What do I need to shift to the following weeks? What do I need to say no to and it's a continual practice. You don't just do it one week. It's you do it every week and I have had to learn how to be better about that. I can't say that I'm perfect, but I do feel more comfortable pushing back on things and saying, "I can't do this, can we do this in a month," or scheduling in more breaks.

[00:44:54] Alexa: Yes, I like the idea. I think what you pointed out that's, I don't know if you intended to, that's a bit of an eye opener for me is that everyone in these conversations about burnout over the last couple years, and we all know how many of them there have been, is that it's treated as episodic. It's treated as like, oh, you're experiencing a period of burnout right now. What you've just identified is that burnout is almost like a plaque. It's like a residual build up--

[00:45:20] Mollie: Oh, I love that.

[00:45:20] Alexa: --yes, that you have to maintain, like chipping away at over time. You can't let it build-up to the point where it's like, I'm literally trying to get sick right now so I can take a few days for myself is when we've actually let it get way too far. I think so many people have taught and it's one of the reasons why you see all these headlines, and we've done a couple of them on pops in the news.

You see these headlines that are like, "Oh, big company gives whole workforce a week of vacation, to say like, we're worried about your mental health. We don't want you to all burnout." All of the following headlines are just a criticism of that move, saying one week of vacation time isn't going to fucking fix it. Everybody's like, "We know." Then we all move on and talk about something else.

What you just identified that I love is that it's actually like significantly more, like you said, pernicious, it's very invasive. It's a slow build of decisions to wear yourself out and to do the thing, and then do the other thing, and then do the other thing and then all of a sudden, you're like, "Holy fuck. I can't find any time for myself."

[00:46:23] Mollie: Then it goes the same way to get better. You have to do little things.

[00:46:26] Alexa: You have to chip away. Exactly.

[00:46:28] Mollie: We see this in the workforce too.

[00:46:30] Alexa: It's not fuck it, I got to quit. Fuck it I got to move.

[00:46:33] Mollie: People go on stress leave and then it's like, okay, absolutely you need to take the time off right now and regroup but then what? What are we going to do when we get back to prevent this from happening again? It's almost every day checking in kind of thing like you mentioned.

[00:46:48] Alexa: It's this mentality of like, "Oh, I got to lose 20 pounds. I'm just going to stop eating tomorrow," and it's like, "Wait, whoa, pause, whoa."

[00:46:54] Tyson: It took you a long time to gain that.

[00:46:56] Alexa: Glad you're ready to take some action but [laughs] maybe starving yourself for a week is not the first step but also-- [crosstalk]

[00:47:03] Mollie: The same way that one cup of cake didn't make you fat. It goes both ways.

[00:47:07] Alexa: Exactly but one cake cupcake every day isn't helping. I love that Mollie. I think that's great. You've taught us something new about burnout God bless you. I love you. What about uncertainty because that one feels like a big black blob right now. What do we do with uncertainty?

[00:47:25] Tyson: Uncertainty. In the book, we talk about splitting things up into the things that we have control over, the things that are within our control and beyond our control.

[00:47:37] Alexa: Very stoic of you.

[00:47:39] Tyson: [laughs] Yes. Sometimes it feels like it's hard to distinguish between those two things. The things that are within your control, there's a difference between anxiety and fear. Anxiety is when we feel generally like a bunch of bad things could potentially happen. Fear is we're afraid of one thing happening. I might have a fear about public speaking but I also have anxiety about all the things that are going to happen when I go back to the office.

For the things that are within your control, we talked about translating your generalized anxiety into specific fears because those you can actually do something about.

[00:48:20] Alexa: That's really helpful.

[00:48:20] Mollie: Or you can at least think through them if there's nothing to be done about. For the things that are beyond your control. For the book, we talked to this woman who is an organizational consultant who worked with NASA. She shared with us that even at NASA, they have this phrase, which is making a plan from which we will deviate.

Acknowledging that the point of making a plan isn't to say, of course, it's going to happen exactly like this, the point of making a plan is to get alignment on our collective behavior and setting goals and how we're going to move forward. We need to have an understanding that of course, it's not going to go to plan nothing ever goes to plan. This attachment that we have towards blaming ourselves or feeling bad or not being able to deal with the change when it comes up, someone in the team quits, the deadline changes all these things can happen and saying like we knew that because this was the plan from which we would deviate. I think it's separating out and then taking one of those two stops moving forward.

[00:49:26] Tyson: I love that. I feel like as a perfectionist that will be my takeaway from this entire episode [laughs].

[00:49:33] Alexa: Just to show you how much of a control freak we both are, I actually have an Epictetus quote above my desk that says literally, in life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories, externals, I cannot control but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad in me in my choices? It's a very famous quote about the things I can't control, but the choices I make about the things I can control is where I will distinguish myself as a person. [crosstalk]

[00:50:11] Mollie: I love that. I love knowing what people have taped off to their--

[00:50:16] Alexa: I stare at it every day. It's been rotating over the years, but the current stoic philosopher in me has Epictetus under my hustle sign above my computer. [crosstalk]

[00:50:30] Tyson: I think my wall says good vibes only. [laughs]

[00:50:34] Alexa: That's nice.

[00:50:36] Mollie: Yes, when you brought up perfectionism, Tyson, and that's another chapter in our book I forgot about that one. [chuckles]

[00:50:44] Alexa: You actually have a chapter on perfectionism?

[00:50:47] Mollie: We did a poll of our newsletter readers to see which of these big, we said, these are the seven chapters we're writing about and perfectionism was number one. Most people who responded said that they have experienced perfectionism. Perfectionism is interesting to me because it doesn't always present in the way that we think of it in our conventional wisdom around it, in that many people are perfectionists who are not interested in color-coding their folders.

You might be a perfectionist in one part of your life and not in another part of it so you might have a really messy desk or a messy home and still be a perfectionist in some other way. It's hard, because we don't always relate to, and it's such a negative term. It's hard to-- [crosstalk]

[00:51:36] Alexa: Optimizing is a similar term that I think is maybe slightly different, but related. This idea that you're an optimizer so you're always trying to optimize the thing similar to perfectionism.

[00:51:48] Mollie: Yes, I think part of it is letting go of this idea that perfectionism serves you. We talked to this therapist in research for the book and she said a lot of her type-A clients feel like, again, this black and white thinking. If I let go of my perfectionist tendencies, I'm going to become a couch potato, a slob. I'm going to get fired from my job. [crosstalk] It's all these things are going to happen. We don't realize that the perfectionism, of course it can be helpful for pieces of getting to where we all have gotten to, but that actually the reason why we are loved and employed and all the other things doesn't have as much to do with our perfectionist sentences as we may think.

[00:52:40] Alexa: Is there an example of that?

[00:52:42] Tyson: [crosstalk] Well, it reminds me a little bit of what we were talking about burnout. One perfect project doesn't make you a superstar employee, just like one little mistake doesn't make you ready to be fired. I think it's like all these little things that make up a bigger thing if that makes sense. [crosstalk] the one digesting it.

[00:53:01] Alexa: Yes. I would say, I've worked with many perfectionists. I also just think anytime you're around a bunch of type A's you're going to get a bunch of this. I've run a few different businesses and I've worked with some of these personalities and my favorite quote is always, what is it? Perfection is the enemy of good enough which is this mantra around we just can't get enough shit done if everybody's trying to do shit perfectly. We got to keep moving. We don't have time for it to be perfect, and you making it 10% better is actually not yielding us 10% more result so you're just wasting at least 8% of everybody's time.

Let's be good enough and move on, but there are people that I have worked with where I see them struggle to do that math themselves because they're so fixated on I have to do the thing right. I have to do it perfectly. I have to do it to the absolute best of my abilities, or I can't feel good about it. They struggle to be able to do the equation of does this little extra additive thing I want to do to this project actually yield any additional results. If it doesn't, then it's diminishing returns. It's like, literally you're wasting everybody's time, but you feel better about it. How would you coach someone out of that tendency if they can't, to your point about burnout you're so in it, you can't see it.

[00:54:21] Mollie: Yes, I think it's a similar thing where-- [crosstalk]

[00:54:22] Alexa: To be able to coach, to pull back like whoa.

[00:54:25] Mollie: -our perception of it is not accurate. Yes. We read in the book, the myth is that perfectionists get things done. [laughs] Perfectionists can be--

[00:54:34] Alexa: I would argue against that.

[00:54:36] Tyson: The opposite. Yes.

[00:54:37] Alexa: I would actually argue they struggle to get shit done.

[00:54:40] Mollie: Right. I'm saying that's the myth. Yes, yes. Perfectionism can be paralyzing, and when you are overthinking things you don't get things done. I like the way that you said it of like, okay, this is going to make you feel better, but actually getting from 90% to 100% isn't what's needed in this moment. [crosstalk]

[00:54:59] Alexa: It's not actually 10% better for the right--

[00:55:01] Mollie: For everyone, maybe you're going to feel better about it. There's interesting research too. They looked at managers and they said, okay, let's say there's three types of managers. There's the good enough manager where they set clear goals, but then they let employees figure out how to get there.

There's the not-good-enough manager who's all over the place, doesn't check in and then there's Uber manager who is a perfectionist with Richard Standards about how every step should be complete. Most people said they'd work with a good enough manager.

I think that this also relates to being a micromanager, but even if it's not in a management setting in a collegial setting if I have a colleague who's like, oh my God, they're working really hard, but they send out the email immediately and they're constantly checking on things and it's like, take a breath, give me a break. Sometimes we're not aware when we have those perfectionist tendencies that it doesn't make other people feel good.

[00:56:02] Alexa: Yes, sometimes it annoys the out of us. I'm one of those other people. In some ways, I wish I was a perfectionist, but I always argue I'm not smart enough and don't have enough time to be, sadly. It takes a lot of thought. It takes a lot of energy to be a perfectionist. It also takes, I think an amount of self-awareness to even call yourself a perfectionist. That usually means you have the ability to occasionally pull yourself out of it. Tyson, I know you say you're a perfectionist a lot of the time but-

[00:56:30] Tyson: Thanks, Alexa. [laughs]

[00:56:30] Alexa: -I've worked with you for a while now-

[00:56:33] Tyson: Are you charging by the hour or--


[00:56:35] Alexa: You get shit done, right? That's very different than the person who can't see the forest for the trees where it's just you're so fucking in it that you're like, how do I explain this to you in a way that you recognize that this is actually working against you, that this is a myth, to Mollie's point. All right, Mollie, so if you were going to say, good times things go fast when you're having a good time.

My question for you, I guess my last question on the book would be what is something that you enjoyed and learned in writing this book, but also that you are hopeful that people will take away from you doing all this amazing research for people around, how big feelings work and how to approach them and create emotional fluidity. What's the big takeaway for you that you hope people get from it?

[00:57:24] Mollie: I think these big feelings people are so eager to talk about them. It's funny when you write a book and you tell people what you're writing about and people are like, "Oh, let me tell you about this." We have this idea that people don't want to--

[00:57:38] Alexa: It's like our HR friend episode.

[00:57:41] Mollie: Exactly.

[00:57:42] Alexa: "What do you do?" "I have been HR," "Well, let me tell you--"

[00:57:43] Mollie: Let me tell you. I think we-- Because these big emotions have been perceived as negative and because there's been a lot of bias against them that we perceive that we're the only ones who are dealing with anger, perfectionism, regret, but that's not true. For most people, your feelings are not more intense or volatile than most other people's feelings. You're human.

[00:58:10] Alexa: Yes.

[00:58:11] Mollie: I would just encourage people to talk about this more, especially in the context of the workplace because I think, again, we're still human. When we come to work, we still have these emotions. I'm hopeful that people take that away. I was really grateful. We have a great newsletter community and people really opened up and shared their stories. I'm excited about that sharing. In the book, we talk about our own personal experiences, but we also talk about a ton of other people's experiences and it was just a real honor to get to share those.

[00:58:40] Alexa: Awesome. I'm so excited to add, put it right next to my other Liz and Mollie book on the bookshelf. Very excited to check it out. Tyson, do we have a people problem?


[00:59:00] Tyson: Yes, we'll do this one quickly. What do I do if my manager is handling people problems without sensitivity?

[00:59:08] Alexa: Oh, another very vague.

[00:59:10] Tyson: They're always vague.

[00:59:12] Alexa: I do like they snuck the name of the podcast in the question though.

[00:59:15] Tyson: Yes.

[00:59:16] Alexa: Read it one more time.

[00:59:18] Tyson: What do I do if my HR manager is handling people problems without sensitivity?

[00:59:23] Alexa: Oh, insensitivity from an HR people manager. Mollie, what do you think?

[00:59:30] Mollie: I would go back to what we talked about earlier around, how can you share this with them in a way that is aligning on your goals? Going to them with something--

[00:59:43] Alexa: When you do this, it makes me feel this.

[00:59:46] Mollie: Right. Even if it's not doing this to me, I would like to be able, I'm guessing here, I like working with you as my HR lead. I want to be able to trust you or I trust you. I want to make sure that other people trust you too and feel comfortable sharing things with you that are sensitive in nature and then giving an example. When you talked about this issue that came up and you didn't do it in a sensitive manner, I felt this way. Other people people felt this way.

[01:00:19] Tyson: Yes, and often just doing that, usually when I find you'll have like an open conversation with people about things they have a moment where they're like, "Oh, shoot. I didn't even realize I was doing that," or "I didn't mean to do it that way so that wasn't my intention," and usually people are decent enough that they acknowledge what they did was wrong and that they didn't really have any malintent.

[01:00:41] Alexa: Yes, or they're just oblivious. They're like, "Oh, shit, I didn't realize when I do X--" "When I yell at you, I didn't realize that you shut down." That's a perfect example from the beginning of the episode. I also think it bleeds into some of what Mollie talked about earlier which is what, so if this person is being insensitive, where's the fear, right? If you look at what they're trying to get out of the situation and dealing with whatever the situation is, this person is the HR manager or they're some manager in this situation.

What's their goal in the situation and also what are they probably fearful of?

Usually, I find when people are missing an emotional cue on a different wavelength, it's because there's something in the way of their signal that maybe that we're not taking into account. Does this person think perhaps that insensitivity is what is going to be received better by the other person and they're fearful that if they're too vulnerable or too nice about it, they'll get ignored or taken advantage of or walked on? There's all kinds of interpretations.

You never know, humans have a spectrum of things that go on in their head, but I always wonder what's that person's fear and why are they choosing to deliver that, that way? Right? why is that the tactic they're using? What do they think that's going to get them? That's usually a helpful, work it back. What do they think being insensitive is going to do? and why is that the wrong approach? What are they missing to Mollie's point? Those people don't actually respond to that. What do you think Tyson?

[01:02:10] Tyson: Well, exactly what you guys said, but really just, I think the important thing here is to be the one to have that conversation with the person. I think if we can take anything away, it's that you have those conversations versus sitting there and muddling about it and being upset about something or thinking about thinking that someone is this big, bad wolf when really it might just be a mistake and error on their part. I always say, have the conversation do not make your HR person have the conversation for you.

[01:02:40] Tyson: Yes. I love that. All right guys, Mollie, it's been an absolute pleasure where-

[01:02:45] Mollie: Thank you, likewise.

[01:02:45] Alexa: -can people get in touch with you? Where can they get the book? Where can people find Mollie West Duffy and all the wonderful things you contribute to the world?

[01:02:53] Mollie: Yes, so the book is on sale, Amazonbookshop.org, a bunch of different online locations, or you can get it at your local bookstore. It's called Big Feelings: How to Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay and then we are on Instagram and Twitter at Liz and Mollie and it's M-O-L-L-I-E.

[01:03:12] Alexa: Love what you guys do. Keep it up. Thanks for being you.

[01:03:16] Tyson: Thank you.

[01:03:16] Mollie: Thank you.

[01:03:17] Tyson: Wait a minute. Before you leave, take some time to leave us a five-star rating. We'd really love your feedback also, if you'd like to see our lovely faces each week, as we're recording these episodes, check us out on our new YouTube channel. Thanks.

[01:03:28] Alexa: This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Baggio with audio production by Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. Our music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes--

[01:03:39] [END OF AUDIO]

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