57 - Don't Haze Me Bro

Turns out bullying is not always what we think of when we think of bullying...people are all kinds of a**holes! We cover workplace bullying and the measurable 'markers' that make up the dirty C-work (Culture) in this one with Theresa Fesinstine, 20-year HR pro, former bullier AND bully victim and new founder of Culture Markers. Don't miss this one... or else.



Release Date: August 3, 2022

[00:00:00] Tyson Mackenzie: Warning, this podcast is about the realities of working in people operations. This is not a stuck up PC compliance-based or employee law podcast about stuffy outdated HR practices.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 at the office.

[00:00:18] Tyson: There's nothing better than like a bunch of people [unintelligible 00:00:19] and sharing a few stories. We have this out-of-body experience in HR where you're [unintelligible 00:00:25]. It's not that bad.

[00:00:26] Alexa: It's not that bad.

[00:00:28] Tyson: It's not.

[00:00:28] Alexa: Come hang out with Tyson and I on this podcast, we'll make you laugh.

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

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

[00:00:40] Tyson: Not too much. I don't know. Just living the dream as I'm ready to close out my mat leave. I feel like I've started picking up the pace on just doing all the things like taking day trips.

[00:00:51] Alexa: You're everywhere. I love it.

[00:00:53] Tyson: Yes, I've just been busy reading up a storm.

[00:00:56] Alexa: There were episodes ago where you were like, "I haven't left my house in months."

[00:01:01] Tyson: I know.

[00:01:02] Alexa: You've just really one-eighted on the social front.

[00:01:04] Tyson: I know. It's so unfair with the year-long mat leave because you don't really get up and running again and feel like yourself again until about eight, nine months. Rosie is about to be 10 months in just a week or so.

[00:01:18] Alexa: She's already 10 months? I was just [crosstalk]

[00:01:19] Tyson: Yes.

[00:01:20] Alexa: I was like, "Oh, yes, I think Rosie is like six months."

[00:01:23] Tyson: I know, right? I know.

[00:01:25] Alexa: What?

[00:01:25] Tyson: She's almost 10 months, which means I have 2 months left of mat leave. Now, I'm feeling invigorated and I just want to do all the things. I'm doing all this growth and development and finding myself as a new mom.

[00:01:40] Alexa: I love that.

[00:01:41] Tyson: It's so unfair that I'll be headed back to work soon, but I'm actually really, really excited to go back to work. I'm starting to feel the itch to go back.

[00:01:49] Alexa: I'm also very excited for that. I'm also shameless bug excited for us to be together in September right as you're getting your last days of--

[00:01:56] Tyson: My last two weeks.

[00:01:57] Alexa: Your last days of mat leave we'll be together.

[00:01:59] Tyson: I'll be partying up a storm. It's going to be great. I can't wait.

[00:02:03] Alexa: I'm excited.

[00:02:03] Tyson: It's ending that with just a big bang. [chuckles]

[00:02:05] Alexa: I hope you're ready to have too many drinks with me because that's what I've been planning secretly for long.

[00:02:09] Tyson: It's going to be great.

[00:02:10] Alexa: All right. It's a good reminder for me to do my homework, which is remind everyone that today's episode is brought to you by Ink'd Stores. Are you looking to build your company's swagger store, no minimums, no cost to build, no monthly host fees, all the merch, none of the fine print? Visit inkdstores.com and mention the code "people problems" to receive your discount and free company webstore today.

Today's episode is also brought to you by The People Ops Society, and more importantly, it's actually quasi brought to you by Tyson and her new on-demand course, The Art of Compensation. This educational series will dig deeper than the spreadsheets and teach you exactly how to have meaningful conversations with leadership about compensation and build trust along the way, learn about compa-ratios and how they can be used to tell a story, along with other important tools and techniques to have your arsenal for confident comp discussions.

Competency certificates awarded upon completion and available on-demand as of August 15th. Use the code tysonhrshook@peopleopsociety.com to join and learn today. Last but not least, my new favorite shameless plug, which is to follow us @peopleproblemspod on LinkedIn, Instagram. The TikTok, we're still working on. Make sure you follow me @alexabagofdonuts on all things social. New handle to come soon, and the famous hr.shook, of course, to make sure that you get all the latest and greatest from the People Problems Pod. All right, Tyson, are you ready to talk about some news, some POPS in the news?

[00:03:33] Tyson: Oh, yes. Bring it.

[00:03:33] Alexa: All right.

[music]

Well, I'm not going to bring it, but Mark Zuckerberg sounds like he's about to bring a very bad day to a bunch of employees. Today, this is just a Yahoo Finance update, but there's quite a few articles on this. It's Meta reportedly tells managers to identify people for lay-offs. Not much of an article here, more so just an update. By the time this comes out, it'll be a few weeks old. Basically, Meta is gearing up for a riff as we like to call it around here or a reduction in force.

They're basically saying and being quoted as saying that they're basically getting crushed by the market right now. Zuckerberg was quoted as saying, "The company is experiencing one of the worst downturns it has seen in recent history," and is asking people to basically start naming people to cut and people to put on PIPs. It sounds like they're basically using some of this news and change in the market to do some downsizing and move to exit poor performers. What do you think, Tyson?

[00:04:42] Tyson: Probably clean-up. Honestly, I'm going to say the thing that I'm not supposed to say, but I think it's actually really importantˋthat companies be doing this thing all the time. As an HR business partner, my managers know that I am in my bones against giving a PIP in the effort to fire. We don't have to do that where I am. Legally, I don't have to do that.

Some places I get it you do have to do that legally. Where I've worked jurisdictions, that's never been the case. There was some stuff in the article there about employees being concerned about PIPs as an effort to fire. My side of things is just if they're a shitty performer and they're not going to get better, we just go ahead and fire. I don't know, I'm down with a good cleanup, especially in times like this.

I love to see this thing happen in tech, to be honest. Tech doesn't get enough of this shake up. I feel like people in tech have gotten a little greedy. It's good because I feel like folks in tech they're very entitled. They know that they can just get these Wackadoodle salaries wherever they go. It's nice just to see Mark laying down the law and shaking things up a little bit.

[00:05:55] Alexa: I agree. I don't think he's shaking anything up. I think he has to do this to keep shareholders happy, but I think I agree. I think a lot of these big bloated tech companies could use a little spring cleaning and these are people's lives we're talking about. I don't want to sound like a complete dick head, but I also think more of this stuff should be done probably more on the regular than people realize. I think you should always be "moving out your poor performers when you can".

I think we'd have to ask our buddy and former guest, John Hyman, the employment lawyer about this, but I think the PIP with the intent of firing someone is just a habit that people have gotten into because it feels legally safer than just letting someone go without saying you tried to performance manage them. I think a lot of that is probably well intentioned and feel informed depending on where you're at and all that stuff. I say, bring on the tech layoffs. Let's get some of that talent into the other parts of the market.

[00:06:52] Tyson: Look, to be clear, you should never be sitting in a termination meeting and the person be surprised that they're being let go because of performance, so there's a very delicate balance between just like completely screwing someone over and being like, "Surprise, you're fired," versus like PIP and what people truly mean by what a performance improvement plan is. I think there's a lot of gray zone there. People should always know if they're not performing, but does it need to be a formal PIP? No, not always.

[00:07:20] Alexa: I've seen them get nasty. I've seen people use PIPs to basically set up a performance improvement plan you literally cannot meet. That's just cruel. It's fucking mean, [crosstalk] may be a liability.

[00:07:35] Tyson: It's like do this by tomorrow. I feel like that adds more risk. Exactly. It's a liability. I feel like that just looks worse from a legal perspective, but anyways.

[00:07:44] Alexa: We're not lawyers and this is not legal advice.

[00:07:47] Tyson: It's not allegedly.

[00:07:50] Alexa: Allegedly in our humble opinion with a bunch of disaster risks, big layouts in the tech market.

[00:07:57] Tyson: It depends, so don't take this as [crosstalk].

[00:07:56] Alexa: It depends all the time. Cool. With that said, I would love to move on and introduce our fantastic guest today. Who is Theresa Fesinstine of Culture Markers. Theresa is a company culture enthusiast with over 20 years in the field of people experience and culture development. She has a lot to say about what makes a company tick. Working with companies large and small, public and private.

She has worked to build up the people function to focus beyond the basic block and tackle and to focus on experience previously in HR and people roles at Sage Realty Group, Annalect, nextSource, and News America Marketing as well as other places. She is a formally trained chef, animal lover and new home DIYer with a hundred-year-old stone cottage. She is revitalizing with her loving husband, Theresa, thanks for being here. Do you really own a hundred-year-old home?

[00:08:47] Theresa Fesinstine: I do and it is both a dream and a nightmare at the exact same time.

[00:08:52] Alexa: Are you in it right now?

[00:08:54] Theresa: I am in it right now.

[00:08:55] Alexa: It looks very new for a hundred years old.

[00:08:59] Theresa: This is 100-year-old plaster. That's just been painted. It is also.

[00:09:05] Alexa: It's got to be quite a project.

[00:09:07] Theresa: It is. It actually reminds me of an English cottage. When you see it, you just like automatically get excited. It's just stunning and then you start to actually get in it and it's like, "Oh, that is a hundred-year-old plaster." Every type of technology line, cable, telephone wire, everything you could possibly imagine is running through the basement. We actually only need one wire, but they're everywhere. It's like a web through the years of technology.

[00:09:37] Alexa: 100 years of Wires.

[00:09:38] Theresa: Yes, of technology. Perfect.

[00:09:40] Tyson: I'm picturing like Cameron Diaz in The Holiday when she goes-

[00:09:44] Theresa: It's exactly.

[00:09:45] Tyson: -and they switch places.

[00:09:46] Theresa: I was literally going to mention that and then last second, I couldn't remember the movie Holiday, so thank you for remembering that. Love it. That is what I thought about when we walked past it for the first time, for sure.

[00:09:57] Tyson: Oh, love it.

[00:09:58] Alexa: [crosstalk] what I'm watching this weekend. I have never seen that movie.

[00:10:02] Tyson: What? It's so good.

[00:10:04] Theresa: Oh, Jack Black.

[00:10:05] Tyson: Yes. And Kate Winslet, they switch thoughts. I'm a huge Cameron Diaz fan.

[00:10:13] Theresa: I'm actually a huge Jack Black fan.

[00:10:15] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:10:15]. I'll take Jack Black all day. Cool. Theresa, do us a favor and tell the audience a little bit just super briefly a little about your history in the space and your focus in the people space and experience? Then I would love to move us on to our topic, which we'll use your background to get us into.

[00:10:31] Theresa: Awesome. I think everything that you talked about in HR in the news also relates to what we're going to be talking about.

[00:10:39] Alexa: Almost like we planned that.

[00:10:40] Theresa: I know. Perfect. Thank you, Mark. For me, I've been in HR as you mentioned, HR, people culture for about 20 years. I spent a bulk of probably the first eight years in training and development, creating organizational programs across a variety of divisions of News Corp, where I worked for one of those divisions. Then ended up deciding once I left there to do a little bit of consulting and was able to work in a few different smaller corporations before I met Jonathan Kaufman Iger, who was the CEO of Sage Realty.

I had never been in real estate, but from the get of my career, I think as long as you have the skills, you have the understanding of the concepts, then you can translate those skills over different industries. I joined the crazy world of commercial real estate, and actually just left there on July 1st, which is 12 days ago, to start up my new business. It's all new.

[00:11:33] Alexa: Nice. Congratulations. We're excited to be part of your next chapter. Question, have you had a focus area as you've gone through those roles? Have you been a generalist? Was there something you're like, "Yes, I've done it all, but I just fucking love ABRC."

[00:11:50] Theresa: I would say I've done it all now, and I just fucking love culture. I love the conversation and I love the concept that we can actually start to define what culture is in a more specific terms than just, oh, I have a great culture and we have really nice people.

[00:12:09] Tyson: That was my next question.

[00:12:10] Alexa: I was going to say let's define culture.

[00:12:13] Theresa: I'm too early in my company to answer that question just yet, but that is the focus of the company. I've interviewed thousands and thousands and thousands of people and for about at least 10 to 12 years, the question has been, what's the culture like? When I asked them what culture they're looking for, or I've been an interview candidate, and asked them what culture is about, it's a completely nebulous and grey thing. It's either really nice people, or we have unlimited PTO. There's not really a scientific context to culture. I think there is, it's just not defined.

One great analogy I've been using is the concept of biometric markers. Everybody has unique characteristics. We all have the same markers, there are consistency across, most of us have fingerprints, and hair color and eye color, whatever, and those are our biometric markers. I believe that companies also have markers, and it's going to be my research and passion to more clearly define those, communicate them and use my background in training, development, organizational alignment to help companies re-engineer it for themselves, and reestablish their culture.

[00:13:24] Tyson: Do you have any theories to what maybe the top couple biomarkers would be then for companies?

[00:13:30] Theresa: Yes. I would call them culture markers. Got it?

[00:13:35] Tyson: We love it.

[00:13:36] Alexa: You did?

[00:13:38] Tyson: Amazing. It's great.

[00:13:39] Theresa: That's what I would call them. I think they go well beyond things like hiring nice people. I think rituals do a lot to create what actual culture looks like. Psychological safety, I would call that a culture marker. The idea in my mind is that culture is not just a HR function. The vision and value of an organization are part of those markers, how you establish yourself from a customer perspective, could be one of the markers that I'll end up defining in more context.

I think it goes well beyond what most people typically think about because they're usually thinking about the softer side of an organization, and that usually falls under HR. It really, to me, is about a greater context for who's responsible for building culture.

[00:14:27] Tyson: I agree with that, and that's why I hate-- I'm still on team HR calling the HR department HR, like Human resources, shoot me.

[00:14:36] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:14:36] it's a battle.

[00:14:38] Tyson: It is. This is why I'm so against titles like people in culture because I don't think that we need to do more to make HR responsible for those things, people in culture. I think it's such bullshit that we call the HR department people and culture when it's like, "I'm not responsible for your fucking culture. That's the manager's job. That's the people's job. That's HR as a person at the company, that's all of us.

It's not anybody's sole responsibility to be in control of the culture. It's just something that is almost like a results or an outcome of a group of actions that we do, or behaviors, or rituals or psychological safety. The culture is the outcome of that. It's not one function's responsibility to be in charge of culture, and definitely not one person's responsibility to be in charge of people. Anyways, I digress.

[00:15:28] Theresa: I think it's a really good, challenging point. I think for somebody who's-- The old school me would joke about how our function would be called personnel, and then it became Human Resources and then it became Human Capital Management. I think the challenge is there's a thousand different-- And that's a challenge within our industry as a whole. A director doesn't mean a director doesn't mean a director, it's all-

[00:15:55] Tyson: Oh, my gosh. Or HR business partner, it could be anything.

[00:15:59] Theresa: Yes, exactly. I will say, from an HR standpoint, I'd love to work on the process of developing a good, reflective industry nomenclature. There was a great Twitter rants about this the other day, it might have been one of your Twitter rants. I can't remember where I read it, but it was all about the change to people and culture, the change to pops or the change to whatever.

[00:16:23] Tyson: I like pops.

[00:16:25] Theresa: It goes somewhere else. Somebody's also got to handle the non-ops part of pops, and that is the entire company. I'm not sure if you've ever worked in a place where people just do because they're supposed to. I've not worked in that company.

[00:16:41] Alexa: Oh, man, so many topics happening right now. I'm not sure which rabbit hole for us to go down. Tyson, I agree with you, even though I still disagree with you. I still think it needs to be rebranded, but I agree with you that it is bullshit to put the entire culture of a place on one team that is largely not been given in most organizations, the power budget or autonomy to actually affect even remotely close to something that resembles the whole fucking culture.

You're right. It is not the responsibility of an individual team. It's not a cubby over there you decide to open sometimes, it's how everybody acts all fucking day towards each other. They say culture is just how we do shit around here, and that's not an individual team's responsibility, but I do think through what you're talking about Theresa, this idea of giving a prescription or biomarkers to the things that can be controlled on a smaller level than just this hoity-toity fucking culture conversation.

If you were to actually break that down into its subsequent parts, and then maybe break those parts down again, and maybe break those parts down again, you might actually be able to put your finger on some stuff that it's like, we actually can as a people, optimization, function, influence these particular markers in a way that might actually give some organization some fucking hope.

One of the problems I have with the culture conversation is i your culture's fucked, and you know that, odds are the disconnect is so bad at this point, it's not going to be like an overnight, we bring a bunch of consultants in and then this gets fixed. It's like we're going to write the Titanic two degrees at a time here and pull a 360, and that takes time. You have to really focus on each of those individual parameters at once.

I think that's a really fascinating way to try to actually make the culture conversation tangible instead of just like, "Yes, it's the people in culture team, they do it. Our culture sucks. It's their fault." It's like, "Well, no, that sucks--"

[00:18:34] Tyson: Exactly. Then who do they blame when the culture sucks?

[00:18:38] Alexa: Exactly. Which is why I think we need to call it something that's--

[00:18:43] Tyson: I like people operations, I do, I really do.

[00:18:45] Alexa: I'm obviously very biased towards that title, but I like people optimization. I just think we need to think of this function as much bigger and more interesting and more impactful. As the business owner in a group, that's why I evangelize this. It's such a powerful function if you do it right. Anyway, let's talk about doing things wrong, Theresa because we know as we're biased because we vetted this conversation, that you have a particular interest in maybe where some of these things go wrong and more specifically, the idea around bullying in the workplace. I'm curious just for people to hear why-- I'm right-turning this conversation towards that, why that is a topic of interest for you?

[00:19:25] Theresa: I think as a child who was vigorously bullied and then got into the workforce, realizing and seeing in small and large ways how individuals who were those people on the playground or in the hallway bullying some kid ended up in the workforce somewhere. Chances are you're probably working with them. That is the context with which I reached out and want to talk about this, because A, I think it's a really interesting conversation. As time has gone on, the overtness of bullying has in some cases shifted.

We know 49% of the population has either experienced or witnessed bullying in the workplace, but it's still something that isn't really talked about that much. Isn't talked about that frequently and much less having strategies with which to overcome it. I have a few very good friends who have kids that are in their early teens, preteens, and they're still dealing with the bullshit of bullying. We haven't come up with any education training insight to support either the bullies or the bully. The bullies are the ones being bullied. I don't know, I thought it would be an interesting thing to talk about. How could we, as three smart intelligent women with a lot of experience figure out a way to address it?

[00:20:53] Alexa: Tyson. Were you bullied? Were you ever bullied?

[00:20:56] Tyson: I was bullied. Yes, I was. I don't know if I've ever shared this story in this podcast. I used to hang out with a group.

[00:21:05] Alexa: [crosstalk]

[00:21:07] Tyson: Yes, there was four of us. Four girls and I was probably in the third grade. We used to have recesses, 15 minutes, 15 minutes, and then 15 minutes. At the beginning of each recess, I would have to sit in one specific place because the leader of the group told me I would have to sit in this one specific place and the other three girls would walk around a tree.

I can still visually, they all held onto the tree and walked around in a circle and they would have a discussion about whether or not that recess I would get to play with them. What would happen is, it was only 15 minutes. I'd sit there and I'd wait and I'd wait and I'd wait. Eventually, the bell would ring, and off would go. I would just sit there alone and watch these girls go around in circle. I can still see it's crazy.

[00:21:55] Alexa: This was shit.

[00:21:56] Tyson: It was. What really upsets me is I have a friend who's going through something with this now with her school-age daughter. I'm like, "Fucking bitches, man." As the mom of a daughter, women and girls are brutal because they have this psychological warfare of exclusion. Sometimes when you hear the word bully, you think of someone getting punched in the face but when I think of bullying, I'm thinking about the passive-aggressive boss, or people taking responsibility for your work, more like the nitpicky, psychological shit that just eats away at you, which I think is more damaging in the workplace and as well as a kid. I turned out okay. I was like," Those can go get whatever."

[00:22:45] Alexa: You turned out all right.

[00:22:46] Tyson: [laughs] I'm okay. Maybe stronger, you know? Whatever. Still, that's where my mind was going when I'm listening to Theresa talking about bullying, especially bullying in the workplace.

[00:22:58] Alexa: I was happy that you brought this up. I think this is one of those talks, a little like burnout where it got a lot of press, it gets a lot of talk, but it's like, what the fuck are we actually talking about? What is there to be done? One of the first things I did as I was trying to, as I sometimes do, try to educate myself when I don't have a whole lot of experience with something. Although now that I've done a little bit of homework, I'm like, "Oh yes, I've actually experienced quite a lot of this personally." It's like a grief episode. I was like, "Oh, I have grief things." I didn't think of grief things before. [chuckles]

A lot of learning happening actively on the problems podcast for me. Couple of other things and examples that some of the reading I was doing give us the examples of bullying that just had not registered for me that I think are really interesting are like someone spreads a malicious rumor about you. There are those people in the office that are just talking fucking shit and sometimes you are the victim of that.

Someone puts you down in meetings. I think that's something that-- It happens and people misinterpret things all the time and they get sensitive and whatever, but also if that is perpetually happening, probably is not great being the butt of constant practical jokes. I have colleagues who joke around, we poke fun at each other, but constantly being the butt of some of those things, I think is interesting to think about.

The one I really had not thought about was the idea of this actually being a possible scenario when you are a manager being bullied by someone actually that is a subordinate. I don't think people ever think of the idea of you could be bullied by an employee. I just think it's like, oh, yes, when you crack open this can of worms there's a lot of stuff going on here. It's sort of speaking of culture.

It's one of these markers that you go like, "Okay, do we have a common language for respect and interpersonal interactions around some of this stuff? If we don't, how do we get it? Because this stuff can be rampant.

[00:25:03] Theresa: Yes, gosh, that's a lot to unpack. Tyson, I'm sorry for your experience. That one experience, I would say expanded 10 times over in my childhood. I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from the time I was 3 till the time I was 11. I'm good friends with some women who were girls at the time, of course, now we'll call them the twins, and their mom.

The twins, everything from making my sister and I fight, they broke into my house once, they forced me to beat up other people. I had a girl who made a kid fire crackers in his hand. I don't know what the hell we were doing in this neighborhood but the one thing I very distinctly remember was when I was 13, I moved to Tennessee. I remember when I first moved in there, we've got the subject of fighting, I think for some reason.

I remember just being absolutely shocked that nobody that I met there had ever been in a fight. None of the girls in my school had ever been in a fight. I thought that was the craziest upbringing at 13 years old.

[00:26:04] Alexa: You're like, where am I?

[00:26:05] Theresa: Yes, I couldn't fathom it and I just thought maybe there was also like, "Oh, maybe I'm safe here," and then I'm sure I just seem the bully. It was a whole thing. I could now push it down but I think that to your point, Alexa, the fact that these things are happening and you Tyson even said gosh, I can literally see it. I remember it. Those moments are visible.

[00:26:28] Tyson: Crowned into my brain.

[00:26:30] Theresa: Gosh, there have been many experiences in my 40-something years of life that I can go back to the moment in my childhood but I can also go back to the moments when I was sitting in a meeting, and I got gaslit by somebody, from a male colleague sitting right next to me.

[00:26:46] Alexa: Literally just thinking about a colleague who used to gaslight me all the fucking time and I was like--

[00:26:51] Tyson: Can you guys define gas lighting?

[00:26:53] Alexa: Gaslighting is when you psychologically convincingly invalidate someone. What it means is like let's say, for example, Tyson, you told me, "Hey, Alexa, I'm really upset that you said this thing during the last episode. It really makes me upset when you do A, B or C." I would respond something like, "Well, you choose to feel that way." That's how you choose to feel that's on you."

That's gaslighting someone. Just by being like, I'm going to invalidate your experience by convincing you of another way. It's kind of how cults work. You just gaslight the shit out of people, and you're just like, "Oh, well, you think that way because you don't care enough about the dude in the diaper in the cloud, who is our Lord and Savior, or whatever." It's a psychological trick to basically convince someone that the way-

[00:27:45] Theresa: That they're crazy.

[00:27:47] Alexa: -that they're feeling is crazy or invalid. Like, "Oh that's a crazy way to feel. You're just choosing to feel like that." Is a really common example of gaslighting. It's pervasive.

[00:27:58] Theresa: A good example that I had was sitting as a member of the Executive Board, sitting in meetings and being expected to literally when notes need to be taken, being the woman sitting in the room, writing the notes. After the fact having a conversation with one of my fellow executives and him saying, "Oh, that doesn't happen."

Invalidating that action actually happens and you're like, "No, but it did happen."

Another example of colleague of mine, she was going to talk to one of the managers and he literally just held up his finger to her and chased her out of the room. She happened to walk by while she was telling me about it and he gave his apology and was like, "Oh, I was just on the--" He made her feel like what she experienced, she didn't experience. That kind of stuff happens all the time.

[00:28:47] Tyson: You know what's funny? I have the opposite thing happen. Whatever the opposite of gaslighting is. Basically, I was in a meeting as a young HR, and I was with a bunch of very high-level people. I was taking notes as I did whatever and one of the high-level managers was like-- Someone called out the fact that I was taking notes and the high-level manager was like, "Oh, yes, Tyson's such a great note taker," something like that.

I didn't think anything of it and then I had probably three or four other managers come up to me afterwards and apologize on behalf of the manager that complimented me for being a note taker. The comment went right over my head. I'm like whatever the fuck. I take notes, whatever, but all these other managers came to me and was like, "You're so much more than a note taker," and then I was upset.

Then I was like, "Oh shit. What the fuck? I'm just here taking notes. Let me be me. I'm not taking notes for you. I'm taking notes for me." That was funny because I didn't feel upset about the comment until all these people came and apologized for the comment. Then I was really upset about it.

[00:29:56] Alexa: The interpretation and the interpreter are also part of the equation here, and I think that's maybe, Teresa, you have some thoughts here, I would argue and all the stories I can tell you of my childhood bullying are actually fairly physical.

I was almost run over by a car once. I had someone throw an open Powerade bottle at the back of my head. I got physically almost assaulted, basically.

[00:30:19] Theresa: Yeah. Oh my God. Sounds like it.

[00:30:20] Alexa: Probably some bitchy girls in high school, of course, some older girls. For the purposes of this conversation, I think most bullying that we think about is really some version of gaslighting or psychological discomfort or psychological warfare, however you want to swing the spectrum.

I think the tricky part of this topic is that I imagine, for people, it is hard to both clearly identify the behavior and also then work out a little bit of this-- not "He said, she said", but "Someone said, someone said, someone interpreted, someone implied, blah, blah". There's a bit of a, "How do we do--" Yes, you're actually being tormented, you are being gaslit, or this is just a failure of communication and interpretation.

I imagine that's probably what makes some of this very slippery. You're talking about humans and feelings and interpretation. What do you think, Teresa, are some of the things maybe that you've seen in your history with this that are just common markers? This is clearly situations or cultural markers that, "Okay, this is getting out of hand, this is a clear sign of something that's going on." There's got to be ways that you start to identify these things pretty readily.

[00:31:45] Theresa: I think part of the challenge is so often, these little micro-aggressions or gaslighting moments are so subtle. What's that?

[00:31:57] Tyson: So subtle.

[00:32:00] Theresa: Yes. The best way I can say it as a manager, in talking with my own direct reports, is making sure that it doesn't have to be a formal back and forth "He said, she said". Bullying is not defined by our protected characteristics. It's really undefinable which is what makes it difficult to understand, but it can be as simple as, "That didn't feel right. That felt uncomfortable. Not because I felt like I was being harassed in some random way, but you yucked my yum. Why am I feeling yucky after this conversation?"

The problem with that is, we don't have, I don't have, maybe you guys have, the mechanism or the language or the perfect way to respond to that. Ideally, I would say if you can train people to respond in the moment and say something along the lines of, "John, you saying X really didn't feel good," or, "What are you trying to convey when you say that," or, "Tell me more about why you would say that," depending on what the situation is because if we're not responding to it that first time, again, as a little kid, if you hit somebody and you don't get repercussions, then all of a sudden, you feel like you can hit somebody.

[00:33:13] Tyson: After-- when was it? When we really started talking about microaggressions, I think it was the summer of 2020. All of a sudden, this word "microaggression" became really popular and all organizations started doing trainings in microaggressions because we realized that people aren't necessarily saying, "You suck because you're pregnant." Well, sometimes that happens. It might, but for the most part, it's the little jabs.

"Oh, you shouldn't take on that project right now." Well, why? Secretly you know that they're thinking it's because you're pregnant or whatever. That's just an example, but I think what we were trained to do in these situations is to start calling people on it.

The problem with that is, people can't even generally communicate the basic-- calling a manager out in a situation that's like, "Hey, I actually felt really offended by that," it's hard, but going back to my example where this person made the comment about the notes, they weren't saying that to be malicious. They weren't referring to me as their less than at all. It was just them being goofy, making a silly comment that could have been interpreted the wrong way and it could have hurt someone's feelings.

I think that the hard thing to do is to call people on the comments, but the benefit to that is that they realize what they said was wrong, and then it's this, "Oh my God, I did not mean it that way." There's no mal intent. There's this weird-- I don't know how to say it. It's like a vicious circle of we should be calling people on their shit because then they would have some self-understanding, but it's hard to.

[00:34:55] Alexa: If we can give everyone in the world more self-awareness, we wouldn't need this podcast. We wouldn't need a lot of things, let alone this podcast, but--

[00:35:02] Tyson: Do you know what I mean? Am I making sense? I feel like I rambled there, but it's like--

[00:35:06] Alexa: You make sense. I think one of the key things you're highlighting that I would love to get Teresa's thoughts on is in that instance that-- I don't mean to downplay your situation obviously, or your "lived experience" as we now say, but in that moment based on how you interpreted that, I don't view that as a moment of bullying. To your point, it was a moment of interpretation. You didn't interpret it that way. They didn't mean it that way, but some other people were like, "Oh, you could and should have interpreted it this way." Third-party perspective there.

[00:35:32] Tyson: That's the thing with bullying is the interpretation piece.

[00:35:35] Alexa: Well, the thing I think maybe we're missing here that will drive this home for people is I don't think when we're talking about bullying, we're talking about that one-off comment by that one friend who fucked up that one time and said that one thing once. I think we were talking about the people who have a repetitive cycle of doing this with either the same person or multiple people.

When I think of bullies in the workplace, I think of that guy everybody knows as a fucking dickhead, or the manager that everybody knows gaslights all of his underlings, or that one working duo that you're like, "That is not a healthy relationship that those two have. There's a power dynamic there that's off." I think of like the consistent behaviors between people that you're like, "This gets really dark when I think about it." [chuckles]

[00:36:23] Tyson: Okay. Teresa, what is the definition of bullying?

[00:36:26] Theresa: That's an excellent question. Let's define it now. I have no Webster Dictionary, but before we define bullying, which I think is going to just change the world because then we'll actually have a more clearly defined way to talk about it, but two things I want to talk about is you mentioned before about-- You didn't take this comment about taking the notes as like-- it wasn't a-- you don't believe it was intended bullying.

You don't believe-- but I think what's interesting to me is if you could go back to that moment and ask those people that came to you and said, "Hey, you're so much more than a note-taker," ask them like, "Oh, that's such an interesting perspective. Why did you feel it was important to come share that with me?" or, "Thank you so much. I'm so curious as to what your lived experiences was," as we call it now, that puts us in this mindset to have to say that because I think that what ends up happening is just like microaggressions or the context around why that became so important to talk about for certain companies is there's a history that got us to a place where historically women have taken the note, particularly in boardrooms of all men.

Why is the woman the one-- you might have been taking notes for yourself, but there could have been some other-- somebody in the room may have had some real, "Here's what I'm guessing. Here's one scenario of how it could have gone." You walked out of that meeting. A group of four women got together, four women in a man who's enlightened and said, "Hey, why did they say that to her? She's so important. I would hate to think that she would feel like she was only there to take notes. That's really shitty. I wouldn't want her to feel that way." Then they like groupthink and now they're all like at your door, apologizing for the-- [crosstalk]

[00:38:03] Tyson: Pitchforks. [laughs]

[00:38:04] Theresa: Yes, [unintelligible 00:38:05] and felt like, "Oh, why do the women always do these traditionally women roles?" The fact is that women traditionally do those predominantly female or historically female tasks, and when I brought it up in my executive team, the first thing that was said was, "That's not true. That doesn't happen." I'm like, "But it happens. It's happened to me." Gaslighting. "It happens to me. It does happen," and the response was, "Well, you just take really good-- you like to write and you take really clean notes." I'm like, "What the fuck? It's like you have to have good penmanship?" I think that while I get where you're coming from of we can't take everything as a goddamned aggression, I don't know if GD is one of the things you allow on the podcast, but don't play in the South.

[00:38:49] Alexa: Oh, god-damn, shit. All the things.

[00:38:51] Theresa: [chuckles] All of them. Everything, can't be a problem. Everything can't require a fix. It can't override our life. It's having the conversation. It's figuring out, "How do I broach it?" If I'm a leader within that room and I'm not the target, do I say, "John, that was probably a little uncalled for"? Because that message of whether you felt offended, maybe somebody else felt offended. Maybe did that get back to the person who said it, and that's the core of the issue.

What is the method that individuals, HR, People Ops, people in culture, whatever you want to call us, what is the method with which we can teach people to pause, gather your thoughts, and say, "Jimmy, that was really insensitive, and this is how I responded to it," and then he can say, "Of course, I didn't mean it that way, but now to your point, Tyson, they know that there's something that right about it."

[00:39:50] Tyson: They know now.

[00:39:52] Alexa: It's almost like a-- This is the hard part about the dirty C-word, culture, it's almost like a community collective effort. It's like someone that was in that room should have walked up to that person and just said, "Hey, I know you didn't mean it this way, doesn't seem like Tyson took it that way," but you might want to be a little careful about how you say that stuff in the future because that could have come off as X, or some people in the room may have heard that as X and you don't want to be seen as like the guy who's telling the chick she takes notes.

I wonder if almost the onus is not necessarily on the perpetrator or the--

[00:40:28] Theresa: [unintelligible 00:40:28]. [laughs]

[00:40:29] Alexa: -in this instance, but almost like in the other people in the room that are like, "I was--"

[00:40:33] Tyson: If there are other people.

[00:40:35] Alexa: Yes. If there are, which is where I think this whole conversation gets a little hard, although I actually have a point on that too. I wonder if it's almost like "If you see something, say something" style, a motto for bullying, which is like, "I know you didn't mean it that way, but before you do that again in a meeting, just consider that that could have been interpreted differently," or, "Hey, do you mean it like that? Because I don't think you did, but maybe some people heard it that way."

I've had friends do that to me because I run my mouth unintentionally all the time almost never with true intentional ill will, and someone will be like, "Did you mean it this way?" I'm like, "No, I absolutely didn't mean it that way. I didn't even think of that." Then all of a sudden, I'm like, "Oh, shit. I should probably think of that next time." I think that's probably really helpful as an anecdote.

[00:41:19] Theresa: One point I might say is that instead of approaching with the idea that they didn't intend it, just leave that piece out, like, "Hey, I know you didn't intend it as--" that washes it away versus leave that part out and say, "Hey, did you realize that that's how it could have come across?"

[00:41:33] Alexa: Very good point.

[00:41:34] Tyson: That's good.

[00:41:37] Theresa: What are some keywords with bullying that you would use?

[00:41:40] Tyson: When I think of-- but now here we are saying that sometimes if you're not, if it's positive intent, we can't always assume positive intent. Now, my definition of bullying has gone--

[00:41:48] Alexa: I don't know, I don't believe you can be a bully if you did not have the intent to cause harm.

[00:41:55] Tyson: Be malicious? Yes.

[00:41:56] Alexa: Yes. Someone could say, "I'm being bullied," and the person can be like, "I have no intention of doing harm to you. You're just misinterpreting this." That doesn't invalidate the fact that they're being bullied or they think they are, but obviously, I think you could wash that away by just being like, "There's some misinterpretation here." I would say malintent is-- or maybe, for me, I think control is a big part of bullying. There's some power and control dynamic that's usually off.

[00:42:24] Theresa: Is that why you were surprised at that statistic about being bullied by your direct reports?

[00:42:29] Alexa: Yes.

[00:42:30] Theresa: Right because there's like that power dynamic that happened that exists there and--

[00:42:34] Alexa: I'm also particularly sensitive to it as a CEO because I think people sometimes forget that I actually deal with everyone's shit.

[00:42:44] Tyson: I wouldn't even know how to be my boss.

[00:42:46] Alexa: I'm not like the king of the castle who just sits here and is like, "You do this and you do this." I have to soak up all the shit that is going on and those failings are my failings. It's all an interpretation, so the fact that someone was like, "Yes, you can bully upwards," I was like, "Oh, yes, I never thought of that."

[00:43:02] Theresa: You see me. You really see me.

[00:43:05] Alexa: Yes, like YahooHRNews.uk or whatever the site was that had it. Yes. "They see me."

[laughter]

Well, actually, it's really funny, and one of the things I wanted to bring up is, again, I was reading something and we'll share this in the notes, but I was reading something. It actually was a UK-based article. That's why maybe that joke is at the top of my head, but it was saying that work-from-home arrangements, at least in the United Kingdom, have increased bullying complaints and allegations like 40+% in the last--

[00:43:40] Tyson: Decreased?

[00:43:41] Alexa: Increased, and it's interesting because I was like, why the fuck would that be? I think it's because they indicate, at least they imply in the article, and I have to go back and read it, I don't have it in front of me, but they imply that it's because messaging apps and video are so much more prevalent now and that that's like a way-- we've heard some-- we've done some horror stories in our Pops in the News segment of people bullying each other on Slack.

Shit you would never say to someone to their face that you'll passive-aggressively drop in the Slack channel like Steph Korey, the former CEO, or maybe she's still the CEO of Away, the suitcase company, just got absolutely lambasted when her Slack messages came out because they were just horrible. They just weren't great or nice or productive, and I could see a world where some of the medium of how you engage allows for more opportunity for some of these things.

[00:44:41] Tyson: That's really hard too because have you ever said something even in a friendship conversation, maybe you just respond to a text, and you're just like, "K"? I like to do that to my husband.

[00:44:53] Alexa: That's so passive-aggressive.

[00:44:54] Tyson: People have-- K has become something so much more. It has so much meaning. If you get K-ed, then it's like, "Oh, that person's pissed off," but I wonder if--

[00:45:04] Alexa: Versus KK, which is endearing..

[00:45:06] Tyson: KK, which is super cute. Yes. I wonder if there might be some of that as well, especially when we have so many generations. You've got millennials, we love our emojis. The new generation hates emojis and the old generation doesn't even know emojis exist. I wonder if there's any of that, that goes on as well because there's no context when you're talking through Slack or instant messaging, that it could be perceived again as bullying versus someone actually intending to be a bully.

[00:45:37] Theresa: I like where we're going with intention, but maybe it's intention repeated. Even if it's unintended, it's repeated action. For example, if you are told that saying to somebody "K" is an aggressive way to respond to a message and you keep-

[00:45:54] Alexa: Then you keep doing it.

[00:45:56] Theresa: Then it's like now you have the knowledge, yet you are repeating and continuing to do it. I think that is a piece of it. Whether it's intended to harm or make you feel bad, make you feel like shit, makes you quit your job, whatever it's intended to do, if you are informed about it, which is that key part that people struggle with, if you're informed that it's wrong and you keep doing it, then it goes back to the basic harassment rules.

[00:46:24] Alexa: That's what I mean. It's like the first time it's not bullying, the third time it probably is. The third time it's like you're intending to use this power dynamic or demographic difference or whatever. You're intending to use it against me or in a way that benefits you and hurts me. That's malintent. Continued malintent is the definition of bullying. If I had to define it, that would be my-- yes. Continuous malintent would be my-- yes.

[00:46:55] Tyson: Now let's maybe put a bow on this, but then, Teresa, then what do we do with the bullies?

[00:47:02] Theresa: Fire them.

[00:47:03] Alexa: Wipe them from the gene pool.

[00:47:05] Theresa: [laughs] Exactly. Eliminate them completely.

[00:47:07] Tyson: You joke, but honestly, fire them. Is that--

[00:47:12] Theresa: Fire them. I think it goes back to-- talk a little bit about-- we started on this context of PIP or mentioned PIP. For me, I'm somewhere in the middle on PIPs. I didn't come up doing PIPs the way they look like now. When I was coming up and what I still do is I'm all about a communication letter. "You did, you need to do different, now do it." Once you're told what you need to do differently, you should be writing an action plan for how you're going to get there, and then follow your own plan. That's it.

We're all adults and treat people like adults. I think the hard part is, from a legal standpoint, certain places are much stricter than the US, for me. There's employment at will, but there's also a lot of lawyers who are looking to capture, I guess, the funds of big and small corporations. I think for me, the first part is determining how we create psychological safety so that people are called out and we can actually get a better understanding of who the bullies are because if you're in a position, the way traditional corporate works, somebody would have to notify HR.

Somebody would have to let us know that it's happening, and there are so many layers of resistance just between an employee and how they feel about their HR team and how they feel they're supported or championed, that's why these things perpetuate.

[00:48:36] Alexa: Yes. We just recently had an episode talking about people ignoring harassment claims that are called in directly to HR teams. It's like, "Well, fuck. If we can't even get the legitimate sexual harassment claims handled, how the fuck are we going to get Ken's passive-aggressive comments to Jenny through the system with any--"

[00:48:57] Theresa: Absolutely. Think about the different levels of corporations. I've worked for a large company where we got harassment complaints about somebody who was very close to the CEO. Am I comfortable as a 29-year-old HR person going to my CEO and saying, "Hey, you know this guy that you share a house with upstate, he's sexually harassing?"

Thank God I did work with a CEO who basically really understood the concept of plausible deniability, [laughs] he's like, "Don't tell me who, don't tell me what. Give this to legal. Let them go." That's pretty much how it happened. I thank God for that, but I think it's leadership, it's having smart conversations with people in leadership positions that they need to be the ones to say this is no tolerance. They need to be the one to share the examples so that it's not HR holding people accountable for something that is in its culture. It's everybody's fucking job.

[00:49:54] Tyson: Yes, if we take one thing from this whole conversation, I hope that they're managers listening to this who would be willing to call out their colleagues. I don't want it to be HR being like, "Hey, you know when you said that--" I want to see a world where friends do this to each other, peers are saying this to one another.

[00:50:14] Theresa: Or even a direct report saying to their boss, "That really made me feel uncomfortable."

[00:50:18] Alexa: Tugging at my heartstrings there, Teresa.

[00:50:21] Tyson: Yes. [chuckles]

[00:50:22] Alexa: No, I think it's true-- [crosstalk]

[00:50:23] Theresa: [unintelligible 00:50:23] at a peer level.

[00:50:25] Alexa: All we can do is normalize it. I've had friends call me out, I can think of in the last few weeks of just like, "Hey, I don't think you should say it like that anymore." I'm like, "Yes, okay. Thank you."

[00:50:36] Theresa: Fair enough.

[00:50:36] Alexa: "I was just blissfully ignorant to how that comes off, so thank you. Appreciate that," and you just got to be okay with it. Not everything is upfront to you as a person. You just got to, "Yes. Cool. Thanks." People need feedback sometimes.

[00:50:48] Tyson: That's the hardest thing though. I wish everybody was like that. Alexa, if all my managers could be like Alexa. [laughs]

[00:50:55] Alexa: I can say that in the context of this conversation, but let's be honest, all the feedback does not roll perfectly off my--

[00:51:00] Tyson: So self-aware.

[00:51:01] Theresa: My husband and I always have conversations. We weren't blessed to have children, but we always have conversations because he was also bullied about-- if we had kids, what would we train our kids because I was-- We were both severely bullied and I've always said, I would teach them two things. I would teach them to say stop and leave me alone and I would teach them that it is not going to hurt. You're going to get hit. They might hit you, whatever, It's not going to hurt. Don't fear it so much, and eliminate that fear. With the bullies, maybe what we need to do is do some bully training classes and we can teach people how to bully their bullies back.

[00:51:36] Alexa: Let's put boxing in PE class. That's what I think we should--

[00:51:39] Tyson: I know exactly what I would do. Have you guys seen the movie This is 40 with Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann?

[00:51:45] Theresa: Yes.

[00:51:45] Tyson: One of her daughters was told that she's on the "not hot" list or something. Then Leslie Mann runs into the kid at the school and she gives him so much shit. That is what I would do personally. I'd go after the kid. [laughs]

[00:52:02] Alexa: No helicopter parenting in Tyson's house.

[00:52:03] Tyson: Give him a piece of my mind. Nobody bullies my kid. I would tell him off.

[00:52:07] Alexa: Oh, yes. Rosie-- Oh geez. Well, I had a lot of really beautiful transitions to get us to the last segment of this episode and you guys squashed all of them with your enthusiasm for the conversation. It is now my responsibility to move us to our People Problem. Tyson, what is our People Problem?

[music]

[00:52:38] Tyson: Question is how do you tell someone that you are not responsible for the task? The example is, your manager is telling you to do something that's their responsibility, but they keep putting it on you and how to have the conversation-- or let's go back to the note-taking, it's like not HR's job to be the note taker. How do you have that conversation with someone to say that this task is actually not my responsibility without being like, "No, that's not my job"?

[00:53:08] Theresa: There's a lot of layers to this. It depends on the task. It depends on the relationship you have with your manager. I think if we could get to a place where people could just understand the skillset of just speaking honestly, and not having a fear of being fired every three seconds, I think that's a huge problem where people don't talk--

honestly, don't speak honestly about what they don't want to do or what they do want to do, and say, "I deserve the shot and I'd really like you to consider it," but also framing it in a way that-- you have to understand you're not always going to get what you want. You might still have to do that project, but the more important part I think is standing up for yourself and making your position known in a respectful and professional way.

[00:53:51] Alexa: I don't have any ability to disagree on any of that. What I would say is to add to that, clearly defined roles and responsibilities is a very important piece of a functioning organization, which is like, as I always say, you cannot meet expectations if you do not know what they are, and if you do not know what they are, it is a ripe environment for things to go awry, namely also things like scope creep and expectations that all of a sudden, you just take on everything.

I get-- I must hear a horror story a month of someone who's like, "Oh, well--" this is a common one, everybody knows this one, "Oh, they fired these people on my team, or these people quit. Now I have their job, but I haven't gotten a title promotion. I haven't gotten a raise. I haven't gotten anything. I got some more responsibility, which is good for my career." You've been sold a fucking bag of bricks, but I think it's hard to say that because that-- Yes, great, Alexa, sounds nice. How about a document to point to that's like, "Here's exactly what my job is"?

You could literally turn around and be like, "I just want to be clear. What you're asking me to do is not my job. I will do it, but I'm aware of the fact that I'm doing something outside of my scope. If this persists, I would expect that we're going to reevaluate what exactly are my roles and responsibilities."

When you're talking to your manager, that is a little harder because, in theory, you're supposed to be helping them achieve those things and get those things done and vice versa. Good managers are there to actually make you better at your job, not the other way around. I guess the hard part of that conversation is you say, "Okay, well, my roles and responsibilities are A, B, and C. You're asking me to do D which is technically your job." I can see how that gets real touchy if you don't have clearly defined-- like, "We said you owned that. We said I owned this."

[00:55:39] Tyson: Especially with a manager because you might want to have the exposure to-- maybe you want to be the manager one day, so taking on those responsibilities, [crosstalk] the experience, exposure, so that's really hard. I have, unfortunately, no advice for this person because I would be like the pot calling the kettle black. I literally tell people to never say no. I'm really bad at this. I'm the person that all the work gets dumped on, and the next thing you know, I'm doing six people's jobs. I can't help myself. I am that person. I'm efficient. I'm very good at time management, so I just end up doing it because it just makes everybody's life easier.

[00:56:14] Alexa: Yes, but there is--

[00:56:15] Tyson: I think a lot of people in HR are like that.

[00:56:17] Alexa: There is also a world in which this goes bad and you get to a point where you're like, "I can't handle this."

[00:56:23] Tyson: Exactly. That's what happens. You reach your breaking point. I share this honestly because I think a lot of people in HR are like that. We tend to be like the scapegoat. I don't know shit about IT, but here I am, all of a sudden, helping you fix your computer. It's like, "How did I get here?" because we want to help. We want to help. We want people to like us. [laughs] I feel like I'm in a therapy session, but no, it's really hard and I think just trying to be open and honest and have conversations is the best thing, like, "Hey, I thought we discussed that you would do this and I would do this." I don't know. Maybe that could help. [crosstalk]

[00:56:56] Alexa: I think one of the things I will say that I have done actually, now that you say that, has been helpful and would love to hear what you guys think is actually literally just lay out what's on my plate. I want to be very clear about what I'm doing right now and exactly how much time this is all taking away.

[00:57:12] Tyson: If I do that, then I'm going to have to cut X.

[00:57:14] Alexa: I just want to be clear. I'll work the extra couple of hours. It's not about an hour here or there. I'm not an hourly worker, but I want to be clear, if I take this on for you, it means that I am not going to be able to get this done, or it means I am going to sacrifice the quality of something else. If you can articulate that to a manager, it's more of a "Help me solve this problem and this puzzle" conversation, than it is you being like, "Fuck you. I don't want to do your work," or, "Fuck you. I'm not doing it anymore," because that's not a productive conversation.

Your rules and responsibilities are not-- Unless you make widgets in a widget factory, are not so prescribed that you can never change or take new things on. It's more like I need help with priority and focus around what are our biggest opportunities and priorities right now. You, as my manager, your job is to tell me which of these things to do, which means they have to give you permission to not do something else. They can't just be like, "Oh, it's all a priority." It's like, "Well, that's just a shitty manager." Everything is not a priority all the time. You have to be able to-- That would be probably my one piece of tactical advice. Go ahead.

[00:58:25] Theresa: That goes back to HR people. Traditionally folks that are in HR or just the giver mentality of a lot of people, where the more you take on and the more you say yes, and the more you add those six people's jobs to your schedule, the more people kind of look around and wonder what was she doing before she had these six people's other jobs that she can leave it X time or get all this stuff done. I was going to go directly there, Alexa, of like, "I can do that, but X, Y, Z might be later or X, Y, Z might have to not happen at all because we're still only the same number of people doing this."

[00:58:59] Alexa: Exactly. It's like we can move this priority into the queue, but what's going to be last on the list now? Something's going to have to be last. I honestly think that's just an important skill to have in general, in a working relationship. My team comes to me all the time, it's like, "You're asking me to do 75 fucking things. We have 175 things going on. What gives?" It's like, "Yes, let's think through-- I just can't ask you to do that if I'm going to ask you to do this." That's I think part of a healthy working relationship when you're trying to get shit done. I wish that person luck though and I don't envy them.

All right, Teresa, it's been an absolute pleasure. If people want to get in touch with you, like what you have to say, where can they find you or get in touch?

[00:59:37] Theresa: You can find me at Teresa [unintelligible 00:59:38] on LinkedIn. I am in the process of building up my company web page. That's not ready yet, but you can find me on LinkedIn or on Instagram at Think About This.

[00:59:48] Alexa: I love it. Thank you so much for being here. Good luck with the new venture. Let us know how we can help and--

[00:59:54] Theresa: Thank you.

[00:59:54] Alexa: Yes.

[00:59:55] 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.

[01:00:06] Alexa: This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Baggio, with audio production by Ellie Brigida of Clear 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 peopleproblemspod.com.

[01:00:19] [END OF AUDIO]

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