In this episode of How People Work, Jason and Jordan explore the role of leadership in employee wellbeing and delve into the qualities and strategies that define exceptional managers. They cover a range of topics, including the impact of managers on employee retention, the essential traits of successful leaders, the perils of micromanagement and undermanagement, and the challenges faced during the transition to a managerial role.
Jordan and Jason share personal stories of their experiences in leadership and managing a startup. They discuss the significance of trust, the importance of both EQ and IQ in leadership, and the best practices for developing other leaders.
Key ideas and highlights
- Leadership and organizational structure are key determinants of employee wellbeing.
- One can be a compassionate but incompetent leader.
- The transition from individual contributor to people leader is a difficult one. How to set yourself up for success.
Word of the day
- Equivocal — Jason wins this week!
- 0:00 Intro
- 1:35 Deloitte Study Recap
- 5:25 What it means if people leave a company because of a manage
- 7:54 What the role of a manager needs to be
- 10:52 Wellbeing is a shared responsibility
- 11:33 Which is worse: micromanagement or undermanagement?
- 13:03 The binary of leadership styles
- 16:55 Why the transition from an individual contributor to a people manager is so hard
- 18:17 How trusting your people is one of the most important things you can do as a leader
- 20:07 Which matters more in being a leader: EQ or IQ?
- 22:59 Here’s what the best leaders do to develop other leaders
- 25:57 Here’s what we actually love receiving from people
How many hours and years of our lives do we spend on work? For nearly all of us, we spend 30 plus years and one third of our days in our vocation, more time perhaps than we spend at rest or at play. But this isn’t a problem. Why? Because work is good. Work needs to be integrated deeply into our lives and must be in line with our most important goals and values. And if it is, we have a far more complete and fulfilling life experience. Welcome to the How People Work Podcast, where we explore the intersection of how humans think and act and how they apply themselves to their work. When you understand both of these things, you’ll be equipped to be insightful, compassionate, and compelling leaders.
Welcome back to How People Work. This is your host, Jordan Peace and your other host, Jason Murray. Hey Jason. Say hello. Hello. We have been feverishly talking about the topic of wellbeing. We got into the Deloitte Workforce Wellbeing Study Imperative. They call it imperative in the last episode. Very self important. It is very self important. We got into that a little bit. There’s actually far more to discuss and to discover today, so we’re going to do more of that. We’ll actually share an infographic or two with you as we go along in the episode if you are looking at the video portion. But thanks again for listening in.
To recap last time where we landed, a few things. One, everybody needs to have in order to have true wellbeing, you need to have sort of your own mission, vision, values in life and know who you are, independent of your employer, so that you can find the right employer, align to that right employer, and really be bought in a way that’s really integrated and really true to your nature and kind of your worldview. And then when we got into the Deloitte study, really where we landed was again, with this infographic, this idea of what is the forward thinking idea around wellbeing and what’s the purpose of wellbeing, which is defined by Deloitte. And we agree with this as the ambition for human sustainability. We ended the episode by talking about the fact that work is a determinant of wellbeing. Wellbeing is a shared responsibility between the individual employee and the organization, the employer, that the employer must create an environment that is suitable for wellbeing, where wellbeing can be created and sustained. And that lastly, the organizational structures impact wellbeing, not just throwing perks and benefits at the wall and seeing what sticks, but really creating holistically an environment in a culture where wellbeing can take hold and be sustained. So we’re going to continue with the Deloitte study today. And Jason, why don’t you take us and sort of tee us up, talk about the rest of this study and what you and I have learned through it.
So we kind of went deep on a couple areas of this study already that we’re going to gloss over this time, but I think there’s probably two areas that I think are interesting and merit some discussion. So one of those is the study outlines three factors that they say have an outsize impact on wellbeing, and they call these the work determinants of wellbeing. And so in a similar fashion to what we’ve talked about in previous episodes, the World Health Organization calls social determinants of health and wellbeing. This article has sort of taken a similar paradigm and labeled these things work determinants of wellbeing. And so from their research and studies or a survey that was conducted that served as kind of the primary source material for this report, they determined that the three work determinants of wellbeing are leadership behavior at all levels of the organization.
So basically, I mean, I think you’d probably summarize this maybe as, hey, people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. So it’s kind of maybe an encapsulation of that. The leadership behavior of individuals within the organization has a significant bearing on an employee’s experience, seems self-evident. How the organization and jobs are designed. So that’s something that’s interesting. Probably merits a little bit discussion, maybe adding a little bit more color to what we talked about last time with the sort of intentionality behind designing employee experience and then ways of working across organizational levels. And so some of what that means is are people just working in silos by function or is there more cross-functional interaction? How does that work take place across teams? For example, is it perhaps more project based versus just kind of function based, some of those kinds of things. So I mean curious, I know you have a lot of thoughts and ideas how some of those just strike you initially.
Yeah, I mean what I was sitting there thinking when you were reading those is around job design and organizational design. I think that as a leader for me, I’m probably better at one and pretty poor at the other. So organizational design, I think I’ve got a decent idea at least around how we’re going to carry ourselves an organization, how we’re going to treat each other, what our values are going to be, where we’re going to hold each other accountable from a human standpoint and a relational standpoint. But the job design element is just not a strength for me. I’m like, well, I know I need these tasks done or I know that I need this goal to be aided by the work of this person. But I think sometimes we maybe fail to design a job as well as it needs to be fully designed so that the person that’s placed in that role knows not only what’s expected of them, but why what’s expected of them matters, and how it connects to the mission and the vision of the organization. So I was thinking about that honestly. But the leadership behavior at all levels, that is just, it’s kind of an old adage. Like you said, people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. And I mean, there’s a lot of failures there that are implicit in that statement. One is if people are leaving a company because of a manager, then there is some sort of some very clear, to me, responsibility to the upper level leadership of, well, you left a manager in place that would run people out of the job.
What the hell? How could you leave someone in place that is so difficult to work with? Or so maybe even as far as abusive of their power or whatever the case may be, that people would actually literally quit their job, which is a very stressful thing to do and go look for another directly as a result of a managerial relationship. That’s a failure on my part. It’s a failure on your part as executives to not see that. So that’s a big deal.
I mean, I will say though, it feels like a topic that is maybe more complex than we want to acknowledge, because I think this to me feels like one of those areas where there’s a shared responsibility, right? And so if you think about
Managers, absolutely a thousand percent have a responsibility to care for their people, look out for their interests. I would say the number one job if you lead people, is to make sure your people are successful, right? Because whatever you’re charged with as a leader of a team, let’s say, your success in accomplishing your own goals is really contingent upon how successful the people on your team are going to be. And so the people on your team aren’t a means to your own end, right? Your job, the means or your end rather, is help your people be as successful as they can possibly be in whatever they’re doing. And I think that helps change the paradigm. But then on the flip side of that is none of us are mind readers. If an employee has, we’re all wired so differently. I’ve had this experience myself and working with individuals who just like you miss each other on communication style, right?
Leadership style, something gets said, maybe taken out of context, somebody feels a certain way about it and it’s like, Hey, I need you to tell me, right? I need you to communicate openly. And it’s my responsibility to make sure people feel safe. They can communicate openly with me without threat or repercussions and whatnot. But at the same time, it’s also the individual’s responsibility. Say, Hey, this isn’t working for me. I need some help here. Is there anything we can do? And a good manager probably ought to say, Hey, yeah, let’s talk about it. Maybe we can’t fix all of this, but maybe we can fix some of this, right? Yeah. Or, Hey, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was doing something that was causing you to feel a certain way.
Yeah, I think you’re right. I mean, there’s two problems there. If a leader really truly cares about the people that they lead and they’re pursuing their wellbeing and they’re pursuing their success and all of that, then that ought to be enough. So long as the individual that’s being led has the courage to say, this is how I’m doing. This is what I need, this is how what you said, or the way that you lead makes me feel or makes me react. I think that the intention is there, and the courage is there to be vulnerable and to be forthright on both ends. Then this type of thing’s not just not going to happen, right? Because failures are going to happen and errors are going to happen. But when the intention is there to cultivate this environment of wellbeing, then you know, you can solve a whole lot.
Well, and I think, I’m curious what you would say to this. I think it would be a mistake to conflate compassion with good leadership. It’s important that leaderships, that leaders demonstrate compassion for their people. But that doesn’t, in and of itself comprise all of what it means. And so there’s certainly, there’s, you could be an incompetent, compassionate leader, right? And that’s not what we’re aiming for, right? We’re aiming for the leader has expectations, right? And so, I mean, some of what this article points out is they’re on the job expectation side. There’s micromanagement, which is a horrible experience for you as an employee if you’re being micromanaged. And then there’s under management, which is probably what I’m more inclined to do with individuals that have reported to me, which is, Hey, I don’t give enough direction. I like giving people autonomy, but I like it so much that sometimes people are like, Hey, what the heck am I supposed to be doing here?
Am I doing the right stuff? Am I working on things that are important? Am I focused on things that are aligned with what we’re trying to do here? And I think that’s a really important part too. So we have to balance all of those things, which I think ties into what we talked about in the last episode, which is we actually really need to focus on doing good work to manage or level up, let’s say, the people leaders, the people that manage people within our organizations, which is who our podcast is for. We need to help them level up in how they think about the work that they’re doing with their teams.
Yeah. I mean, think again, we talked about in the last episodes that you don’t like binaries, right?
I really don’t.
And you shouldn’t, right? Because they set up a false paradigm that one thing is right, and the other thing is necessarily wrong. And in some cases that’s true. It’s just like tomatoes are poisonous. That is a truism. It is true. That’s just true, right? Yeah. There’s no debating that.
Especially that heirloom kind. They’re all big, and it’s gross.
It’s a family trait. We’re not a tomato family. But yeah, I think this, you’ve got leaders, I guess in that binary. You’ve got leaders that are your friend and they understand and they heard you, and they know how you feel, and they’re compassionate and they care. But you can spend all of your time caring and feeling and empathizing, and it’s not actually loving to people. It’s not actually what they need. It’s just to feel and feel and feel. They actually need to be aligned and reminded of the mission and what are we here for? And how might we take our feelings and still feel them, but through those feelings continue to strive, continue to work, and continue to pursue the mission for which we are here. Right? And then you’ve got other leaders. Again, it’s already set up this binary scenario that it’s just screw your feelings, get the work done, get the job done. And I feel like as a leader, one of my failures is that I swing a pendulum from one side to the other.
It’s where I’m just like, man, I just hate that people are going through this. I hate that people feel whatever that they’re feeling. Or our company, Fringe, literally we are in the midst of an economic downturn. We’re in the midst of like most companies, just a hard time, a scary time of just like, Hey, people are going to continue to buy this. They’re going to, are client’s continue to use this and appreciate this. Or their CFO’s going to get ahold of it and just slash the thing recklessly, because it’s something to slash. And so you can swing from like, oh man, I really hate that people are feeling the fear of that. And then fail to lead from the standpoint of just like, yeah, but we got a mission to fulfill. Let’s go. And then swing too far that way and forget to care for people and their feelings and so forth. So it’s easy for leaders to, when they’re not given a really good example of how to lead and how to manage those aspects to fall into one binary side or the other.
Well, and I think this probably gets us into some of the discussion that we want to have around this infographic and these work determinants, because the leadership side in particular, it’s so difficult. I mean, anyone that’s been in leadership, and anyone that’s been responsible for teams and leading and managing people would understand, it’s just a difficult job. I mean, something that I’ve learned and I say often or find myself saying often, maybe it’s advice or just something you learn is like, Hey, if you’re in leadership, it’s always your fault. It doesn’t matter. That’s just part of what comes with the job. And I’ve also learned that the job, it is really difficult. A lot of people, especially when you’re shifting from being an individual contributor, that type of role where you’re responsible a lot or some, a lot of your work has been doing the things, right? Yeah. Very task oriented, let’s say to, Hey, now most of my work is actually managing people. And it’s a very, very different paradigm. And I think what’s really interesting, and I want you to share some of this, is what are these work determinants? And then what it looks like. Cause I think on the leadership side in particular, there’s something, some things that are really interesting and probably level up to a degree that’s maybe a little uncomfortable, what our expectations should be for anyone who’s leading people.
Gosh, I have a lot to say about leadership. In a very short time, I feel like I went from an individual contributor in a role that we were both in prior to Fringe, prior to our other company, Greenhouse Money, where we were completely responsible for every single task and running our little -
Yeah, if you don’t do it, it doesn’t happen.
It just doesn’t happen. And now to be CEO of a company, it’s incredibly different. And I will say it’s a lot scarier to me at least than how so than being individual. Because whatever emotion I felt in the day, if I felt like, oh, I’m not getting enough done, or I haven’t made enough calls, or I haven’t had enough meetings, or I haven’t, whatever, I would just go do the thing, whatever the thing was that felt that as though it were lacking, just more clear, I would just go do it. Myself, right? But my role now is very far removed from that. It would actually be a great offense to people if I was stressing out about like, oh, well, we didn’t get enough leads this month, or we didn’t like whatever the thing is, we didn’t put enough ads out there.
You’re not the one that’s single-handedly responsible for that.
And if I just went and just started doing it, people would be like, what the hell kind of leadership is that? Do you not trust that I can do it? Do you not trust that you have leaders under you who lead others, who lead others who write, get this stuff done? It would actually be a big mistake for me to just grab the reins and just do the task. So it just takes this enormous amount of trust. And I have to trust that the executive leadership team is leading the management team that’s leading the mid- management team, that’s leading the individual contributors to do the thing that I want, and not so far in the past did myself. And it’s terrifying because I have so little direct control. And so for one, that’s why it’s so important to build your organization well, and to hire people you can trust.
But for two, I have to facilitate an environment where I am trusting in people, and they feel that trust, and they feel as though I have belief in them that they can do the thing that’s necessary, otherwise they don’t feel safe. They feel like somebody’s just going to snatch their job away from ‘em, or their task away from them. And they also just don’t get to feel that sense of, I have a purpose here. I have a thing that this is my expertise, this is my thing, and I’m going to do this for me, because it makes me feel like I’m a worthwhile individual because I hustle and I do this thing, but also for the company. And I can’t steal that from people. So I have to sit in my fear and in my struggle to trust people that I don’t have even influence over directly.
Yeah. Well, I mean, I think some of what you are demonstrating right here in this conversation is what they’re describing in this article that’s really imperative to what leaders do, which is they have self- awareness, right? And there’s a level of, I mean, I was surprised to see this in here. They say that your emotional intelligence is really critical for leaders, because you need to be able to say, Hey, I understand the things that I’m feeling, right? And I understand that the actions that I take may have a certain way that they feel to the people that I’m leading. And not everybody understands that. And I think some of what gets difficult too, and we have this at Fringe, and I’ve experienced this myself again, is, you know, go through journeys where, Hey, maybe I’m managing people and I have individual contributor responsibilities. And that starts to get really tricky.
Hey, some parts of my day. It’s like, I am responsible for doing the things. And so I got to switch that part of my mind on where it’s like, okay, if I don’t do this, it doesn’t get done. And then over here in this part of my work, it’s like, okay, I’m responsible for leading through people. So now my job over here has helped them be successful. And it does take a level of emotional intelligence and self-awareness to be able to do that well, and even to acknowledge, hey, sometimes I’m not going to do it well. Right? Being able to acknowledge that too.
Yeah, it’s been amazing to me leading a company, what is meaningful to people and what isn’t. From an individual contributor standpoint. And if that’s the majority of your career, which it’s the majority of mine, I always think, oh, well, when I was a guest on that podcast, or when I wrote that blog, or when I raised that money, or when the thing that I did, yeah, that’s the thing the company needs most. But the feedback I get is absolutely not that. The feedback is like, Hey, the most important thing you did this week is when you reached out to so-and-so and you said this. Some very vanilla thing. Just like, Hey, you did a really great job. I’m so grateful you’re here. Something that took some vulnerability, but very little time. Yeah, very little intellect to do, which thank goodness, right? Yeah. Thank goodness. EQ is what’s demanded of me and not IQ. Cause my IQ is average at best, but -
Don’t sell yourself short.
But that’s what I keep hearing being demanded of me and asked from me is just be vulnerable.Be kind. Be grateful for your people. Express to them that you’re thankful for their contributions, and give them clear direction on what to do.
Well, do you know, one of the things that they list as a key leadership behavior is?
Which is what you just described, quite literally.
So yeah, I mean, I think it’s interesting too. The other thing that they say that stuck out to me when they were talking about leadership behaviors. So there’s this self-awareness, emotional intelligence or EQ, they talk about fostering psychological safety, which I feel like I’d want to unpack maybe separately, because I have some questions even about what do we mean when we say this and what’s going on there. But the other thing that really stood out to me was exhibiting positive personal wellbeing behaviors. So basically do as I do, not as I say, right? I mean, again, this, it’s like, duh, we all learned that. We all were told that’s what leadership is, right? And that’s like what we do with our kids even, right? We don’t like, Hey, I want to exemplify for my children, and not that employees are children, but in areas of our lives that I think we just kind of take for granted that we’re leaders of people or kids and so forth. That sort of the operating principle there is the words don’t matter. The actions are what matters. Do as I do. And so that is what they’re calling out here is a really critical piece of leadership behavior is like, don’t just tell your people, do this or that. Demonstrate for them what you want that to look like.
Wow. Yeah. I mean, it comes right back to just openness and vulnerability. I think as a leader, if you’re not really willing to show yourself to the people you lead, who you really are and what you’re about and what moves you, why you get out of bed in the morning, how are you going to expect anybody else to operate from this place that we’ve preached about the last two, three episodes around purpose and around having a mission in life and that’s just not exhibited from the top. How do you expect people to act that way, right? Because it takes a serious amount of vulnerability to share with people, here’s what my life is about. Here’s why I do what I do. Here are the people that I love and what I’m striving after for them. And it all just always, no matter what topic we talk about on this podcast, it always comes back to some incredibly open, vulnerable place that the leaders need to be. They need to be at in order to exhibit this fully raw human thing.
Yeah, it, it’s a human thing because so many, I don’t know, you say so many pressures and what we, what we really love getting from somebody is authenticity.
The actual truth.
Devoid of all the bullshit.
And even just knowing like, oh man, this person’s not bullshitting me. They’re real. And they can acknowledge their mistakes and they can acknowledge they don’t have it all together.
Failures, needs, fears.
I’m growing too. I’m doing the best I can. It may not always be awesome. And we’re on this journey together. And I think that that’s actually, when we see that in people, it helps build trust and it helps. Maybe that’s what some of that psychological safety is. It helps build that setting where it’s okay to share those things and talk those things and not be perfect.
So the table that we, I think we’re going to share here after leadership, it talks about design of work, higher organized. So what it looks like, Deloitte describes this as work is designed to limit clutter, optimize scope, and streamline the flow of information to the workers, can focus on outcomes rather than task and enable more purpose-driven work. I don’t know about the outcomes rather than tasks, but I think the streamlined flow of information has been a big lesson learned for the two of us. I think there’s so much information that we started the company that we run. We know what’s going on. We are in the board meetings. We know what the bank account looks like. We know what every department is doing. And so there’s just this awareness that’s just there from an executive leadership standpoint because you just run the damn thing where I, I’ve discovered that this really, there’s a ton of thought that needs to be poured into the flow of information. How information is shared, when it is shared, whose lips is it uttered, and with what tone and what, because people, you’ve got people that I think kind of bury their head in the sand and they’re just like, I don’t know. I just do my job and whatever. And you got people on that opposite end of the spectrum.
What the hell’s going on here?
I want to know every last thing that’s happening. I want all of the content.
It’s not even possible. I don’t even know everything that’s happening.
First of all, I can’t give you that. And secondly, are you sure? So I think that’s big though. I think it’s something we really learned about. We’re on this topic of wellbeing. We’re on this top, on this topic of people feeling psychological, safety, et cetera. And that’s a real struggle I think for us, is to figure out exactly what to communicate and when to communicate and how to communicate it. And I think that is essential.
That’s tied to the outcomes. And so that’s how I interpret some of this is that it, it’s less about, people need to know everything exactly at the right time, and it’s just going to be impossible. Cause everyone has a different way that they feel about it. It’s true, as you
It’s a whole lot of different desires.
But what everybody surely needs to know is, what do I need to do? What does success look like? What are we aiming for? And I think that, so that’s what stood out to me when I read this, was the outcomes rather than tasks. I don’t care what you’re doing day to day, as long as this is what we get.
And the this needs to be really clear and everybody needs to be aligned with it from top to the bottom of the organization. Right? So that is very obvious. This is the expectation, this is the outcome that we’re aiming for. Now how you get there, there could be a whole bunch of ways that you get there, right? And I think that’s where the autonomy and trust comes into play. Cause people want autonomy. They need autonomy in what they do. And so we can say, Hey, this is what we need delivered, right? Yes. How you get there, I can help. I’m willing to dive in. I’m not going to micromanage you in it, but this is what we need and you let me know what help you need. But you also have creativity and autonomy within that to get there. Hopefully that’s why we hired people that we believe have that ability to probably better than we would come up with ways in which we’re going to achieve the outcomes maybe with better designs than we would’ve come up with on our own.
Yeah. I think it is easy to think that that work is this linear path where you come in as an individual contributor and you become some sort of associate manager of some kind, and then you manage it.
It’s the career ladder, right?
This ladder, and it’s just not really true. People have particular giftings and skillsets, and some people need to be really highly paid and beloved and appreciated individual contributors for 35 years and because that is how, that is just what they’re great at. It’s just getting stuff done. And sure, can they show others how they get it done along the way in the moment? Yeah. It’s not to say that there isn’t any leadership capacity there, but that maybe the role doesn’t fit that. Because when I think about what you just said, there are tactics and there’s strategy, right? Yes. What we’re concerned about is the strategy and the strategy is whatever leads us to the outcome. And so we’re going to have this notion of like, we are going to climb the mountain because at the top of the mountain, there’s this garden full of fruits and vegetables and everything we need to sustain us and the beautiful -
Just going to get up there. You and I, we don’t care whether we throw a zip line up and we climb up or we use carabiners or we don’t, or we paraglide. I don’t care. Paraglide up the mountain. We use giant springs like in a Mario game or something. I don’t care how we get up there, but there are people that are actually fantastic at exactly that, right? No, actually the best tactic is this. Yeah. Cause we’re going to waste a bunch of energy doing this route or that route. The other thing, and I think sometimes we’re so obsessed with, I got to climb the corporate ladder. I got to get to the next stage. We should have low level or mid-level managers. That might be some of the highest paid people in the organization because they’re so freaking good.
Or not even managers, right?
Yeah. Or not even managers, maybe just individual contributors. They’re the highest people in the companies because they’re so good that what they do. And I think that’s one of the mistakes of how work is designed to get back to exactly the infographic here. Sometimes it’s designed to be a ladder.
That’s how you escalate and that’s how you move up. And there’s responsibility to the organization to make sure they design paths for people to find ways to contribute that don’t require, Hey, the only way for you to go up here is to manage people. So I mean, I’ve gone from in my time at Fringe managing small teams to managing teams of 20 people to now I have literally nobody that reports to me and actually kind of love it. It’s been a really great, it’s great. It’s been a great time. I’m doing some cool stuff, working on projects that I’m the one doing the task stuff and executing, but it’s great. And so, I mean, I’d also want to encourage people listening even to feel like, Hey, really think deeply about what you love doing too, because there may be a path that isn’t what you always thought it needed to be.
This is exactly where the satisfaction and wellbeing is a joint responsibility. Yes. Because you can tell that what you just said is -
You need the opportunity -
Individuals, employees out there, find what you love and do it. But if your employer doesn’t facilitate an environment where you can progress in, where you find your calling, if you will. You find exactly what you’re best at. And they’re just like, well, yeah, you’re best at this, so we’re just going to treat you like you’ve been here a short time and not really reward your expertise. That’s problematic.
A thousand percent. Yeah. So let’s hit on this last one here. So ways of working, how you get work done. So I want to read the description, but this will tie into some stuff that we’ve talked about in the previous episode. Tech is used in strategic ways to facilitate automation, enable more meaningful work and limit task switching. Streamlined tech comes with clearly communicated expectations and supports intentionally designed hybrid work. There’s a lot there.
There’s a lot. So many buzzwords in there.
A lot of buzzwords. Wow. They are consultants.
Hybrid work -
They got to sound really important.
Streamlined tech. Yeah. Yeah. You’re really down on consultants tonight. No, I think, yeah. I mean, what I take away from that, if I get through all the BS of the jargon of, okay, meaningful work. Yes. Enable meaningful work and clearly communicate expectations, right? Yeah. Give people flexibility.
I took flexibility. Yeah, because the hybrid work thing, I mean, it’s kind of a hot topic right now, and I think it’s a little ridiculous that it is a hot topic. I mean, I think where that plane is going to land is people are going to need hybrid work, period. So let’s not even discuss it further than that.
Where else could it even land? Yeah. Yeah. I agree wholeheartedly. I think, again, I mean, we said this earlier, I want to beat a dead horse, but clearly communicated expectations. Literally everything else is a tactic. Everything else beyond, here’s your job, here’s how your job connects to the broader purpose of what we’re trying to do, and here’s how I define success for your particular role. Everything else is a tactic. Oh, well, okay, I’m not really sure how to do my job. Use this tool. I don’t know how to use the tool. Get trained. I don’t like this tool. Let’s get another tool. Everything else is a tool. Everything else is a tactic. Everything else is a kind of way in which the thing gets done. But that’s not where organizations fail. Organizations can always find the right piece of software, right?
Well, and the danger is thinking that that’s going to fix the problem. Yes. When it’s not the problem.
It’s not the problem. The problem is people don’t actually know what’s expected of them.
I want the new shiny thing. Right. That’s not the problem.
That’s not the problem at all. Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes the expectations are clear and sometimes the tool is actually there in place, but it’s just you just going through a period of struggle. I kind of described, we were talking about this with some other people at Fringe lately. It’s an economic downturn. It’s just a tough time for a lot of businesses right now, and we’ve actually been really fortunate to not have a horribly hard time right now. We’re doing pretty well, but sometimes you’re just on a losing streak. The whole country’s on a losing streak right now. There’s not time to freak out, change tactics, change strategy, change people, whatever. It just, you just got to hustle. You just got to believe that work is good and believe in your mission and purpose and just get after it. And things are going to turn around to, not to diminish what this is saying about the ways of working are important, the tactics are important, the design of work is important, but I think all the more so, the top of the chart here, if you’ve got leaders that people trust and a clear direction that we’re heading, and people understand how their job aligns, the direction that the company’s heading in, you can weather a whole lot of storms and switching tools around might help you in small ways, but it’s not the point.
Yeah. I mean, the thing is just achieving leverage with the tools. So I think the hot topic now is ChatGPT, whatever. People are finding all sorts of creative ways to do it. I mean, even in my own work, I found some interesting ways to leverage ChatGPT to create efficiency. And so I think those are great things, right? Because they can help people accomplish the job faster. It can maybe offload mundane work that is a little bit drudgery and that kind of stuff. And then the task switching is actually really interesting to me. I think we’ll come back to that in another episode because the task switching, I mean, it’s something we’ve been talking about at Fringe with deep work days, right? Because the task switching actually gets in the way of doing real deep work, which helps the company from a productivity standpoint. But there’s actually a lot of science that I want to delve into around deep work. How that ties into the notion of flow, which is psychological principle and how the notion of -
I’ve heard you talk about flow.
And how the notion of flow -
Big flow guy.
Yeah. I mean, well, flow relates very strongly to your sense of satisfaction and purpose at work. And so to the degree that you experience more flow, all of those things are going to be felt more positively. And so I think that limiting task switching, that’s sort of a negative framing. The positive framing would be like, well, hey, we’re actually accomplishing something better by replacing task switching time. We’re moving back and forth with something that’s deeper and more meaningful in terms of the work that’s taken place.
That makes perfect sense. Well, we are well into the time that we intended -
We are. But we’ve covered, and I think exhausted this report
We have, I think we did well. I just realized too that I think we’re going to have to give you a W on the word of the week, because I just completely fell down.
Is this a win-loss game now?
Yeah. Yeah. I think it probably ought to be.
If it is, the intensity is about to increase.
Some of it. Just take the L here instead of trying to come up with some BS sentence to find a place for equivocal in our conversation. I was lost in the conversation itself and didn’t think much about it, so I apologize to the audience for breaking my streak here.
Well, I will give you the word for the next episode.
Yeah, give me the word for next week.
Which is carouse.
Wow. You’re just getting better all the time, and I’m getting worse. Oh, we’ll see how that plays out. Thank you so much, guys, for listening to How People Work. It’s been an enjoyable time just sitting here with you. Jason, I appreciate, again, your preparation, your insights, your reading, your nerding out, as I like to say, on different articles and studies that you’re looking into. I hope this episode was enjoyable to listen to. Please do, send us feedback, send us questions. We’d love to answer any questions for you guys, or just have discussions that are particularly interesting to what’s going on in your life and your work and the things that you’re trying to learn about. Thanks for listening. We’ll catch you next week.