Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms

The Journey to Brave Spaces: A Chat with Dr. Joanna Pagonis

November 22, 2023 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 4 Episode 180
The Journey to Brave Spaces: A Chat with Dr. Joanna Pagonis
Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
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Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
The Journey to Brave Spaces: A Chat with Dr. Joanna Pagonis
Nov 22, 2023 Season 4 Episode 180
Kyle Roed, The HR Guy

Unearth the true meanings behind the terms "safe space" and "brave space" with the help of our special guest, Dr Joanna Pagonis. Do you understand the real importance of psychological safety in your organization? Dr Pagonis unravels the answer to this critical question, and shares inspiring insights on how to lay the foundation for an atmosphere of trust and openness in your workplace, setting the stage for powerful and impactful communication.

Who holds the power to mold the culture of an organization? That's right, it's you, the leaders. Dr Pagonis paints a vivid picture of the value of bravery in leadership and the necessity to question the status quo to create a comprehensive and fair environment. Learn how stepping up, speaking out, and pushing through, even in the face of exhaustion, can lead to positive transformations within your team. After all, taking risks can be the cornerstone of remarkable changes.

We end the discussion with an essential message on the significance of fostering psychological safety and creating brave workplaces. Dr Pagonis's enlightening insights emphasize the role of self-awareness, empathy, and trust in human resources, and how leaders can contribute to the sense of inclusion, well-being, and safety in their teams. Ready to start creating brave spaces in your workplace? Tune in to this episode and let Dr Joanna Pagonis guide you on this transformative journey.

Support the Show.

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work. Please connect to continue the conversation!

https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
http://www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Unearth the true meanings behind the terms "safe space" and "brave space" with the help of our special guest, Dr Joanna Pagonis. Do you understand the real importance of psychological safety in your organization? Dr Pagonis unravels the answer to this critical question, and shares inspiring insights on how to lay the foundation for an atmosphere of trust and openness in your workplace, setting the stage for powerful and impactful communication.

Who holds the power to mold the culture of an organization? That's right, it's you, the leaders. Dr Pagonis paints a vivid picture of the value of bravery in leadership and the necessity to question the status quo to create a comprehensive and fair environment. Learn how stepping up, speaking out, and pushing through, even in the face of exhaustion, can lead to positive transformations within your team. After all, taking risks can be the cornerstone of remarkable changes.

We end the discussion with an essential message on the significance of fostering psychological safety and creating brave workplaces. Dr Pagonis's enlightening insights emphasize the role of self-awareness, empathy, and trust in human resources, and how leaders can contribute to the sense of inclusion, well-being, and safety in their teams. Ready to start creating brave spaces in your workplace? Tune in to this episode and let Dr Joanna Pagonis guide you on this transformative journey.

Support the Show.

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work. Please connect to continue the conversation!

https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
http://www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

Speaker 1:

This is the Rebel HR Podcast, the podcast about all things innovation in the people's space. I'm Kyle Rode. Let's start the show. Welcome back to the Rebel HR Podcast. Hr Rebels. We are extremely excited to welcome back to the podcast Dr Joanna Pagonis. She was with us way back in episode 30, and that episode was titled affectionately Leading with Heart. Don't Be an Asshole. Welcome back to the podcast, dr Pagonis.

Speaker 2:

Thanks so much for inviting me to come back, Kyle. Yeah, I love that title.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I don't know that I ran that title by you before I labeled it that, so thank you for being a good sport with the title.

Speaker 2:

I think you may have. I think you may have so because it sounds familiar to me.

Speaker 1:

I may have asked for permission just because you're a very strategic professional. I didn't necessarily want you to feel bad about the title, but it was honestly last time when we were talking that was so much of what our discussion was around. I'm really excited to welcome you back for a little bit of a different discussion today, because it's been a few years now. The world has changed. We have both changed. The world of work is constantly changing. Today we're going to be talking about some of the work that you've done and really based up around some of your doctoral research in industrial and organizational psychology, organizational effectiveness. We're going to be talking about creating brave spaces. I'd like to maybe just start there and ask the question what prompted you to start to do some work in the kind of the safe and brave space arena?

Speaker 2:

Thank you for asking that question. It all started during the pandemic, when I was doing some research and talking to my clients in terms of what is it that you need to be a better leader to run your organizations more effectively? During that time, I was also getting into the safety space. I had a lot of new clients that either led or worked in organizations where safety was a primary focus, usually physical, but they were expanding that to psychological because they realized the benefits of that as well.

Speaker 2:

During and through those conversations, a lot of the things that were brought to my attention was how do we have critical, crucial, difficult conversations with people that can still lead to positive outcomes, where people can engage in these conversations without feeling like they'll be reprimanded, that as a leader, they'll get a grievance laid against them because they decided to hold somebody accountable, and that they felt like they just didn't have the skills or the experience or the confidence, I'll really say, to have those conversations. I thought, sure, I guess I could come up with a course or a program or teach you the ABCs or the 123 of how to have a difficult conversation. Well, is that really the solution? Well, that addressed the root cause or core issues that you're experiencing, because if people aren't, if there's no trust in the workplace, you can try to engage someone in a difficult conversation following steps one, two to four let's say one to four but if there's no trust there and the other person isn't feeling safe at all, then you're not going to achieve the outcome that you want. It may actually even escalate to more of a negative situation, and I thought we need to back up the truck a little bit.

Speaker 2:

I feel like people are trying to take a shortcut to the destination of like, let's just have a difficult conversation. Like you know, if you really want to look at difficult conversations as an opportunity and not just as something you have to do, then let's actually go back a few destinations and look at the environment that you need to create in your workplace. So, when it comes to having a difficult conversation isn't as seen as something as oh, I don't want to do this, but like, this is okay, I trust this person. This person trusts me. This is just another opportunity for us to come to a solution that will make us better as an organization and as individuals, and I thought that's what I want the course to focus on. Is that within it. We can talk about the strategy around having a difficult conversation, but I don't want that to be the main focus. I want to talk about what you need to create to get to that place, and that's where the whole concept of well then, we need to focus it on how you create true psychological safety.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. I think this is one of those areas that, from my perspective, we weren't talking about psychological safety or mental health or those sorts of things. When I started my career, it was all physical safety, it was repetitive use, musculoskeletal, obviously, catastrophic incidents, et cetera. I feel like this has really taken hold, as our employees and our teams are asking for support. We're seeing the negative ripple effect of not having psychological safety in the workplace or not having mental health resources or support for your team.

Speaker 1:

I think the reality is that we still, especially in human resources, still really struggle with what that even means. How do we pragmatically actually do that? Because I think it's really easy to say, yes, we want to be a safe space for our employees. I don't think anybody is going to argue that we want our employees to have or not have psychological safety, but we don't necessarily know how to do it. I'm curious to understand a little bit more about how do you approach that and how specifically do you address that when you've got a client or an organization that's come to you and said we want to do psychological safety, we want to help our employees, we know this is important, but we don't really know where to start. How do you approach that question?

Speaker 2:

One of the things that we did was we wanted to challenge some myths and assumptions. We decided to hone in on the concept and the expression of this is a safe space, just listening and watching and observing our clients, especially when we were working with them through different and various organizational consulting contracts, like Reorgs, restructuring projects, and they would bring people into a space to say this is a safe space. Let's talk about what's working or not working. I'm like well, is it really a safe space? Maybe we need to challenge that assumption and say well, we actually need to train people on having the courage that is required to go against the grain be a rebel, if you will say something that's unpopular to really help the organization get where it needs to be, just to tell somebody this is a safe space. A lot of people still prevents them from wanting to even have these conversations. We would see in these spaces. We would see and we would hear two things. One we would see people with these deadpan expressions on their face, like poker faces. Sometimes you could tell when they were really pissed off and didn't want to be there. Other times they look confused or they just didn't want to say anything. The other thing that we would hear silence. We would hear maybe a few people talk about this is good and say what they thought needed to be said. A lot of times there was just silence and I'm like this isn't safe, because if it was safe there would be laughter, there would be conversation, there would be people challenging, there would be people maybe getting frustrated as they're challenging each other's viewpoints and perspectives. But that wasn't existing. There was no safety there. We were like well then, how do we build towards safety? We introduced the whole concept of courage or a brave space. What we said is what we need to do first is look within ourselves to find the courage to speak up. Why is that critically important? We focused first on leaders to say you have to role model this for other people. You can't just say this is safe. You have to say I'm going to ask you to be brave and I'm going to role model, that I'm going to share something maybe about myself. I'll be vulnerable, I will talk about what I think isn't working and hopefully, if you see me doing this enough times and you see other organization leaders not reprimanding me for doing it, you'll start to trust that you could do it as well. Then, when you start doing that, when you start to see the people that work side by side with you or report to you doing it, that you listen and you recognize and even commend somebody for taking the risk to do so, because you have to reinforce that behavior.

Speaker 2:

I think where we go astray as leaders is we shut those conversations down, because it's not always comfortable when people bring challenges to us, whether it's about a challenge that they're experiencing internally like an issue in the workplace, or if they want to challenge the system. As a leader, we don't necessarily want to invite people to bring those kind of conversations. We just want to keep the status quo. Everything's just humming along really nicely. Don't throw a wrench into my day. I don't need that. We need to be more aware of. If we're going to role model this, then we have to check our own level of discomfort, to create a space where people can feel that they have the courage to do so as well, and then commend them when they do that. That's where we started to focus and hone in on what are the skills and the strategies that you teach to leaders to start role modeling some of those behaviors. That's where we started.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think that that's a powerful concept, that, again, I think it sounds like everybody hears that and like, yeah, absolutely I want to do that. I mean, there's a reason that people are listened to a podcast called Revol HR because they believe that change needs to be made or they believe that there needs to be some level of innovation. But it's really easy to say that and in the moment when something disruptive comes across your desk and it's not comfortable but it might be true how do you react? Do you blow a gasket? Do you panic? Do you reprimand? Do you turn into a detective and start asking a million questions? That makes that person feel really uncomfortable.

Speaker 1:

Right, I mean, there's a lot of different ways to react, but I think taking that and thinking about that from a leadership standpoint and modeling that for your employees to me makes a lot of sense. So what has the reaction been with leadership groups that are going through this type of program that maybe don't really understand why they're doing it or what the purpose is? How do you approach those folks that are kind of like, what's this all about?

Speaker 2:

Right. So one of the things that we do is we're like, if you're going to introduce because we have a whole online course around this whole concept and the strategic steps that you need to build that either as a formulator or informal leader. So when organizations like, can you bring this into our space, but you like to anchor it to a strategy so it's relevant and practical and applicable. Otherwise it'll go through one ear and out the other. It will become a check the box activity with no true understanding of what's the purpose of it, and so you always like to start with purpose.

Speaker 2:

Why do you want to do this? It's something you're doing organization right now that you can anchor this to, and so a lot of the work that we're doing with our clients is like get change management. They're looking at how they're going to change the way they perform as an organization and even how they're organized to be more effective at achieving their mission, and so there's a lot of change involved in that and we have so much discomfort that will come from that and a lot of fear, and so we say let's anchor this program to your change management strategies and so that, as people are taking this course and going through the modules, they're actually applying it to everything that they're doing in terms of the change, whether it's a focus group and saying what's working and not working, whether it's like, okay, we've come up, we're going to come up with a new organizational structure that freaks people out even to start thinking about where are they going to sit in the organization. And so, once again, what are they learning in the course? And just having really intentional conversations like what have you learned in the course that can help you and support you through this phase of the project. So that's how we're doing it to make it more relevant, applicable.

Speaker 2:

But we're also embedding it in all of our leadership development programs too, because we're trying to teach this as a skill to individual leaders to say, whatever you're doing in your organization, whether you're going through chain, an organizational restructuring, or whether you're instituting or implementing a new strategic plan how can you take what you're learning here to make your team more effective, but also your organization as well. And so that's how we've been doing it to just link it to some kind of purpose, so people are applying it and not just sitting there in the passive way saying, oh, this is nice.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, you know, I think it. I like that you talked about. You know the change management. You know aspects here because I view, I view a lot of this as you know. You know safe space. You know brave spaces, really having. You know people feel comfortable. You know challenging the way that we do things or or or don't do things. For me, I think that's where so much of the of the positive innovations come from, and so, for an organization that is trying to be change ready or or manage through, you know, big changes ie all of us you know that this is a really, really critical topic. So so I'm curious, you know you, you chose to, you know, use a different term. So you're not doing psychological safety training, you're doing creating brave spaces, training. What prompted you to take that? That lens on on this, this workplace challenge?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that that's a good question. I think it comes down to like even just how I approach all of the work that we do. There are so many concepts that are out there that we hear over and over and over, and it's just achieved a level of saturation to the point where people just start to ignore, or they think they know everything there is to know about it, and it starts to like, become lip service or just like oh, here's another one on this. I already know this. I'm done with this topic, like it happened with all the initiatives around equity, diversity, inclusion, even in our pre recording. While you're talking about like inclusion and all the efforts and strategies around inclusion, people are almost done with, and so I was like I don't want to call this a psychological safety course, I don't want to call it an EDI course, I don't want to call it a crucial conversations course. That already exists. So how do we peak people's interests and how do we present it in a radically different way?

Speaker 2:

And so that's where I, as a women working in a male dominated industry before I started my own business, it took a lot of courage on my part, bravery to speak up, challenge things and just take a risk and like even pursue a promotion or ask for a raise, and I thought I want to focus it on that, because I think, at the end of the day, a lot of people think psychological safety is someone else's job. Creating, you know, an equitable and inclusive workplace is someone else's job, and I see that a lot from informal leaders. But I see a lot of formal leaders waiting around for someone to do it as well, and so I thought, no, I'm going to focus it on courage, because, at the end of the day, it's up to you. I'm sorry you're not going to sit around and wait for someone. It's up to you. And is it going to be scary? Yes, do you feel like you're going to make mistakes and fumble along the whole way? Yes, what's going to keep you going is knowing the purpose behind it and knowing that it takes a lot of guts to have that courage to do it.

Speaker 2:

And you know what? Don't you want to be one of those people that says I can do this, I'm built for this Right, and I think it's a different way to talk about equity, diversity, inclusion. I think it's a different way to talk about psychological safety. It puts the onus and accountability on the individual, and it's almost like I'm throwing down the challenge to say show up and be brave and do it day after day, even when it's exhausting, because if you don't, no one else is going to do it. So who's it like? Who's it up to then, like it's up to you? So, yeah, I think that's where the whole concept of brave spaces came from.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I think that the reality is that that's really what we're talking about. Is somebody, first of all a leader, being brave enough to be uncomfortable, right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I mean, this is not necessarily comfortable for an organization. It takes a lot of bravery for somebody to speak up, especially if they are in a minoritized group.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, and it's really easy for many of us to forget about that right, especially for those of us that are in the majority group and we just don't have that context. But part of this is really it's about building stronger organizations and stronger teams, and so I really love the idea that bravery, courage and strength they all go together. So doing this is really a part of being stronger as a team, as an organization. So one of the things before we hit record, we were talking a little bit about how the psychological safety movement for lack of a better word has kind of been corporatized, a little bit Like everybody wants to have psychological safety and you'll see it in job ads and you'll see it in all sorts of marketing material.

Speaker 1:

But so often my perception is a lot of this is just like lip service. It's like, well, we have to say this so that we can attract Gen Z right, or this is what everybody, this is what our competitors are saying. But so often it can be just that window dressing and if somebody does speak up, there can be retaliation and it can be an unsafe experience or detrimental experience. So for HR professionals that want to build that safe space but they're struggling with the symptoms of a lack of safety or bravery, in this case in their teams. How can we kind of first of all identify that that's occurring, where maybe we don't have a workplace that is promoting this type of bravery, and then how can we go about addressing that in a way that makes sense?

Speaker 2:

I always say the journey first starts with knowing thyself, and I think even on the last episode we recorded together, we talked a lot about emotional intelligence and what I discovered is it really starts there. And when you look at emotional intelligence and what is involved in being emotionally intelligent, it starts with that self-awareness and you have to put the work in to periodically pause and self-reflect on what's working, what's not working, what your triggers are, what your strengths are. How are you reacting to the circumstances in your workplace, what are you doing, what are you saying and how is it impacting others? What outcomes are you achieving through your actions, through your decisions, through your demeanor, the way you show up, and how is that influencing other people as well and either empowering or detracting them from also being able to achieve positive outcomes? So first start with yourself and start asking yourself those questions. I say, anytime that you can carve a little bit of self-reflection time in your calendar, do so, whether it's on the way to work, on the way back, building it into your calendar like 15 minutes a week or 30 minutes a week to think about what are the outcomes you're trying to achieve in your career, in your organization, and how well or not, are you achieving those outcomes? So start there first, because I think that will give you some insight into the level of comfort you have in the workplace to do what you need to do to be successful, to help other people be successful. And then from there I mean helping others, how do you connect with other people? So, once again, how are you developing relationships? What are you saying or doing? That's either enabling relationships to be built or not.

Speaker 2:

And then, what is your perspective or thoughts or mindset around conflict and responding to challenges? When a challenge is presented, do you feel, how comfortable are you with that? And what is behind that level of comfort? Of course, discomfort, I think, is absolutely critical to experience, to want to push you into change. And so what is your level of comfort with challenges and how do you approach those? Do you approach them in a functional or dysfunctional way? And then look at what are you doing to contribute to the overall sense of inclusion, well-being, safety for yourself and other people, and how are you? If you're working towards creating a level of safety for others, then what are you doing to maintain that over time?

Speaker 2:

I think you said something was interesting, like for myself and one organization I worked in. I was a former leader, a senior leader, and I wanted to create that level of safety for my team so that they can come and they could present challenges and be comfortable with that to get us to a level of excellence, and so challenging things was absolutely critical for that to occur. But I realized that the organization I worked for didn't necessarily welcome that or reinforce those kind of behaviors. It was actually we were reprimanded for not just swimming, going with the stream, right, I just swim with everyone else and don't try to create any waves, right. And so I had to engage in a lot of self-reflection, like all those steps that I just listed, and ultimately I made the decision to just be uncomfortable, as much as I needed to be, to test the system we worked within, and what I discovered, which I needed to discover, was yep, I would be reprimanded every time that I did that. Anytime I advocated for my team, anytime that I supported them and do what they needed to do to help the organization be better, we were reprimanded for that.

Speaker 2:

And I realized, no matter what I did, I wasn't going to be able to create, I couldn't reinforce my employees being brave, because every time I tried to do that and create a sense of safety for them. I would be reprimanded for my executive leaders for doing so, and there's only so long you can hide that from your team. And so eventually I made the decision to leave the organization, but I did what I needed to do and I left with no regrets at the end of that. So that's the reality sometimes, of what we, when we're trying to create that sense of psychological safety, we have to test the boundaries, if you will, of the system we work within to really know is this possible? And then, when you find that answer, you decide do I want to stay, can I stay, does this align with my values, or do I need to like leave? And that, unfortunately, was one of the decisions I had to make. But it led me to a better path, to a more fulfilling path, a better career.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think Wow, there's a lot to unpack there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I think there's just. That was a very comprehensive answer. I can tell that you have done your doctoral research on this type of stuff. You know it's fascinating. You know that the story you told there at the end about you know the organization you work for actually, you know re-reformant at you for doing your job.

Speaker 1:

I had a very similar experience in one of my former employers and ultimately I could not reconcile the fact that you know, I couldn't drive change in the way that I believed it needed to be driven, without you know myself or, more importantly, my team, being targeted as disruptive or problems, right. But the reality is that it was necessary and, you know, ultimately it was a wonderful experience in my career and I don't regret any of those experiences. But it is an example of an organization that was not comfortable with kind of that advocacy or change and you know, from my standpoint, a lot of it was just systemic change that was necessary in order to compete in the talent marketplace that we were operating with. But you know, so you know, for those of us that are in an HR role, I think a lot of times we do feel like we're the bears of bad news, right, and a lot of times we are hearing that we are hearing some things that are very uncomfortable, or you know some people's experiences that are that need to be addressed but aren't fun to address, and a lot of times, we are those parties that have to speak truth to power, as uncomfortable as that might be, and again, this is another example where it's easy for me to say this that we have to do that.

Speaker 1:

It's a whole heck of a lot harder to walk into your CEO's office and say, hey, we really suck at this. This is a really big problem organizationally and we need to address this. And so what I think happens a lot of times is we, as HR professionals, sugar coated right or glass over the reality of the situation. And so, you know, as we think about creating a brave space, how can we think about that as individuals, and having to deliver this message, or having to be the kind of the bearer of bad news, or even not bad news, but just disruptive news to how we typically need to operate. What advice do you have for us as we struggle with this within our day to day?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's an excellent question. It almost goes back full circle to like, why even want to develop that course or focus on developing this whole concept of brave space? It goes back to like, let's back up the truck a bit. Before you even go into that room to have that disruptive conversation, can you tell me where the level of trust is between you and that CEO? What have you done to contribute to that level of trust?

Speaker 2:

So the CEO and you have a relationship where you're kind of like a mutual, respectful symbiosis, where, like he or she thinks you're credible just as much as you value them, their expertise, their credibility as well. And so you have to invest the time to develop that relationship, because if you don't have trust, it will fall on deaf ears. If you go in and there's trust, the CEO is like this person's coming to me because they value me, they care about me, they care about this organization, the people in it. So if they're going to deliver some critical news, I better listen because I trust them. If that trust doesn't exist, they're going to tell you to get the f out of their office as quickly or they'll just give you a lip service. They'll nod and then you'll walk out and they'll completely ignore everything that you said. And so it's about the strategies that you need to implement to develop trust. And I think it goes back to like and I have these conversations with some people when I coach them and I'm like I really dislike this person. They're my boss, I feel like they're undermining me and I'm like tell me, what have you done to develop a relationship Like what is one thing you know about them personally Nothing. What is one thing they know about you personally Nothing.

Speaker 2:

Okay, how do you feel about maybe extending the olive branch and saying, hey, I'd like to get to know you a bit better? That's not always work related. Are you open to having a coffee with me? See where that goes right? Start there and then start to develop some rapport with that person and see where it goes, because I've had some relationships with people who, yeah, I wouldn't want to invite to my house for dinner, but was there trust there? For sure, had I put in the time and effort to get to know them, and vice versa, yes, because then they would start to ask me questions about myself. So that's the first step.

Speaker 2:

And then the second thing is I like to teach a coach approach like be curious, start with empathy. So empathy means, yeah, you may think you gotta go and tell your CEO like this isn't going to work, but maybe the CEO on some level knows this. So how about you go on with curiosity and some empathy and be like I'm gonna be curious, I'm gonna ask some questions to see where they're at right now in this situation. They may be looking for an olive branch. They may be looking for someone to come to them and extend their hands and say I'm here to help you.

Speaker 2:

But if you go in with like I'm gonna tell you how I'm going to help you, versus, what kind of help do you need? I've been seeing XYZ. How are you feeling about that? What can I do to support you? They may actually present to you the solution that you wanna present. Or they may come to you and say I acknowledge that this is a problem and you didn't even have to say anything, but they don't know where to go. That's when you go in. You go in with your solution and they are like seeing you as the savior to help them. So I would say this is one way to approach some of those conversations.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and I think a lot of this comes down to, you know, the trust, the empathy and side note, these are all skills that most HR professionals naturally have some capability in, but a lot of times we don't think about it in the context of ourselves. We're thinking about building trust within our team and amongst team members, so we could take a little bit of our own advice. I do, you know. Side note, it's funny listening to that, you know, it's like it's about trust, and one of the ways that you build trust is by being transparent and having candor and sometimes being a trusted resource and an advocate, even when it's not a comfortable message. And so, you know, maybe it's as simple as also just remembering that that's how you make it better. But by doing the thing that's hard, then it becomes easier the next time you do it, and because you're building that kind of that respect.

Speaker 2:

It's like caring candor. If you go in with all candor and no care, you're an asshole which goes back to the first tile of our podcast together. Right, but if you're all care and no candor, then no one kind of sees you as a credible person who holds self and others accountable. You need both, I think, to really build trust.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I agree, couldn't agree more, couldn't agree more. And there are times when I'm good at both of those things and there's times when that equation's off. It just kind of Totally right.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, works in progress right.

Speaker 1:

Well, joanna, this has just been an amazing conversation, just as good as almost two years ago, but I do want to shift gears. I'm fascinated to hear your responses because this is new since we last spoke the Rebel HR Flash round. Are you ready? Yes, all right, here we go. Question number one where does HR need to rebel?

Speaker 2:

I saw that question before in the chat I'm like oh, how do I answer that? I guess, working with HR, I feel like sometimes they take such an operational approach to things and I think what we need to do is look at the strategy behind it, a little bit Like what is our purpose, what are we trying to do and how do we better position ourselves to support the people that we service, and taking a step away from just purely operational tasks and looking at things that Probably the things that we talked about. How are we really developing trust with the people that we're supposed to be working side by side and advising and consulting? How do we try to do that? How do we truly role model what we preach? And I like what you said before, we need to focus on ourselves as individuals and how we present ourselves in the workplace and be like we're going to role model for you what we tell you to do, and so how are we doing that?

Speaker 2:

So, almost like stopping and taking internal focus to say how are we treating ourselves and each other, and almost, like you know, testing the concepts that we teach within ourselves and our teams and then learning from that so we can better provide a service when we consult others, because if we don't nail it for ourselves, we're not gonna no one's gonna take us seriously, and I think that's why I got frustrated with HRs Like they're coming to teach us leadership, they're coming to teach us strategy, they're coming to help us with whatever it is that we're working on, and internally they're like toxic and they're overworked and overwhelmed and they're not communicating internally with each other. And I see HR consultants not getting along with their own VPs or directors and I'm like I would almost like not really take what they would say seriously because they never took the time to invest in themselves. And you need to do that before you start to consult or recommend solutions, because that's also, I think, where credibility comes from. So, as HR people, invest in yourselves, you need to do that.

Speaker 2:

I think I see HR people just running themselves ragged. They're overwhelmed, overworked, like look at your own strategies, look at how you take care of each other. You'll be in a much better position to provide consulting services. What are your thoughts on that, kyle, being embedded in HR for as long as you've been?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, almost two decades, which is crazy to think At this point. I couldn't agree more. I think one of the more formative experiences of my career was actually being a leader and actually learning what leaders go through on a daily basis. And had I not been through that early in my corporate life cycle, I would not be good at helping others be leaders because I wouldn't have that developmental experience. And then, yeah, I think that continuing education, the curiosity, the ability to learn and the ability to admit when you don't know something, is as important as being a subject matter expert on the things that you do know. And I think that continuing to invest in yourself is critical. And yeah, I can't remember which episode it was, but one of the sayings was put your apps into a mask on first. So we have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others as well. Question number two who should we be listening to?

Speaker 2:

I would say people that piss you off, whose opinions you totally disagree with. I think it's so critically important to be like oh, I know my stuff, I know my stuff really well, but why don't you listen to somebody who has a very opposing view? Because if we're going to create psychological safety, we have to be, we have to start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and we have to be comfortable in asking people to challenge what we do and how we do it. One way to practice that is to listen to podcasts, listen to TV shows, episodes, news stations that have differing opposing views of your own. Be curious and see how you get triggered and what's triggering that in you. Practice, and I think actually, in order to be innovative and disruptive, we can't only seek evidence that supports our point of view. We have to look at evidence as very contradictory to what we know. Otherwise, how do we really push towards a true state of excellence that is always shifting and changing always?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Yeah, I like that. You know, the exercise of identifying what triggers you. You know that's, that's fascinating. I don't know that I've ever watched or listened to anything with that specific goal in mind, so I'm going to, I'm going to write that one down, we'll see. Think I know what it is, we'll see what it is. Yeah, I'm going to let the audience, if you want to know how that turns, out so maybe we'll talk about.

Speaker 2:

I have one recommendation If you're a Democrat, listen to a news station that has Republican points of view, and vice versa. Nothing will piss you off faster than if you're a Democrat listening to Fox News. If you're Fox News listening to CNN, I guess.

Speaker 1:

And as we go into 2024, that's a perfect example of hey, we can do, you could do this a lot.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Just just, maybe you know, maybe you know, just do it in a safe way. Yeah, so you're not like you know completely mentally exhausted by the end of the All right. Last question here so wonderful, wonderful discussions. Been great to reconnect again. I know you. You offer online courses, you offer a number of different services and and, obviously, our wealth of knowledge. So how can our listeners connect with you and how can they learn more?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'd say definitely like, visit our website, synogapsolutionscom and take a look at our online course catalog. If you're looking for professional development, follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram. That's the social media outlets that we use and you can. I encourage you to like, connect with me or follow me on LinkedIn and through LinkedIn, you can send me messages if you're curious, to contact us and see how we can better support you. Because, although our space is like leadership, consulting and developing leaders, we do focus on so much more like, as I mentioned, organizational consulting, culture assessments. We do so much in terms of our consulting space, not just our leadership development and training space. So if you're curious, you're like I wonder if they do this just send me a message on LinkedIn or or connect with us or our contact page on our website.

Speaker 1:

Perfect and, of course, as always, we will have that information in the show notes. So open up your podcast player, check it out. Just some great content out there, both for yourself as a as a self leader, or as a leader of people, or for your team. So, joanna, thank you again so much for joining us. It's been an absolute pleasure to catch up, and thank you for all the work in creating brave spaces.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for inviting me to come back. It was. It was an absolute pleasure.

Speaker 1:

All right, that does it for the Rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at Rebel HR podcast, twitter at Rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebelhumanresourcescom. The views and opinions expressed by Rebel HR podcast are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast. Baby.

Creating Brave Spaces
Creating Brave Spaces
Psychological Safety and Advocating for Change
Building Trust and Empathy in HR
Professional Development and Contact Information