Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms

Shaking Up Leadership: Building Empowered Teams with Tania Luna

December 13, 2023 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 4 Episode 184
Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
Shaking Up Leadership: Building Empowered Teams with Tania Luna
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Let's shake up the world of leadership together with Tania Luna, author of "Lead it Together: Stop Squirreling Away Power and Build a Better Team". Luna uses the colourful tale of Sam Squirrel, a branch manager in a recession-threatened company, to highlight the pitfalls of 'power over' leadership and incite a shift towards a 'power with' approach.

This episode won’t tell you how to lead; it will show you how. Luna shares enlightening insights into fostering collective power within your team, turning a once rigid and fearful crowd into an agile, flexible, and engaged community. We chat about how to make roles clear, reduce stifling policies, and motivate employees to take risks, share their views, and be more involved in their work. 

By the end of our discussion, you'll have a new perspective on power and leadership. We delve into strategies for cultivating an environment that encourages employees to feel like they’re a part of the solution, not just a cog in the machine. As we wrap up, Luna shares how you can reach out to her and get your hands on her transformative book. Are you ready to change the way you lead and build a stronger, more empowered team? Join us for this compelling conversation.

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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!

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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 HR Rebels, extremely excited for the conversation this week. We're going to have a lot of fun here With us today. We have Tanya Luna. She is the author of the new book Lead it Together. Stop Squirreling Away Power and Build a better team. The book was released in September of 2023. Welcome to the show, tanya.

Speaker 2:

I'm so excited to be here talking about power and squirrels and rebelling together.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely Well. I think this is a perfect fit for the podcast and I'm fascinated to dig into the book. Already had a ton of fun just in our pre-conversation here, so this is going to be a good time. So I want to start off with one of the questions that I ask almost every author that we have on the show, which is what motivated you to write this book?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think the spark of it. It's been a very sparky year. 2020 was a very sparky year for a lot of organizations. I know this podcast as well, so the spark for this book really came from 2020. I was leading an organization at the time. We had about 1,000 clients, about 100 employees. Things were going great and then the pandemic hit and you might remember everything got.

Speaker 1:

Trying to forget, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Really messed up. Really, things became very stressful, and the thing that got us through it and ultimately made what could have been really our last year in existence what turned out to be our best year in existence was the fact that we had this shared power approach to how we ran the company, and I can dig into more detail about that, but it just it was such an impact on me to recognize that having this shared power workplace isn't just joyful in the best of times, it is essential in the worst of times.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and, by the way, I love that term sparky, like a sparky year, like that's a great visual, because it did. I think 2020 was a little bit of a transition point for many of us. It certainly was unexpected, but I think, prompted some really cool and challenging ways to reshape how we think about work.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was like a plastic year. It allowed people to go huh. Okay, there's spaciousness now to rethink how we've been doing things and it's very tempting, as things start to look a little bit more normal, to go back to those old, familiar habits. But I'm still over here, excited to be on the rebel side and really pushed for that opportunity to change, and I wrote the book as a fiction book. Actually, it's grounded in psychology. It's based on my own experience building and growing this shared power organization. But my background is in psychology, aside from the entrepreneur in me, and what the research shows is that we learn best through story. I also just was kind of sick of typical nonfiction books. I love them, I still read them but I was like I want something that I could turn the page and be excited to find out what's going to happen on the other side. So it's actually told as this kind of philosophical fiction slash business parable that gives you all the practical tips and tools through the story of a squirrel.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I love the premise and I think we've actually had a number of episodes around the power of storytelling and how that can help you learn. It can help you find affinity with others. It certainly can help you put things in context. I did not realize how hard it was to pronounce the word squirrel live on a podcast until I was reading your book title. So thank you for that.

Speaker 2:

It's good to tell you are welcome. That was my harder reason for writing this book.

Speaker 1:

So it's built around the branch manager of Nuts4U Incorporated. His name is Sam Squirrel.

Speaker 2:

When you say that like that, it sounds ridiculous. But yeah, Love it while I'm after it, I love it, I love it.

Speaker 1:

So I'm curious as you look at the story that you're telling and really the leadership lessons that you are teaching in here. Where does Sam find himself at the beginning of the story and what is the catalyst for us to learn how to lead together?

Speaker 2:

Thank you for those very Sam-centric questions. That's really lovely. So Sam starts off actually thinking he's a pretty great leader, he's pretty confident, he is seeing results, he leads this organization, nuts4u that is the best nut gathering operation in the entire forest and he really doesn't realize that there is an issue with the way he's going about leading, until there is word of this forest recession and of course it very much mirrors the recession fears in the air as I was writing the book. This one is caused by a human condo development and all of a sudden there's all of this stress, all of this need to pivot, to change your strategy, because there aren't going to be enough acorns to gather. So what is Sam going to do? And of course he doubles down on this power over approach to leadership. So he's trying to set a super clear vision and just push people toward executing on it. He's trying to not just reward people but also threaten and squirreled people and scare them. He's taking away benefits, he's telling them that they're going to lose their jobs and all this kind of fear-based control approach that so many of us have been actually taught to use as leaders. And of course, as you might guess, because you leave this podcast.

Speaker 2:

None of those things work and they start. The squirrels are leaving for the city. They don't want to work in the forest anymore. They're actually. All of the things he's doing are leading to more disengagement, more burnout, more fear in the air, and so he goes off into the forest and he's like you know what? I can't trust anyone. I just have to figure this out on my own. I'm going to gather all of these acorns myself and of course he gets lost, like every good hero, and he meets this squirrel named Mary Parker Forest, who's named after this scholar who lived in the 1800s named Mary Parker Follett, and she introduces him to this community where things are done very differently. It's a shared power space and he has to basically figure out can he take these lessons from this space that is not power over, but power with and bring that back and save his business and potentially his entire community.

Speaker 1:

I think it's fascinating that that's the approach you took, because I think I've had this conversation multiple times with both outside of my organization and within, where there is this almost this kind of this tug of war between new leadership, what I would call like old school leadership, command and control, versus the more collaborative style, and I think it's it's. We're at a little bit of a crossroads where, you know, I think you're seeing in the headlines, organizations that are are trying to go back to the command and control, and you know I do. I think it's fascinating that we have convinced ourselves this is the this is what quote leadership is, or convinced ourselves that it used to work, but the reality is it really hasn't been working for a while.

Speaker 2:

No, I think it hasn't been working ever since we've relied on people to think creatively, to be proactive, to bring more than just execution but actual intention and you know, right being to the workplace.

Speaker 2:

I also think that we never really did a great job of the collaborative approach to leadership either, to be honest, because we never really had a good paradigm for it, which is one of the reasons that I wanted to write this book is it's not just about saying, oh, let's be kind and let's be people centric and let's be thoughtful, because oftentimes when you take that to the extreme, you get managers, for example, who incredibly burnt out, they're like wait, I'm supposed to achieve results and care about everyone's feelings and be inclusive and be everyone's therapist, and it's like we piled all of this actual stress and responsibility onto leaders by trying to over correct and not be, you know, power over.

Speaker 2:

So I think that that approach didn't quite work either. This is kind of taboo to say, but I think, for example, the concept of servant leadership is problematic because it implies that I, as a leader, I have to do everything last. My needs don't matter, I have to serve my team. But then when there are layoffs or when someone isn't performing, then all of a sudden I'm not serving my team. So it just it creates all of this strain on leaders and distrust and sort of resentment on the part of the entire team. So I think we never quite got it right on the collaborative side either.

Speaker 1:

I think it's fascinating. I appreciate you saying that I think the concept of servant leadership is it's been in vogue for a while now. You know, certainly. You know, I think almost every leadership course that I've been in, you know, over the last 15 years or so, has had some element of servant leadership. But I do think that I think that that's an important point is that it doesn't mean that you don't have expectations or you don't have accountability of people. Right, it's, but I do think it's really hard to get right, and I think part of that is the challenge of leadership, the leadership theories of today, which is you have to be like perfect, I have no pressure, and it's just really, really hard, yeah, so you have to be perfect, and then you have to be perfect at sharing your mistakes and being vulnerable.

Speaker 2:

So it's like a terrible combination or be perfect, including be perfect at being imperfect.

Speaker 1:

Sure, yeah, it's really hard and you know, I think there's a, I think there are a few people that can do this intuitively, but I also think there's a lot of people that just really struggle. And what I find is they spend a lot of time, you know, in training courses or learning what good looks like, but the reality is they just kind of go back to old habits and you know whatever, a lot of times what, what their conditioning was when they either first into the workplace or when they you know, they're upbringing maybe.

Speaker 2:

Walk for sure.

Speaker 1:

And then they have to think about what courses that they've gone through in the past. And so so, as you look at that and as you're doing your research and writing this book, what, what, what do you encourage us to think about as it relates to how we should think differently about leading together?

Speaker 2:

Well, I think, for starters, maybe I'll use this paradigm again of power over versus power with, because that's a good starting point, and then maybe I can get into the nitty gritty of like okay, aside from the philosophy of it, how does it look in day to day life and organizational design? So maybe I'll throw in another one this power over, power under and power with, so power over. Is that command and control style that you were talking about, right? Like I as a leader, or we as a small group of leaders, set the vision, decide on the strategy, tell everyone else what to do, you know, hold them accountable. And we know that, even though this could work in the short term because of fear tactics or because of you know the stress and pressure that it creates to execute. It leads to burnout, it leads to disengagement, it leads to poor creativity, all that kind of stuff. So let's just not do that. Excellent, you know, unless there's like a true emergency and you have to tell people what to do, you probably don't want to use that model. Servant leadership, I think, really is an inverse of that, but it creates many similarities. So it's more of a power under approach where you're going.

Speaker 2:

I, as a leader. I'm so strong that it is up to me to protect and serve these little, teeny, tiny people on my team. So, instead of treating people as as strong and as capable adults, you're sort of treating them probably unintentionally and with good, good intentions actually more like your kids. So you're saying, oh, I have the answers, I have the knowledge, I have the strength, and you don't. So let me protect you, let me, you know, take away all the difficulties and make it easy for you to succeed. So, even though it seems to come from a place of care and nurturing, it can really minimize people's power and competence. So you've got power over, you've got power under not quite as bad as power over, but let's not do that either.

Speaker 2:

So this third option is this model of power with, and the idea there is that, as an organization or as a leader, I use my own power to deliberately grow the power of all of the individuals I interact with, and so that might be formal power, like sharing decision making authority, so I'm not the only one or we don't just have a small group making decisions.

Speaker 2:

It might be that I'm giving people the power to participate in setting vision and doing strategic planning, in building the policies and systems of the organization, and it's also informal power. So am I investing in people's skills? Am I investing in people's relationships, their social capital, their ability to have influence? And so, ideally, within this power with model, all of our collective power is constantly growing. I, as a leader, don't have to be burnt out because I'm protecting people, and I also don't have to be feared because I'm threatening people. Instead, my job is I want to make everyone else have more power, more capacity to get things done, which grows. My own power and our collective capacity as an organization to achieve our goals continues to grow.

Speaker 1:

So I think so. For me, this is a little bit of a reprogramming of all of these leadership principles that we've talked about over the course of my career, because I would say that typically you'll talk about this servant leadership as the model right, the theory of leadership as it exists today, the theory that works. But I think what's really powerful is, as you were describing to me, the power with principle. It reminded me of some of these psychological principles that you see, as it relates to people pleasers, where, you know, a lot of times people are just trying to be liked and they are trying not to make somebody else upset or they're trying to tiptoe and trying to be kind of perfect. What actually is happening is they are almost treating people like kids, like they're not allowing them to be autonomous adults and to have their own feelings, like they're trying to make everybody happy, right, but the reality is we're all adults and we all have our different perspective, opinions and feelings and thoughts.

Speaker 2:

I love that point and it's so often we see this within workplaces is people go. Oh, I don't want to give feedback, I don't want to hurt someone's feelings, or I don't want to be too explicit about what my needs are, I don't want to put too much pressure on anyone. And all of that comes from this mentality of it's my job to protect people, it's my job to minimize stress. But actually, what if it's our job to maximize how much stress people can handle? What if it's my job to go? You know what I'm not doing well as a leader or as an organization, if each person here isn't becoming increasingly capable, increasingly confident.

Speaker 2:

That doesn't mean that I'm growing all the way to the other extreme, and every day is feedback Friday. But I'm thinking through that lens of are we growing each individual's capacity versus? Are we protecting people or are we forcing people to do what we need to get done? And it becomes a lot more exciting for HR, for leaders, for individuals, not to think how do we get results, but how do we build increasingly the capacity to get more and more done, even when there's a pandemic, even when there's a recession, whether it's a forest recession or an economic recession, in the midst of all this change. We owe it to people to grow their power so that they can have that flexibility and agility, and as an organization we can handle anything because we have all of this capacity that we've been building.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think it's such a powerful concept and it reminds me of the kind of research around stress where stress is important for growth. You have to have some level of stress, some level of stimulus to prompt some level of response. Now, you don't want it to go to like overwhelm and burn out, but there should be some level of pressure if you're trying to make any sort of change or growth, which is what our employees are consistently telling us in every single study.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, every year.

Speaker 1:

Everybody wants career growth, so if protecting them and buffering them from the actual stress that could help them grow, you might be doing them a disservice. Yeah, absolutely Powerful concept.

Speaker 2:

In college we call it the zone of optimal arousal. It's this curvilinear relationship not enough stress and there's this engagement. Too much stress and there's disengagement. And actually, if you look at the psychology around how power impacts us feeling powerful or feeling powerless it's also about balance, so that not too much stress, not too little. It's the same thing when it comes to, ideally, not too much power and not too little.

Speaker 2:

Where research shows is that when people feel a sense of powerlessness, we disengage, we're less likely to take risks, we're less likely to speak up and it can even harm our health. So a lot of what we see in the workplace where we go why are people disengaged? Why are people not sharing their perspectives? A lot of that could be explained by a sense of powerlessness. Look at people who feel powerful, not even as an individual, but in an experiment. You give people a role that makes them more powerful and you start to notice that people start being more willing to share their perspectives, even if those ideas are unpopular. They're more willing to be proactive and actually take action. They're more creative, for example.

Speaker 2:

But you take it to the extreme. And if power is too concentrated? So if I have the power, let's say, as a manager, to fire people on my own, to hire people on my own, to decide how much everyone's getting paid for most people not everyone, but for most people and you're laughing because I'm guessing you've seen this it tends to have also these negative consequences. So empathy starts to go down, thoughtfulness starts to go down. People are more willing to break rules, even if before they were quite ethical. So it kills me when I see people being taught empathy skills or being taught how to speak up.

Speaker 2:

Yes, maybe those are useful skills, but let's first look at the environment that we're placing people in. Are we clustering power too much in a small number of individuals rather than distributing it so that there's that shared sense of both power? And hey, there are checks on my power. As a manager, I can't make all these decisions alone. Or as a manager, I don't just assess people, they assess me as well. As a manager or as an organization, we have to report. You know, here's a video of our board meeting. Or here are all of the results of what we tried to do and what happened. And when you create those kinds of checks and balances, just like we have in the US, for example, at our best. It doesn't always work, but you know, those checks and balances are what create a balance of power psychology, not just power practically speaking.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I am definitely over here. You can't see my face because this is an audio only format, but I'm over here just nodding and smiling and thinking about all of these situations where I've seen this, where somebody feels like they're like the term that I've used in the past is they feel like their name is on the building.

Speaker 2:

Like they own the place.

Speaker 1:

There's nobody else in there but them, you know, and the reality is it's like so many issues that I've had to deal with have been because of this, like inflated ego.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And, quite frankly, I actually don't think that most of these individuals have bad intentions.

Speaker 2:

No.

Speaker 1:

It's just, they're just in the wrong.

Speaker 2:

And it's even bubbling Like how much time does someone spend talking so much of? That is correlated with how much of a sense of power do they feel. And again, we focus on let's teach people how to not talk as much. Well, yeah, but also let's take a look at whether there are systems in place for people to be able to participate in decision making, for example. Super simple example of something that this could be in practice is most organizations, especially within Western culture, have a tendency to have a single decision maker, which can be very efficient, and I'm not against it. But if there are no checks on that, especially for high stakes decisions let's say whether you're going to fire someone, then of course it's going to be hard for people to go. Well, I'm going to give transparent and open feedback and I'm going to raise concerns. No, I, most people, won't be as open as you want them to be, because there is no check on that power that that manager has.

Speaker 2:

But, as an example, one of the decision making tools that we see in these shared power organizations is something called consent style decision making. So a lot of people have heard of consensus. That's where everyone has to agree. That tends to be very painful and slow moving. Consensus is where everyone has the power to say no to decision if they feel that it's unsafe for the team or the organization.

Speaker 2:

And so, for example, when I'm setting strategy, let's say, as a leader, it's very different if I have full power to make all the decisions versus if I'm in a team where I present my strategy and literally every person, including the newest person we just hired, has the power to say I'd like to stand against that, and then it's on me as a leader, to hear them out, understand their concerns and bring a counter proposal that's going to address the concerns they brought up. So it's a really simple tweet to the decision making process, but it can have profound consequences on whether people are giving feedback or speaking up, especially when it comes to those high stakes decisions like firing, hiring, salaries, promotions. Those are great places to make sure that either you're using consent style decision making or at least having two decision makers and a tiebreaker. That way again, you don't have this one person who controls your fate at the organization.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. I think that's really interesting. I've been in those meetings where it's like we're trying to get everybody to agree and it's like there's one holdout. You know, if somebody filibusters, it's just like okay, yeah with consent.

Speaker 2:

You don't have to do that. You can actually go. Does everyone consent? You don't have to love it, but can you support it. And if you stand against it, you have to give a really good explanation of why you don't like it but why you feel it's unsafe to try.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

Right, they've to try. Let's just try it and see what happens.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, I think that's a powerful tool in the toolbox and I think, something to think about as we think about that, certainly in our world, it's about hiring and firing and some of these maybe organizational restructurings and things like that where there are these really big ripple effects and I do think it's really dangerous. If you've got one, you know somebody who's like this brilliant person in a back office that's drawing all this stuff.

Speaker 2:

They're always in the back office.

Speaker 1:

Right, without like going out and, actually, you know, testing out this thesis that, hey, this is a good idea. And I actually view HR as like our job is to do some of this right. Our job is to foster this environment where we have consent and we have this open dialogue for these decisions. So what advice do you have for us that maybe some of us are listening to this and we understand this, we agree, but we don't have this today in the environment that we're operating in. What ideas do you have for us as we think about, okay, how do we think about this power with concept, and what are some strategies or tactics that we need to be thinking about in the context of our workplace?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Well, you could read the book. We'll read together. We also have we'll have some tips on the website as well. So my website's tonyalunacom, T-A-N-I-A-L-U-N-Acom, and by the time this episode comes out, we'll have an assessment you can take to figure out. You know, where are you already doing things in a shared power way? Where are you doing things in a power under or power over way? Well, it'll have a bunch of free resources, but for now, maybe I'll summarize four principles of Sam's squirrel thing that he learns when it comes to sharing power and maybe share a quick, some quick examples of how this could look from an HR perspective. How does that sound?

Speaker 1:

Perfect.

Speaker 2:

Okay, all right. So these are power with principles that Sam learns along the way. Number one follow a purpose, not a person. Follow a purpose, not a person. And so a very simple thing that HR professionals can do is just think about how clear is the shared purpose of the organization to absolutely everyone involved and the purpose could be literally why we exist but also things like what are our goals, what are our priorities?

Speaker 2:

This is the one that I find people really, really struggle with. This. Actually, can I make decisions on my own without constantly having to check with a person, without having to wait for orders, without having to please my boss? Can HR really help people understand what is the organization truly see as most important, and ideally in a measurable way, including what is the purpose of my role? What does success look like for my role? The more that purpose is clear, the more the purpose can be my leader, instead of my manager having to tell me am I doing the right thing, am I doing a good job? Managers can still be incredibly helpful as coaches, as thought partners, as quality assurance, but there's so much power just in understanding what is the organization fine to be most important. What is the purpose of my own role. How is success defined? So that's number one. Should I keep going?

Speaker 1:

Yes, yeah, I agree.

Speaker 2:

Well, and a lot of people agree, so maybe I'll go even more tactical. If part of your responsibility within HR is job descriptions or role descriptions, a very simple tweak that I've seen have a lot of impact when it comes to giving people more of that sense of power is not just telling people here the activities that you're responsible for, but number one, what's the purpose of your role? Why does it exist? And number two, how is success defined for your role? Just articulating those things so many organizations of all sizes don't do that the purpose piece can really help each individual understand what strategies should I use for achieving results? And it's also the emotional piece of why does this work matter. And then the success indicators make me just feel so much less vulnerable and less reliant on someone to tell me if I'm doing a good job, because I can have success indicators that tell me, yes, am I doing this well or no, am I not doing?

Speaker 1:

it right and putting it right in the position profile. That's like we can do that. We can execute on that. That's simple right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and if you don't have the capacity to do it yourself, just even encouraging. Hey, team members, employees, managers, work on this together. Have a role clarity conversation once a quarter and just align on. Do you see the purpose the same way. Do you see success for the role in the same way?

Speaker 1:

Just throw it in your yeah, I'm just now on brainstorm, but it's like you just throw it in your performance evaluation form and just put it right at the bottom Say the purpose of your job is X.

Speaker 2:

I love that.

Speaker 1:

And just make every manager answer that in one sentence of the performance.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, right.

Speaker 1:

There are ways to do this right.

Speaker 2:

There are ways, but in small ways, where you don't have to go and physically change everyone's job description. Just nudge people. Hey, have that conversation. Are these two things clear?

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

All right. So that's number one. Number two rely on context, not control. So this is really all about questioning have we given people the information that they need to make good decisions so that we don't have to overindex on telling people exactly what to do at all times? So, for example, instead of having very, very stringent, long lists of rules to follow, you could experiment with something like you know, maybe it's dress code for your organization. Instead of saying here's what you can wear, here's what you can't wear, here's a long list of you know pictures and examples, you can say here's how we think about clothing in the workplace, here's why it matters, or who it matters for. Please use your best judgment. So things like that.

Speaker 2:

As a leader in my organization, instead of saying, do this thing ideally, I'm saying here's why this thing is important, what are your thoughts on it? Let's come up with a solution together. So, from an HR perspective, it's really being you know, I think of myself as like okay, I've recovered mostly from being a control freak and I'm trying to be more of a context freak. So, from an HR perspective, it's really like noticing our leaders sharing the context for their decisions. Are we giving people who are joining the history of why things are done the way they are For our policies. Are we just telling people what to do or are we explaining the why behind it? And if we have explained the why behind it, can we actually reduce some of the actual policies that tell people what to do? If they understand why, then ideally you know we're trusting people to make good decisions.

Speaker 1:

And then it's more public good Really. Yeah, For every policy. My question is do we really have to make this a rule, or is this just a generally understood, you know work practice? Right, yeah, Do we really need a policy?

Speaker 2:

for everything. I think we in HR, we tend to overcorrect, which is totally understandable, and we've all had those terrible experiences of like, oh, we really should have clarified what is okay to say and what's not okay to say, because I can't believe that person couldn't figure it out for themselves. But I think a lot of that could be adjusted with, again, context and also focusing more and effort and energy on building a healthy feedback culture and setting norms around. Hey, we try to give context, we try to give a lot of freedom and to make sure that we're well calibrated. We're going to give each other a lot of feedback and the reason we're doing that is so that people have lots of ability to use their best judgment and we're often giving each other information about hey, this is the impact that that's having, so that we can often adjust.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Absolutely All right. What's third one?

Speaker 2:

Okay, all right. Number three is be a cultivator, not a collector. Be a cultivator, not a collector. I think my HR friends will like this one. What I'm speaking to here is, so often we think about hiring, as though we're picking these like small number of perfect people from this finite crop right. We're like who are the A players? I got really stuck around as a concept and I really really dislike it. You're like who are the A players and how do I get them and how do I keep them? Even the term retention is like so violent. How do I retain these people here?

Speaker 1:

And instead.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I still use it for sure, but like, if you think about it, ideally you're not retaining people. Ideally you're creating the kind of environment where people are really happy to stay. It's very much command and control history. So ideally I'm not thinking how do I collect this very small number of special people? Instead, I'm thinking how do I cultivate this infinite field of people with skill? And so that could start from the inside those are your learning and development initiatives and that could also be from the outside.

Speaker 2:

So, for example, at my Last Company, one of the things that we did that I loved was we were struggling to hire for this one particular role, and so we started doing training for people who might be interested in that role, who didn't even work at our organization, and in particular, we worked with and partnered with organizations that were focused on underrepresented identities or people who were making career changes, and so for us that was really wonderful from a diversity perspective because we got all of these people with identities and backgrounds that just brought so much richness to the team. And people who were joining the organization were in some ways, pretty onboarded because by the time they came to interview they already had some of that skill development. So thinking not just how do I help grow the skills of the people who are here on my team which, by the way, can be an HR initiative, or it could be HR nudging people to learn from each other, so cross training and shadowing and things like that and it could be proactively growing that field outside of your organization.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Yeah, I like that and I think it's about. It's about building the culture where people want to be, because if you have that mindset, you're going to naturally make this a place that's more fun to work, because people are learning and they're encouraged to pursue their own passions and interests and it's just more fun, right, I think fun is a huge part of all of this.

Speaker 2:

That's kind of the aspect of the work of HR that is often forgotten is it's not just about building a healthy workplace. Ideally, it's a fun, joyful workplace, where your workplace is this practice space for you to develop these incredible skills and relationships. Which brings me to point number four, or power with principle number four build a community, not a crowd. Build a community, not a crowd. The idea there is just to constantly think about how do we, instead of trying to get buy-in through the initiatives that we put out there, how do we get build-in instead? In other words, how can we give people this opportunity to co-create the organization with us? So, anytime you have a problem, instead of solving it, bring it to the team, bring it to your entire organization. You know, go, hey, we're not giving each other enough feedback. I don't know what to do about it. What do you think we should do about it? Let's put together a task force. Let's put together special interest groups that are solving this Strategic planning or goal setting.

Speaker 2:

Ideally, there's a process there of hey, let's hear from everyone, because you're closest to the work before anyone makes decisions, even if you don't go all the way down that path of consent-style decision-making where everyone has the opportunity to say no, at least really involving people in the things that you wouldn't ordinarily think people should be involved in. It doesn't mean everyone needs to participate, but that invitation really matters and it gives people the sense of not I work here, but this is my company. I'm helping build this company. I often hear people say oh, people aren't proactive enough, people don't have an ownership mindset. Why would they, if you want people to have that ownership mindset, really draw people in to building that organization? Your biggest problems are your best opportunities to invite people who are frustrated but still engaged to be part of the solution and then to promote that solution internally.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. I think this concept of community versus crowd is a really critical one. I think if you take a look at something as simple as social media and the community building that's occurring on social media and how that shapes people's identities and the things that they focus on and the people they interact with, if you can do that within your organization or within a project team, then now you've got true ability to make a difference and to truly lead, because they're all bought in. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And community isn't just about we know each other. Community is we are making this place together, so there needs to be that sense of ownership.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, absolutely so, I think. Just absolutely wonderful content. Again, I will encourage everybody to go out, check out the book. It's called Lead Together. Stop Squirreling Away Power and Build a Better Team. With that, we're going to shift gears. We're going to go into the Rebel HR Flash Round. Are you ready?

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Okay, Question number one where does HR need to rebel?

Speaker 2:

Sharing power. No, I will say, maybe decision making is really challenge.

Speaker 1:

The models that we've been using for decision making experiment with consent and experiment with two decision makers and a tiebreaker yeah, I love that idea and I think, all kidding aside that power question, I think a lot of times we do get caught up in we have this power, so let's be aware of that and not let that kind of be the way we operate.

Speaker 2:

That makes me think one of my favorite things about HR power. Even though there is often this frustration of like I don't have control over budget or I'm not getting that seat at the table that people have been talking about, even if there are no more tables, what HR professionals often have the ability to do and this sounds so small, but it is incredibly powerful is they often own the templates that are being used company-wide, and so, whether that's the one-on-one template that managers have with their direct reports, maybe it's a template for like you mentioned before, a performance assessment, maybe it's a template for your engagement surveys, take a look at those templates and see. Can I nudge some of these really healthy power-sharing behaviors or really any behavior you're trying to normalize, because people especially, you know, trained over I think at my last organization, over 300,000 managers. They are insecure and overwhelmed and stressed out. Shoot, sorry, that's my alarm. Can I try that one more time?

Speaker 1:

Yep, keep going, I'll get.

Speaker 2:

So at my last organization we've trained over 300,000 managers. These folks are stressed out, they're overwhelmed and they take templates and hold onto them and you know they see them almost like a life raft. So HR has, even if people don't realize that you're the one that's the author of the template, you have the power of the template and I would personally encourage you to use that to nudge this kind of shared power, mutual assessment, mutual decision-making approach to leadership.

Speaker 1:

Love it, Love it. We do have some power. Question number two who should we be listening to?

Speaker 2:

Who should we be listening to? Well, this is a little dated, but again, the scholar who very much inspired Lee Together the book is named Mary Parker Follett. She wrote in the 1800s, early 1900s. She has influenced so much of what we think of as good business practice today, from inclusion in the workplace to win-win negotiation. But people mostly do not know her name. So look up Mary Parker Follett. And then I've been really into reading not even necessarily business-focused books, but just overall philosophy by Indigenous authors in the US Like. One of my favorite thinkers is Robin Wall Kimmerer. She talks a lot about she's actually a botanist, botanist, poet. She talks a lot about Indigenous practices and how so much of them have to do with mutual flourishing and at the end of the day, that's about shared power. How do we create environments where the business is healthy, the team is happy and we're making the impact that we want to make? So this idea of mutual flourishing, Robin.

Speaker 2:

Wall Kimmerer.

Speaker 1:

All right. Last question how can our listeners reach out, connect with you and get their hands on the book?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so the book is sold Amazon, Barnes, Noble, wherever you get your books. It's called Lee Together and we'll have resources and other templates and free tools on my website, tonyalunacom. T-a-n-i-a, l-u-n-a dot com.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and we'll have all that information in the show notes. Open up your podcast player, check it out. Just absolutely wonderful principles of leadership and, I think, a little bit of a shift in the way that we've thought about leadership over the last few years. So, tanya, thank you for spending a few minutes with us today and thank you for putting the effort into the book.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, my 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 rebelhrguy, or see our website at rebelhumanresourcescom. Reviews 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. No-transcript.

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