We often hear about toxic workplaces, but what about toxic bosses? As a boss or leader, your behavior and actions can significantly impact your team’s productivity, morale, and overall well-being. But how do you know if you’re a toxic boss? And more importantly, how can you fix it?
In this episode, we will dive deep into the signs and characteristics of a toxic boss. We will discuss the effects of toxic leadership on employees and the organization as a whole. We will also provide practical tips and strategies for improving your leadership style and creating a healthy work environment for your team.
Whether you’re a new or experienced leader, or just starting out this episode is a must-listen. So, grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started on the journey to becoming a better boss!
Tiffany is a career strategy coach and a former Fortune 500 senior director, and she is passionate about giving back and paying it forward so others don’t have to feel alone in their career. She spends a lot of time with her family and enjoys the quality moments they have together.
Tiffany: When it comes to people’s confidence and the way they value themselves, we wanna be really clear about which ones need to be taken very seriously and which ones probably need some adjustment in strategy and action steps that can actually make a current situation a lot better.
Tiffany: I think subjectivity versus objectivity is really important. Subjectivity leads to a lot of room for interpretation. Moving towards the objective is what’s going to get the best buy-in, especially when we are working with more challenging bosses or managers.
Brent: I know one thing, and it’s that everybody should have a number.
Tiffany: I agree, and I think that key performance indicators are really essential to help you track your own progression as well.
When you don’t have a proper baseline to go off of, it’s much easier to move the goalpost and say you didn’t achieve this, and you don’t know what you’re supposed to achieve. It’s still subjective and surface level, and so it leads to stagnation and frustration for the employee. It’s not actually quantifiable enough in the feedback or metric driven.
If your manager or boss tends to stay very surface level in their answers, try to get more specificity. If they use a condescending tone, try to explain why you don’t understand what they’re trying to say.
Tiffany: When a manager doesn’t make it clear what they want, the employee feels bad and insecure. To counter this, the manager should explain what they want and how they want it done, and the employee should be able to see the other side of the coin.
Brent: I can relate to the fact that sometimes I’m a visionary in assuming that everybody else understands what I would like out of something, and then I get frustrated in the fact that they didn’t understand what I wanted to get out of it.
Brent and Tiffany discuss how to motivate people to achieve their goals, including writing out, creating clear goals, and making sure that everybody is tracking them. They also discuss the importance of sharing the vision and why their involvement in the vision is so critical.
Tiffany: Managing expectations is about knowing what the vision means for you and your colleagues, and mobilizing your people in the right way.
Tiffany: It doesn’t always have to be you that gives those action steps, it could be a collaborative effort. It could be like, this is the vision that I want us to achieve, let’s talk about some strategy.
Brent: When something goes wrong with a client’s website, a boss can either help or hinder the situation. I was a very poor crisis boss, and I try to avoid “shoulding” on people. When in a crisis, you as the leader should be looking at the solution, let’s work together to find ways to move past this and be proactive. This means having processes in place, and different types of mechanisms that will help should things end up going sour.
In those actual moments when it happens, you want to be able to motivate your team and stay calm and level-headed. Try to look at the crisis from an objective point of view and act on the things you can control.
Tiffany: I think the most important thing is to get people’s involvement, without falling into a dictatorship of you gotta do this, or you should do this, or why don’t you do that. And then you as a leader have to take responsibility for it if it goes wrong.
When a leader says you should do this, and it didn’t work. Then the person who did it screws up, and suddenly we’ve thrown them under the bus for doing it wrong, I think as a leader you must take on that responsibility and then not shift the blame to anybody else.
Tiffany: A lot of companies and teams almost discount that importance where it’s okay, just to move on to the next thing. We don’t actually analyze enough what went wrong that led to that crisis. But taking ownership as the leader, as the boss honestly brings more respect than anything else.
Brent: We talk about having a feedback loop and having the ability for employees to talk to their boss. One lady said her boss would give her 30 minutes every other week to bitch and complain.
Tiffany: I definitely think leaders should lead by example, and encourage others to do the same. However, it’s important to be cautious when using openness to share and vent, especially with senior leaders who are often important decision-makers around internal movement.
If employees get the sense that you can speak about people in a certain way, they will feel more comfortable sharing. But I think there is a reason why a lot of companies don’t necessarily have those types of platforms available.
Brent: To fill out the surveys, right?
Tiffany: To learn more about them, to know something a little bit about them, to understand how they think things might play out in this current work setting.
I think anonymity as you said, is really important. It’s not the type of thing that changes overnight, but the baby steps that are going to help people feel more open to sharing feedback.
Tiffany: HR is normally the person that employees feel comfortable going to with any sort of complaint, but it depends on the type of organizational culture. If you have a complaint, bring it forward, but pair it with a solution. This helps them already get the ball rolling, and it becomes much more collaborative and well-received at the end of HR.
Tiffany: Maybe it’s worth considering versus seeing it just as negativity coming to their door, and I’m part of a community where often people have a complaint about the community without a solution.
Tiffany: It’s so easy for people to complain about something, but they’re the last to share a solution. I think that is a skill that needs to be developed.
Tiffany: Strength for you in the workplace especially, and as you grow and are exposed to senior leaders as well, they’re going to expect that of you. Take ownership of what can be done to be improved.
Tiffany: When people feel heard and understood, they start speaking with you at a different level of understanding than something that’s more authoritative alone in nature. This helps whatever strategies, and recommendations elements you bring forward to be so much better received.
Tiffany: Take the time to understand so that when you bring forward suggestions and solutions, you’re already integrating those pain points. This will help build up a lot of trust and a lot of rapport faster.
Tiffany: A little bit of anticipation factor as well as the realization that if we don’t actually fix this, it can lead to X, Y, Z. So it’s your responsibility to bring those points forward in those conversations, to help resolve it, to help move things in the right direction.
Employee turnover has been a big thing in the last couple of years. Is there a way through exit interviews or other ways to figure out why are people leaving?
Tiffany suggests that when you’re onboarding team members, really take the time to understand what motivates them, and what gets them excited to come to work, and then help them do work that feeds into that direction, you’ll have a lot less turnover.
Tiffany: You constantly have conversations with them. If there are tough times in the organization, check in with them regularly, help them feel supported, and let them know that you’re there with them and that they’re not alone.
Tiffany: Maybe a different opportunity came their way that they were so passionate about, and perhaps the progress they were seeing internally wasn’t what they wanted. But by having these types of conversations more actively, you can avoid this situation.
Tiffany: I think the employee review process should cover a little of that, but I don’t limit it to that. Having a more continuous dialogue with your team is another aspect that I’m a big believer in, and that might be a reflection of your boss.
If your boss doesn’t understand your job, it is your responsibility to build your own track record and bring forward the evolution that you are showcasing in your role. It could be impromptu, pre-prep for a certain eval, or something that you are prompting more in an ongoing way.
Brent: Communicate in a way that helps them to understand.
Tiffany: Show them the importance of certain elements of your work and why it plays into the bigger picture, and they understand at least the value that you play. One approach is to write things out for them, or share something more visually that they can follow along with you, and that helps them see the scope of the complexity that something takes or the level of diligence that’s required.
Tiffany is hosting a Free Workplace Essentials workshop that will help you navigate workplace dynamics fairly effectively and activate your most successful self. If you’re open to joining again, the workshop is on March 22nd at 12:00 PM EST.
Brent: I have a lot of different free resources as well, Tiffany. One of them is a LinkedIn learning course, a nano course all around answering common interview questions, and if people want a little bit of one-on-one action time with me in terms of a workshop.
[00:03:54] Brent: Welcome to Talk Commerce. Today I have Tiffany Uman. Tiffany is a career coach. Tiffany, go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell us about your day-to-day role and maybe one of your passions in life.
[00:04:05] Tiffany: Sure. Thanks so much for having me, Brent. Really happy to be here. So I am a career strategy coach. I focus on empowering high achievers.
[00:04:14] Tiffany: To become the top 1% in their career, really fast, track their success and start becoming very much fast tracked in their promotions, raises, job opportunities, and ultimately filling in a lot of the gaps that school never teaches us. Formerly from becoming a career strategy coach, I was a former Fortune 500 senior director in the Fortune 500 space, so a lot of firsthand learnings.
[00:04:40] Tiffany: Fuel into my coaching practice today, and I’m very passionate about giving back and paying it forward so others don’t have to feel alone in their career. And what it takes to really become that top 1% something that I am, I’m really passionate about. I’d say definitely my family when I’m not working, I’m definitely spending a lot of time with them and soaking up the quality moments that we have together brings a lot of light into my life.
[00:05:03] Tiffany: So I, I’m definitely prioritizing that more and more.
[00:05:07] Brent: That’s awesome. So we met because one of my employees sent me a link that you had done an Instagram link and I thought it was very good.
[00:05:16] Brent: But but we did want to talk about bad bosses and I thought I guess I was a little bit encouraged that an employee would send me something about a bad boss tell us some of the toxicity that can come with bad bosses.
[00:05:30] Tiffany: Oh yes. Unfortunately it’s a little bit too prevalent.
[00:05:34] Tiffany: I’ve heard a lot of horror stories over the last few years alone, and I’ve definitely experienced some very challenging moments myself. I’ve had great bosses, I’ve had not so great bosses, and I really feel for people going through some of those darker moments because it can really take a toll, to your point, Brent, it can impact your confidence, your self-esteem, your self.
[00:05:56] Tiffany: How you view your capabilities and what your abilities are. And I think bad bosses, toxic bosses, that word is thrown a lot around a lot, and there is a really important distinction around, a true toxicity driven boss versus maybe just having. A clash of leadership style versus what you need as an employee to be best supported.
[00:06:17] Tiffany: So that is a really important distinction because when it’s really talking about people’s confidence and the way they value themselves, we wanna be really clear about, which ones need to be taken very seriously, especially when it comes to wellbeing and mental health, and which ones probably need some adjustment in strategy and action steps that can actually make a current situation a lot.
[00:06:39] Tiffany: Better. But we see things from, micromanagement to nepotism, to favoritism, to down, talking to, throwing under the bus, not looking out for your best interest as their employee really yelling at you or just being really mean and embarrassing in, in many work moments.
[00:06:59] Tiffany: The list goes on. There could be also very unethical behavior. I’ve certainly. Supported quite a few of my clients with those types of really unfortunate circumstances around harassment. Things that have taken a turn, for the worst in those moments. So I never want anybody to feel alone going through that because there is hope, there is light at the end of this, but often we need that kind of support in an objective way to help you get to the other.
[00:07:25] Brent: Yeah. You bring up a lot of good points about the how you interact with your subordinates and how your subordinates theoretically should interact with you as the boss. . I know that laughter in the workplaces of value and we talked about. The free joke project, which I completely forgot when we did our interest.
[00:07:44] Brent: So waiting up front. Yeah, I’m sorry. We’re gonna pause. Take 30 seconds and I’m gonna tell you a joke. And we decided if this joke should be toxic or not. So it could be the toxic joke project and I don’t have any toxic jokes. They’re all dad jokes, I apologize. We’re just gonna take 30 seconds.
[00:08:00] Brent: I’m gonna tell you the joke. All you have to do is tell me if you feel that joke should be free, or if someday we should charge for it. And it’s an easy one. Okay? We had a contest at work for the best neckwear. It was a tie. . Yeah I agree. We had to get it out of the way cause, but up bum . Yes.
[00:08:21] Brent: Yeah. I’m sorry. I like it. Delivery was a very poor on that one. Alright, so let’s, it’s okay. I like
[00:08:26] Tiffany: it. It’s clever. I don’t see anything particularly wrong with that joke. .
[00:08:31] Brent: Yeah. Yeah, it’s I won’t make any more. I was gonna make a bunch of puns cuz I’m also good at that, but I
[00:08:36] Tiffany: won’t do that.
[00:08:36] Tiffany: Yeah I was saying that’s a good pun. a good play on words for sure. .
[00:08:40] Brent: Alright let’s just talk with let’s come back to the toxic boss and talk about how. You mentioned throwing under the bus. You mentioned not supporting you playing favoritism. , a lot of those things really work against having a great team.
[00:08:57] Brent: And Oh yeah. I know that I’ve been in situations where somebody leaves and then all of a sudden that person is the worst person in the world. Or if there’s somebody that you know is in a company and you as the boss are saying bad things about that person . Talk a little bit about the differences between.
[00:09:15] Brent: say subjective things you’re saying about somebody and being objective in terms of how you would like to that person to improve. Oh
[00:09:24] Tiffany: yeah. I think the subjectivity versus objectivity is a really important one because, subjectivity leads a lot of room for interpretation. What’s really actionable there?
[00:09:34] Tiffany: What is actually founded in something that has some weight to it? When it comes to whether it’s feedback, whether it’s improving in a certain situation, I definitely tend to recommend moving towards objective because that’s what’s gonna get the best buy-in. It doesn’t seem like it’s emotionally driven.
[00:09:53] Tiffany: It doesn’t seem like it’s just based off of feeling, but rather something that’s going to help move the situation. Forward, and I think that’s really important, especially when we are working with more challenging bosses or managers. You don’t wanna stay in that emotional subjective. Likely going to backfire.
[00:10:10] Tiffany: We need to be able to move into more of an objective lens and dialogue that’s going to help your case and at least put some cards on your side to see if this is a relationship that’s worth, that’s able to be improved and salvaged. .
[00:10:24] Brent: Yeah, I know one thing. So I’m a big believer in EOS entrepreneurial operating system, and in that framework we have a scorecard that, and the kind of the rule is, or not the rule, but best practice is that everybody should have a number.
[00:10:37] Brent: And a lot of people look at that. Maybe employees would look at that as saying, Hey, I’m only a number. . But I think that, that gives you an objective way of measuring your perform. and it also gives your boss a way of saying, Hey, here’s some objectives that we would like to achieve. Here’s the data that helps us to determine if we’re being successful in that or not.
[00:10:56] Brent: . And it doesn’t have to necessarily be bad. It could be something that points to something else that says, I wasn’t able to achieve my number because of blah, blah, blah, or, but I think it’s a great starting point to have something concrete to look at, to measure how well you’re
[00:11:11] Tiffany: doing. . Oh, a hundred percent.
[00:11:13] Tiffany: Yeah. Key performance indicators are really essential. Otherwise, how can you hold yourself accountable? Your boss can’t really hold you accountable otherwise and these are really critical to help you track your own progression as well. If goals, objectives are very surface level, are very qualitative only, it’s going to lead to a little bit of messy waters ahead.
[00:11:34] Tiffany: I can say it like that because you don’t really have a proper baseline to go off of. To your point, Brent, when you’ve got those numbers, when you’ve got those types of metrics, To use as a bit of a guideline. Now you know what your targets are and now you know what kind of room you have for improvement and you can use that to your advantage if you’re, really intentional and strategic about it.
[00:11:56] Brent: Yeah. And I think you as an employee are more comfortable when you know where the playing field is and the goalpost isn’t getting moved. Oh, yeah. In the subjectivity. And when it’s subjective, it’s much easier to move the goalpost and say you didn’t achieve this. . . And you don’t know what you’re supposed to achieve.
[00:12:12] Tiffany: Exactly. Exactly. I’ve seen it a lot, right? I’ve seen it happen a lot where, someone will have a conversation with their boss. They’ll say, yeah, you’re on your way to your next step. We just need to see this. They work on that and it’s such a surface level type of thing. So they think they’re doing what they need to do, and then sure enough, they have another conversation a little while later and their boss throws in something else in the mix being like, no we also still need you to do this.
[00:12:36] Tiffany: And it’s still very subjective and surface level, and so it leads you to stay in your positions a lot longer than needed. It creates a lot of stagnation and frustration for the employee because they’re trying to follow suit on what feedback they’re being given. But the issue there is that it’s not actually quantifiable enough in the feedback or metric driven that will allow them to have a better sense of accountability to drive their progression forward as well.
[00:13:03] Tiffany: So if you have a manager or a boss who just tends to stay very surface level in their answers giving you a little bit of direction, but not enough that you can really sink your teeth into, that’s likely a, a big watch out that you wanna try to get more specificity. , what
[00:13:19] Brent: about when you consistently hear your boss say, I was very clear in what I was trying to say, and, but nobody is clear in what they’re trying to say.
[00:13:31] Brent: , how from and this is, I suppose more for the for the manager or the boss to help them understand why they’re not clear. . Yeah. Just I’m a big proponent of simply putting it in writing and saying, this is what we’re trying to do. Yeah. Rather than just stating it. , and.
[00:13:49] Brent: Look, comment on that. I’m so clear that, why don’t you understand
[00:13:52] Tiffany: what I’m saying? Oh, yeah. And it could also depend on the tone, right? Are they using like a condescending tone on top of it when they’re telling you that of I was very clear in what I said. I don’t understand why you don’t get it.
[00:14:02] Tiffany: Like that again is really making the employee feel very bad and insecure in that moment of, okay, maybe I am missing something, maybe. Me when it could absolutely be the onus of the manager, but they’re projecting that onto their employees as if they’re doing something wrong. But the big thing here is a lot of managers, because they are so distant from the day-to-day work or the execution, let’s say that their team is handling, they might say something, thinking that it is super clear, but there’s other flares to this, other facets to it that they don’t have as.
[00:14:33] Tiffany: They don’t have as much connection to anymore. So for them it sounds very obvious what they’re asking, but the employee who’s the one that’s actually doing it is hang on a second. That’s actually not very clear, because in order to do what I think you’re asking, it actually involves X, Y, Z and you’re not mentioning X, Y, Z.
[00:14:50] Tiffany: So a good way to counter that is the employees, to help them see the other side of that coin, right? You could of course, give them feedback on maybe how they’re actually delivering. The message if that’s where the issue lies. But if it’s more around a disconnect between what they think they’re sharing with you and what actually needs to get done, you need to be able to close that gap of saying, I understand.
[00:15:13] Tiffany: That you want us to work towards, fill in the blank. In order to do that though, there is a piece that you haven’t mentioned, and I believe that’s where the confusion is coming from. And then share more around that part so they understand where you’re coming from, and you could find a middle ground to move forward more effectively than stay in this limbo state of confusion and disarray.
[00:15:34] Brent: Yeah, I can relate to the fact that so I’m in a visionary and oftentimes there’s 4 million things going in my head, and I’m assuming that everybody else understands what I would like out of something, right? Yeah. And that assumption is not met because they’re not doing it. And then I get frustrated.
[00:15:52] Brent: , I’m gonna use past tenses because I’m hoping I’m doing better. I would get frustrated in the fact that they didn’t understand what I wanted to get out of it, even though. They should have, I, put me putting some projection or whatever that on the other person is often a problem in the sense that I’m, my expectation is, you know everything I know, right?
[00:16:13] Brent: Yeah. And that you can just go ahead and do it, and I don’t have to give you much direction. All you have to do is do it. Yeah. And then if you don’t. , I’ll get a little bit frustrated in that. And yeah, it, for me it’s vis I’m very visible. When I’m frustrated. You can see it right. On Zoom even. Yeah.
[00:16:28] Brent: Again I think it probably comes down to writing it out and creating some clear goals. Yeah. And making sure that everybody’s tracking those. Yeah, that’s
[00:16:37] Tiffany: a big part of it. And I would also add to manage, expect. There’s nothing wrong with being visionary. I think that’s what’s really gonna inspire people, especially if you’re really passionate about it and you’re sharing it in a way where they could feel your excitement.
[00:16:50] Tiffany: They can feel like this could be something amazing that they get to be a part of, but to really get their buy-in. Yes. It’s part around sharing the vision. , but also, why their involvement in that vision is so critical. And to help break down more of the action steps that’s gonna help deliver on that.
[00:17:06] Tiffany: And that’s what I mean by managing expectations, because it’s one thing to get the vision, but then, okay, what does that actually mean for me as this particular employer? What does that mean for my colleague who’s also working on this? And it will help you as that manager and the leader to know that you’re mobilizing your people in the right way.
[00:17:22] Tiffany: And it doesn’t always have to be you. Necessarily being the one giving those action steps. It could be like a collaborative effort. It could be like, Hey, this is the vision that, I want us to achieve. Let’s have a conversation around some strategy that will help us get there, or some goals that will help be be good milestone indicators.
[00:17:40] Tiffany: Towards the end outcome, as an example. So there’s ways of doing it that makes it a little bit more tangible without taking away you as a visionary, because that’s probably what makes you and what can make someone really a great boss and leader.
[00:17:54] Brent: I want to talk a little bit about crisis and how a boss can either help or hinder in a crisis.
[00:18:02] Brent: And I’m gonna again, share my own personal experience on how. I can now look back and see. I was a very poor crisis boss. When something happens and, let’s just say in the software, in industry, something is going wrong with the client’s website and you as the boss are were disconnected from the day-to-day actions of whatever is happening in that project.
[00:18:28] Brent: You’re asked to come in to try to help and solve something. And I used to, and I’m I’m hoping I don’t do this anymore, but I used to immediately start doing the shoulds. And in EO Entrepreneurs’ organization, we have this thing called we don’t should on anybody. We try to share our own experience rather than shoulding on people.
[00:18:46] Brent: And as I look back at my, myself, my previous self, in the last 10 years, even I can remember how many times that I entered a stressful time. And instead of being a good coach or a mentor or in somebody to try to help somebody move forward, I started saying, I’m so disappointed in this team. I, you should have done this.
[00:19:10] Brent: Why didn’t we do that? When, at that time of crisis, you as the leader should be looking at, and I just used the word, should I should have been doing things. , let’s find the solution. Let’s work together to find ways to move past this or whatever. Yeah. To talk a little bit about how a leader can come in and either be a hindrance or a big asset in that type of situation.
[00:19:32] Tiffany: It’s such a great point, Brent. There’s a few things that come to mind. I’ll say, as a starting point when it comes to crisis manage. being proactive is going to help so much. What I mean by this is you almost wanna be ready for the crisis before it even happens. You don’t want to necessarily be in crisis mode to start coming up with strategy backup plans and spread the team a little bit thin when they’re already likely a little bit stressed about what’s going on.
[00:20:00] Tiffany: So that level of anticipation as a leader and a boss can be really helpful of, know. When times are good, that’s actually a good time to have things in place, have processes different types of mechanisms that will help should things, end up going sour a little bit later on.
[00:20:17] Tiffany: But in those actual moments when it happens, I the key is obviously, You wanna be able to still motivate your team during that time of challenge because that’s where a lot of their light can shine through of how they rise above in a very difficult occasion. And yes, I’m with you on the should.
[00:20:35] Tiffany: It’s sometimes tempting to say of you should just do this, or, why didn’t we think of that and get a little bit accusatory, but that’s probably very counterproductive in those moments. When the crisis is happening, obviously trying to stay calm and levelheaded and more solution focused and really putting on that problem solver hat is going to be key because that’s gonna show that you’re leading by example of saying, okay, look, let’s, bring our heads together.
[00:20:58] Tiffany: This is obviously not an ideal situation, but getting overly stressed and worked up is probably only gonna make matters worse. So let’s, try to keep calm and look at this from as an objective. Point of view as possible. What are things that are in our control that we can actually action right now?
[00:21:15] Tiffany: And then get people’s involvement so they feel okay, I have a voice in this. I am being valued in what my contributions are without it falling into a little bit of that dictatorship of you gotta do this, or you should do this, or, why don’t you do that? And that’s will probably make them feel even worse in an already very difficult situation.
[00:21:33] Brent: Yeah. And I, there is a balance there because I can think of, I maybe I’ve swayed sometimes the opposite direction where all I’m doing is sharing my experience and hoping that somebody gleans something off of that. Where sometimes in a crisis you do need a leader that says, go this way. Do these things.
[00:21:52] Brent: Let’s just, let’s head down this. and then it’s of course on me as the leader to take responsibility for it. I think that’s the second part of that is , you as a leader, say, here’s the direction we’re gonna take. We’re gonna solve it this way, and I’m taking responsibility. If it goes wrong, right?
[00:22:07] Brent: Oh, yeah. Because the other side to that is, if you as a leader say You should do this, and that should didn’t work, and then the person who did it screws up and then suddenly, like you said earlier, we’ve thrown them under the bus for doing it wrong. . I think as a leader, absolutely. Taking it taking on that responsibility and then not shifting the blame to anybody else.
[00:22:29] Brent: At the end of the day, you as the owner or the ceo, are ultimately responsible for everything that happens. . Yeah. And certainly a one off or a two off could be your team, but a three off, a four off and a 10 off is usually a management problem or a leadership problem.
[00:22:46] Tiffany: It’s so true. It’s so true.
[00:22:48] Tiffany: Being able to take that ownership. And that’s a really great way to inspire your team as well if they can see that, hey, Brent is, not afraid to say, this was the wrong decision, or, maybe we should have taken a different direction. Often those postmortem learnings are just as important as the learnings throughout the process.
[00:23:05] Tiffany: And a lot of, companies and teams almost discount that importance where it’s okay, just onto the next thing. Or we don’t actually analyze enough what went wrong that led to that crisis. We can prevent it happening another time. So tho those elements are really important because there’s a lot of gold that can come from those types of learnings and retrospective on, what might have happened and how to serve up differently moving forward.
[00:23:30] Tiffany: But taking the ownership as the leader, as the boss honestly brings a lot more respect than anything else. If you are the type of boss that’s gonna just blame it on your team. Shame on you as the boss because you’re still their boss and you let that happen. So it’s just gonna backfire either way if you try to almost brush it onto your team members, when at the end of the day, you’re the one that made the decision.
[00:23:51] Tiffany: You’re the one that helped guided things in that way, and you have to take some level of responsibility if not a full part of that responsibility.
[00:24:00] Brent: We talk you talk about having a feedback loop and having an ability for. The having a safe place for employees to be able to talk to their boss.
[00:24:11] Brent: I, I did an interview a couple of months ago where a lady who was a VP said that her, the owner of the company would give her 30 minutes every other week to simply bitch and complain about what’s wrong at work without any feedback. No problem solving, just listening. How would you recommend a, an owner open up that channel and make people feel comfortable doing that?
[00:24:42] Tiffany: Definitely leading by example. If they can show that, they’re open to doing it and encourage others to do it, that. It starts there because this is something that trickles down from leadership. I love that example because I don’t think we see enough companies doing that there.
[00:24:56] Tiffany: There’s always kind of two sides to that coin too, right? As much as we might feel, okay, there’s an openness to share and vent, it’s also sometimes begs the question, will this somehow backfire or will this get back to someone? You don’t wanna necessarily use that opening as a way to bash other people or throw your boss under the bus or, say really bad things about other individuals, because I think that’s just a testament to your character as well, and how you wanna present yourself in a professional setting.
[00:25:24] Tiffany: I don’t think there’s anything wrong though about fostering a feedback culture around. Weights that things can be improved, maybe around more processes, inefficiencies, things like that. But I could see a little bit of delicacy in how open people are in those settings, especially with senior leaders who are often important decision makers around internal movement.
[00:25:45] Tiffany: If they get the sense that, you can speak about people in a certain way. So the intention is good because of course, Employees are thinking this and they wanna be able to create that environment where they feel comfortable sharing. But I think there’s a reason why a lot of companies don’t necessarily have those types of platforms available because of.
[00:26:04] Tiffany: Will people truly be as transparent? Maybe yes, maybe no. A lot of organizations choose to have more of these anonymous surveys where they can actually collect information and get a better sense of where problems are and where people feel more comfortable sharing because it is anonymous. So if there is an a anonym anonymity to the type of platform and sharing that will probably help go a long way in the openness of what people are willing to share.
[00:26:29] Brent: Yeah. We used a system called Office Vibe that allow you, that allowed you to put in anonymous feedback and there was a number of questions that came out every week. Yeah. I found when I was managing it, I found it hard to often get everybody or main, make sure everybody stayed engaged in it, if we had a hundred people, you would slowly see that engagement rate drop down unless you went back and encourage people to.
[00:26:55] Brent: To fill out the surveys, right? Yeah. I can also share that six months ago I started doing the ask me anything you want and nobody took me up on it. I’ll correct myself. I think out of six months, in about 200 meetings, I probably had had three people who just had that, who wanted to use that 15 minutes to vent.
[00:27:19] Brent: Yeah. And most of the time people wanted to just tell me about their jobs and Yeah. My, I was trying, my goal was to learn more about them, and I would steer them towards how is your family, how many kids do you have? Blah, blah, blah. Cause you, at some point you can’t know everybody on the team, that and I was trying to just know something a little bit about somebody. I can see that. . Yeah, I can I see where you’re saying, I, I can definitely understand what you’re saying about it could get off the rails.
[00:27:47] Tiffany: It can, and it might not even be anything to do with you as an example, Brent.
[00:27:51] Tiffany: It could be maybe a past experience that they had that didn’t play out very well. So now they’ve got a bit of a guard up. Of how things might play out in this current work setting, as an example. So it’s always good to come from a place. I think the anonymity, like you said, is really important.
[00:28:06] Tiffany: There’s gonna be the people who choose to take you up on it, who are really eager to fill feedback. Others that might feel like I don’t feel like if I say anything, it’s gonna change anything. So I’m just not gonna say anything at all, which is a little unfortunate, but that’s probably being trickled down by the leadership that’s making them feel that their voice doesn’t matter and that’s a bigger problem.
[00:28:25] Tiffany: So there, there’s different nuances here to play into all of this, but I am still a very big advocate of trying to foster feedback in a way that will work for a specific individual. Company’s culture because that’s where it starts. The more that this becomes second nature, the more that it becomes a habit is going to help, employees really feel a lot more comfortable sharing.
[00:28:45] Tiffany: And this is something that, I had done and been part of in my corporate work. And it, it made a big changes in a good way of allowing people to feel more open to share feedback, whereas prior, it wasn’t something that was actively welcome. So it’s not the type of thing that changes overnight, but the baby steps that.
[00:29:02] Tiffany: If it’s something that is, walking the walk and talking the talk from a leadership standpoint with time, it will move things in the right direction.
[00:29:11] Brent: Is the HR person that person who should be open to listening to any sort of complaint? Is there somebody in the company that anybody should feel comfortable with?
[00:29:22] Brent: If they have some huge concern or gripe?
[00:29:27] Tiffany: Technically, yes. HR is normally that entity that will do that and be that, that sounding board. Will that always be the case? Not necessarily. I’ve certainly heard and seen a lot of stories where HR wasn’t necessarily the one that helped in that situation, but I’ve seen situations where they absolutely have.
[00:29:48] Tiffany: So I, I think it really depends on the type of organizational culture. But generally, because a HR plays a pretty pivotal role in, employee development and growth and enablement internally, they normally are quite a good. Type of department to get on your side and bring these types of topics forward.
[00:30:07] Tiffany: Especially if you’re bringing it in a way where there’s opportunity for improvement. It’s not just coming to complaint. I think that’s could be a really big pet peeve for someone in HR where they’re just hearing complaint after complaint, but no solutions. So I’m a big believer of, okay, if you have a complaint, bring it forward.
[00:30:25] Tiffany: but pair it with an with a solution, help them already get the ball rolling. You’re, if you’re the one feeling this particular challenge, you probably also have a sense of what can change to make it better, and at least bring that part to the conversation as well. So it becomes much more collaborative and well received on the end of HR to say, okay, you know what?
[00:30:45] Tiffany: They actually have a good point. Maybe, that’s something that is worth considering versus seeing it just as negativity coming to
[00:30:51] Brent: their door. . Yeah. And I’m that applies to almost every situation in life. And I’m part of a community or a bunch of, a number of communities, and oftentimes people in the Comu community have a complaint about the community without a solution.
[00:31:06] Brent: And for me, that’s, that is you’re gonna complain about this, but you don’t have anything that you would like to add to it. It’s kinda like you want to chisel it down, but you don’t want to Oh, yeah. Help
[00:31:17] Tiffany: repair it. So easy for people to do that. You’re so right, Brendan. All, I think we could all relate in with people in our lives who are very quick to complain about something, to bring something down, that yet they’re the last person that will actually share a solution, right?
[00:31:32] Tiffany: It’s okay, what are you gonna do about it? And then their face goes blank, right? They’re not ready for that, but they’re ready to openly share what’s not working. So I think that is definitely a skill that needs to be developed. But adopting that problem solving mindset is a real.
[00:31:48] Tiffany: Strength for you in the workplace especially, and as you grow and be and are more exposed with senior leaders as well, they’re gonna expect that of you, right? They’re gonna expect that it’s not just about bringing problems forward. You have to be already taking some ownership on what can be done to be improved.
[00:32:05] Brent: How about the word empathy? As a leader, how important is that?
[00:32:10] Tiffany: Oh my gosh, friends, huge. Huge. I can tell you I am a huge advocate of empathy. Especially in leadership styles it really moves mountains. It’s definitely not as prominent as it should be, and is something that can make mountains move like in a beautiful way in a workplace setting.
[00:32:32] Tiffany: When people feel heard and understood and really identified with you, you start speaking with them in such a different level of understanding than something that’s more authoritative alone in nature. When people feel like they are on the same page, that you are understanding where they’re coming from and really listening with them to understand them, it’s going to help whatever strategies, recommendations elements that you bring forward to be so much better received because it’s coming from a place of really tapping into those insights, right?
[00:33:05] Tiffany: I say this, as like a new boss as an example. If you’re starting on a team, Whether as a first time people manager or just a new boss on a team, take the time to really speak with your team members, understand where are the pain points, where are things that have been challenges for them?
[00:33:20] Tiffany: Really take that time to understand so that when you bring forward suggestions and solutions, you’re already integrating those pain points so that they’re gonna be like, oh my gosh, where was this strategy, a year ago or six months ago? And it’s going to help build up a lot of trust and a lot of rapport a lot faster.
[00:33:39] Tiffany: So I’m huge believer in empathy as a very effective leadership style and integrated in how you manage your teams for success.
[00:33:49] Brent: You’ve mentioned, take the time to speak and listen. What if, so as an employee, what if you are in a meeting? and your boss is telling you the same thing that, that to solve a problem that’s been happening for a year, let’s say, or two years or something like that, and then he or she starts discounting the problem saying, it’s not really a problem, let’s just sweep it under the rug and move on.
[00:34:16] Tiffany: Oh yes. In those moments, it’s really key to. Let them know that it’s not something that should be discounted. That could be done by sharing facts or data as to maybe the gravity of keeping that unresolved. It could be showing that this has already created quite a few consequences on the business results.
[00:34:36] Tiffany: It could also be sharing, if we don’t actually fix this, it can lead to X, y, Z. So a little bit of that anticipation factor as well. But also because sometimes they might not realize, How significant of an issue it is they might be, again, at a bit more of a bird’s eye view. So I’m like, oh, it’s not really as much of a problem, or we probably don’t need to fix that.
[00:34:56] Tiffany: But by not fixing that, it’s gonna create a much. Much worse ripple effect that will then bite them afterwards. So as the employee, maybe even as the manager of that team, it really is your responsibility to bring those points forward in those conversations, to help resolve it, to help move things in the right direction.
[00:35:15] Tiffany: Help them understand that by making a change here, there’s actually a big benefit in doing that and here’s why. And help them see what that is, versus just leaving it untouched and hoping for the best, which will probably really work against them.
[00:35:31] Brent: The employee turnover has been such a big thing now in the last couple years.
[00:35:35] Brent: Yeah. And it’s only gotten worse if you’ve consistently had ploy turnover or. You’re seeing it more and more. Is there a way through exit interviews or other ways to figure out why are people leaving? And if they’re if they’re there for a year, if you can, I know you, you pointed out to data and I’m a firm believer in data.
[00:35:57] Brent: Yeah. If you can determine they’re there for six months and then they leave or they’re there for a year, then they leave and nobody else has ever been here longer than two years, is what is the issue there? Where can we try to dig in and figure out. And try to solve that employee turnover
[00:36:11] Tiffany: problem.
[00:36:12] Tiffany: Yeah, it’s a great point, Brent. I’m not a opposed to exit interviews, but I do believe that they’re a little bit too late in the game. That’s the point where they’ve already made their decision to leave and we’re not early enough in the process to avoid getting to that point. A much more important thing to do would be almost like, Intro interviews and I don’t treat it that way with my clients, but it’s more around, when you’re onboarding team members, when you’re welcoming new people, really take the time to understand what motivates them, what gets them excited to come to work.
[00:36:46] Tiffany: Really, again, empathy, understand, identify with your employees because if you know that very early on and you are helping them do work and have a role that feeds into that directly you’re gonna have a lot less turnover. I can tell you, I, I was case in point of this with my teams, I had hardly any turnover.
[00:37:05] Tiffany: The only turnover I had was people moving on to different teams because they were getting promoted, which was more of a reflection of their progress they were making. There’s something to be said about really taking the time to understand. What drives your team members so that you constantly have a pulse and it’s not just a one-time thing.
[00:37:21] Tiffany: You constantly have conversations. Check in with them. Be in touch with them. See if you’re recognizing changes in their behavior that might prompt something about their happiness level, their motivation level. Don’t just ignore it. And be like, ah, it’s probably just tough times right now. If there’s tough times in the organization, that’s all the more important to check in with them regularly, help them feel supported, help them know that you’re there with them, that they’re not alone.
[00:37:46] Tiffany: And that’s going to help alleviate a lot of need for exit interviews because there won’t be so many people leaving the organization. They’re gonna feel really well taken care of. Of course, there’s always gonna be circumstances that what might leave someone to leave could be personal circumstances.
[00:37:59] Tiffany: Maybe it’s, a different opportunity that came their way that. They really just were so passionate about, and perhaps the progress they were seeing internally wasn’t what they wanted. But I guarantee by having these types of conversations more actively, it’s going to get to the root of the situation before waiting till exit interviews and this entire exodus of, turnover of what’s happening, what is going on here?
[00:38:23] Tiffany: Ole didn’t realize, oh, there’s probably things we should have been doing. Earlier on in our onboarding or follow through with employee development, that would’ve avoided us being in this situation.
[00:38:34] Brent: The employee review process should cover a little of that, do you think?
[00:38:39] Tiffany: It definitely should. But I don’t limit it to that.
[00:38:42] Tiffany: I think, performance reviews is one aspect that I’m a big believer in. Having more continuous dialogue to really check in with your team and help guide them and make sure they’re on track with their goals and helping to be a champion. Obviously, coming to the beginning part of our conversation, if you have a really bad boss or a toxic boss, they might not be so supportive in that, and that might be a reflection of.
[00:39:05] Tiffany: Them as a leader, but also possibly for you to move to a different team or maybe find a different type of organization that will enable really effective managers versus ones that are driving talent out the door. But it’s definitely something that plays into performance reviews and evaluations that goes beyond that.
[00:39:22] Tiffany: If it’s a really good boss, they’re gonna take the time to have more conversations and make sure that their team feels really motivated at all times. ,
[00:39:32] Brent: do you recommend as an employee pressing for interim reviews and maybe some kind of pre-performance check in with your immediate supervisor to make sure you’re on track?
[00:39:45] Brent: I
[00:39:45] Tiffany: do. Yes, I do. And it doesn’t even have to be anything formal. , it could be pretty informal. Just check in. And again, as the employee, this is your responsibility to build your own track record and bring forward the evolution that you’re showcasing in your role. You don’t wanna just rely on your boss to just know everything that you’re doing because they, they probably don’t, and you don’t wanna miss.
[00:40:08] Tiffany: Those golden moments to share, how much that you’ve advanced or progressed in a certain way. So having those continuity of conversations is really important. And it could definitely be impromptu, pre prep for a certain eval or something that you’re prompting more in an ongoing way that your boss and you can really discuss together.
[00:40:28] Brent: All right. One last topic cuz I know we’re going along here, but let’s just say your boss doesn’t understand your job. and you are working hard to figure out what are the key points that I need to communicate to show that I’m doing my job. And you feel as though you, maybe you’re not appreciated in what you’re doing because they don’t understand it and you can’t.
[00:40:52] Brent: Communicate in a way that helps them to understand
[00:40:56] Tiffany: it. Yeah. Yeah, that’s an excellent point. There’s a couple things. I think obviously there’s a gap there in their understanding of the roles. So finding those opportunities of filling them in on maybe the complexity of the work that you’re managing or that.
[00:41:12] Tiffany: things wouldn’t get done without you doing X, Y, Z, and showing like really the importance of certain elements of your work and why it plays into the bigger picture, that could be one way to get their attention without even needing to understand every single detail. They understand at least the value that you play in the work that you do.
[00:41:30] Tiffany: That’s one approach that you can take. Another is to also almost lay it out for them. You said it earlier, writing things out maybe. Sharing something more visually that they can follow along with you, and you can really walk them through, a little bit of the scope of the complexity that something takes or the level of diligence that’s required, or the amount of stakeholders that might be involved on a certain project, and that this is something that you’re really leading and owning in your work to get to that end outcome.
[00:41:58] Tiffany: So sometimes visual support can help them see it a lot more clearly. and allow you to then pair that with the value that you’re bringing in those tasks and projects as well. .
[00:42:09] Brent: And that’s great. And I have so many more questions, but I think we’re gonna have to , we’re gonna have to round it out here.
[00:42:14] Brent: Tiffany, as we close out the podcast, I give everybody an opportunity to do a shameless plug about anything you’d like to plug. What would you like to plug today? .
[00:42:22] Tiffany: Thanks Fred. I love how you coined this the joke and the shameless pluck. If anybody is interested and it’s timely with the topic of today.
[00:42:30] Tiffany: Next week on March 22nd, I’m actually hosting a Free Workplace Essentials workshop. It’s a very exciting workshop, a 60 minute event that is going to help you navigate workplace dynamics fairly effectively and activate your most successful. You. There’s a lot of things that school never teaches us.
[00:42:48] Tiffany: A lot of what Brent and I talked about today fall into that camp as well. And I’d love to really be there. Fill in those gaps and set you up for so much success in the workplace, because that’s the foundation of inevitable success for you, and we wanna get those things right. So yes, if you’re open to joining again, it’s March 22nd at 12:00 PM e s t.
[00:43:09] Brent: Awesome. So you have just, I’m gonna commit, cuz my podcast comes out every Tuesday. So this will be, I’m gonna make this one come out on the 21st of March. Oh, . And so we’ll get it live by then. And I will put all the contact information in the show notes as well. Okay. And maybe I’ll write something as a blog post in advance if you wanna send it.
[00:43:30] Brent: And we can direct you some people your way.
[00:43:32] Tiffany: Oh, I appreciate that. And I have a lot of different free resources as well, Brent. I just published a new free LinkedIn learning course as well, a nano course all around answering common interview questions. So that is readily available, but if people want a little bit one, one-on-one action time with me in terms of a workshop.
[00:43:51] Tiffany: It’d be great to see them join us there as well. And,
[00:43:54] Brent: One last question. Are you Canadian? I am. All right, good. So I got my accent right? Yes. Still . I had a Canadian yesterday as well. So where are you calling
[00:44:03] Tiffany: in from? I’m from Montreal.
[00:44:05] Brent: Oh, wow. Okay. Excellent. Yes. Good. Tiffany, this has been so enjoyable.
[00:44:09] Brent: I had another topic I wanted to talk about. It was the fluffy pancake versus the crepe. Or you, either you spread somebody so thin that it’s, loose and flavor or versus the oven pancake where everything is all rich and inside and you have plenty of space to work Anyways, maybe it’ll be a new topic we can do in the future.
[00:44:27] Tiffany: I love it. Brent, thank you so much for having me. This was a lot of
[00:44:30] Brent: fun. Thank you.