Podcast 879: Anxiety at Work with Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

In this engaging interview with Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, we discuss their new book entitled Anxiety at Work: 8 Strategies to Help Teams Build Resilience, Handle Uncertainty, and Get Stuff Done. 

In our discussion, we speak about, anxiety and stress in the workplace as it affects productivity, focus and performance.

If you want to learn more about Adrian Gostick and and Chester Elton their books and courses, you may click here to visit their website.

I hope you enjoy this great interview with authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transciption (not edited) of the interview.

Anxiety at Work with Chester Elton & Adrian Gostick

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside Personal Growth. This is Greg Voisen, the host of Inside Personal Growth. And I want to thank both of my authors because this is a co author book, it's called Anxiety at Work: 8 Strategies to Help Teams Build Resilience, Handle Uncertainty, and Get Stuff Done. Adrian Gostick is there on the bottom, and on the top is Chester Elton. For those of you who are watching this on a video for those of you who are not it's just audio you don't know top from bottom anyway. So, it doesn't really matter that much. Thank you, boy for joining me today. Adrian is joining us from Park City, and Chester is joining us from New Jersey where he resides. Thank you, guys, both. I am going to let my listeners know a tad bit about each of you, just a little bit before we get into a series of questions around the book, just so you know, these gentlemen are the author of eight. Well, is it seven other books including this one?

Chester Elton
14 actually, this is Chester, we just finished the Anxiety at Work we've been writing together for 20 years and Anxiety at Work is our 14th booked in

Greg Voisen
14th book. Well, you guys have made a good partnership I can tell from the videos that I've seen and I'll direct all of my listeners. All you have to do is type in Chester Elton, calm, E-l-t-o-n, You'll get there and you can get to Adrian's website at Adrian G-o-s-t-i-c-k.com either of them, I was just informed by Adrian, that they now have, they have Elton and Gostick gospel, and Elton Gostick okay so the other way around so you got first billing on this one guy always gets first billing, always that's the Lennon and McCartney it's never McCartney and Lana. That's great. Well, Chester is spent two decades helping clients engage their employees to execute on strategy vision and values in a proactive inspiring and always entertaining speeches he's number one bestselling leadership author and provides real solutions to leaders. And he Chester's also been called the apostle of appreciation by Canadian Globe and Mail creating the refreshing. Refreshing and by New York Times, as a must read for modern managers by CNN. Adrian hailed as the number eight leadership guru and number nine organizational guru of 2020 and Adrian helps clients around the world with employee engagement and leadership issues, their clients, I'm presuming combined together are like Bank of America, Rolls Royce Cisco California Pizza Kitchen, which is where I reside, I have one down the street, that's great. Also, Adrian is a global expert on organizational culture and the author of The New York Times and number one Wall Street Journal bestsellers the carat pencil, and when they say he is they mean he and Chester, so both of them, they kind of done everything together, it's earned his master's degree in leadership from Seton Hall University where he's a guest lecturer in organizational culture and founding partner of the culture works which is their organization a global consultancy focusing on helping organizations build high performance work cultures. Well, that's a mouthful but both of you guys have plenty of credentials, all my listeners need to do is go to the website and check it out. That's where you'll learn more about them and go to Amazon which will have links to the books on Amazon. So, you can click those links and get to them. Well guys, um, you know, I really enjoyed how you started the book off with this story about the manufacturing company in Arizona that you were speaking to and right in the middle of the pandemic. And I'm curious, you know, because we're talking about anxiety. And to me, anxiety, and loneliness and all of these things. They're not just exacerbated by the pandemic, but there's been a lot of things that have going on in your estimations, how has the impact on productivity which the numbers are pretty alarming when you look at them, but I think they've always been growing the key is now we've had a pandemic. We have people that were unemployed like crazy. We're going to get into the job security thing, but how is it really on productivity, and the mental health of the workers today really affected them, and we'll go with Chester He's raising his hand so he's going to say first.

Chester Elton
You know I just like to kick it off and say you know while there was a whole bunch of unemployment in different industries and so on. One of the surprising things about the pandemic is the productivity for those that were still working actually went way up, you know, for those that were remote workers, and that actually was a huge point of anxiety because there was no separation between work and life, you know your commute was walking through the door. And so, it was very interesting that there was a lot of anxiety for those that lost their jobs and were trying to figure out how to pay the rent and pay their mortgages and so on. On the flip side, there was a lot of anxiety for those that had jobs that were working at home and now their productivity is sky high, and yet there's no time to, to refresh and build that resilience but Adrian What's your take on that.

Adrian Gostick
Yeah, I know it's it’s a good starting point Greg because you're right we are seeing. We're seeing impacts to with this great resignation right now we're seeing impacts that a lot of businesses just can't even get started. And though the people who were there are working actually quite productively, but it's actually it's just a says leading to, to, to twin greater levels of anxiety because people just can't turn off if they have a job, they have a good job especially they want to keep it. What Wi Fi can't find the great resignation is all actually about bad jobs. We can't find people to do things that, you know, to work in retail to work in service to clean to do all those things. If you have a good job you want to hold on to it, we can't hire people to do those things that maybe aren't as sexy those entry level and so that's the discussion we're having right now. So how do we get people to come, feel good about working feel like they're making a contribution and bring down anxiety levels, that's what we're looking at,

Greg Voisen
well, you guys, you know you do an interesting thing here you delineate between, anxiety, stress and worry and these are three different responses because of, I say because of fear. I think the key behind most of it as an emotion is always fear. And we have emotionally, mentally and physically, there's an impact. And I like how you guys define or if you would define the differences for the listeners between the three of these because I think it's important, I think people like to lump them up and they say well, anxiety, and doubt and worry and fear you know they're, they're all the same thing, but they truly are and stress being the result of those emotions and how we deal with them,

Adrian Gostick
It's a good point we're making here Greg is that, you know, worry is you know I'm afraid of catching the virus, I'm afraid, and I have a big presentation coming up I'm worried. That's normal, and worrying stress and anxiety are all normal human emotion so worry is we're typically focused on an individual or single thing. It can lead to stress, stress is when our body starts getting involved. It's hard to sleep, you know, we're starting to, you know, our hands are getting sweaty where stress is starting to affect us, and we know from studies over years and years that stress actually, if it is prolonged it never stops can lead to some really bad things, heart disease, cancers, even full-blown anxiety. So, we have worried, which is one event stress starts getting into our bodies, but when we get to anxiety that even when the stressor is removed, we are still feeling the anxiety. Now it can be one of two things it can be an anxiety disorder that we feel all through our lives that people work and deal with, or it could be something creative within us like PTSD can create anxiety, stress over long periods of time, many teens many traumas, can create anxiety we see that in in soldiers and police officers, firefighters, etc., dealing with trauma, almost every day, and we're also seeing it in people dealing with this pandemic for the last year and a half, that it's actually creating full blown anxiety in people.

Greg Voisen
But it's interesting, I'm reading a book by Michael Pollan right now called change your mind, and the PTSD, the guys that are coming back, the anxiety, the stress, whatever, you know, he's, he's actually delving into the micro dosing of psycho celebrants to actually reduce anxiety. Now I'm not advocating that that's what the listeners go do what I'm saying it's pretty interesting. The effects of anxiety on a, on a cancer patient who maybe is going to die. Right. And how do you help relieve that how do you put them in a different state of consciousness where they can do that or somebody with PTSD. And you know, you guys state that anxiety costs 40 billion a year in lost productivity errors and health care costs. And while stress is estimated over $300 billion a year you said in the book. If you would speak with us about how these effects on various generations in the workplace. We know that the Gen Z they want to talk about it. I mean I, I work with Gen Z I work with millennial, they like to talk about it when you get to the Gen Xers, maybe not so much that would be me. And so I'm curious because you discuss it in the book, and you discuss that these generations kind of maybe flow with this or deal with anxiety, stress, worry in different ways. So, whoever wants to address that will go for it.

Chester Elton
Yeah, no, I'll jump in, you know, it's really interesting. You know you talked about all the books we wrote. You know as the as the buildup this book actually isn't an Elton and Gostick book, it’s an Gostick and Elton and Gostick book. We've got Adrian son Anthony, who, you know, really courageously dealt with anxiety for most of his life and gave us that wonderful perspective and I'll turn it over to Adrian for in a bit to brag on his son and the contributions he made because you know we are we are not of that generation, my generation, you would never talk about anxiety or admit to being under stress because of the stigma of you being weak or not being tough enough, the fear of not getting a promotion or getting a plum assignment so you know we would tamp it down and stick it there until you know you wouldn't know that anybody had anxiety or stress until they, you know, had an ulcer, which wasn't that uncommon,

Greg Voisen
But you also spoke about in the book, and I think this is important that upper management people and remember the one story that the gentlemen it's easier for them to come out about it. that is for maybe middle management people to actually talk about anxiety, depression, their fears, whatever mental health issue, they may have it doesn't matter what it is. So, with that being said, I mean if you've got these not only generational divisions, and now you have class divisions with inside the organization meaning, you know, high, higher-ranking people who can come out about that so Adrian any insights from your son on being able to discuss anxiety in the workplace and have discussion groups.

Adrian Gostick
Yeah, no it's a great question, you know it's a big question too because we're talking about generations are talking about what leaders, you know feel themselves middle managers, etc. And so, there's a lot to unpack in there which is, but it's important questions you're asking, you know, just a couple weeks ago I was doing an in-person session one of the first we're doing, getting back to, and we're training on anxiety work, teaching resilience, and I probably had 100 and 150 managers in the session boy, and it was amazing how much they were engaged. And as we went around at the end saying, Okay, what did you learn what are you going to take away. I had at least four or five people say the most important thing I've got some tools now to help my people, but most importantly, I realize I'm not alone. I've been feeling this as a middle manager but I haven't told anybody. And so, what's really interesting is just to say as our generations Gen X and baby boomers we just squeezed it down in the, in the Z Yeah, exactly. And so, what we're getting into now with Gen Z coming in right and millennials, is that they're talking about it. So, Anthony was one of the first one actually to talk about we need this book and he talked about this back in his high school days he's now 25 at USC in his master's program, studying regenerative medicine and stem cell biology, he's not a dumb kid by any means. He's brilliant, and yet realized that he was as he was working in labs in genetics labs, over the last five years or so he said the other some managers who get me as somebody with anxiety, and some who just don't get me at all. And he says, I know who I could really confide with hey I need to probably need a day. He says there's other times I would work 80 hours a week and I would just plow through, but we just work very differently. He said. So, he really was very open, and he started introducing us to other younger people and what they told us, not just now people you know that half of young people, by the way in their early 20s have anxiety. Anxiety so yeah if you, if you say now there's nobody really in my family have it, you're probably not seeing

Greg Voisen
well, no I relate to that, I mean my younger son, my older son who is a Chief Design Engineer at a very big company has insomnia and insomnia is worry. You know the company basically creates programs where they can go see a counselor about specifically about insomnia, if you can believe that, um, which kind of surprised me but you know they had a counselor so it, you know you look at these conditions which are being exacerbated as a result of the amount of stress that's being induced in the workplace. And it's manifesting itself in various forms of anguish anxiety, Insomnia, or any other things that you can do I'm sure there's lots of others that we have a name that healthcare professionals could name, but it is a big problem. Right. I mean you're saying it's a $300 billion problem stress, you're saying anxiety is a $40 billion problem I think it's probably even more than that in lost productivity, and other things. So, both of you, you know you've organized the book to deal with eight leading sources for anxiety in the workplace, you know, the first is employee uncertainty about organization strategy for contending with challenges and how it affects job security. I get job security as a big thing. Can you address these issues, and as you stated, July 2020, 60% of workers said they were concerned about job security? Now we're only talking like a year ago. Right. That's, that's a huge number, that are saying hey I don't know I'm going to have my job and now obviously that creates worry and that creates anxiety and that creates stress. How would you help leaders reassure workers about job security and what are the six methods to meet uncertainty?

Chester Elton
Well, you know you jump in, as with any kind of crisis, you know, communication is just really important. You know that you've got a rapport with your people and you're checking in on a regular basis, you know employees want to know, how am I doing, how's the company doing, where are we going, how do I fit. And, you know, the old traditional annual review is so ineffective now we're telling leaders and managers look in crisis time, you should be checking in at least once a month, if not weekly, that you know during your crisis how you're doing. I mean, we had clients that during the crisis, when it first hit in the restaurant industry, they were meeting every morning with their leaders and their leaders were communicating with their line people every day, because everything was changing, so for me it really starts with communication, and then that second part is very specifically, how do your people fit into the plan. Where are we, where are we going, how are we going to get there, how do I fit, am I valued, Adrian, you know, what would you add to that.

Adrian Gostick
Yeah, and this is a big question too and uncertainty because this is the number one cause of anxiety for No, and a lot of leaders probably listening to this will say well, but I don't have all the answers, and that's okay. And that's the number one method we present in the book is, you have to make it okay to not have all the answers, but people have to feel like we're going to go into this together. We're going into the dark together. And then part of it too is that some of us, in fact, studies show about more than half of those when we get into tough times, we clamped down we want to micromanage everything, and we want to. And we put more stress and pressure. We learned this from Nicole Makowsky was the first female pilot in the Air Force's Thunderbirds. And she told us when you hit turbulence as a, as a in one of these formation groups. She says you actually have to loosen your grip it's counterintuitive that when you hit turbulence instead of taking control of that stick you actually go to just two fingers, and she says otherwise you end up in what's called a pilot induced oscillation you end up kind of bouncing even more so, and she says this is something for us as leaders as well, when we hit tough times, we actually have to loosen our grip, we have to trust in our team, we have to make it through. And so there's in my anxiety work we present a lot of ideas about just the things that just talking about him, you know, presenting clear a strategy, letting people know exactly what's expected of them, helping people know you control what you can control and you have to let the rest go, there's a lot of strategies that you can employ the worst thing you can do with uncertainty is just have a strategy of, gee, I hope that everybody's okay, you've got to do something

Chester Elton
I think hope is a great strategy. Yeah.

Greg Voisen
Well and I think your other book. Gratitude is a great strategy. You know when you really think about it. If somebody can wake up every morning grateful for their job. They can be a lot more focused, and I find that gratitude does that and it's a shameful plug for your other book as well. That is true. And you know, you guys. We've had a couple of people on the show and one is Rita McGrath and you cited her in the book, and I just had Jonathan Brill on his book, rogue waves future proofing your business. He's a future. It's interesting because businesses today well maybe before weren't as interested they had their nose to the grindstone and doing what they did. But really, projecting what disruptions may come again. What are the disruptions in our industry, what are the disruptions that might occur as a result of something like a pandemic that, you know, people claim they didn't see, but we've known about this for a long time? After speaking with Jonathan Brill, we've known about most of these things. He is a great example would you guys get, you know, the Titanic was cruising across the sea, and the captain had it full bore and it got hit and all those people drowned and got killed, but the reality is, there was information ahead of time which they knew there were 1800 icebergs crossing that area at that time. So, it's like you're driving right into it. You know, you would think that maybe you would have slowed up a bit and I think that's read them a grasp point here and you bring up a good point about the story about the Navy Seal and how weak, and the correlation with the research work that Rita did at Columbia Business School about taskers. Can you relate the story and the point you're making to the listeners about dealing with employees to reduce stress and anxiety because I think it's, it's really important it's like okay we're going to bring all this down and we're going to get focused and we can do what we can with what we have? Right.

Chester Elton
I mean it is one of our favorite stories really isn't a daydream about the navy seals the taskers and the optimists, no misers not misers Yeah, well I've, I've heard of both ways, I think it is interesting that you know when you can just focus on what's ahead of you. Yeah, it reduces a lot of stress you know they do these running or they're in the freezing water whatever it is. I'm not worried about getting to the end of it I'm not getting worried about getting tough tomorrow I just I'm just going to get through this. And they sleep better, to your point about insomnia, because they're not worried so much about tomorrow and it's a hard thing to do because we do projects, you know, we want to look for danger down the road. And I love I love the test here's it's been really helpful for me. After we wrote that, you know when you get caught up in certain days and you start to think, oh, this, this day is crushing, and you go you know what, let's just get through this meeting. Let's just get through this, let's get just get through that and then you get to the end today go Oh, it wasn't that bad. You know, we did it.

Greg Voisen
You make a really important point and I think what we do frequently to in our society Western culture in particular we identify, we use a noun or a verb to describe something and then we believe that's what it is. So, then we're walking around with that identification, you know, if you really want to get deep psychologically if you're going to let go and release. You need to release the identification with what it is that's creating that. But it's so difficult in the workplaces because that's where people come from. We have these hierarchies and people move up in the ladder and that's the way it's supposed to be. But the reality is that to read to eliminate the stress and reduce it. You need to stay present. And I think if there's one thing that Rita McGrath is talking about is like, how do you, you know if these taskers can just work on one thing and complete it. And I've even had companies I'm working for saying guys we've got so many things on the initiative here like for dx, right, and we know we're going to go to the wildly important goal. Well, what is that wildly important goal, what are we going to get done right and how are we going to accomplish it. And you talk about in the clear path forward, you say. Sherry Sandberg CBS C E O A Facebook quote leadership's about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure the impact lasts and the absence. What advice do you have for leaders listening about becoming great leaders? And what I want to call instilling within others. This autonomy to just be able to do what they can do. And while you're gone, know that they can continue to do it if you guys look at your list of companies from In and Out Burger to Bank of America. That's what any great leader wants to have happen. The question is, is how you instill that with inside of everybody within the company.

Adrian Gostick
Yeah, no it's a big question because that's what every leader is trying to do is to create this legacy that that continues it's almost like spraying perfume in a room, it stays after you leave in a positive way. Right. And so, so really, and this is what our work is done for 20 years that we've, we've studied this and we know that there's a series of things that leaders do that, that are more effective, you know, they, they, for instance, They really define the burning platform for others around them, which means that they, they talk about the competitive threats very honestly, the and this is the reason why we have to do things the way we do that includes our purpose, our mission, our vision but they put it in very, very simple to understand competitive terms. So that is really clear they they're more agile than their peers, they're, they're more customer focused, they're more transparent. They hold people accountable, but they do it in very positive ways. And the red thread, we found throughout our work is that they are more grateful, the best leaders really take time to, to be grateful to their people they and gratitude is more than just saying thank you it's actually seeing the value that's being created around you. So, it's being more observant. So, there are there are steps we have found in our research that really correlate to higher levels of engagement with employees with profitability with customer satisfaction, that really are inculcated in a lot of our work and anxiety at work.

Greg Voisen
Here's some of the questions that you would ask during these check ins with these people. I know you've enumerated them in the book. And I think it's a very valuable point for somebody who picks this book up and wants to read it. What, what some of those might be.

Chester Elton
You know, it's really interesting actually even since the book, we've been doing a lot of interviews in our podcasts as well and one of the, one of the ways to check in that we really like is, rather than say, Hey Greg, you're anxious, aren't you hit it head on, that's probably not your best tactic language like, hey, I've noticed. You know, I've noticed that you haven't been quite yourself you're always on time and you're struggling to show up a little late listen though we know it's been tough for everybody. I'm here for you. How can I help you no language like that as you check in, I love that I've noticed? And to your point, the messages that I care. You know, back to the previous discussion about how you how do you, you know, protect yourself against the great resignation, how do you attract and then keep good people as they need to know that that you care and those chickens around not just is the assignment do. How's the family, how are you doing, I've noticed, let's just have a conversation just man you really, really help and I know we've got the list in the book as well I think that takeaways for the listeners. If you just incorporate more of, hey, I've noticed, into your language. I think you're going to find people a lot, a little more trusting and a little more open. Does that make sense?

Greg Voisen
Totally, I mean, I, you know, coming from my perspective, you know, I went back late in life and got a master's degree in spiritual psychology. And one of the things we used to say in the course was, you know, you don't have to believe everything you think. And the reality is that you know you get people making up stuff, right, and then beginning to believe it, they get a vicious circle. And then that becomes the result of their anxiety their fear, their frustrations their doubts their whatever it may be, you know, and, and I think that's important for people to realize is that the monkey mind is always going, it's always constantly moving forward with more thoughts and to quiet that mind down, and to get very focused, requires that you, You know, if you ask those questions that you just posed it, it really brings a calming effect. You know we know all the answers within our side of ourselves, if we're willing to ask the questions now, you're prompting those questions through those check ins, and then now all we have to do is think about it. And you know, you mentioned in the book that common complaint you hear from managers is that many of their people today are conflict avoidant, I really like this one. You can't be conflict avoidant and not then have anxiety or stress. And then the other thing is his anger starts to show up when you're conflict avoidant. So, they shy away from disagreements and they can't handle on his feedback and will not engage in tough conversations. How would you advise our leaders who are listening about creating more harmony in the workplace, especially around this conflict avoidant behavior that you see happening?

Adrian Gostick
You know, and conflict actually has a very important place in the workplace. Now we don't want personality conflicts, what we want are debates over creativity. We want debates over process improvement, and we want people to be able to speak up, but with that number we talked about earlier that you asked about Greg or that 60% of people worrying about their jobs. When people worry about their jobs, they don't offer up ideas, that's the last thing on their mind is to stick their heads above the you know the parapet and to see what's out there. They're just worrying about getting through the day. And so, what we're looking for that we debate in every aspect of our lives we debate politics and sports and everything, and then we come into work and all of a sudden, people clam up, and that's not what creates creativity. So, it's really important, what we find is low levels of candor in a team really creates poor performance. There's hurt feelings people withhold their best ideas. So, what we have to do is really set some ground rules for debate. Not only do we do those little things like go around make sure everybody's contributing fine, but I'm still not going to contribute if I'm not feeling trust in this environment. And so, we as leaders really do have to set ground rules that say, here's how we're going to treat each other during our debates. And, you know, we'll, we'll argue the idea but never the person. You know those little snide comments, they're never funny, we won't do them in front of each other or behind their backs, etc. Whatever the ground rules are the genius is not having the specific rules, it's having something in place that helps people know, we want to debate, and here's how we're going to do this in a safe way,

Chester Elton
I would add to that, most leaders don't want that kind of feedback loop for fear of conflict, employees want feedback, you know, I think our numbers were around 65% or something of employee say look I want to know how am I doing, am I on track. One of the one of our favorite leaders I was just on the video chat with him this morning, Gary Rich at WD 40 Fabulous culture tribal culture we hunt together we feed each other we cheer for each other you know it’s; he created a tremendous

Greg Voisen
Just down the road for me,

Chester Elton
There you go. Absolutely. You know, for those who I never leave home without my travel size right. The thing that he's done to encourage debate is he says look, we don't make mistakes we have learning moments. And I think, you know that mantra is so liberating for people to give feedback in the loop when something's gone wrong. They're not worried about being punished or victimized or villainized for mistakes they make they're interested in solving the problem making sure we don't make that mistake again. You know one of the great things that Anthony Gostick brought to us in dealing with innovation and making mistakes he says you know I'm becoming a scientist and when you think of science, it's just mistakes with notes. Appreciate that was such a great explanation of a whole way of being for scientists of course we're going to make mistakes, write that down, you know. And so, I think as Adrian says when you've got those kind of ground rules when you've got that kind of mantra, because going back to what you said before Greg and I'm just as guilty of this as anybody. We get a wrong thought in our head. And the more we say it, the more we believe it. Right. You know he could actually have no basis in reality whatsoever, we through constant repetition, convince ourselves,

Greg Voisen
Well, we live in a world of MSU, making stuff up, then, then we believe the stuff that we made up 90% of it, it doesn't mean anything anyway so, but the reality is we make up stuff, and then that stuff, believe it or not, can turn into our reality and it cannot be the right stuff you want to bring into your life, right?
Chester Elton
And it can be dangerous. I remember convincing myself that I really was being stalked by JLo, I wasn't. And it was very embarrassing in social situations.

Greg Voisen
I like that when that's the good joke. Well, I think that, you know,

Chester Elton
What do you mean joke?

Greg Voisen
I like it, because you're the funny one, and I like the fact that we have humor because humor then brings up another whole issue it's important to have humor, all the time as Bernie Siegel would be who wasn't, he was just on the show, not that long ago. Hey, you know, resiliency is important in Irie I've for the last two years, consulted a company 20 for a life Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic has an app and I remember one of the doctors talking about resiliency, and not everybody is born with the set of resilient factors. Okay, and resiliency has to actually be developed. And I think this doctor is absolutely correct, you know, if you came into a family that, you know, had all the right circumstances and everything worked out you might be extremely resilient I remember him actually saying that, during one of the videotapes and my visit to Mayo clinic as well. And I and I look at that and I go, man is he right. The reality is that in the culture today and what you guys are working with within anxiety. The best antidote is to develop resilience as an individual, as a team, as an organization, what would the two of you say, if there are varying degrees of resiliency amongst individuals. Some people cry at the drop of a hat right, they can't stand it. Other people are like well let's for John, that’s a, that's a move for me I'm going to actually take this on. How would you recognize individuals so leaders could recognize them and help them build resiliency amongst the workforce?

Adrian Gostick
Now, in this is really a great place as we kind of get near the end here to really focus in on this idea of resilience, because this is what we're all looking for. And you're right, I mean, that sometimes people are built into it or born into families that the build this with them. Other people are born into the worst of circumstances and build this up so there has been, you know a lot of very, very smart people who have studied this over the years and, and the trick is, we don't really know why some people build more resilience than others. What we do know, as you just said is weak wherever we are right now, we can build more and so the for the two most important things we found in our work is the first one is this idea of mastery it's and it's not mastery of everything it's having a sense of control over what we can control and letting the rest of it go, that really actually and that's a big idea in one little sentence but then it's vital to be able to control what we can control let everything else go. The second is the idea of so is the idea of social support…

Greg Voisen
Can I put in a crazy little plot, Adrian?

Adrian Gostick
Yeah, of course, yeah

Greg Voisen
For all those listeners who have never heard George Leonard because he's been deceased for many years I had the honor of interviewing he wrote the book called Mastery, and he was one of the founders of Esther one up in the Bay Area, he and Michael Murphy, and not, there is not one better interview I sat in his living room for four hours, and was just in awe of where he came from mastery, and he speaks exactly about what you're speaking about. And I think that book was the number one selling book around developing mastery by George Leonard. And so, what I would say to all my listeners if you want to listen to this podcast. Great, thank you. I hope you do, but if you would go back to George Leonard's podcast, I'll put a link in here, around mastery because it's, it's really good. Sorry, sorry to interrupt.

Adrian Gostick
No, I would love to. I'd love to listen to that as well.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, I'll send you the link.

Adrian Gostick
Yeah, it's terrific. And the second one is, is social support. Now this is important because, because this is what so many people miss only 10% of their of employees say they would feel safe talking to their boss about their mental health. Yeah, that's a problem. So, we have to find people that will help us, and, and most of the time we keep turning to the same people, I hear this from people I get keep telling my mom about my mental health, but she just doesn't get as a. Why are you keeping talking to your mom about it she will never get it? Talk to us, don't, don't stop talking to him. Talk to somebody else find people who can give you support coming back to our military idea, you know, the, the folks who helped the military members who come back from war are other soldiers, not therapists not senior officers, it is other soldiers that's who provides the best help, not that those other people aren't important in it, so you had to find social support.

Greg Voisen
But you have to find social retribution in the workplace too Adrian, and that is a question, really, also as well for Chester. Chester, I don't know if Adrian knows Quint Studer, but Quint just wrote a great book and was on, and we've been talking but one of the things that was going on in our hospital systems and this has been going on for years is the retribution around the death of a patient so it would be hidden. Now I don't know if that's so true, kind of up in Canada, but it isn't the United States, and you know you've got a culture now that is saying, Well, we really can't talk about this, because if we talk about it, we have liability, right, and the liability is that maybe somebody did something wrong, and this created the death of somebody, right, can you imagine what pressure it is for a nurse or a doctor or somebody who may be attempting to work in an environment like that so now they've started with these open focus groups to be able to talk about these things and this has been going on for a while, but the reality is, think about that. It's got to be extremely stressful. Any thoughts on that, um, Chester.

Chester Elton
Well, yes, I mean, again it comes back to have you created a culture where you can discuss hard things, right, when you talk about the individual, one of the concepts that keeps coming back to us again and again as far as building resilience is having as Adrian said on social network, to have somebody that's an ally, and we've got a whole chapter on being an ally in the book, the idea, keeps coming back to us again and again, you're not alone I'm not alone. There's someone I can go to, you know, when you say, people can build resilience, I think part of building resilience is having somebody that believes in you. I mean, how often do we hear about the athletes and the performers and so on that come from just ridiculously negative and dangerous backgrounds. And what was the key I had a coach that believed in me, and you know I had a mentor that that told me I could do it. And it's so funny as we do these, they are training around Anxiety at Work with managers and leaders. The other conversation shifts from Yes, my people are suffering, they're suffering they're suffering, thank you so much, I've got tools and then, oh by the way. Me too. You know, so where do the leaders go to have that allied to build it up, I think culture as is often said culture eats strategy for breakfast. If you've got a good culture where people trust each other, and you can have those hard conversations where mistakes aren't punished. They’re simply learning moments as they have WD 40, And you've got an ally somebody that you know believes in you problem in many cases more than you believe in yourself. Those are great foundational building blocks for resiliency, because it takes away a lot of the fear it takes away a lot of the stigma and allows you to ask questions, and the most important question that I think builds resilience is when it's safe to ask for help. When can you say help?

Greg Voisen
And as I think you know look and kind of summing up here that what the Dalai Lama would say is empathy and compassion. And I think one of the best attributes a leader can have today is tremendous compassion and tremendous empathy and understanding and with that begets a culture that has less fear. And the reality is when you really break it down in some kind of simple terms here for our listeners. Fear is the driving force behind anxiety, and all of these other emotions that we have. And if you can remove fear from your workplace. I always love what Herb Kelleher used to said you guys are culture, guys. And you know he'd walk around with m&ms and he hand out m&ms to the people you guys remember all this because this goes way back. But the fact that he just walked around, and he wasn't even the undercover boss, he just wanted people to know that he was there and he loved him. And he said, and Southwest Airlines is about love. That doesn't mean Southwest Airlines hasn't had their problem, but the, there's only really two things in this world love and fear. And on the other hand, if you can bring love into the workplace and I know people don't want to talk about it because it's like, oh this isn't a loving organization, well then, you're a caring organization how's that maybe just change the term if you can't use love, but I really appreciate the two of you, this book is excellent. It not only points to the issues that we're having in the workplace, but it also points to strategies to build that resilience which we addressed as well. And not only individual resilience, but the team resilience, and then the cultural resilience. When you can get it going that stuff the uncertainty goes away and stuff gets done. And, and the reality is that's what this is all about. Any parting words from either of you before we leave our listeners do you want to leave with a tidbit each?

Chester Elton
Sure. My tidbit really is what we talked about earlier, you're not alone. You know, so often, we've got friends and we think, Oh, they're always so happy and engaged they've never had an anxious moment in your life, in their lives. Just remember that top performers and people that are anxious are really good at hiding it, you know, be an ally, be a friend and if you're suffering realize that, that you're not alone. It's always fun when someone's got your back, I always loved the stories of Herb Kelleher when, when people would complain and they'd get on his people he would write them a personal letter to the customer and he'd say, I hear what you said, we’ll miss you, you know, and his employees knew that they, that he had their back. So, but be aware, people are good at hiding it, they're not alone, be a great ally, Adrian.

Adrian Gostick
I would echo that is that we've got to get being on the fine, you know, we do this all the time. Hey Greg, how you are doing fine. We got to get beyond that, really, because I got so much going on again little vulnerability in our place in our, in our place as a leader goes a long way to be able to say these are the things that I'm going through the myth of the Infallible manager his guys got to go away. We've got to be a little vulnerable ourselves and get behind the fine, and really see how people really are doing.

Greg Voisen
Well, it's a great way to sum it up, Adrian, thank you both for being on insight personal growth, thank you for your thoughts and inspiring words of wisdom to those that are listening to this about, Hey look, there's a problem, but we know how to solve it. And the reality and the solving are around caring and understanding and bringing more empathy into the workplace. And the reality is a whole big dose of gratitude. Gratitude for what we really have. Thank you both for being on insight personal growth!

Chester Elton
Pleasure being here.

Adrian Gostick
Thanks for having us.

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