How do we heal and transform society through conscious leadership?
Conscious leadership is a turning towards oneself and the questions of one’s life. A conscious leader asks what lines will I not cross ethically? What really matters? What is mine to guard and protect? What is mine to heal and restore? How can I be in service in society? We can only become a conscious leader by developing the qualities on the inside that support conscious action on the outside. In this podcast interview with my friend Mary Abijaay, you will learn the root cause of unconscious leadership, how to manage yourself in the face of unconscious leaders, how to manage up in the midst of difficulty, and what to pay attention to in yourself and others to determine how to achieve success with your boss at work.
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Carley Hauck 0:10
Hi, my name is Carley Hauck and I am host of the shine podcast. This podcast has been flickering strong since May 2019. I began the podcast due to all the research I was conducting in interviews with organizational leaders, lead scientists, academic researchers and spiritual teachers for my new book shine, ignite your inner game to lead consciously at work in the world. I wrote my book to inspire a new paradigm of conscious leadership and business that was in service of higher purpose to help humans flourish, and regenerate our planet. The podcast focuses on the science and application of conscious inclusive leadership, the recipe for high performing teams and awareness practices that you can cultivate to be the kind of leader our world needs now. I will be facilitating two to three episodes a month. And before I tell you about the theme of our season, please go over to Apple podcasts, hit the subscribe button on shine or go to your favorite podcast platform carrier. That way you don’t miss one episode. Thank you. This season is going to be focused on what leadership skills are most needed to create a healthy organizational culture. Leadership and manager effectiveness has been deemed the number one priority for HR and 2023. And every person listening whether you have a formal leadership title or not, you are a leader. We all have the responsibility to lead around something that we care about whether it’s at home with our family, and our communities and or in the workplace. And on to the podcast. Hello shine podcast listeners. Thank you so much for joining me in this wonderful conversation with my friend Mary Abby, Jay. And Mary. Just a quick intro for folks. I actually found you a couple years ago when I was listening to Sarah holds podcast advice to my younger me, but she just actually finished she finished the podcast I saw her like last post I think it was last week. But I found Sara because she wrote this fabulous book with the same name advice to my younger me and I frankly thought Why didn’t I know this in my 30s? Why am I now just discovering this in my 40s Well, she hadn’t read it. She hadn’t written it yet. And as part of her research, she researched all these incredible women leaders and you were one of the very first interviews that she did and you just really resonated and So I kind of had been holding this idea to reach out and then I did and voila. And I’m so happy. You’re connected. And thank you so much for your work.
Mary Abbajay 5:10
Well, Carly, that’s so sweet. Now I just kind of feel like I just said good night Detroit. Like Thank you tip your waitresses, because that was really, really lovely. Yeah, Sarah is lovely person. And I was so delighted when you reached out to me, so I’m really excited to be here. So thanks for having me.
Carley Hauck 5:24
Well, thank you. Could you share a little bit with our listeners about the work that you’re doing in the world? And and also anything else you want to share about you as a person? identities? All those pieces? All those hats? We were right.
Mary Abbajay 5:41
Oh, my gosh. So well, you know, I’m an introvert. So this is like my worst nightmare to talk about myself. But for you for you, Carly, I will do it. Hello, Shine listeners. My name is Mariana J. I am an organizational development consultant, I have a little boutique firm, called Career stone group. And we like to say that we help people make workplaces that are productive and positive. And we help people to be productive and positive in their workplaces. I’m a Gemini, I live in Washington, DC, I am married with one little furbaby named Valentino, he’s a little rescue shitzu, if you’ve ever heard of such a thing, and I’m the author of a book called Managing Up, how to move up when at work and succeed with any type of boss, and it’s all about how you can really take control of your career and be successful. I love what I do. I am a workaholic. Mostly because I love my work. Because I get to do cool things like this all the time. And that really, really feeds my soul, I have this diluted sense that by helping people make their work lives better, I’m doing just a little bit to make the world a better place. So that’s, that’s kind of under passion about what I do. So that’s, that’s me.
Carley Hauck 6:54
Thank you. I love hearing all those other parts about you. Some of those I knew, because you’re pretty transparent in the book. Well, I have to say this book is phenomenal. Like I have a high bar for books, being an author myself. And I just think this is so needed. And so for those of you that have had a boss or have a boss, they’ll get this book, there will be links in the show notes, show notes, but I highly recommended. And before I even got to the part, where you share in the book, Why you actually ended up kind of writing this book, I had this intuition, I bet she had a really bad boss. And for all of them. Oh, wow. Yeah. And so that’s really where I wanted to go in our in our conversation today. So they’re kind of a couple of threads, I wanted to speak about how we manage ourselves first self management, so that we can confidently and powerfully manage up with any kind of boss. And I also wanted to talk a little more deeply about some of the root causes of why people are acting unconsciously, we could call them you know, bad bosses, I often like to use unconscious leaders because sometimes these behaviors, and even the wounding that is causing these behaviors are unconscious. And so instead of healing, they’re hurting, and they’re harming people in the workplace. I also wanted to bring in a little bit of the research that I have done and the framework on what are the conscious leadership qualities that we can grow, so that we can actually be more conscious leaders, and people don’t have to manage us so much. And then lastly, I’d love to ask you some questions about what you can actually be assessing, when you’re first having interviews with this potential new hire or new boss, and also what you might be able to do in the first 90 days to 100 days. And then I thought it could be fun if we role played one of the vos personalities and how you might manage yourself and how you might manage them. So we have a meaty discussion here.
Unknown Speaker 9:20
I love it. I can’t wait.
Carley Hauck 9:22
Thank you. Thank you. Well, for folks that have been listening to the shine podcast, you know that I started this podcast because it was part of the research that I was conducting on my book on conscious leadership. And part of the reason that I wrote that book was because I was seeing lots and lots of folks in different industries over 10 years that were possessing certain qualities of consciousness that then supported more high performing teams psychological safety trust, well being and they were the exception, unfortunately. not the rule. So as a way to discern, and really bring in this framework, I had to see a lot of unconscious leadership, personally and professionally. And so, Mary, this brings us back to the reason that you wrote this book. It sounds like you had multiple leaders that and bosses that were really hard to navigate and to manage up. Do you feel like sharing any story from any one of those?
Mary Abbajay 10:33
Oh, yeah. I mean, I share a lot of them in the books me I had, you know, and I think throughout, first of all, all the bad bosses I had led me to decide that if they could be a bad boss, I could be my own bad boss. I didn’t need someone else being an asshole. I could be an asshole to myself, like, I didn’t need that. So I have so many bad bosses is one of the reasons why I went, I became an entrepreneur. I’m like, I can do this. Like, I don’t need this above me. So all in all, it was a good thing. You know, I had a boss, I had a boss that was a horrible micromanager, just horrible, horrible, horrible. I had a boss who was a screaming, shouting bully. I had a boss that was just completely incompetent, inadequate. And of all these bosses, I did have one boss, who was amazing, who was the kind of boss that really partnered with you. He was the kind of boss that really encouraged you. And he was kind of boss that that you could really flourish with. So I have had one good boss, well, the PROSPER not very good, but only one was toxic. And so as we talk about, like difficult bosses or difficult people or unconscious leadership, I think there’s a big difference between someone who is an okay person, but not a good boss, right? A good boss for you. But there are people so that maybe they’re unconscious of the impact of their of their bossing behaviors. But I do hope we do talk a little bit about like those that are not good people. They’re more than unconscious. They’re, they’re the toxic people, because I think that’s a real problem in the world.
Carley Hauck 12:06
It is, it is an actually, I wanted to go there a little bit with you right now. So thank you for sharing all of that. So this was one of the quotes that I found in your book, and I, you know, I bring research into everything that I am also talking about, because it it really grounds it in a certain reality, especially for those skeptics, but you shared that research shows that it takes up to 22 months to emotionally and psychologically recover from the trauma of a psycho crazy bully tyrannical screaming egomaniac boss. Yeah, that’s a long time. Yeah. And so what would
Mary Abbajay 12:47
you say? I’ll tell you, Carly. So you know, that was the research that I found a couple of years ago, and I wrote the book. And since then, I have probably spoken to well over like 10s and 10s of 1000s of people. And in every crowd, there’s going to be 20%, who have had a psycho crazy, tyrannical, toxic boss, right? And I always ask people, How long did it take you to recover? And I think the 22 months was conservative, because I am hearing people talk about the trauma 23456 years later. So I think that 22 months is actually if I was to rewrite the book today, I might say up to five years, because I have met way too many people that are still struggling and still recovering from that trauma years and years after.
Carley Hauck 13:35
I just feel such sadness and heaviness in my heart. Because I know part of why you and I are both here is we want to create healing organizations know that let work be a place where we can thrive. Thank you for for sharing that. Yeah.
Mary Abbajay 13:52
And I will say this to any of your listeners, because this is really like this just gets my goat that we still in the 21st century. With all we know about neuroscience with all we know about organizational effectiveness and engagement, that organizations still allow toxic leaders in their organization. It just like I was, you know, we just saw the thing about Jimmy Fallon, like every week and these are famous people. Think about all those organizations that don’t have famous leaders that nobody cares that this is happening. So you know, I want people to realize that if you are working in a toxic situation, you have to get out. No one is coming to save you. HR isn’t coming to save you. They may want to save you they don’t usually have the power to save you because the toxic people usually sit at the very top and toxic workplaces will make you physically ill you have a 60% increased likelihood of cardiac diseases stroke, it decimates your immune system, making you susceptible to all sorts of diseases like flus cold ulcers, it decimated You know, your emotional field, your psychological field, your mental health. And we know that people stay in toxic situations two years longer than they stay in other non toxic situations, because there’s a lot of toxicity that goes on and what we call high meaning careers. fields like law fields, like medicine, fields, like politics, fields, like government. So people will tend to stay longer in these fields, because they really love their job, or they’re passionate about what they’re doing and for whom nonprofits is also a big place for toxicity. And so people tend to stay much longer, I just have to tell you, if you if you are in a toxic situation, you have to get out 10s of 1000s of people, I’ve asked this other question, too, how long did it take you to recover? And did you leave too soon, not one person has ever said they’d love to soon. They didn’t leave soon enough.
Carley Hauck 15:58
Thank you for sharing that. And I do believe that some of these conscious leadership qualities that we’re going to talk about will actually one really help us to know our value to know our worth, and be able to manage ourselves more quickly, so that we can manage up. But I agree with you. And also would love to just talk about the deeper aspect of why these folks are showing up in the way that they are. We all have trauma, you know, individually, collectively, intergenerationally. And there are folks that are not doing their inner work, have not done their inner work. And frankly, the workplace has not always and mostly has not invested in learning or leadership development. That is why Leadership Development Manager effectiveness is thankfully the number one priority for HR right now. Because that’s the only way we’re going to be able to create a future of work that actually works for people. And hallelujah, for the younger generations that are really speaking up, they’re more socially engaged, they’re saying no, and they are the bulk of the workforce. So we have to change, because otherwise no one’s going to come to work.
Mary Abbajay 17:22
We do have to change, you know, the challenge will be with this change is that will HR be empowered to actually make a difference? I fear that some of this will go by the wayside, like D Ay ay ay is going a little bit by the wayside. Because at the end of the day, a lot of private sector organizations and nonprofit organizations always put their bottom line value on how much money is this organization making. And so I think one that challenges for HR when the opportunities is for them to show the bottom line, cash money value of actually investing in good leadership and good management, and employee health and an employee engagement. And it might take a newer generation of the C suite executives to actually place that value, right to actually be open to looking at that value. Because at the end of the day, for a lot of corporations, Money talks, and employee health walks us. So I really do, I really am I’m very hopeful. And a little cautious around this, I just hope that we can get the C suite to see the actual money value of being a good leader. Because you know, you see all these toxic leaders are all these bad leaders. They’re just all these unhappy, low employee, low engagement places, and they still don’t do anything about it. So we’ve got a kind of a new breed of C suites, they actually appreciate this, I think,
Carley Hauck 18:49
well, and that’s where really investing in leadership development to invest in how to be a co leadership
Mary Abbajay 18:55
development only works if the top tier leadership places a value on it. Right? So I’m the you and I are both trainers, right? So we go in and we teach all the great skills, how to be, you know, a great leader, a great manager. And if they aren’t rewarded for that, that doesn’t happen, right? So their top leaders don’t actually invest in making sure and holding those managers accountable for being good people, managers, the managers don’t have any incentive. You take an organization, I think it’s Deloitte or Accenture, I was getting confused. They got very serious about making sure their managers were more people centric. And so the managers part of their performance review is are you having? I think they have to do like monthly check ins with their people, are you and they’re actually grading the managers on the success of their people in terms of their people’s happiness and their engagement levels. And that seems to be working. So I think if we’re going to do the leadership development, that’s the carrot but you also need the reward?
Carley Hauck 20:01
Well, I I agree with you. And, you know, going back to what you were sharing, there is more retention, there is more internal mobility, you know, there is more employee well being and people do want to stay when there are strong conscious leaders of the home. Yes, but But going back to leadership development, I started off with my path as a therapist, so I worked a lot with traumatized populations. And so I feel trauma informed on you know, the signs to look for. But we need to be assessing like, who has trauma and who doesn’t, and who is doing the inner work, so that that’s not being repeated, and they’re now traumatizing other people. So I, I don’t know if the workplace is ready for that. But like, that’s the other piece we have to solve. We have to actually equip trainers, coaches, HR on being informed about trauma, and then and then solutions for healing. Yeah, that’s just that’s another piece that I see. So we are talking a bit about, you know, leadership manager, effectiveness being the number one priority in HR. And I wanted to talk a little bit about this conscious leadership framework, because I think it complements really well, some of the pieces in your book, and your research. So I distilled that there were nine different leadership competencies, that all worked in tandem, and actually on a continuum. And every person has different ranges of use, but when they’re all actually dialed in, at the same time, we end up leading from our best selves, we can empower and lead our teams, we can increase trust, psychological safety, inclusion, innovation, without burning our folks out or further traumatizing them. And so I always like to kind of put myself you know, in the ring and ask my, my guests as well, where they think they are falling on some of these dimensions. So there, there are nine, which is self awareness, self management, empathy, resilience, which is a growth mindset, humility, self belonging, which is really including the dimensions of self love, self compassion, self forgiveness, self acceptance, and then physical, and psychological well being. And so not to put you too much on the spot, Mary, but I feel curious, what are one or two areas that you feel like as a leader, you’re really prioritizing you, you’re leading from this place, so you can lead others in a more conscious way?
Mary Abbajay 22:55
I think for me, I think there’s four that I think there’s four, I don’t know that I prioritize them. But there’s four that I think are, are very prevalent in my day to day in my life, and one is self management. I am I’m constantly trying to self manage myself, I try to think about how do I need to say this was my impact for your listeners to know I’m actually like, I’m talking really slow right now. And it’s really hard for me, like so like really trying to like in, you know, I’m a very direct, fast paced, you know, I’m a high strung type a person, so I’m always trying to manage that. So self management is a very big priority for me. My empathy is pretty strong. My husband says, It’s my Libra moon, and my rising Gemini. I know, that’s silly. My husband’s on to the horoscope. But I do and I think empathy is really great. I think sometimes empathy gets in the way for me making tough decisions. But there’s something that I don’t want to lose resilience and a growth mindset are things I really try to prioritize, you cannot be as you know, a business owner, and not have to not cultivate resiliency, and a growth mindset. Because the minute you think that you you’re all that in a bag of chips, you’re gonna get smacked down. And the minute you think your business is all going good, you’re gonna lose a big client. And the minute you think, you know, everything and you start, you stop being a learner, you’re gonna lose it. And then humility, I think, I think I tend to be a very humble person. And I think humility is really important. Maybe it verges on the, on the side of self deprecation, which isn’t necessarily so good. But yeah, so those are the four that I think are most prevalent in my life.
Carley Hauck 24:35
Thank you. Yeah. Thank you self management, of resilience. And then I heard in humility, being humility. Yeah, yeah, definitely.
Mary Abbajay 24:46
I can reach my husband says, that means I let my team walk all over me. He’s like, You need to just you just need to lay down the lawn like Oh, but they’re really busy. I’ll just take on this piece of work for them.
Carley Hauck 24:57
So when you talk about self management? What are your tips for self managing? I heard you say that you’re trying to talk slowly. Why are you trying to do that right now in this moment,
Mary Abbajay 25:10
because I lose the idea myself on my podcast and other people’s podcasts or on, you know, video of me and I am talking way too fast. So I’m trying to slow it down so that people can hear me and understand. And plus, sometimes my mouth moves faster than my brain. That’s not always a great thing. But yeah, so when I say self management, I, you know, I’m fairly aware of my, of my tendencies that are not going to have positive impact on people. So I do set an intention around a handful of my less than lovely qualities to try to make them more palatable to other people. I’m a big believer in the platinum rule, you know, really find out to treat others as they want to be treated. And so self managing myself around people who operate differently than me, is something I really work on. I work hard on trying to do.
Carley Hauck 26:04
Hmm, thank you for sharing that. I really appreciate it. You know, where do you think some of the more unconscious leaders? Where do you think they might be lower
Mary Abbajay 26:17
self awareness completely, is completely with self awareness, and then self management. So you know, I think, first of all, let’s be honest, human beings are as are not very self aware, we like to think we’re self aware. But we are not, I think it’s Adam Grant that talks a lot about the lack of our self awareness. And not only are we not really self aware about what’s driving us, we really lack awareness, and concern, I think about how our actions, our words, or deeds, and our behaviors are impacting other people. I really liked Tasha, Europe’s work on this, in your book insight, where she did, she does a lot of work with C suite executives. And she found like 95% of them think that they’re highly, highly self aware, and that she did some research on that by interviewing their teams. And something like only 15 15% of them actually were self aware. So I think that I think self awareness, especially around your impact on others, how other people experience you is very, very low in leaders. And I think it gets worse, as leaders go up the chain of command, because as you go up the chain of command, first of all, people stop giving you feedback, right? They stop telling you the truth about who you are. And I think quite frankly, people start believing their own shit, I’m sorry, that’s French, for married, people start believing their own stuff, like I’m so good, I’m this, I’m this important. I’m so smart. I’m up here in the C suite. And I think that people really lose a lot of their self awareness. And if you don’t have self awareness, you’re not gonna be able to do self management. And the other thing I think that happens in leadership, is, as you were pointing out, we don’t necessarily do a great job in America, of actually developing our leaders or managers before they become leaders or managers. Harvard did a study on this a few years back, and they found most managers get their first taste of being a supervisor or a manager in their late 20s, or early 30s. But they don’t get significant training on that until their late 30s, early 40s. So for 10 years, they’re just kind of making it up, right. And if they’re trying to make it up based on a culture that has poor management examples, or poor leadership examples, then they’re not going to get any self awareness, therefore, they’re not going to get the self management about how the impact of their management style is working or not working.
Carley Hauck 28:36
Agreed. And, you know, most people leaders have been advanced for their technical skills, not because of their people skills. That’s exactly right. And they’re still calling people skills, soft skills. But if we can’t manage or empower our people, we’re not going to be able to get the deliverables or the business objectives done. Like it’s just not going to happen.
Mary Abbajay 29:00
I know. And the other thing that I see Carly is that there’s a lot of people that are managers, or leaders, they don’t really want to manage the people, right? And so it’s if you want to be a good people manager, if you’re only taking that job to make more money or advance your career, which I understand, but if you don’t want the people part of the job, then where’s the incentive for you to become self aware, right, or to be have self manage or even to have the the humility or the empathy or the resilience from other people management?
Carley Hauck 29:31
So hearing that most people are not very self aware, one of the things that I know that I do, and that I would hope to encourage in more learning and leadership development programs, and I don’t do it all the time, but I try to, is to check in on. So what’s your reaction to what I just said? Like what was the impact of that? Yeah, and yeah, that takes it down a notch and it does take more time. But how was My Message received? Because if we don’t ask, then people are likely not always going to tell us, you and I are more direct. So we will probably tell people in a kind, indirect way, but most people don’t feel safe. They don’t either feel safe in themselves, or they don’t have the courage to say it out loud. Because that that also has not been something that has been very promoted in our culture is
Mary Abbajay 30:27
I think you’re right. And I think you have bosses like telling me the truth, I want to hear it. But you know, they don’t, because their past behavior has shown you that they don’t. So I think that’s always a very interesting thing. You know, and I think, you know, when you’re talking about managing up, you know, I think self awareness and self management is really key for managing up. And so I often tell people, you know, if you really want to understand your impact on people, the best way to do that, and you can do the 360. But it’s really to reach out to like, 10 of your colleagues and say, What five adjectives would you use to describe me? What like, what do people say about me when I’m not in the room? You know, what skills or talents Am I known for, and asking the people that will be honest with you, and then being really open to hearing that. So I think that if we can start developing our self awareness of how we as humans, impact other human beings, early on in our career, I think that really helps us develop that openness to feedback, the openness to take a look at ourselves as we move up into the food chain. This is also why I actually do whenever I do like those personality, things like the disc or predictive index, or Myers Briggs, I really liked those in the sense of, if it can open up people’s minds as to understanding the difference between their intention and their impact. I think we can go a long way, just knowing that as you know, an introvert, just because I’m not talking doesn’t mean I don’t care about you, or you know, as a ad on the desk, just because I’m very direct with you. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about you. So I think the more we can understand how the how our behaviors may be misinterpreted by other people, I think that can help develop more self awareness.
Carley Hauck 32:16
Hmm, loving all this input. Thank you. Yeah. The next area that I wanted to go into, and I love that you said, you know, self awareness, self management are the pieces that you think are really low. And these unconscious leaders, I would also say empathy, and humility, which were two of your strengths, I think they tend to be more of my strengths as well, you know, if you can admit that you’re, you got it wrong, you made a mistake. If you can’t actually emphasize that empathize with what’s actually happening for the other person, then again, you’re not going to be able to be a very conscious caring leader.
Mary Abbajay 32:53
I agree. I just got a call from a law firm that wants me to help them teach their mid mid career associates how to give feedback, they said it, can you also teach them how to be more empathetic? Yes, I will try. But things like empathy, like that’s a hard thing to teach. Right, Carly? I mean, you can explain it, you can demonstrate it, you can coach them. But that is kind of at some point, don’t you think that empathy is a choice like that you must in some way choose to look at something from someone else else’s perspective. At some point, you have to choose to whether or not you want to appreciate their experience or their so I’m curious to hear from you. Like, how do you teach empathy?
Carley Hauck 33:40
Great question. Well, in chapter two of my book, which is the inner game of emotional intelligence, I talk about, you have the inner game, which is the self awareness and self management, and then you have the outer game. So when those are cultivated, then you’re able to have more social awareness, which is oh, what might be happening for this person. And then number four is the relationship mastery. So those are actually the four facets of Dan Goleman emotional intelligence, however, like they really pertain to the inner cultivation, and then what shows up on the outside, but what, what I would say is, as far as helping people build empathy is that it’s really helpful if you have them think about someone that they care about. So just imagine that this person is going through this right now. Like it could be their sister, it could be their daughter, it could be their mother. And once you bring it into somebody in their sphere and circle that they care about, it’s much easier for them to then have empathy even for the difficult person. But you I would say start with someone they like first or you know, to build that empathy muscle and then you can start to expand it out even to have empathy for the difficult person because ultimately, it’s that difficult person is just hurting, they’re wounded, they’ve had trauma, right? They’re not either so conscious of it, or they are conscious of it. But they’re still a messy human. And so I can have compassion for their wounding, for their hurting, and also hold really strong boundaries around how I’m going to be put in the line of fire, and also call on allies. You know, this is one thing about managing those more toxic leaders in the eye 100% agree with you, you have to get out this is going in a different direction. But I had wanted to say this earlier, I had just forgotten, I think it’s super important that we also find our allies, you know, in the workplace, that are practicing the same kinds of leadership skills, because who we surround ourselves with, is actually going to influence us the most. And if we can have a buffer of people that are validating our experience, that are also able to say, Hey, I had that experience with this person, too, then HR would feel more empowered to do something, right. It’s called activating
Mary Abbajay 36:10
your support network. That’s how I refer to, but you know, but HR is only empowered as much as they’re empowered. So we have to be really clear, I don’t want to give people false hope, if you go to HR, your problems can be solved. It really depends on how much power HR has and who the toxic person is. Because there’s also the whole whistleblower thing, like I could tell you horror stories about people that have went gone to HR and just made things worse for them. So it’s really you gotta know, before, before anyone goes to HR, you really need to check out how well your HR has handled situations like this in the past, right? So ask around a little bit. But you know, it’s funny, we’re talking about empathy around like that. I teach that all the time, when I’m telling people to manage up as well, like, exactly like this person, this boss was a micromanager or this boss that’s doing this are annoying you, you know, think for a minute, what’s going on for them, right? Or think for a minute, I often do this make for men, the last time that you micromanage somebody, or the last time that you did behavior that you weren’t proud of, you know, and that that can help kind of get people out of the amygdala hijack. Because what happens when we’re dealing with difficult people, we get very frustrated, very fight or flight, you know, and so you got to get out of that in order to be able to make good choices.
Carley Hauck 37:27
Definitely. Well, let’s go into an example of a difficult manager and how we might manage ourselves and then manage up. And I also just want to share as I was reading through your book, and there’s there’s so many different manager types. I could relate more strongly to a few of them. And I’m bringing this up because in the chapter where we talk about the seagulls, which is the oh, goodness, sorry, the the nitpickers in the seagulls. Yeah, as I was, as I was actually reading through the nitpicker, because that comes first and then we go on to the seagulls. I love to the distinction that you put in is that the nitpickers are really about perfection versus the micromanagers are about control. But I’m springing this up because I could see how my team at times has thought of me as a nitpicker. Oh, sure. Because I have a high bar for excellence.
Mary Abbajay 38:30
You know, the thing is, we’ve all done all these behaviors. We’ve all done them. All right, if you’ve worked long enough, but we don’t judge ourselves as these things right? The circumstances, you know, so yeah, so the nitpicker so micro managers are about control. You’re right. So most micro managers tend to be nitpickers. But not all nitpickers are micro managers. Because a nitpicker is the person that’s going to nitpick small things for perfection. They may be important things or they might be minor things, you know, but they’re probably gonna let you do your your gig your stuff, and then they’re gonna swoop in afterwards and nitpick so I can be a nitpicker to my team will tell you that I nitpick their slideshows. That thought Saglie I don’t like that graphic. I don’t nitpick the content, which is the important thing, right? I have a certain visual I want. So yeah, understood. So if you have a nitpicky boss, it’s really important to find out like what they care about, like, you know, like, is it the font? Is it the format? Is it the color? Is it the use of the Oxford comma or no Oxford comma, you know, so don’t resist what the nitpicker was, and choose your battles wisely. You know, if you’re just and be prepared for it. So if you know that your boss is going to nitpick something, then give them a draft an early draft and let them nitpick the early draft. Find out ask them questions ahead of time is the particular font you want is Is there a format you prefer? You know, what kind of graphics marry do you think would be great for this slideshow? That sort of thing? So find out, I was working with this law firm and this, we’re doing a Managing Up course in this first year associate, you know, they have no power, first year associate comes up to me and says, Mary, I need your help. The Managing Partner won’t use the extra comma. How can I give him that feedback that he’s wrong? It’s like, you know what you don’t. If he doesn’t want to use the extra comma, that’s not a battle that that’s not a hill, you want to die on your first year. So you have to pick your battles wisely. When it comes to the debt with nitpicker, and then ask questions like find out, you know, so Carly, why do you like things this way? Tell me about your preference for this. Because the more you can learn about what your boss cares about, the more you can figure out how to make things are more in alignment. Now, of course, we’re not talking about things that are unethical, or things that are bad or wrong. We’re talking about nitpicky things.
Carley Hauck 41:04
Well, what I tell my team too, is like, if you’re not clear on what I am actually asking for, then don’t just do it and get it wrong. Because then I’m gonna go and tell you, you need to redo it. Like if there’s even an wrinkle of I don’t know if this is right, just text me call me asked me. Let’s have a conversation. Because otherwise, it’s annoying for you. And for me. Yeah. So, but that one, I just happen to bring it up because it’s such a good one. And I bet everybody can relate to that one. But it’s in the same chapter. Let’s go into this. Because there’s two kinds because there’s
Mary Abbajay 41:40
two kinds. Yeah, there’s all seagulls swoop, people all seagulls swoop, you have a sweeper and a pooper and a super, and a scooper. So the swooper and pooper swoops in our project has been hands off, they swoop in, and they poop all over it. Like they just are like, this is awful. This is awful. Damn, why were you guys doing it, I know what you’re doing. And they just, you know, Crusher ready. And then they swoop right back out, leaving like doctress of like bad feelings and, you know, crushed hearts and souls. So that’s the Super and pooper, then you have the swooper and scooper. And this is the boss that you know, assigns you a project, and then all of a sudden they swoop in and they take the project away for two for their own, they take it away, and they put their name on it. And you’ve worked hard on it. And suddenly it’s away from you, and you are really bummed out. So those are the two different kinds of seagulls.
Carley Hauck 42:34
I really appreciate that. So I had this idea that perhaps, you know, we could roleplay this. So let’s say that I have a boss that is a super. And I was working really hard on
Unknown Speaker 42:45
Carley Hauck 42:47
As a scooper.
Unknown Speaker 42:49
He’s super super.
Carley Hauck 42:50
Yeah, thank you. So the seagull have a boss us swoops in, and scoops in. And it’s a project I’ve been working really hard on, I’m presenting it to senior stakeholders. And then all of a sudden, they act like it’s theirs, they take credit for it. Yeah, as I think about that, I would get triggered. That would be something that I really have to spend a little more time self managing myself my reaction to not take it personally. Yeah, to understand my motive or their motivations. And then therefore to advocate for myself, how would you coach me to manage up in that scenario, especially with senior stakeholders?
Mary Abbajay 43:42
Yeah, so there’s a couple of things with the you know, with the CIO, there’s the scooper, that’s gonna steal the credit. And then there’s just a scoop of this gonna take over the project. I mean, they’re kind of similar, but they’re a little bit different. Like, they might actually take over the project and still give you some credit as they finish it. So the first thing I would say to you is, you know, is this a pattern? Like, is this a pattern that this boss does frequently? Or infrequently, they would ask you to kind of look for the patterns, like, as there are certain types of projects that they swoop and scoop on? Are there certain, like what’s going on in the culture that makes them like this project suddenly has probably gotten to be high visibility, right? So I asked you about the pattern, so that you can anticipate it. The other thing I’d say is, you know, are you keeping this person in the loop on this, like, Did this person Scoop it because they didn’t know how, where it was? Or are they scooping it because they didn’t know where it was? And they want to take the credit for it. So then I would want to ask you around like, what, and part of this would also rely on what kind of a boss this person is. Could you have a conversation with this boss about this? Could you go in and say, you know, Hey, boss, I was really disappointed that not gonna be able to work on XYZ project or, you know, I’d really like to get some feedback on my piece of the project. Was my performance not satisfactory, just curious as to, you know what it was? Why, why I’m no longer working out, I tried to avoid saying why you took it away from me. But find a nice way to do that. No,
Carley Hauck 45:20
I think leading with curiosity, when you’re not in a triggered place is really great. Like, Oh, I wonder why did why did that end up being put on your calendar and not mine anymore? sense it in that way? And
Mary Abbajay 45:36
that’s something really important when you’re not in a triggered state.
Carley Hauck 45:40
Yes. Yes, I have a whole framework on triggers, which I’ll actually leave in the show notes, because I have to practice it all the time. Yeah. And I think in order to manage up, we have to manage ourselves. Yep.
Mary Abbajay 45:54
And then the last thing I’ll say about the scooper is, you know, even you know, anticipate this for the next time that they’re going to scoop it. But sometimes, if you keep them in the loop, and you see see other people, especially other people that this project is impacting, it’s gonna be a lot harder for them to steal the credit if other people know you’re working at it. And the last thing I’ll say about this is, of course, then you can also when it’s all done, you can also go back in and say, I would love to know how that project turned out. How are my pieces, so you can like, get some feedback and like, post thing. And then lastly, and I can’t live, we’re gonna suggest this, I might deny it. You know, this is what the gossip mill is for. And I don’t mean bad mouthing your boss, but make it known, make sure people know, your contribution to this project. You know, like, if you ever run into his boss, and in the elevator or her his or their boss and elevator, and they say what you’ve been working on, you can say, you know, what, I was really lucky enough to work on that pesky project that my boss handed in, it was really exciting. And I really liked the opportunity to support that project. Don’t take all the credit. But you can also do some backdoor self promotion on that.
Carley Hauck 47:02
I love that. So holding people accountable by you know, really having all the stakeholders in the same email thread, transparency, and then also just speaking aloud your contribution with other folks and other stakeholders. I think that’s, that’s really great.
Mary Abbajay 47:19
And then finally, you know, if your boss does this a lot and steals credit a lot. Then you may not be he she or they may not be the right boss for you. Because occasionally, you know, because some bosses say, you work for me, your ideas are my ideas. Right. So that’s kind of the old school bossiness. You know, the 20 century boss. And if that’s not your thing, and I don’t blame you, it’s not my thing, either, then you, you, maybe you need to find a different boss. Because if you’re not getting what you need, as professional as a human being, if you’re not being valued, if they don’t find you valuable, and your ideas, then there’s no shame in quitting like, find something was find a place where people do value you and they do find you valuable, and you get what you need, emotionally, psychologically, intellectually and fulfilling in your career. So you have a scooper and it drives you crazy. Get a new boss, get new jobs. Yeah, those are all really give yourself permission to quit. Uh huh.
Carley Hauck 48:19
Yeah. So I’ve got two last questions for you. Okay. A lot of people are, you know, looking for new roles and new jobs they’re interviewing, I am in that boat right now, I’m just going to put myself in the ring interviewing, you know, new potential supervisors for my for my new internal role. What are some things that I can be assessing to figure out? Who is this person, like, what kind of a boss are they going to be? And what’s difficult about this, Mary, is that I will have one conversation with this person to be able to say, I’m the right candidate for you. And we may have a half hour, we may have 45 minutes. So ultimately, I’d love to be able to have further conversations, because I’m interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing me. And I’m putting myself, you know, in this in the eye position, but I really want this to be in service of everybody that’s thinking about this.
Mary Abbajay 49:12
Yeah. You know, this is a hard one, I’m much better at telling you what to ask once you get in. But here’s what I’m gonna say it for this. First of all, if you’re going in person, right, if you’re going into a physical office to interview with that person face to face, which I think happens still occasionally, mostly virtual days. But if you do get to go visit, physically, trust your gut, like trust the vibe you feel in the office, because Aska not only tell you a lot, it’s gonna tell you a lot about the culture. What do people look like? Are people smiling? Did it look happy? They look stressed. So that sort of thing. So trust and trust, like the vibe you get from someone physically, also trust whatever vibe you can get virtually, although it’s a little bit harder. I would ask questions like, you know, tell me about your best employee who’s really successful here. What are you doing? Just priorities for your team. So I’d ask things like that. I would say, you know, what drives you crazy about about? I said, what drives you crazy about your employees? Or what are your biggest pet peeves? And you can learn a lot about from people ask about their pet peeves. I would also ask them, What do you like best about being a manager? Hmm,
Carley Hauck 50:20
that’s a great question.
Mary Abbajay 50:22
What do you like best about being a manager? It’s hard, because the really the really toxic bosses are just going to be lying. But I would say tell me about your greatest. Tell me. Tell me about if you want to find out about their work life balance, you know, tell me about how you encourage work life balance or? Or how or how do
Carley Hauck 50:41
you set boundaries? Yeah. Between work things like
Mary Abbajay 50:45
that are really great. Right? What what questions have you been asking?
Carley Hauck 50:51
Well, I have been asking great question, some questions when I have an opportunity, because sometimes they don’t leave you any room to ask a question. So then I follow up with questions. But I’m always asking them, you know, what is the what is the personality style that’s going to be most complimentary with you. And the team is great. And then I also ask, you know, what does success look like in this role in the first three months, in the first six months, in in the first year, because then I know if I’m going to either flop on my face, or if this is going to be a place, I can really bring my best value, and create success, which is what I want, which is what they want, which is
Mary Abbajay 51:32
what they want. You know, the other thing you can do, the other thing you can do is you can you can say, Hey, would it be possible for me to talk to another team member? To learn about that? Or do you want to be a little more devious, I don’t think is devious. Because you know, you’re about to commit, maybe commit to these people. You could literally reach out to somebody
Carley Hauck 51:51
done that with other people in the company. What’s the culture? Like? Who you Yeah,
Mary Abbajay 51:56
what do people say about this boss and things like that? I think that is totally fair game. If you don’t know anybody at the company. That’s what LinkedIn, that’s what LinkedIn is for. cyber stalking. But I think the more I think, you know, I so when I interview for people, people, I actually, I really insist that they talk to my team first. And, and I, my team knows that they, they are really clear about who I am. And they’re really honest with with with the people, and then they will come to me and say, Yeah, this person is not for you, or you’re gonna love this person. And they’re gonna love you. So I really like it when you went hiring bosses, let the team talk to the people too.
Carley Hauck 52:39
Well, and then pretty much all the feedback you gave would also the things that you could be assessing in the first 90 days, but also just having more direct conversations with this person, you know, to see, okay, there’s going to be certain things that aren’t going to work well. But how can I adapt? Right? And and how can how can we have this be a win win for both of us?
Mary Abbajay 53:00
That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. You because yeah, and hopefully, and by the way, if anyone’s looking for work life balance, and you say, you know, what’s the culture here, and the boss, the hiring person says to you, oh, we work hard, and we play hard. That’s a high work culture.
Carley Hauck 53:20
Well, and the other part of your book, which I think is really helpful, too, is that you’re able to assess your strengths and your weaknesses, and also what kind of boss you’re going to vibe with and best. And so again, this comes back to self awareness, like, you know, own own your, your parts, and then find the right fit for you. Because not everyone is going to be the right fit.
Mary Abbajay 53:47
You bless your heart, you are 1%, right, you know, what we tend to do is we all tend to like the way we operate. So when people operate differently than us, then we tend to get really frustrated and make them you know, make us the victim and make them the perpetrator. And the truth is, there are some people like my favorite boss might be your worst nightmare. You know, your favorite boss might be someone else’s worst nightmare. And so really be able to own your own piece of the puzzle is really important to be honest with yourself about what what kind of person you are and what kind of person you’re going to work well with. And what you might need to do more of less of or differently in order to work well with the boss that you’ve decided to work for.
Carley Hauck 54:25
For sure. And that comes back to the self management, right is owning your reaction to whatever’s happening, because because you’re the only person that can change that reaction.
Mary Abbajay 54:38
Yeah, because we only have control over ourselves. We don’t control anybody else. But I do have some questions that you can ask once you start, okay. By the way, if anybody wants these questions, they can just email me because you’re gonna put that in the show notes or something reach out to me or find me on LinkedIn. Yes,
Carley Hauck 54:53
your LinkedIn will be in the show notes and your website.
Mary Abbajay 54:57
And these are really basic questions, but I’m telling you Guys, they work so much. And managers love it. They always know they should be having these with you. But if they don’t things simple things like What’s your preferred mode of communication? Yeah. How do you like to be approached regarding an issue or challenge or a problem? How often do you like to meet as a team or one on one? Is the question you did before? What does success look like to you defined top performer? How often do you like to be updated? And projects? How do you like your updates? Like I like updates, but I want to be kept in the loop not in the soup. So I have a couple of people on my team that are really detail oriented, and my eyes glaze over. isn’t done? That’s to my mind. If you had a perfect team member, what would that person look like? What are your top priorities? What the biggest pressure is on you or the team right now? How can I best support you? What do you find annoying about working with others? And then always say, What can I do more of less of a definitely to work well with you? And what else do I need to know about working well with you always say what else and just have this conversation 15 minute conversation, I call it the preferences, priorities and pet peeves. This way, you’re going to cover not only their work style, but like what’s important to them, what they care about how they like to work, and it’s going to be a good conversation. And I will also say this, as Carly and I were saying not everybody’s very self aware, take their answers, but also measure them against how that you actually see them behaving. Like what they say, I’m very communicative. I love pop in meetings, and you know that they don’t you see the behavior, the doubt. So take what they say, but don’t treat it as gospel to actually see that behavior.
Carley Hauck 56:44
I love all of those. And being that, you know, I bring a lot of coaching into the work that I’m doing. I’ve brought in actually a lot of those questions to support leaders, you know, to have conversations with their direct reports and with their supervisors. But then after you get those answers, what I think is even a really good next step is that one, you’re writing it down, you repeat back what you heard them, say, so that it’s actually correct. And then you create an agreement. So I hear you want me to do this, this and this. And then you say, well, on my side, I’d really love and you request which you need, and then you create an agreement, and you’re probably going to make some oops, so then what’s your accountability to come back to the agreement that you just had, you know, and this is where psychological safety and trust is built. But this, these types of questions, I think are essential in your one on ones, but also in the team. There’s so many teams, senior leadership teams that I get asked to come in, and they haven’t done any of them. They don’t know how your team wants to work. So how are you even? How are you delivering on projects, y’all?
Mary Abbajay 57:56
You know, I love that because I think I think, you know, this is a partnership like employee and leaders partnership. And I love that you are helping the leaders ask these questions downward as I’m helping the employees ask them upwards, because it is a conversation that both should have. And I always say to my folks, you know, hopefully once you ask your boss these questions, they’ll turn around and ask you the same questions and listen to them. And it’s always makes me sad when someone emails me back and says, You know what, I had this great conversation with my boss, I asked this person all these questions, but they didn’t ask me a single one. I was like, wow, that’s sad. That’s a missed opportunity from that boss,
Carley Hauck 58:35
for sure. But this is how we change it. Right? This is this is when everyone’s talking about human centered people first. Yeah, you start with connection,
Unknown Speaker 58:44
you start with the people.
Carley Hauck 58:48
How to Care for this person? Who is this person? How are we going to collaborate? Well, Mary, this was amazing. Thank you. Again, I just love this conversation. And again, everyone, this book is fabulous. And I love all those questions. So you so is there anything else you want to leave folks with?
Mary Abbajay 59:07
I just want to say you know your work, you spend so many of your waking hours at work. I truly believe those should be great hours, there should be hours where you can use your mind, your heart, your creativity, your passion, they should be hours that that you that you find valuable and that add to your life, not detract your life. So if you have a bad boss, or you’re in a bad workplace experience, do what you can to get a better workplace experience. You deserve it. You deserve it. You only live once and your work should be a bonus to that and nine detractor for your life. So good luck. Thank you, Carly. This was so awesome and get Carly’s book people and leader stop being jerks out there. I have I have a presentation that call that’s called your team hates you and here’s why.
Carley Hauck 59:54
Mary Abbajay 59:57
Your direct boss is not being jerks and start Reading current Carly’s book.
Carley Hauck 1:00:03
Yeah. Be the the leader that others will never want to leave and want to follow. Right? That’s right. That’s the opportunity right now. Thank you, Mary. Thanks, Carly. Let me summarize some of the key points of the interview before we go and give you some action steps you can put into place today. First, manage yourself. Before we can manage up down or laterally, we have to be able to know what is happening inside our bodies, when to speak and when to be quiet. We want to be the calm in the midst of the storm. And there is emotional contagion, whether you’re working from zoom, or you’re actually in person, people can feel and sense where you might be in your body. And so navigating your triggers, you’ll find a free meditation in the show notes that you can utilize. There’s also lots of wonderful practices in my book, on how to be a conscious leader. And there is a very effective framework on navigating triggers. In fact, this topic is one of the most highly sought out team building sessions that I offer with senior leaders. And additionally, the nine leadership capabilities that Mary and I spoke about before, which is this validated framework that I’ve developed in the last decade. self management is key to that competency. There is also a team building workshop that I am doing in partnership with Team Rothery. And this is also in the show notes. And it’s called from trigger to triumph. So if you’re interested in that, you can book that with your team. I do that with a lot of teams. Second, manage down, up and laterally. With Remote distributed workforce, we need to begin to have conversations that invite people to share what their preferences for communication are, when they might actually work best during the day, which could be really different. It might be that they take a longer break at lunch, because they want to go exercise and they were up really early hour they’ve got child care. Find out with your team and your supervisor, how people work best, what is going to actually help them collaborate, communicate with you the best. Third, invest in learning and leadership development for everyone at the company. This is one of the best ways that you can create a whole healthy organizational culture. And we know that culture eats strategy for breakfast. In the conscious leadership programs that I have designed and developed for some really amazing companies, I have validated metrics to showcase that empathy goes up 74%. That’s one of the most sought after leadership competencies in our workplace right now. Psych psychological safety goes up by 47% internal mobility engagement goes up by 20 to 30%. And I have many more incredible results that I could share with you. If you’re interested in having me partner with you. For an internal director above learning leadership and culture role I am interviewing now for the right boss, team and company to join. I am so excited about this opportunity to serve a thriving organizational culture, please feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. Number four, if you are in a truly toxic environment with a harmful and unconscious boss, definitely check out Mary’s book, there’s a lot of really wonderful ways to manage up, and also resources. I also recorded a podcast on this topic a few years ago. And if you go to the shownotes, you’ll see it’s how to coach a harmful and unconscious leader. There are tips and strategies and as Mary and I spoke about can’t change the person. So you do need to leave but before you leave, find your allies. And if it feels safe to do so speak up so that this behavior and this person can be held accountable and so that the hurt and harm doesn’t continue. And also so that this person gets help and they get actually taken out of their people leader role. This person is not equipped to lead people. They would be better served to just navigate with technology, or potentially take some time off to do some deep for healing. And the last thing I’d like to preface is that we all are navigating individual, collective and intergenerational trauma. And it’s really important as we come together and really create what can be a healing organization that we are trauma informed, and especially in the people function of HR talent, and the chief people officer, we need to know what the signs of trauma are, and also where to give people resources and help. Please reach out to me to have a conversation on this. There’s a lot of resources that I have on this topic and other really great people to connect to you to. Again, Mary is amazing. Mary, thank you so much for your service and your leadership. And if you enjoyed this episode, please share it with friends, family, or colleagues. We’re all in this together and sharing is caring. If you have any questions, comments or topics you would like me to address on the podcast, please email me at support at Carley hauck.com And finally, thank you for tuning in and being part of this community. We have several wonderful future shine podcast episodes, so make sure you don’t miss any and until we meet again, be the light and shine your light