Thriving at Work: Nurturing Wellness, Mental Health, and More
CEO, Buzz A Rooney, LLC
About this episode
Inclusion Crusade 16 – Thriving at Work: Nurturing Wellness, Mental Health, and More
Host: Sarah Morgan
Guest: Charlie Pleasant, Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Founder/Executive clinician of The Healing Collaborative
Welcome back to the Inclusion Crusade, where I am on a mission to create workplaces where employees feel safe, seen and supported. One episode at a time. This week we are discussing how to use emotional intelligence to nurture a culture of wellness and strong mental health.
– Workplace harassment lawsuit against Lizzo
– Mental health support for workers in unconventional work environments
– Managing conflict and addressing sexual harassment in a workplace
– Workplace values and emotional intelligence
– Workplace culture and innovation
Thank you for listening! Remember to subscribe on your favorite podcast app!
Sarah Morgan 0:15
Welcome to the HR Happy Hour Network. This is the Inclusion Crusade with me, Sarah Morgan. I am on a mission to create workplaces where employees feel safe, seen and supported one episode at a time. And today we are back with our in house expert, resident in service, Charlie Pleasant. I am glad to have Charlie here as we jump into the polarizing topic that has quickly become the harassment lawsuit against singer Lizzo.
Charlie Pleasant 1:01
Wow. Just wow.
Sarah Morgan 1:06
All right. So starting with the wow. So in case you did not know about it, if this is the first time you’re hearing about it, let me give you a quick summary. So the lawsuit has been brought by three of littles former background dancers against Lizzo herself, her company Big Girl Touring, Inc, and her dance captain, whose name last name is Charlene. And it was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and could result in significant monetary damages should the lawsuit move forward and the defendants be found liable on they are alleging hostile work environments that featured sexual harassment a failure to prevent or remedy sexual harassment in the workplace and a failure to prevent or remedy religious harassment in the workplace. The plaintiffs claim that they were made to feel their employment was precarious, and that they had to comply with requests that made them uncomfortable in order to continue working. Some of those were requests were of a sexual nature. And there were other allegations tied to religious harassment specifically alleging that her religious views as a Christian read it those who did not share her beliefs. And so they are, there was also an allegation that Lizzo expressed concern about one of the dancers gaining weight. And that led the claimant to feel self conscious. And there were allegations that the dancers had to compete, to keep their positions. And during one of these competition sessions, where they will bring other dancers in, and basically you are dancing to keep your spot one of the dancers alleged to have soiled herself out of fear that she will lose her spot as a dancer, if she took a break to go to the rest.
Sarah Morgan 3:40
So overall, poor working conditions, and just a lack of accountability, long hours, difficult physical labor, short term contracts, all those things. So Charlie, where do we start? Where do we start with this? This is so much. So this is huge, huge. This is huge. And I think so most people I feel like are reacting, because it’s Lizzo. And Lizzo has this super accepting body positive image. She literally posted an award winning reality show and y’all know I’m a reality TV junkie where she did a competition for big girls to be dancers on her tour because she wants to promote that anyone in any size is beautiful and should have the opportunity to show their talents and have that be showcased. And so I think people are really reacting. First and foremost out of that because Is that someone whose image portrays to be so body positive, so accepting, it’s hard to imagine that they would then allow such a horrible environment to go on around the people who work for them. Since then, their Lizzo has spoke out, she says that these allegations are completely false. And there have been made two major performances of hers that were canceled the Made in America Festival, and also the Super Bowl halftime show coming in 2024. So they have already pulled her from those two engagements. So there’s a lot going on here. There’s also um, one of the things that also came out from Lizzo’s people is that these individuals were terminated for cause and that this them now speaking out, is a violation of the non disclosure agreement that they signed as a part of their employment and that they for those reasons, they expected to be quickly dismissed. But only two of the three were terminated, the third one quit in solidarity with the other two. And since the lawsuit, there have been three other people who come forward,
Charlie Pleasant 6:30
I heard that there are more than or that are expected to come out.
Sarah Morgan 6:39
So where do we begin? I think what jumps out to me first and foremost, is the idea that workplace harassment, it has become way more in its reach than what we are accustomed to it being defined. And that has been true for a really long time. One of the things that I tell clients and attendees when I do harassment, anti harassment workshops, is the workplace is anywhere and everywhere that work is performed or discussed. And everyone always goes side when I say because they’re like well then that could be anywhere. So when you are at happy hour with your co workers, talking about work related things, venting about your day, what not that is a workplace when you are in the social media. DMS sharing means about, you know how this reminds you of your your horrible boss, or the terrible meeting that you attended, or whatever the case may be, that is a workplace when you are at a conference or an industry event together, having drinks and enjoying yourselves after the official events are over. That is a workplace. And all of that constitutes a part of your culture and your experience. And people very quickly lose sight of that. And that definitely leaves them open to trouble in ways that they do not often anticipate.
Charlie Pleasant 8:49
And also, even with adding to that it doesn’t have to be something that directly happens to you per se. In order for it to constitute harassment, you can be a bass standard, you can be a person that’s injured as a result of then being a third party to that. So I’m not surprised that we’re going to probably hear more people come on around this, because it didn’t have to happen to them directly.
Sarah Morgan 9:16
Yeah, yeah. And I think we forget about that as well. One of the most difficult harassment cases I think I’ve worked with in my career was a bystander case was a case where there were two employees who were married to other people engaged in a adulterous affair, consensual, adults, adulterous affair in the workplace. But it was their co worker who witnessed these wayward glances and Rondae who’s off to wherever and felt like it One of those two was was their balls. And so they could not, they felt that they could not tell or it would cause trouble, you know, for them being able to keep their job, and then finally broke down and came forward. One of the most difficult cases that I’ve ever had to investigate and resolve in my career was because no one understood the impact of the bystander, that me being in this workplace witnessing these two individuals engaging in this way that was inappropriate, not being able to talk about it out of fear of losing my job, having to attend events with their spouses who were not aware that these two people were engaged in an adulterous affair. Well, I have this knowledge that I have to share, and the impact that that has on me. And so we don’t think enough about the reverberations of harassment, even when even in especially when there are people involved, who they may just, they may be having a good time, they may not feel harassed, they may not feel upset, but it’s it’s the person watching from the sidelines, that is now afraid to speak up afraid to do anything, because of what they don’t see.
Charlie Pleasant 11:32
They don’t know the conditions of engagement, either. They don’t know that it’s conceptual, they might think that this might be a condition of something else. If this isn’t done, then, you know, very quick poem. So no, and it’s not for them to figure out if it’s, if it’s something that adds to the hostility of workplace, then it has to be taken serious.
Sarah Morgan 11:54
Yeah. And when your workplace is very non traditional, in the way that I would imagine a concert tour is, then it, it would be like who did? How do you even know who to tell? You know, like.
Charlie Pleasant 12:09
That was one of my questions when when I was initially engaged in the in the content around the lawsuit is? Who’s the point person that that knows what’s happening? So tough situation, it’s a very tough situation. And it’s gonna always come back from Islam.
Sarah Morgan 12:32
It definitely is just going to always, definitely will. And especially when you have a situation like that, where you’re in a group that is on the move, I worked for a few years for a retail services company. And we would have teams that would travel from one, say, Home Depot to another home depot doing remodels on the stores, and so forth. But when we deployed them, they always knew who their travel they had captain. And they was like, This is your captain, this is who you go to with these things. This is who you go to, if you have questions about this, and they had an app, where they could put when they pulled up there, their work assignment, and the tasks that they were responsible for, for the day. And you know, where they clocked in and out, and so forth. Those people’s names were right there, you can tap on their name, it would give you their phone number, give you their email, like we always made sure that it was very clear, who was in charge who you report stuff to, when you are dealing with that. Because if you don’t, then to your point, the spotlight gets shown on the most known individual in the group. And that person may or may not be aware, we don’t you know, obviously, Liz always didn’t hide all of these allegations. We don’t know, in a sense, and a lot of this stuff doesn’t even have anything to do with her. She wasn’t present. She wasn’t participating. So we don’t know if she was aware that these things were happening or not, you know, to be able to condone it one way or the other.
Charlie Pleasant 14:23
I think your love language me you just need an example that you gave is that you know, when people go out and they’re doing work in the field, they have a captain. So it’s really interesting that the captain of the dancers are one of the main people that are highlighted in the AMA in this lawsuit. So what if this was their place? What happens when, and we don’t know for sure. But I’m thinking that with this being such an untraditional type of workplace the people that are point in charge I would have Soon, and maybe they can correct us if we’re wrong about that, we have more obligation than just the craft that you’ve been hired to do. Because of so much that can happen, not only in traditional workspaces, but let’s talk about on the road. Yeah, because sitting close quarters by must spend time together overnight in a way that most colleagues don’t spend the night. So I mean, I mean, the environment is right. For arrivals for conflict, but conflict for bleeding for boundary crossing for all of them, I would think that there will be special vigilance paid to the fact that it’s so non traditional, in which in the ways in which they are having to interact, that there will be a measure that was put into place, I will be really quick, I will be really curious if the captain that’s named in the lawsuit was also supposed to be the point place of when things came up.
Sarah Morgan 16:00
I would wonder that as well. And at this time, you know, we’re speculating on all of that, and trying to point to, I would guess I would say, best practices, that’s what can’t be done. But I know, there has to be, you know, there are people who are, there’s the performance aspect, you also have people that are responsible for like set, and sound, and musicians and all of those sorts of things. And some of those people are local, and some of those people are moving along with you. But there’s going to be a tour manager, like there’s a team that is coordinating all of this stuff. One of the things that the lawsuit alleges is that in several cities, they had in several cities, they had basically like auditions for their spots, that they had to dance against local dancers and dancers that have been brought in to keep their spot on the tour. And if they did not out dance, these other dancers, they could have potentially been fired, and they didn’t know if being fired meant they would just be left there, or that they didn’t have to find their own way. Or that, you know, they would just be given a plane ticket to go back to wherever they had no idea. So there, all of that takes concerted effort and coordination, somebody has to be running the point on all those sorts of things. And at eight Lyza. Right, so whether it’s the end, even if it’s the dance captain, I would imagine if she is responsible for the schedule of the dancers, their choreography, and so forth, she can’t be the one reserving spaces for dance auditions and finding local dancers like there’s a lot.
Charlie Pleasant 18:04
There’s another team within this team.
Sarah Morgan 18:08
And that I would imagine, is pretty true. In most work environments like these, these harassment issues, and these hostile work and like stuff like this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It just doesn’t like it doesn’t happen. And it doesn’t often happen without the knowledge of lots of other people. And then lots of other people turning a blind eye to things when things seem stringy. And until we, as a society, reach a place where we are just unwilling to allow that to buy you tried it, it’s okay to try it. But we’re not gonna let it slide until we get to the point where we don’t let it slide. I think we’re going to continue to see and hear about, you know, horrible working conditions, like what it is that we’re hearing in this lawsuit. And I’m, I’m wondering, and you and I talked a little bit about this in pre show about the mental health of the individuals who were in charge. And one of the things that you said that struck me that I wanted to make sure that we explore together on air is that who’s checking the mental health of these individuals to make sure that they are fit to lead through this kind of a process? Where’s that support? Right, so my question for you, as our expert in residence is, what is it as an employer, what should we be looking for? work to make sure that individuals are fit to lead through the stressors that may come with their job like this woman as a dance captain. Obviously, she’s going to be traveling extensively. strange places strange, you know, changes, timezone changes of climate, sleeping in, at odd hours in odd places, working with new individuals, what should we be assessing for, in terms of, of their mental fitness to handle that level of, of stress? And how does that then trickle down to, to those of us working in more, you know, traditional job roles, right?
Charlie Pleasant 20:52
So I first want to just say that poor behavior does not constitute a mental illness. First of all, making poor decisions and poor behavior does not mean under any circumstances, you rise to the level of qualifications of a DSM diagnosis. Poor behavior can actually just be poor behavior, making very poor decisions. So because I and I want to say that, also, because there are people who, with the statistics of people that are living with depression and mental illness, anxiety, and so many other of the common mental health illnesses that we’re seeing now, they are out here holding jobs every single day without incident. And then they’re holding it everyday without incident present company included, if I’m being very transparent, saying no. So I definitely want to make I want to make sure that the listeners who hear this knows that because you have a mental illness or because you’re living and surviving a mental illness does not mean that you’re not that you’re not fit for employment. That’s that’s not the case at all. Poor behavior is poor behavior. That being said, it is very difficult to assess how a person is going to respond under a particular set of conditions, because any one of us under the right set of circumstances might have a very different response than what we tell people when we’re doing it hypothetically, or when we’re conjecturing on what we’re going to do. Yeah, so I would think that the best thing to put in place would be more pre emptive. In the sense of not trying to get you’re not old anybody’s HIPAA information, as an employer, you’re not allowed that that’s totally against the law. But if you know this, that we’re in this, I’m looking for an untraditional work environment. And these are the elements that come up with the touring the lack of sleep, the changes of city the changes of timezone, what that does to people, perhaps whether you’re taking care of your body or not physical domains as a dancer, since that’s what we’re talking about, specifically here, what that means for you, preemptively. I would put something in place for a person to have a person that they are required to check in as a part of their employment. You working with a licensed clinical mental health professional, or even if a coach is something and I mean, we can get into the debate around that.
Charlie Pleasant 23:21
But for me, I’m up there, I’m licensed, I’m a licensed mental health professional. In instances like this, I would say more so working with a qualified mental health professional, that you have to do it. Optional is is contingent upon your appointment, because if I’m Lizzo, or someone that’s in the entertainment industry, they get on documentaries all the time to talk about the impact. And you know, Michael Jackson gate was one of our best interviews around that when he talked about he hate to work into this whole thing, right? But, but even the King of Pop himself knows how treacherous This is, how this can be on a person. So there’s no way to know how they’re going to respond. But what I would do is put something in place, that they have to have a touch point on how they’re managing the stress, how they’re managing the conflict. But why hire you as the dance captain? Where I know we’re going to be doing maybe a 50 city tour and then maybe some international dates and different things. I need to know how you manage conflict. What are your what’s been your earliest messages around conflict? Is your style more conflict avoidant? Or do you feel present and being able to hold that space? How do you manage stress? How do you manage any preexisting conditions that I might not know of while dealing with this? Because we also know again, you don’t know returns on the expression of something else. But again, given the right conditions, it can trigger something different. Yeah, yeah. So that that will be one of the things that I will put into place is making sure a part of your work, you would have to go through a training of how you deal with grief. You deal with conflict, how you deal with boundaries, how you manage yourself care, how you manage communication, those are five areas right off those that are fat, common areas that we’re going to always see when we’re interacting with other human beings. And if you don’t have those skills, I will be assessing those skills that how you think you want to be in those areas, how you actually place in those areas. And if I saw that, um, the the tour hire in person for the person that’s going to be dancing, you know, the captain of the dancers, if you pour if you polled storming pole pole, lowly on those scores, we were thinking that you can’t do this because you’re crap, because you’re probably an amazing, incredible dancer. Right?
Charlie Pleasant 26:02
Well, we got to get you scaled up in some other areas as well, too. Well, we have to put someone alongside you, we have to put some makeup for that. Right? Yes, right. We have to put someone alongside you that can help you in that area. So so it’s really difficult to assess what that is. But what I would be doing is putting some things into place on the front end. Yeah. There was another point that I had a friend that that just that’s absolutely slipping me in this moment, I’m sure it’ll come up again, this isn’t such a juicy thing to look at. This is a really, really juicy thing to look at. Oh, the second thing is, is conjecture. And that making any qualitative statements here? Nothing like what’s alleged in that lawsuit just happens for the first time. Yeah, you understand? Nothing that’s in that lawsuit happens on that level. At the first this is, if it’s true, if the allegations are true, there is a crumb trail somewhere. That’s true. Somebody had whisper, somebody has worked along with someone, I’m sure in these particular communities with these particular niches like musicians or dancers or any things, those are very small and tight knit communities. Right. Somebody’s heard something before. And if that’s the case, because nothing this large just happens for the first time, this is just the first time that it’s been magnified to this degree.
Sarah Morgan 27:39
I think that’s important to know as well, because I can tell you from years of working as an investigator in employee relations, and dealing with sexual harassment claims, that when you when someone finally reports, because the amount of people who don’t report similar to sexual assault, those the amount of people who don’t report it far outweighs the number of people who actually do. And by the time you receive a report, chances are they it’s happened 510 plus times before. And if you investigate, well, and you’ll uncover, like you said, those breadcrumbs, that will lead you to the evidence of this person, as being much more serial in the way that they are handling. And in showing the pattern of escalation because people get bold when they don’t get caught. So if you do it the first time, then it may be very minor, but nobody says anything to you. So it gets louder and louder and louder and more bold until where we’re at the point where there is a lawsuit. And so you have to you have to pay attention to that, and address those things. If that’s not something that you want to be part of the culture of your workplace. And this tour was worthless. That’s how it’s been defined for the purposes of this law. So the law says, yeah, and those are the lessons that we can draw from. As we talk about it. I’d love your points around. We don’t know what people are going to do in situations until they get in those situations. But what we can assess is whether or not they have skills in those key five areas that you mentioned already, that they can speak to because if they have skills in those areas already that they can speak to proficiently, then chances are they’re going to deal better in those circumstances than they will Will if you’ve asked them, you know, what is your self care routine? Or where you know, what boundaries do you set and they go, I don’t know, well, when they don’t know, then there has to be almost a conflict, someone has to hit the boundary, someone has to violate the thing in order for them to realize that this is not okay for me. And that automatically is going to lead to more of a blow up. Or if they’re a person who does not who lets conflict flat fester, who doesn’t address things immediately and with the appropriate level of important, because as I was saying, you can’t go zero to 100 on everything. Sometimes, sometimes it’s a one, you know, sometimes all you need is that level of your attention versus something that, but if you immediately go from zero to 100, on everything, then your conflict mitigation skills are not going to be good.
Charlie Pleasant 31:02
They are not going to be effective. And in your, I’m glad that you brought that that up. Because if that’s the type of environment that happens here, of course, people are going to be scared to come forward.
Sarah Morgan 31:15
And that’s what happens in regular workplace that happens is that that, you know, people are afraid to come forward, because there’s going, it’s not going to be received, well, they feel like they’re not going to be believed, or they end they feel like there’s going to be ridicule, that happens to them as a result of it. And it doesn’t have to necessarily, it can be a small thing, it can be a, you know, I don’t really like when you, um, you know, the way that I can remember people with smells, I’ll use that as an example, in workplaces, where somebody may have like a diffuser on their desk, or a spray or a perfume, and just going to someone and telling them that this particular smell is isn’t a version of this is difficult for me, yeah, that this is triggering my allergies, people will sit there and sneeze themselves into a stupor, before they will go to the person on the other side of the cubicle wall and say, you know, This smell is triggering me? Can we ask him like, Can we do something about it? And or they bring it to their manager, or they bring it to HR? You know, and they look for us to like, rule on how it is that and that’s, I mean, that’s really not what we’re there for, I know that it becomes a part of our job because other people are not equipped to handle it. But that’s really not, you know, what we’re there for conflict should be resolved at the lower lowest possible level and rice of the time, that means interpersonally. So it’s so important to prepare people for how you want them to address issues within your workplace and to roleplay that for them as your onboarding and orienting them into your organization. Right.
Charlie Pleasant 33:31
And for a lot of people, that’s those blanket policies, a lot of times what’s underneath that is the inability to be able to effectively manage conflict and confrontation. And we really, we really do need to change the conversation. This is probably for another day, but really changing the conversation around conflict all together.
Sarah Morgan 33:58
Conflict is so normal and natural and needed and needed when you’re dealing with humans, and it’s really aren’t the stuff the stories that we’re telling ourselves about the issue that’s going on, that’s causing more of the problem than the actual like conversation itself and our ability to be able to communicate with another individual about what is negatively affecting us what we need from them in response, and then leave the space open for them to communicate their needs and feelings as well and us together, acknowledge and resolve this problem like the if we continue as a as humanity to just do poorly at being able to do that and everything becomes this like battle to the death Have over the smallest of smallest of things. And that can’t be in workplaces. And the more that your workplace feels like that, eventually, people just stop bringing up issues and they deal with it, um, be grudgingly or they leave. Because it the conflict can’t be managed, there’s no, there’s no middle, there’s no place for me, you know, for me and my needs to be acknowledged, and that is not good.
Charlie Pleasant 35:35
And what we’re essentially talking about here, and there’s been a lot of call for it for years, even with the within different workplaces, the you see, the researchers of Liberal Arts and Humanities degrees are very well, being highlighted more in these places, what we’re actually talking about is the ability to engage in forms of emotional intelligence, are those things that we oftentimes see as soft, those soft skills, actually, is what helps everything else.
Sarah Morgan 36:05
They’re so essential, they are soft, skills are the most difficult skill, they are too difficult to master.
Charlie Pleasant 36:14
You took the words right out of my mouth. So if there’s a call for more people to be in workspaces that had that come from a place educationally, and it still doesn’t mean that because educationally, you come from a place that you’ve mastered those skills, but I can see the connection that’s trying to be made here is that there’s more critical thinking, that’s more toying around, it’s not black and white, it’s more gray area to mess around emotionally, cognitively, to arrive at something different versus a B equals C, like each brand has its own, you know, own space in the workplace. But until we really get serious about the conversation around emotional intelligence in the workplace, we’re going to continue to see stuff just like this.
Sarah Morgan 36:57
Yeah, and I think so we make it as required as any other workplace skill. Like, going back to this example. And what we’re focusing around this conversation with Lizzo until the the weather is listening for so whether it’s the dance captain, whether it’s someone else, you know, within her room, but until I can be a fantastic dance, but I am a horrible communicator, and connector. I can’t connect emotionally API’s, zero motional intelligence, but I have all this dance skill, until someone says you are an amazing dancer, but you have zero emotional intelligence. And so that means that you have zero dance skill in my book, you can’t work on my tour, you can’t be you know, you can’t do this great thing that you can do. And whether and we see it in, in sports. We see it, we hear about it, you know, in other areas of the entertainment industry, and every one of us has a has a super jerky coworker who is you know, the top, whatever, they’re the best salesperson, the best marketing person, the best, it wizard, whatever. But they don’t know how to talk to me. And they can they can’t get along with anyone to save their life. And yet, we just gloss over it.
Charlie Pleasant 38:39
And until his head value is overvalued, or valuation of a particular set of skills over something else. Yeah.
Sarah Morgan 38:47
Yeah, the thing for me, particularly with the pandemic, because that’s always going to be like inflection point. And the ways that it’s changed people how we work how we relate to one another in some ways good and in some ways bad. But as we continue to push this return to office around for those of us who have had the luxury have the luxury of being able to work remotely because almost 8% of the population does not but for those who do and now we’re pushing the term to office people have lost those skills. So organizations have to be prepared to refresh individuals on those sorts of things and and make sure that as they are asking people to come back physically into shared spaces with one another because at least if if you start acting up on a zoom, I could turn the camera off and or uh you know, I can be like up my wife I cut out and I can take, I can take a break from you. I can’t do that necessarily in a in-person environment.
Charlie Pleasant 40:01
So here’s the thing, you actually can, that if we’re talking about true emotional intelligence, understanding when you become an activated in a situation, who even face to face could sound something like, I want to make sure that I’m plugged in and can really hear what’s happening here. What will help me do that is if I give myself five to 10 minutes, and then I’ll come. So there’s ways to practice that even face to face. Yeah, letting people know that I really want to hear what’s happening. I really don’t want to hear your point. I want to hear what Perspective Perspective you might have, or even any disagreement that you have. But I’m also aware that there’s something that’s happening in me as I’m engaging in this. That’s taken me out of the situation.
Sarah Morgan 40:53
I love that because that was the question that I was going to ask you like, as we come into that, like, how do we take that same thing and be able to do it in person, and you slip right into it? And so and I love that, and so, um, what I, which leads me to my last question, which is, what is it that keeps workplaces from embracing that more wholeheartedly.
Charlie Pleasant 41:26
And I think it goes back to what we talked about, in pre show, the collectively in the workplace. By and large, we have not agreed that this is a value. And we’ve agreed that production is the value is the primary and sole value. And that in pockets and silos in corporations across the country. And internationally, there might be people who are attuned enough to say, wait a minute, there’s some other things that might need to happen in this place that helps the production of this place. But I think the percentage of that is very small. And just that we just, as we talked about before, it typically comes up. It’s either people that really value the importance of connection, and being able to work well with the people that you’re spending the most hours with on a day to day basis. That’s even, that’s either something that’s decided collectively on a team. And that still doesn’t mean that that’s part of the whole structure of the organization. Right. Right. So that doesn’t mean that that’s a value of the organization, or there’s something that’s so egregious that’s happened, that it that the response become reactive. Typically, when the response is reactive, it’s also short lived. Yeah. Yeah. So that so outside of emotional intelligence, we saw that in 2020. Around George Floyd, yes, issues around race. So there was this run of putting in DNI, work into places or building upon those structures. But now you can go to the research, or just even just as an article, that you see the visible divestment, the visible divestment of these things that two years prior to, we said, this was the most important thing that needs to happen. And then there’s this very quiet, and then that’s so quiet that that’s another and so it keeps going back. So if when it’s reactive, it’s there, but it’s short lived. It has to be built into the structure to the infrastructure of the company. Right? That this is what we value, we value profits. We value people we value conditions that people work in, and how can we create this place? If we’re collectively saying, This is what we want to do here?
Sarah Morgan 43:48
Yeah. And I think that is a very, I can’t say, I got enough from working with clients. That’s a very difficult pivot for most organizations to me, because the fear that if I follow it, if I slow things down, in order to attend to the emotional needs of people, I will lose my competitive edge and my business won’t recover.
Charlie Pleasant 44:27
So I’m gonna lose the competitive edge. Because, again, that’s a story that you can make up about. Nor do you want to continue to lose the money that you pay in insurance, right? For people because that’s one of the primary areas that a lot of people come to therapy for. Yep. It’s workplace dissatisfaction, dissatisfaction in Asian so either way, you want to spin it.
Sarah Morgan 44:51
I know that’s true, because you’re gonna see people now not they’re in therapy. If they’re on medications, whether it be from mental health or pain or some other chronic illness, the absenteeism goes up. So you’re paying for sick time, vacation time, whatever. That’s office morale. Yep. Office, morale is low. So productivity is down, like it’s going to ripple effect in one way or the other. So it’s not slowing you down. On one end, or the other. The question is, which end? Do you want it to slow me down? And I think if, you know, as we watch this case, unfold, it’s easy. The easy thing is to just point the finger at Lizzo. Right, say, We know she wasn’t for rue. We knew she wasn’t body positive. We knew hurt people hurt people.
Charlie Pleasant 45:54
That’s been waiting to point oh, yeah.
Sarah Morgan 45:58
Oh, for sure. Oh, for sure. Yeah, and I’m not in that segment. Um, I am, I believe in believing victims. So I’m going to take these women at their word, that, that they had experiences that caused them harm while they were working. And I’m also going to believe that Lizzo can rebound from this, and find a way to use this and her overall message is probably gonna tensional Yeah, and I’m gonna, I’m going to, because this is the same person who ever remember something, you know, changed the lyric in her song, because people found out that, you know, because people educated her that there, that this was something offensive. And she was like, oh, okay, no problem. The Lyric is gone. So I, it’s hard for me to believe that a person with that level of like caring and consciousness is just so Jekyll and Hyde, in terms of the way that they behave, can can you slip up and say and do some things? Sure. But this sort of pervasiveness is difficult for me to accept. And as I read more about it, realizing that it wasn’t all her than it was a lot of the people around. Sometimes you as a leader just don’t know what’s happening in the other levels of, of your organization.
Charlie Pleasant 47:42
And that can’t be the excuse, because it’s not organizational,
Sarah Morgan 47:45
but you still have to take accountability for what went on, on your watch, you know, pay the price, whatever that price may be. And be intentional about how you make sure that that doesn’t happen again, and what lessons that you share to the world about how and why you need to do better. And I’m choosing to believe that that’s what’s going to come from this. And as we dissect, you know this and take our lessons from it, I think it is absolutely a call for us to one. Remember why remember that workplaces, workplace is way more expansive, than just the the building the zoom, the zoom, where it happens, you know, it’s much more expansive than that and not to lose sight, in the way that you interact with people and to it’s a call for us to continue to push for greater emotional intelligence, in terms of how we, how we operate with one another because if we don’t, situations like this, and worse are going to continue to come. Well, we’re gonna keep watching this case, we’re going to keep looking for ways to to learn from it as we go along. We may revisit this topic again, depending on how it all flushes out, but wanted to pause and take a moment right in right now to make sure that we spoke about it because it’s been in the news. It’s been something I know myself and Charlie had been asked to opinionate about and so we thought why not do it here.
Sarah Morgan 49:29
So we want to thank you all for listening to the latest episode of the Inclusion Crusade. I want to thank Charlie Pleasant, our expert in residence once again for being with us and for sharing her wisdom and insights. I am going to transition this back over to the wonderful team at the HR Happy Hour once again. I am Sarah Morgan and this is the Inclusion Crusade.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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