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Stress: One size does not fit all - Dr Hayley Lewis

October 06, 2023 Dr Hayley Lewis Season 4 Episode 9
Get Amplified
Stress: One size does not fit all - Dr Hayley Lewis
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How do you cope with stress in the workplace?  Do you ever feel like your stress is managing you rather than the other way around? 


​We came across a wonderful sketchnote by Dr Hayley Lewis and knew we had to get her back for a chat on Get Amplified to delve into this some more.​


​Stress can affect all of us at different times. Hayley is quick to point out that not all stress is bad and that we should recognise sometimes it is good - it gives us adrenaline when we need it.​


​There isn't one size fits all when it comes to stress. Hayley highlights how we need to understand the root causes and to put interventions in place when needed. ​


One of the differentiators in high performance teams is that team members really know each other and have found ways to complement and compromise with each other.​


If you do nothing else, be curious about your colleagues and your team. Ask questions – people don't have to share if they don't want to, but if someone knows you care, that means something. As human beings we are geared towards human connection and belonging. ​

Hayley leaves us with these key takeaways:​​

  • Stress is nothing to feel ashamed of. It shows you are human.​
  • Reach out for help that feels safe to you. Might be a manager, coach, mentor, friend, colleague. ‘a problem shared is a problem halved. Get it out of your head.​
  • Look for the root causes. Don’t deal with the symptoms. Put in interventions that deal with that.​


Hayley references some great tools and information which we will share in an upcoming blog.​

We would love you to follow us on LinkedIn!

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Sam:

Welcome to Get Amplified from the Amplified group, bringing you stories to help leaders in the tech industry execute at speed through the power of working together. Glorious sunshine down in Buckinghamshire, bicky. How's the weather up in deeper stocks, stocksfordshire.

Vic:

Yeah, we've got sunshine too. It's a bit breezy, but that's quite nice.

Sam:

Yeah, it's not too bad here, comfortable temperature, happy with it. So who have we got on today?

Vic:

Well, as you and I have just been discussing, we've got an exceptional podcast today because we have invited back Dr Hayley Lewis. The topic we've asked Hady to talk about is stress, and this was triggered from everybody feels it seems to be feeling the stress levels, particularly with this. We're still, I think, trying to master hybrid working, and Haley had done one of her wonderful sketch notes on stress that I saw on LinkedIn and thought, gosh, this is the lady to talk to. So, Hayley, it's wonderful to have you back. Thank you.

Hayley:

Thank you so much for having me back. It's an honour. I'm really excited about our conversation because, as you say, it's something that everybody wants to talk about and is affected by.

Sam:

Definitely, definitely affects a lot of us. Hayley, obviously we've had you on before a couple of times. Thank you so much for coming back, but do you want to just give us a praise of your career and what you've done where you are now? No, need to go into as much depth as before, but just to establish your credentials for our wonderful listeners.

Hayley:

Okay, so I'm what I've affectionately called dual citizenship. So I'm a registered occupational psychologist, so basically the psychology of work and a charter coaching psychologist. I have been working as a psychologist for 25 years now, both inside organisations and in the last seven years working for myself, so I support lots of different organisations. My specialism is really leadership and management behaviour and how that affects culture and performance of teams and whole organisations. So a lot of the work I do is very much focused around leadership and management development, whether that's executive coaching or running workshops or developing programmes. And then alongside that I also have an academic role. So I'm one of the programme directors for the professional doctorate programme in occupational psychology at Birkbeck so that teaches and trains the next generation of registered occupational psychologists in the UK, and that is me.

Vic:

The last bit you just talked about. Is that new? Is that changed?

Hayley:

So no, so I started supporting the programme January 2020 and then formally took on the role. So I've got a joint role with Dr Clare Mulligan Foster so we share it between us because we also run our businesses. So we took that on in October last year. So I've just finished my first full academic year.

Vic:

Right, so it is new, because we last had you on. It's a new way can't you too?

Hayley:

Yes, so I would have been just starting supporting it, yeah, yeah yeah.

Sam:

Very good. So you've got I can't count that high, but four or five different hats that you wear there by the sounds of things that must be pretty stressful, right. Yeah, as we talked about stress today.

Hayley:

Yeah, to some degree. I mean, before we hit record, we were talking about choices, and one of my most popular sketch notes is you've probably seen it is the circle of controls. You've got a circle of controls, circle of influence, circle of concern. It's something that I share with lots of my one-to-one coaching clients, because everything's a choice, right. So, yeah, I have lots of hats. No one's forcing me to wear them.

Sam:

True true.

Hayley:

So I think, and acknowledging that, certainly for me personally, reduces some of the feelings of stress because, just as I've chosen to take on these roles, I could choose to divest myself of some of them or take on fewer clients or whatever, just balance out in the way that works for you. Absolutely, which is what I do. So I am as anybody who knows me well. I am absolutely ruthless with my diary and completely unapologetic about protecting my time.

Sam:

We've got this podcast in. We've got this podcast in in 1863 or something, I think, just to secure your time.

Hayley:

Hang on, how old are you trying to say? I am Sam? Yeah, you know, I still. I think I said to you on a previous on one of the previous podcasts. So ever since I sat on my business, fridays were always a day that I kept free, and originally that was because I was looking after my mum and who had terminal cancer, and Fridays were hospital days or days when we would spend time together, and when she died at the end of 2020, I just kept that. I just kept that Friday and actually I found it's really interesting. Other business owners in my field are horrified because I think they come at it from scarcity perspective in terms of, well, doesn't that mean you're turning work away and it's like sometimes, yeah, but for me to show up and do your best to deliver quality, you know, I'm really clear about my values and really clear about the ethos of my company. For me to do my best to be really creative, to deliver excellent quality. I know and particularly as a 50 year old woman now, I have to conserve my energy. So, yeah, so I'm unapologetic about the boundaries that I put in, which helps me manage the stresses that I face.

Sam:

Just say no.

Hayley:

Just saying no.

Sam:

You knew I was about to burst into that song.

Hayley:

Set it up for you. If anybody not listening, anybody not from the UK, is thinking, what would that have been?

Sam:

the mid 80s or something.

Hayley:

Mid 80s.

Sam:

Yeah, zamo, yeah, I remember that Zamo yeah, I remember being really affected by seeing Zamo sprawled out on the bathroom.

Hayley:

Yeah, Grinch Hill, yeah, grinch Hill.

Sam:

Gosh. So there we go. Just say no, you heard it here first, kids. So for our listeners, in case you hadn't worked out, I don't know whether I introduced it properly, but we're talking about stress today, so that's my question to Haley. So can we start by, maybe, or restart as I've taken us on a tangent already by trying to define stress baby.

Hayley:

Yeah, so the common definition of stress is the kind of the mental or emotional strain that we feel when we're faced with a difficult situation. So that's kind of the broad definition. But in recent years there's been an exploration by social scientists, by kind of other psychologists in my field, of this concept of Eustress. So EU STR ESS, so Eustress which is positive stress.

Sam:

You being the Greek proof that you know it's good or well.

Hayley:

Yeah, you've shown your education there, sam. Excellent, just don't be quite in Latin at me that was Greek.

Sam:

What was it? Greek there you go, I'm showing my.

Hayley:

Lakov education. So yeah, so Eustress is positive stress that's beneficial for us, which helps us perform better, and this is something this is always a myth that I make sure to bust. If I'm never running workshops or webinars for client organizations talking about stress or stress management or resilience, that's the first place I go to is not all stress is bad, and so I get quite irritated when I'm looking on social media, on places like LinkedIn, or looking at some of the things the press talk about and some of the stories they cover, and it's just this umbrella all stress is bad and that's just a nonsense. So there's something about recognizing that sometimes we need you know that stress is good for us. It gives us adrenaline boost.

Sam:

We need to push through. Absolutely I mean, I always refer to the time when we were when I was a soft cat we were going through the flotation and we had a big sprint of kind of six months. It was a bit longer than that, but the six months with a roughly decided end point. We knew within a month of when we were going to do this and then, laterally, we knew the actual day and I felt that that was really good stress. We were all working hard, we had a big goal. Clearly we had to keep the business running, but we also had this enormous project on the side, but for me and you know my role was not massively significant within it, but we were involved in preparing them, you know all this equity stuff for analysts and for banks and so on and I really enjoyed that. I felt that that was good stress and I felt I was working at my optimum through that kind of weird, weird, crazy period. Yes, but it was exciting, it was enjoyable. Is there a positive stress? Yeah, I think to some extent it might be a duration thing to good stress and bad stress, like a sprint isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if that goes on. It depends on your personal threshold, but weeks, months, years or whatever, and the same old grinding problem that you're having to deal with. That's when it becomes bad and, I guess, in theory, dangerous, right.

Hayley:

Yeah, absolutely. So, you took the words out of my mouth. We're just, we're coming up with all the hits today, aren't we? So meet love there. So, yes, you took the words out of my mouth in terms of, I think, the example that you've just shared for yourself, sam, there was a very clear endpoint, and so when we know, okay, this is the kind of the deadline, the date, it can give you that adrenaline, that momentum, that energy. But there was also something else that you said that I think is really important, because you obviously talked about your own likes, and that's really important, in that what one person will find positive stress could be incredibly distressing for somebody else, and that's why you know we have to be careful with the, you know, one size fits all approaches to stress relief and stress management, and that's why, certainly for me in my practice, it's really important to understand root causes. So if you're working with a team where there might be high sickness, absence and a lot of that is about stress, then it's really important to investigate the root causes of that, both at a team level but also an individual level, what's going on for each of them, so that then you can put in place mechanisms and solutions that deal with the root cause, rather than just kind of random off the shelf. One size fits all.

Vic:

I can really relate to that, even just doing the podcast. So I thrive on a bit of adrenaline and stress, and my way to do that badly is lack of preparation, because it brings my which in turn stresses me out, because I'm the guy who likes to be prepared, yeah, but it's a positive stress and I do it to get the adrenaline. However, Lindsey on our team really doesn't like doing the public speaking bit and she finds it a negative stress to do it. She is just so. We're very different. We make a flippin brilliant team, but what stresses us is completely different, so that totally makes sense.

Hayley:

Yeah, and that's why you know there's there's obviously links with high performance teams and and I think is as we've talked about before on one of my previous appearances you know one of the differentiating factors for high performance teams compared to average performances team members really know each other, are really familiar with each other and have and have found ways to kind of complement and work with each other. And that includes recognising that the way I work might click with that person, but it might stress that person out. So how can we compromise with each?

Vic:

other.

Hayley:

Yeah, so. Stress has implications for all sorts of aspects of working, our working lives and performance in in the workplace.

Sam:

And not just working lives, oh gosh, yeah, at home as well. It totally spills over into your own life and vice versa. You know you. I always felt that as a senior senior person within the company. You know, a bit like being a teacher or, you know, maybe a rock star or whatever. You know you've always got to be on your A game. You know you can't turn up to teach a bunch of kids and have a hangover or be feeling crappy. You can't pitch up on stage to play to 20,000 people and have an off day. And I felt I felt exactly the same. So anything that was going on at home I needed to manage in order to produce the goods at work. But equally busy times and stuff at work would then spill over into homes. I remember my dad phoning me to tell me that my grandmother passed away and having to walk into a big meeting with a customer 20 minutes later. She lived a long and wonderful life and she was at the end of it and it was her time and it wasn't unexpected. But I still had to deal with that news, put my game face on and go and get on with it. So it's not just about work, is it?

Hayley:

No, absolutely not. You know. And where I'd like well, and obviously my expertise is psychology of work, but where I'd like workplaces to get to is that it's okay for you to walk back into that meeting, Sam, and to be able to say what's happened? Could you have five or 10 minutes time out to get yourself and not be penalized or judged for that? Yeah, yeah, Rather than I've got to go in, I'll keep it to myself. Have my game face on.

Sam:

And actually I'm sure if I'd said to the account manager and the customer look, I just need 10 minutes to get one, but I think I was doing it more for you. That was almost as much my way of coping.

Vic:

It feels like that we had to do that before that. I don't know what your experience is, hayley, but what we're seeing in organizations that we're working with now is actually this is a positive that's come out of COVID is there has been more of an acceptance of a blend between home and work, because so many people are working from home and there's people are sharing more about what's going on at home.

Hayley:

I think it depends on the organization in the sector.

Vic:

I could see that on your face.

Hayley:

You were like so there are some absolutely, absolutely and there are some no, no, absolutely dedicated to going back to pre COVID, won't break any conversation about action. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, interestingly, there's one organization I'm working with who should remain nameless, where there's a split, so it's not even the whole organization. So you have some teams and departments who are like, yeah, let's keep going with hybrids, and then other parts that are like, nope, it's a very different types of managers and leaders and so that's creating attention. I bet it is because when they do it and we absolutely spot on. But saying that, saying that again, it shouldn't be a one size fits all, no, so there's a neat little framework I created for this organization to help them make decisions about what's right for the, what's best for the business and the customer and what's best for the people. So good old four box model. I wouldn't be a consultant if I didn't do one, because what I was seeing from both sides so whether I'm fully in the hybrid camp or whether I'm anti I was seeing from both sides a lack of evidence based thinking. It was purely what the leader liked or disliked, yeah, and my question would be where's your evidence around this, you know? And so helping them take a more judicious approach in terms of what's best for the customer and what's best for the people in your specific area, and actually that will look different. Yeah, and that's okay, yeah.

Vic:

Yeah, I think we we must. I'm feeling very lucky, actually, because we are incredibly our business since we last saw you, haley, as it's just exploded, which is surprised, which is wonderful, but it's we're working with organizations that have got the same view of of is a people first organization. You need to look after your employees, and actually a significant piece of of your employees is is what's going on at home, and they are human beings and and unless you're recognizing that, and so we're not working with any organization that doesn't think like that, so that makes me feel very lucky.

Sam:

But to some extent you get to. You get to choose your own clients.

Hayley:

So you know if, if in the teenage parlance of the day.

Sam:

if you don't vibe with someone, yeah. And it's.

Vic:

It's because we're sharing the stuff that we're doing the self selecting, because they share the same, the same views as us.

Hayley:

So sometimes I like working with organizations that don't share the same view, because I'm in um yeah well, and that's, and that's why. I'm. That's why I do what I do, and, and, but also I think and you probably find this as an external practitioner, whilst there are, you know, obviously, my reputations on the line I've got, there's less risk for me than if I was an internal practitioner speaking truth to power and kind of having very direct, challenging conversations with the chief executive or or a director. They're more likely to take it from someone like me and I also see it as my responsibility to step up to the plate and have those conversations and also educate. I want to make it clear Nobody I work with are bad people.

Vic:

That's not what we're talking about here.

Hayley:

Yeah, and, and I'm a great believer in just being curious and getting under the skin of what's this about and, as I say, I don't, I don't believe in one size fits all approaches. You know fully, virtual or hybrid doesn't work for all teams, just like 100% in the office doesn't work for all teams. It's about context, specific, and it's not just about what's right for your employees, your people. It's also about what's right for the business and what's right for the customers that you're there to deliver services for, whether you're a local authority, whether you're an NHS trust, whether you're a global insurance company. You have to kind of think about both those things. I'm not a fan of binary extreme thinking. I never have been. It's one of the things I talk a lot to my students about and it's one of the things that I'm often having to challenge and educate clients about that kind of extreme jumping on the latest bandwagon and drinking the Kool-Aid, and this is the way and it might not be the way actually just look at the evidence and the context specificity of what's going on for you.

Vic:

Yeah, I want to bring us back to the topic because what was certainly where we're seeing a significant amount of stress in the organizations that we're talking with and I love the way that you've just defined your role as that external advisor. I think we're generally brought in by someone that thinks in a similar way to us, but we're safer to have the difficult conversations.

Hayley:

Yeah, yeah.

Vic:

And I do a lot of that. But what I'm also seeing is I'm seeing a real squash on middle managers. That is the level where we're seeing that, so that they are supporting their teams, but they're also taking it all from above and they're just getting compressed. And I'm really worried, particularly in this virtual world, because a lot of our teams are still working very much hybrid, so they may be in the office one day a week, yeah, if at all, and they're not seeing their peers feeling it too, and they're all at home alone feeling this pressure.

Hayley:

So yeah, so unfortunately this isn't a new thing. I mean, I wrote about this. I wrote about the quandary of the middle manager about five or six years ago. It's one of my most popular articles.

Sam:

Good frames, good title.

Hayley:

The quandary, because it's not just the pressure from your direct reports or from those higher up the hierarchy. Often, as a middle manager, you are the person that will deal with customer complaints and will face off with other corporate center roles. You'll be meeting with your management accountant if you work in a large corporate environment and go for all that stuff. So you're often it's 360. And then, yeah, as you say, vicky, when you lay on top that for some middle managers not all, but for some middle managers who are primarily working at home that can feel very lonely space and so we have to work even harder to put in place mechanisms that work for us. Whether that is once a month I meet up with an action learning set of physically with my peers, a group of six peers, and we work through stuff and I feel heard and supported, or whether I have a coach or a mentor or an advisor that I meet virtually, I have to think a bit more carefully about what support I need and how I can wrap that around myself. Yeah, so it's not a new thing the flabby middle, I call this.

Sam:

So meanwhile, those same people, probably squeezed in between likely teenage children and aging, parents?

Hayley:

Yeah, absolutely.

Sam:

And having exactly the same squash.

Hayley:

Absolutely. That's come up in a few workshops recently the age of some middle managers. It means they're Gen X, which tends to be the squeezed generation. So I think that's a really insightful point, sam. And, as I say, I just think giving people time and space to think about what do I need is really important. But often it's seen as a luxury to think about that stuff. It's seen as a weakness in some organizations to ask for that stuff. And so when I'm working with the next level up or the next level up so you're kind of senior leaders I was working with a group, a senior leadership group yesterday, a team yesterday. We were talking about what do you want to role model and what are you actually role modeling? Because you talk about the importance of your team members across the different services, making time and space for reflection. Are you doing that? Are you role modeling that? Are they seeing you do that? Well, no, right, because we know that leadership behavior is one of the most powerful factors for impacting culture and behavior in teams, and that includes how one manages stress. So, if I'm answering my e-mail, there was a really interesting study during the pandemic about teachers and it found that those teachers who reported into a head who had really clear boundaries around emails and time off. Teachers who reported into a head who behaved like that seemed to experience less stress and didn't work as long hours, whereas those who reported into a head who would like to take their laptop home would be on their emails till midnight, send in emails out at the crack of dawn, working weekends. Unsurprisingly, those teachers would mimic what I've got to behave like that as well. And so those who manage middle managers have a big responsibility. For how are you showing up on what you role modeling in terms of what is and is not acceptable? It's not enough for you to say, yeah, yeah, you should be taking your holiday if you're not taking your holiday yourself, because actually that's the message that goes out.

Vic:

That's such a powerful message you've just said there, Hailey, and so needed.

Hayley:

So, yes, these are the conversations that I'm having. It's been really interesting because I do either of you coach or you coaches as well, yeah, so I don't know if you've been finding this, but I've been, certainly the last year. Now, obviously, in executive coaching, there's the standard you would have the three-way meeting at the beginning with the line manager to make sure everyone's on the same page and all that good stuff. But what I've been finding with some of my middle manager clients is it's actually been really powerful, with their permission, to bring their line manager back in, particularly for one of the sessions, particularly when the issue is about stress and burnout and workload. That's a lovely idea, yeah, because we can't keep putting it on the shoulders of individuals. So I'm really clear about this with organisations. When they're asking me whether I'm coaching someone or whether I'm running a workshop, I get asked a lot oh, because you run a workshop on resilience or wanna workshop on stress, and that's like a tick. And the question I was asked is can I look at your culture plan, your culture change plan or your strategy for how you're managing demand?

Sam:

Yeah, what your resource plan is, absolutely. And those schools that run a one. Once a year they do an assembly or mental health and I think they've done with it.

Hayley:

Yeah, I need to see what your plan, what your strategic vision is, but also, more fundamentally, what actions you are taking to review your structure if demands are out of kilter with resources. Because if you're not looking at all that stuff, running a couple of webinars on resilience isn't gonna cut it. You have to stop putting it at the door of the individual when the issue is a lack of resources in an organization or poor line management, because no matter of training Making people making people attend a seminar or a webinar or whatever it is.

Sam:

It's just gonna add to that stress because it'll take them out of their day for an hour, and all they're gonna have to do is find the time to catch up later on Absolutely.

Hayley:

Now, don't get me wrong, there's absolutely stuff we can give an individual, but that's just one part of the equation. It's a proposal. Yeah, yeah, yeah, can I tell you?

Vic:

something. When you asked me if I was a coach and I didn't really answer, I kind of did a bit of a nod. I'm not an official coach and I would never sell myself as a coach. That's not what I do. It's not what I'm good at. I have got a much better at listening, actually, since doing the podcast. I've got much better editing myself. I've really learned how much I need to do to shut up. So I have got better. But I'm not a coach. But we do work with executive coaches. They're actually just listening and I'm thinking how do I do what you've just been describing? Because I do work, but I call it more mentoring than coaching what I do. But I do work with teams and work with middle managers and I'm just there for them to offload to and they just replay back. So I think that's how I'm doing it, kind of a little bit like that when I hear what's going on, I then coach the team on what's the plan, because this is across the entire organization here. So what are you gonna do about it and what's the plan to do that?

Hayley:

There's a great activity I use with teams. It's based on the work of Professor Arnold Backer. So Arnold is another organization psychologist is from Holland. He is probably one of the world's leading experts on wellbeing in the workplace and everything associated with that. Anyway, around 20 or years ago he co-designed what's one of the most trusted and reliable frameworks used by psychologists in the workplace, which is not very sexist title. It's called the job demands resources model. I've done a sketch on it which I can ping to you after this. But I run an activity with teams around this to get them reflecting on the way the world is now. Yeah, so it can be quite cathartic for teams as well. So where they talk about the demands of their respective roles, we look at themes across the teams. Are there any common themes across the roles? And we look at different types of demands. So everything from physical to mental to relationship to complexity. There's kind of different categories of demands. So we kind of work through that and then we look at well, resources exist now that help offset those demands, because there's a real power in recognizing A there is stuff in place and what I found consistently is that everybody's sharing with each other. They realize actually there's more resources than they realize that they weren't drawing on. And then the next bit is the plan that helps the team manager and the team, which is okay. What are the resources that are missing that could further help offset the demands you're all facing? And we need to be realistic about that. The organization isn't suddenly gonna find another kind of five million for a structure. I was not saying structure's not important, but are there other things? And often what will come out is processes need improving, working with IT on better systems, better sharing of knowledge, certain courses that could be helpful and that's really empowering for people Because they've got a plan. Then, exactly, and managers love it, teams love it, because teams feel they've had a space to share and be heard.

Vic:

I think again part of the challenge we've had. Tech organizations have historically been very siloed, but because we're now working remotely, those silos have got. Gaps between those silos have got even bigger. And part of where we're going over the next three years, or our three, is how we help organizations break down these silos. Because actually, if we subscribe to General Stanley McChrystal's team of teams, of how you break them down and get teams collaborating more because you can be more efficient in doing what you're doing, and there are people out there that probably have got that knowledge but we're not talking to each other, we're not sharing. No, there was a. They were born in our own little bubbles.

Hayley:

Yeah, there was another really interesting study led by Joanna Poliskovich, who's an expert in knowledge management, and it looked at the role of leaders and the type of leadership behavior that can facilitate better knowledge management in organizations. I wrote a summary about it in normal language Because you know how I don't know academic. I struggle with it. So I can send you that, because it's a really interesting study and I think offers and it's an open access it's not behind a paywall for once, so you can go and have a look at it yourselves. But I think what Joanna and her colleagues have done is at least started to create a bit of a roadmap in terms of, okay, how do leaders need to show up to create a culture where people naturally share knowledge with each other rather than hide it and see it as something to have one over?

Sam:

Yeah yeah.

Hayley:

And so I'll ping that to you as well, Wow thank you. Can't we go in wide-ranging with this discussion?

Vic:

We are, but it all comes back to people feeling under pressure.

Sam:

Yes, absolutely so as a leader of an organization or someone senior in organization. How do you spot that people are running too hot? You know, I watched a lot of cricket I'm really keen on cricket and they these days they monitor people's performance and workload and what have you. And they refer to something called the red zone. And the red zone doesn't necessarily mean that somebody shouldn't play a game when they hit that point, but they know that when they hit that point they're in more danger of getting injured. And stress must be a similar sort of thing, right? You know, if you're in the green zone, you're AOK. If you're in the amber zone, you're all right. If you hit that red zone, you are in greater danger of a burnout, a physical health incident. You know your performance dropping off, having an argument with somebody in your team or not in your team, or something like that. So how do we spot when people are entering the red zone?

Hayley:

Well, you're not going to like this answer, sam. It's the traditional psychologist answer. It depends, and part of it depends, because Of course, because people are different.

Sam:

Baselines.

Hayley:

Absolutely, but also some people mask.

Sam:

Mm-hmm yeah.

Hayley:

So when we lay again. This is why I don't like one size fits all approaches, because it doesn't necessarily take into account personality, neurodivergence, cultural background, ethnic backgrounds, generational differences. You know, if I think about some of the older people that I've worked with who are in their 60s and 70s, stiff upper lip yes, doesn't mean they're not feeling stressed or in the red zone, but you might never know it and that has different implications. Actually, we know from some research that when it's internalised it can damage your heart. You know there's all sorts of health physical health implications, so it depends. And that's why you know why my passion and the people I want to work with are line managers that can make a difference, because teaching them the skills to be coaches, or teaching them coaching skills where they're asking good questions, where they're listening genuinely listening means that they can almost be social scientists themselves and get to know people, which helps them spot the signs. So the team that I was working with yesterday I'll give you an example I gave them some homework to do before the team build started and they each shared who they are, their story, why they work in public service, all this stuff. And one of the things I asked them to do is to share what people see when they're at their worst and what those triggers are and what people see when they're at their best. And there was really one of the one of the team said actually people might not be able to spot when I'm feeling at my worst. And there was an interesting they recognize they could be quite contradictory. So when they're at their worst and getting really frustrated, they can either be really loud and dominate the team meetings or go really quiet and they're really confusing. And I asked the question. I said do you ever say at the leadership team meeting I'm feeling really frustrated by this? And they looked at me and said you know what?

Vic:

I've never said that. Would we say that? Exactly exactly when you say exactly.

Hayley:

And so we leave it to others to guess from our cues. But when our cues are contradictory, well how do I know if you're in the red zone or not? It might be given me a vibe that you'll be in thoughtful, so if you've gone quiet, I might think you're simply being thoughtful rather than you're burning with rage inside. And so, long story short, one of the things I absolutely love about the work that I do is helping people connect to a more deeper level and really get to know each other, including the signs to spot and look out for, and that's where they that's. That's one of the things they took away yesterday. We, at the wrap up, at the end of the day, I got them to give feedback to each other and what they value about each other, and there were some tears, which I didn't expect. I didn't expect to either stiff up a lip and all that, but they all talked about the things that they're going to look out for more with their colleagues In each other. Yes, yes, it's more supportive of each other, because now they know the things to look out for, yeah, which they had not recognized as signs of frustration or signs of upset or powerful. So, yeah, so rather long winded answers, sam. But yeah, it depends. Yeah, it really goes to being curious about your colleagues, being curious about your team and getting to know them, not forcing it. Some people aren't comfortable sharing stuff about themselves, but you can at least ask, you can at least show you're interested. They share, they share. If they don't, you can't force them to.

Sam:

You know there must, there must be something in that just knowing that somebody cares about you.

Hayley:

Absolutely.

Sam:

Makes a massive difference.

Hayley:

Absolutely. We all want that sense of belongingness, yeah, whatever that means to us. As human beings, we are geared towards a form of connection and belonging. We want to be seen in some way and that's really important. And sometimes I think we forget that in a work context. Sometimes I think we forget it in a home context. But well, yeah, I'm not a family therapist.

Sam:

That's a whole different kind of fish.

Hayley:

Vicky, you were going to say something.

Vic:

Yeah, I have. I've written that. Potentially, the title of this podcast is stress one size does not fit all. I think that's that's the key takeaway for me from what we've been talking about, but I know we haven't gone.

Sam:

There was me thinking it was going to be. You took the words right out of my mouth. Well, wait for it. It must have been while you were stressing me.

Hayley:

Oh Sam.

Sam:

Vicky, edit that out please. That's dreadful.

Vic:

Tough.

Hayley:

I love that Dot dot dot, just say no.

Sam:

Yes, just say that. Yeah, buddy, so it feels like we've covered an enormous amount of ground and thank you for that. Maybe we could traditional wrap up have you got three takeaways that you can give us from all of the vast amount of ground that we've covered today, please, yeah.

Hayley:

Yeah. So I think, first and foremost, stress, as in the traditional. I'm feeling stressed, I'm feeling anxious, nothing to feel ashamed of. It's not something to feel ashamed of?

Sam:

We all feel it A different show that you're weak.

Hayley:

Absolutely not. It shows you human.

Sam:

Yeah.

Hayley:

So that's the first thing. The second thing, linked to that first point, is there aren't many of us that can overcome acute stress, so they're kind of the longer term effects on our own. So, reaching out for help in a way that feels safe for you If you've got a really good relationship with your manager, brilliant, have that conversation. A good manager will be open to that and want well, they'll already have spotted it. But yeah, reaching out for help. If it's not, it might be a coach, it might be a mentor, it might be just a colleague, it might be a friend. But there's real power in the phrase a problem shared is a problem. Yeah, I was just thinking that. So getting out of your head can be really helpful. And third is look for the root causes. Don't deal with the symptoms, cause that's just like sticking a bandaid over a kind of a limb a limb that's fallen off and open for the best. It's like what's the root cause of what's going on and then putting in place interventions that deal with that. And yeah, those are my three takeaways that I'd offer up.

Sam:

Great. So thank you, Vicky. Anything to add?

Vic:

Just an immense thanks. I have written, as you can imagine, haley, pages and pages of notes, so it's always wonderful to have you on as a guest. Thank you so much and, if you've mentioned, we won't ask for a book, because I think you've got quite a few things there that you can share with us. Yeah, that we'll put in the show notes, but your podcast always gets really great response, so thank you so? Much for coming on again.

Sam:

We really appreciate it.

Vic:

And we have you for a fourth.

Sam:

Let's break a record. Keep on top of the record, just in case we get somebody else back.

Vic:

No yeah.

Hayley:

I'm always really honoured when I get asked back on a podcast, so thank you. So, yeah, and hopefully your listeners took something away today. And, yeah, I'll send you some various materials which you can share with your listeners, which hopefully they'll find useful. Wonderful Thank you so much You're very welcome Thank you.

Sam:

Just for a minute for me to say thank you for listening to Get Amplified from the Amplified Group. If you enjoyed it, give us a comment, give us a like, give us a subscription. We always appreciate it. See you on the next one.

Hayley:

Okay.

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