Naji Gehchan: Hello, leaders of the world. Welcome to spread love in organizations, the podcast for purpose-driven healthcare leaders, striving to make life better around the world by leading their teams with genuine care, servant leadership, and love.
In this episode, get ready to learn and be inspired as I have the honor to be with Daena Giardella, a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Faculty Affiliate of the MIT Leadership Center. Daena has been an organizational leadership consultant and executive coach as well as a media, communication, and presentation consultant for over twenty-five years. I have the privilege to learn from her as she’s been my executive coach for more than a year now and has definitely influenced me to start the Spreadlove in organization movement! Before being a senior lecturer at MIT and teaching numerous amazing courses, Daena has enjoyed dual careers in business organizational development and in the performing arts. She combines these backgrounds to design innovative educational programs for numerous world-class companies, organizations, and academic institutions in the USA and abroad. A fact I learned recently, Daena is also a talented actor who received kudos in the USA and internationally, the Boston Globe has called her an “impressive talent” and she definitely is an impressive talent, an impressive leader, coach and an amazing person.
Daena – I am thrilled to have you with me today and so much looking forward to our chat!
Daena Giardella: Wow, what a generous introduction. That’s great. I’m looking forward to this conversation too.
Naji: Um, I’m eager to hear more about your personal story, your personal journey, a journey from acting to leadership, to lecture now at MIT and helping so many leaders around the world be at their best. What is between the lines of your personal.
Daena: Yes. Thank you, Natalie. Thank you again. Uh, I know it’s a, it’s a journey that for some people, they completely understand how it’s, uh, kind of integrated because in myself it feels like one path.
These two seemingly very different. You know, I grew up in a family where the conversation at the dinner table was often about the D the work that my parents were doing there. And during that day, they were leading people in different ways, in their different work. In my head, two parents who worked, it was very interesting.
And so this. Of leadership was always part of my outlook. How do you, how do you influence people? How do you get the best out of people? My own, uh, early migration into the arts was very simple because I was very interested in, in communicating the story. That need to be told in the world. So I went into theater, I was an actor.
I have been an actor and created many, one woman performances. My specialty was in the art of improvisation. It’s that aspect of him, of acting where you’re generating the script in the moment and it can be either comedy or drama. So the connection was that as I went through the process of learning about that art form, I was also.
From the very beginning, always working as a consultant in my work in organizations of all kinds, you know, and I very quickly observed that the same skillset that was needed for success in influencing people and leadership. In business was the same skillset that actors needed to learn, which has to be in the moment to be able to influence effectively, to be able to listen, to be adaptive and pivot in situations.
There were so many parallel skills, so it really inspired me when I would go from one world to the other to realize, wait a minute, I can bring some of what’s needed in each world. To the opposite world because obviously theater companies and actors, and I also work in, in, in the video production really needed to also understand leadership and business dimension.
So I feel comfortable in both worlds and that’s sort of how I began to make this cross fertilization between the two skills.
Naji: That’s a that’s awesome. Uh, and now that you actually, you cross both, you teach and coach, uh, many of the leaders. What is it? Because you’re talking about communicating the stories, uh, you know, in a, in theater and then other things as leaders it’s we hear it and you’ve told me also how to tell stories, right.
And leadership to be impactful. Any, any links beyond, well, the story piece, but also, are there things that you’ve taken from, from your actor learning into.
Daena: Absolutely nationally. I’m glad you’re asking that the, the most important thing that leaders need to know how to do is to make that personal connection, to make a connection on a human level, whether they’re dealing with people at their own level, in their team colleague experience, whether they’re dealing with people who report to them or clients or.
Toward the C-suite. If they’re interfacing with folks there, or if they’re in the C-suite, they’re dealing with a board, that connection on a human level is what allows the improvisation as it were of the, whatever the interaction is to happen. Actors understand that if you’re not really in a yes and.
Making connection with people, which is the core of what improvisational actor is that. Yes. And I want to embrace what you’ve just told me your whatever you’ve offered and add my own addition to that. And now we’re collaborating, that’s the core of acting improvisation, and really it is the core of great leadership because instead of trying to show I’m the smartest person in the room, I’m really there to try to build on the ideas to foster a collaborative, psychologically safe environment so that everybody has what is called voice efficacy, borrowing from what Amy Edmondson writes about in her work from Harvard.
This notion that I have confidence to speak up, to say what is on my mind. To navigate conflict. So that’s number one. And number two, the other thing a leader needs that is in common with an actor is the ability to deal with the unexpected, to pivot, to adapt according to what one encounters and often it’s friction.
Let’s face it. We’re in fast-paced business environments, whatever environment it might be, and things are happening that don’t always go along with what we had expected. So a really effective. Yeah, somebody who is, has the skill to understand how to respond to what is happening instead of. She thought or he thought should be happening or would be happening, uh, where we’re attached to our past conception, which might be from five minutes ago of what we thought we would encounter in the meeting.
We walk in all of a sudden the CEO says, we’re not going to deal with that agenda. We’re dealing with this and nausea. Would you please stand up and speak to us on this topic? And you didn’t go in prepared. Because there’s a crisis. And yet knowing how to meet the moment, instead of going into that resistance of wait a minute, I don’t have control or I don’t have my clan.
That’s a very important. And certainly in the times we’re living in with so much uncertainty and the ambiguity of the, now this is what leaders, I think this is the crucible that leaders are, are in right now to really separate who can really meet this moment with that efficacy and who might be finding it a little more.
Naji: This is two really very important points and advice as they’re giving us, I want to double click on the first one, because you, you link the connection piece with also, uh, how to improvise to be able to collaborate. I love how you frame that. My question to you, you know, because when we hear improvisation, we think like, You just show up, figure out, you know, and you’re smart enough to be able to manage whatever situation might pop up, but how you frame that.
I think it’s a little bit different. It’s it’s taking the time to build this connection. What is the role of, you know, bringing prepared the preparation in order to be able to manage better like uncertainty and those type of situations. I’d love to hear more from you on.
Daena: You know, that is a very profound and sophisticated question.
It’s actually, I think at the heart of the issue, because there is a misconception about improvisation that it means do whatever you want, just show up, you know, and that is what we call one half of the skillset, which has to do with being free, to have impulses, to, to have freedom with spontaneity.
There’s no question that when you learn improvisation, that’s one part of it. However, we only have to look to Jack. Which is of course, an improvisational form in many ways, if all you have is the ability to make random notes, you don’t, you’re not a jazz master. The ability to do that means you have to rely on music theory.
And there has to be a sense of understanding all the dimensions of music, same thing with improvisation and leadership. There is a struggle. That makes improvisation work. And there is when there is a lack of that structure, it falls apart. Some of it has to do with, uh, listening. There are rules of improvisation, which is, uh, don’t just, uh, ask questions because you are, I don’t want to really use your own imagination.
There, there are rules of improvisation that have to do with, you know, showing up with, uh, a clear sense of where you’re going, being very specific, identifying the who, what, where when, uh, don’t block, the other person don’t use a yes but mentality or, or try to upstage people. And one basic rule. Maybe if your listeners remember just one rule of improvisation, no matter what’s happening, always make the other actor.
And that means that no matter what’s going on, even if I fiercely disagree with you, my job as a leader is not to make you lose face. I need to know. Cause you to lose face or to make you look bad and need to find a way to persuade you to come over to another way of seeing things that also honors your respect, your dignity, and gives you a chance to pivot to maybe a better version of yourself, or maybe open-mindedness.
So those are, there is a structure and I remember actually, Uh, teaching. I did a couple of workshops in Argentina. I was in Buenos Aires and also in Santiago. And I remember when I was in that Latin American tour of doing workshops and I was using the word improvisation, they said to me, you know, Are you sure we have to use that word because here in Spanish, when we say a proposition, we mean in a bad way, you really aren’t prepared.
And they said, it’s kind of like you’re caught with your pants down and it’s cause a negative connotation. And I understood immediately because they were seeing the negative part, which of course is true. We don’t want to be. With our pants down. However, that is not necessarily what is meant by improvisational leadership.
In fact, it means prevent being caught in that state of your pants being down, because you know how to pivot in a way that will build the conversation most productively toward the next step that it needs to go to with the structure in mind.
Naji: That’s so powerful. And w when you’re coaching, I remember in the very first, uh, you know, coaching sessions, we had, we worked a lot on, um, you know, the, the purpose driven leadership, the authentic leadership.
And you mentioned, um, many of those already in the beginning around. Listening about around psychological safety, how to build effective, effective teams that I’m going to ask you a kind of a hard question. If there is only one piece that you definitely every single time you’re coaching an executive or at either that you would always try to push them to think of or to, you know, to get better at, as a skill or as a capability, what would be this one?
Daena: If I had to pick one and I had to be on that desert island with that one particular, uh, coaching skill or that leadership skill, I would definitely pick building strong relationships because within the. Are so many of the other skillsets in order to build strong relationships, we have to do everything you just mentioned.
And we have to be able to be open. We have to be listening. We have to pay attention to the other person, pick up on what their needs and wants are. And we have to be strong communicators because you don’t just build a good relationship in your mind. Right. So I probably would pick that one out. Within that there are many skills like learning humble inquiry, which helps build that relationship and helps people listen.
So that’s a, that’s a skill that people who are listening can decide to adopt starting tomorrow, which is I want to build strong relationships and everybody knows. What people respond to is peop other people taking an interest in them and, uh, wanting to learn more about who they are. This is the basic idea of sales.
I think it’s basic in pretty much every industry. So to use humble inquiry, which is ed Schein’s concept, the ability to. Inquire in a state of mind that is truly a learning state of mind where you suspend that, you know what the answer is because you’re truly want to learn. You’re curious, and to use those kinds of questions instead of the kind of interrogation questions that can sometimes happen in business or.
Questions where we already know the answer and we’re just seeking a confirmation of what we already know, which is kind of boring. And it pushes the other person away more than drawing them near to us. People really respond to that quality of humble inquiry. And
Naji: th they, you know, and when you, when you talk about, you know, building strong relationships, can you define it a little bit more and help help us as leaders understand what it means?
You know, and I know we’ve discussed this. Do you think it’s a skill that can be built? Uh, we hear it many times from either, oh, we don’t have time for the. Is it too intrusive or even some are not even interested right then in learning from their teams. Is it a skill that can be built? Sometimes? I feel like it’s better not to manage people.
If you don’t love people, you don’t enjoy being with people. But what are your thoughts as an executive coach?
Daena: I hear that all the time. Nashi also, I don’t have time. I, you know, I’m, I’m in a rush. Uh, many of the physicians that I’ve coached over the years and I’ve coached a lot of people from the medical profession, particularly physicians will say, I just, you know, I have to get from one room to the next.
I have 30 people. I have to see particularly people who are working as hospitalists, for example, or even people in cancer treatment environments where. Things are so fast paced, uh, studies are being conducted. I think that for sure it can be developed. I’ve seen this firsthand. It can be developed. It has to do with the culture that is fostering that development, which is why I’m so excited about the kind of work your doing, for example, because this doesn’t happen as an anomaly.
The situation, it has to be supported by a culture and the leaders can be drivers of that cultural change. And you asked me, well, how do I define it? It means, am I bringing empathic listening? Uh, it doesn’t take a long time. It can take a moment of, of connection of letting somebody know that what they just said really was meaningful to you.
It can be when we are in person. That moment of eye contact a nod. It can be a look on the face, but it’s empathy. Uh, strong relations. It has to begin with listening, listening somebody to somebody, and then paraphrasing, I’m trying to think of practical skills that you, the people listening can apply saying back to somebody.
What you’ve just heard is a way of signaling. I care about you. I care about the relationship more, most important. I care about what you just said. Uh, another way of building another dimension of strong relationship is that we’re giving space for the other person to speak. We’re not doing all the time.
Where we’re listening. We’re interested in their ideas as well. And there’s. We, we follow up with that person. If it’s a colleague who we work with, we, we touch base. When we find out that their daughter is ill. We, we circle back the next day house. How Sarah doing, you know, there’s a, there’s a sense of bringing in that human part of the story.
Uh, strong relationships I think are, are easier to build. When we ourselves bring a quality of transparency at times, and it doesn’t take a lot of time it’s touching base and being real. Yeah. This has been a long day. Um, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m feeling I really need to get home to my kids. I miss them just to say that now I, and you’ve signaled to me.
Who are you as a person? I you’re signaling to me that your family matters, for example. Um, so there are many dimensions to that in a work. Building strong relationships begins and ends with respect. There’s no question we have to respect each other. We have to value each other. And one very simple way to do that is to affirm people in the meeting that we’re in, whoever is speaking to give them affirmation for what they’ve just said, uh, to, to build that sense of trust.
Because now I feel much safer with you and much more of knowledged by you, and I’m going to offer more because you’re giving me more.
Naji: Okay. Yeah, they might be obvious, but these are so important. Small steps that you said, did I? And there’s, I can add to those. Whereas sometimes I feel like it’s, it’s just obvious and it comes with respect, but unfortunately, without even noticing, sometimes people will do a try to being in a one-on-one.
Checking your mate, or looking down with video now, these days that are on your phone, like these are all these small things that as leaders, we should be so aware of their impact on the people that we have.
Daena: Correct. And especially in the zoom world, we have to watch for things like multitasking, doing our email while we’re listening, I just put air quotes on that.
We have to really be present. We have to use our voices more. We have to really lean in with emotion to some of what’s being talked about, even if it’s a dry meeting about, you know, data, for example, deconstructing some data. There has to be either a check-in at the beginning, a checkup. At the end and you know, people, it is true.
I want to embrace what you said. People don’t have time. We don’t have time where we’re, we’re operating with the same brain that we’ve always had, but with so much more input and we’re rushed and we’re pressured and we’re, we’re dealing with a lot of stress. So we have to not necessarily rely on our abundance of time.
We have to make the most of our moment. And improvisation is the art of the moment. It’s the art of being completely present in the moment. So in that sense, it’s mindfulness in action. It’s I may not have time to build a long relationship with you, a deep, long one, but I, in that moment, I’m with you. You. I care because of the way I listened to you because of the way I responded, the way I affirmed you.
The question I asked that I made you feel that your input was essential. That’s the moment that matters, or I’m in the room with somebody I’m with a patient. If I’m in a healthcare center setting and I’m making it very clear. That I may not be able to stay for hours and hours to address everything, but I hear you.
I’m going to go and get that answer that I don’t know the answer to, or I’ll let me circle back that moment of eye contact. Very, very.
Naji: And something you mentioned I’d love your thoughts on, I’ve been thinking a lot about, we obviously discussed it both, but I’m still, yeah. I’m still a buzzer and sometimes kind of reflective of, and struggling with in this virtual hybrid environment.
Right. And I think it’s something that people still, unfortunately, or fortunately for some be living for a while. Um, I, lot of the connections would happen. And, you know, an in-person mode spontaneously. Right. And I know for example, if I take my example, I’m someone who loves people. I love walking meeting with people, chatting, you know, without events.
Having them on the calendar, you know, in a calendar word and we’re losing all this. So now being intentional is even we need to double down on this and really being intentional or for also for these spontaneous moments that a human being would have normally. So it’s something that I I’m still struggling with.
I’m still trying to figure out because with the best intent. Just the touch points decreased, right? Like you’re not seeing your team every day, 10 times in an office anymore. And maybe there’s days where you’re not even in contact with your full team. So any advice, any thoughts on this, how to, you know, how to make sure that we keep this human interaction in a virtual.
Daena: Wow. That’s such an important question, right? I mean, we’re all struggling with this and I really relate to what you said, because I’m the same way, those unexpected moments in the hall in between sessions, in between what I’m doing, you know, there’s that saying? That big deal start by bumping into somebody in the hall and you start off talking about the weather and pretty soon you find out you have this common.
Objective and you decide to do something or, you know, even sharing data. I work with a lot of people in stem who are telling me, you know, I’m a scientist and I want to share, you know, conversations and I’m losing these ad hoc moments. So what I’ve been focusing on a lot, because I’m teaching a lot on zoom as you know, a lot of workshops and trainings and organizations, and also at MIT.
I’ve been looking at how we need to preserve some of that spontaneity. Now, for some people who might hear this, they may think, oh, I could never do this. Well, I’ll tell you what I’m doing. And I’ll just share with you if maybe there are adaptations of this, I’m bringing in some of that spontaneity to the beginning of some of my classes, as much as I possibly can.
Uh, the chitchat at the beginning of. The conversation where conversation is not structured at the beginning. Where, how are you doing? You know, it’s not even necessarily a formal check-in CA if that’s how your organization whirls, then do it as a formal check-in. But sometimes it’s that spontaneity at the beginning.
That’s very, very important where a theme gets developed and the leader. We’re going to let this go for five or 10 minutes before we dive into what has to happen. There may be humor. There may be everybody’s in a group complaint session about something they don’t like, whatever it is. The fact that every time they want to go out, it’s raining could be something deeper.
You know, that people are dealing with some situations at home and reading. Uh, some people are using techniques, like, you know, just tell us on a scale of, you know, look, if you were the weather and your, your life was the weather, is it stormy? Is it, is it a clear sky? And then if somebody says stormy, you bring up, okay, well what’s going on?
Well, my. Israel, you know, and I’m struggling with that, which happens to be my situation at the moment. And you’re bringing in a particular story. Uh, I’m using movement truthfully. I don’t think we can sit and do our meetings without moving. So suggesting stretch breaks, uh, where we bring in some music for just a moment and let people stretch.
I know that might sound like wide in a fast paced organizational setting. Can I really do that? I’m having a tremendous success with that in. Organizations that do not usually do that sort of thing. You know, 60 seconds of listening to some music, letting people walk around the room and then coming back and there’s laughter there’s connection in some way.
Uh, and then to get to what you said, those moments of, of really learning more about each other. I try to encourage the, after the meeting, hangout and chat for awhile as well, or come early and chat because it’s kind of like creating a virtual version of running into somebody before the meeting or hanging out with them.
After we have to be disciplined about that, we have to be ready to hang out there for 10 minutes beforehand. And. I never ended my meetings by leaving. I always end by saying, Hey, I’m going to hang as anybody want to hang and talk for a second. And these are formal meetings that have had a content and agenda, uh, you know, a beginning, middle and end.
But it’s the only way I can think of to keep that going. I’m getting a lot of good feedback and I’m asking some of the professionals I’ve worked with to try it. And they’re telling me. They’re using different adaptations. I don’t know if that’s what you had in mind, is that,
Naji: yeah, that that’s, that’s great.
And I can attest, I’ve tried, uh, you know, the early, as we discussed, uh, 15 minutes before the official start of the meeting being, and getting together just to chat as if we were having coffee and it definitely works.
Daena: That’s great to hear. That’s great to hear. And I think as we go more hybrid, we’ll be catching up on a little bit more seeing people if we are intersecting in person to some extent, but at the moment there is, you know, with the Delta variant, I think we are still in this new format.
Many people are.
Naji: Yeah. Before jumping into a session or where I would love for you to react to a word. But just before that, you talked a little bit about health care. I know you’re passionate about it, and you’ve been obviously developing and coaching many leaders in healthcare. Any, any specific thoughts or advices for the healthcare leaders listening to.
Daena: Yes, I can talk to you. Not only as somebody who has been an executive coach with many people in healthcare and taught workshops for people in healthcare, but also as somebody who has been a patient care advocate. Because of family members who have gone through serious, very serious illness, because I tend to be the person in the role of interfacing with the, with the medical professionals.
And so what I’m going to say is basically an amalgam of some insights that I’ve drawn more than anything. Uh, I first have to. Give a tip of the hat of a strong thank you to healthcare workers, particularly in this time with what’s been happening with COVID. And in general, I think of healthcare workers on the front lines of so much that’s important in the human experience, obviously, especially when we’re facing pandemics and serious illnesses like cancer.
So the stress and the pressure is immense. And. W one of the things that I think is very important is people in healthcare don’t have a lot of time to reflect. Given all the stress that they’re dealing with, and that shows up sometimes in the way that their teams feel about the way they’re leading their teams, uh, from a patient standpoint, the patient can always tell when there’s hardly.
Or disharmony between the physician, let’s say that the healthcare leader and the team, and when there is that harmonious sense that the team feels valued by the physician and everybody’s working together. Wow. It communicates. And many physicians tell me that they don’t have the time to build their strong teams to, to put focus on that or that there’s a lot of turnover, especially right.
And changing of personnel, uh, w it’s very, very important to, again, go back to that, making strong relationships and imparting what your vision is. So that, that you can also get the rest of the team on board with that vision and build in their vision to somehow make it a shared vision. That’s a very, very important, and that takes reflection time.
It takes with my executive coaches. I say to them, you know, take 10 minutes. If you don’t have a whole day or half an hour, even just take 10, 15 minutes to reflect on what do you feel is needed. Right. For that connection with your team? Uh, the other part of it is practicing, uh, Uh, thinking about your thinking and how it’s affecting the way you’re communicating.
Uh, are you having your own confidence problems in terms of having to lead a team? Many people were brought up in science in some form in medicine, but really never learned anything about being a leader and need to understand how to do that. There can be integrated. Feelings that people feel or a feeling of confidence crisis.
So getting reflection on that, getting support from that from colleagues from coaches is very, very important because ultimately I think people in healthcare are having to emotionally self-regulate, which by the way, is a cornerstone. KA capability, the ability to emotionally self-regulate. And without that, we cannot flourish as leaders.
And how do we emotionally self-regulate when all of these emotions are flying around, uh, those are some of the things that come to my mind quickly and you know, how to balance that listening that has to be done with also being efficient. Right. That’s that’s very, I know that’s a big.
Naji: Yeah. And all the emotional as you have emotional self-regulation, which is so important, right?
The moment of constant stress and unknown as the system is husband going through for years, but even more the last year is with the pandemic. No one was expecting.
Daena: Yeah. I, I would have to highlight that. I, I want to just briefly say that it is, it is. Cruel to imagine that people in healthcare can continue at the pace that we’re in and with the demands of not only this pandemic, but so much that’s happening, the fast changing environment without.
Support without this love message that you’re bringing this self-love it has to start with self-love care, self care. If people need to translate the word love, because they’re not prepared for how to say that. I believe that your message is a message. It has to start with love, have to start with, look self care, and then realizing that my, my team members need that self care.
And if it’s, you know, encouraging them to. Take that self care time or to reflect, or even at the beginning of those meetings, just to acknowledge each other, how stressful it’s been very, very important right now.
Naji: Then I will move to the section I talked about. So one word, one reaction.
Daena: Okay. And what do you want me to react or, or in a sentence
Naji: if I were there sentence, top of mind idea, I’d say the first one is included.
Daena: Bias comes to my mind because that’s when that’s the obstacle to inclusion and how much we need to be conscious of our own unconscious bias.
Naji: Can you tell, I know you’re passionate about this and you’ve been teaching about around diversity inclusion. Uh, I’d love to hear like a small summary of, uh, of your advices on.
Daena: Right now what I encounter when I’m teaching this, as people say to me, you know, the really egregious aspects of bias, maybe we all know to avoid those.
I don’t know. As I look at the way Asian hate crimes have Asian American hate crime. So prison, particularly toward healthcare workers, but randomly in the COVID pandemic. I think that we have a lot of work to do there, but let’s just say we’re looking at the unconscious bias dimension. Most important is for us to realize we all have bias.
It will come in, not only in terms of ethnic cultural, racial, gender identity bias, it also comes in in terms of cognitive learning style. So to take a step back and to ask, am I an unconsciously making somebody in this meeting right now? Because I am quickly deciding they’re not, they’re not speaking clearly enough.
They’re not their cognitive style is making me impatient, uh, or, you know, well, they’re from that culture, but I’m not realizing I’m doing it unconsciously to always ask ourselves, how am I bringing potential bias to this moment? Very, very important to start with our. Instead of thinking that our jobs to go out and police other people’s bias, of course.
And when we do see bias to set a limit, to find a way to speak about it, that invites people to learn rather than coming down on them and making them feel bad about themselves, because remember it could be unconscious, they may not realizing they’re doing it, and they may need your help as a mirror to learn more about that.
If it’s a very egregious statement, of course, setting a limit. But inclusion is my favorite word right now, because if we don’t have inclusion, we can’t spread love. And in a way spreading love is about making sure we are including every person at the heart of the organization and making sure that every person feels welcome and psychologically safe.
Naji: What about leadership?
Daena: Well, the first word that comes to me is interesting because of what your work is it’s love. Uh, I know that we could say courage and risk-taking and you know, daring to influence people and persuasion. Ultimately, if we’re not coming from a place of caring, deep caring about the mission. About the, the new cancer treatment that we care about, the people that can help, if we don’t care about the people in the meeting who are going to have to run off and do all the gritty work that has to happen to, to launch the study or to, uh, to deal with the people, because we have an overload of, of, uh, more people than staff, whatever it is, we have to care about one another.
And ultimately obviously in healthcare, We can lose sight of it in all of the industries. Ultimately we’re serving the people, the patients, the family members. So when I think of leading, I think of love, I think of caring, uh, finding ways to influence that inspire people, that lift people up and make people feel they can be the best version of themselves, which is really just another way of saying water, the garden with love instead of accusation, criticism, judgment, blame.
Naji: It’s going to make it hard with my, I always ask this word at the end, which has spread love and organizations, but I’m going to say it. That would talk about your reaction.
Daena: Oh, I love that spread love and organizations. Do you want my reaction to that? Connect up with Naji. First thing that come to me, if I give you my honest, spontaneous it’s connect up and spread what you’re doing, what you find in this work of this podcast.
And if the website, the other thing that comes to me is this second is I think we’re at an inflection point and there’s a generational dimension to this as well. That, and it’s a good thing. People in the generations that are coming up leading now, uh, have so much awareness about the psychological dimensions of life, of leadership, of what they can expect from work and really have no.
Desire to tolerate a psychologically unsafe environment that doesn’t care for people in my father’s day or in other generations, they would get a job and stay there for 40 years. Uh, even if they didn’t like it, because that was the way it world, the world doesn’t work. And we have. So when I think of spread love, I also think of retaining talent of cultivating talent of making people feel valued so they can help build an organization and feel that they are part of it, which doesn’t mean that the older generations don’t have a lot to offer.
It just means we can’t expect to treat people the way we did. Let’s say in the 1950s Madmen. To, to reference a popular culture, reference of a TV show about, you know, the way we used to conduct the top-down command control type of leadership that was insensitive and biased and so forth. So spread love to me is.
Literally moving organizations into the future so that the, the new generation of leaders feel we have a home for them here and that they don’t feel that somehow they have to conform to a way of treating people that leaves caring about your personal life at the door, or says, check your, your values are at the door or, or check, or you have to leave aside purpose and quality of life.
You know, I can quote studies where we see this is what people care about. They don’t just want to go to work and be a cog in a machine. So that’s what I think about when I think of spread.
Naji: This is awesome. And I, I can’t ever describe it in better words that hopefully with, with all this initiative and all that you’ve been giving us the day, we will be able to change, you know, the word changed leadership for a better word than for every single person as you start to feel.
T to be at their best and deliver on the bigger purpose within their organizations. Any final words of wisdom that enough for leaders and executives around the world.
Daena: Well, thank you. First of all, for what you said, and I feel such a simpatico with, with your mission in the work you’re doing a final word I would have is, uh, take the time you need for reflection and.
You know, I believe in executive coaching. So the heart of executive coaching is providing a space where somebody can have a thought companion to, to accompany them through their different conflicts or ideas that they’re trying to grapple with or missions. So even without coaching, we can be in a reflective mode, reflect.
Meetings before you go to them, reflect on what happened in your day, make notes on what you need to consider for tomorrow. If you had a conflictual or tense interaction reflect to see, well, how can I go in and improve that tomorrow? I think we in not reflecting, we often leave. Loose threads that then contribute to feeling not bad, not good about ourselves or not good about the way a meeting went, always try to do the repair, always try to repair the conversation that didn’t go well, or maybe even your own response that you’re not feeling good about find a way to reflect so that you can repair and also inspire because reflection is required for inspiration.
Otherwise we’d burn out, you know, even if everything seems to be going well, we want to reflect, you know, take that. To consider what we need and who we are.
Naji: Thank you so much for such an inspiring and genuine discussion. I will remember you said water, the garden with love. I will keep this. I love it. And I will keep many, many, many of the other great words of wisdom that you brought to us today.
Thank you so much.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you all for listening to spread love and organization’s podcast. Drop us a review on your preferred podcast platform
Follow us on LinkedIn and connect with us on spreadloveio.com. We’re eager to hear your thoughts and feedback. Most importantly, spread love in your organizations and spread the word around you to inspire others and amplify this movement, our world so desperately needs.