61. Root Causes of Apathy + New Boss’s First Question

Episode 61: Root Causes of Apathy + New Boss’s First Question (Summary)

If it seems as though some on your team just don’t care anymore, we’ll talk about why that’s happening. Note, it’s not just about Covid and burnout. Plus, the first question every new boss should ask to get off on the right foot with new direct reports. We’re glad you’re here now, on Boss Better Now.

Links:
To learn more about Joe Mull, visit his website ​Joemull.com​.
To hear more from Joe Mull visit his YouTube channel​.
To learn how to invite Joe to speak at an event, visit ​Joemull.com/speaking​.
To check date availability or to get a quote for an event, email ​hello@joemull.com​.
To explore options for coaching from Alyssa Mullet, visit ​Joemull.com/coaching​.
For more information on the BossBetter Leadership Academy, visit Joemull.com/academy.
Email the show at bossbetternow@gmail.com.
To leave comments, ask questions, or to message us visit our Boss Better Now Podcast Facebook Page.
Connect with Joe on Instagram.
Connect with Joe on Twitter.
Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

*Full transcript under the comments below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Transcript – Episode 61: Root Causes of Apathy + New Boss’s First Question 

 

Joe:

Hey friends, Joe here and if you like our Boss Better Now podcast, then you should also be getting my free BossBetter emails every other Monday. I’ll send you a simple note with advice, encouragement, and resources to help you boss better. Just text the word BossHero to 66866 to get signed up. That’s BossHero all one more to 66866, or you can visit BossBetterNow.com to subscribe. Now let’s get to the podcast.

Joe:

If it seems as though some on your team just don’t care anymore, we’re gonna talk about why that’s happening. Oh, in a note, it’s not just about COVID and burnout. Plus the first question every new boss should ask to get off on the right foot with new direct reports. We’re glad you’re here now on Boss Better Now.

Alyssa:

You’re listening to Boss Better Now. Please welcome speaker, author, and hat collector, Joe Mull,

Joe:

Some of you are listening on your commute. Some of you are listening during your workout. Some of you are listening at lunch or while cooking a meal. Wherever, and whenever you’re listening, thank you for being here. We are so glad that you chose to join us on our show. BossHeroes, like you, people who strive every day to be better bosses, but don’t always know how, we hope have found a home here where we dispense advice and encouragement and a little bit of humor to act as food for the boss soul. Joining me is my fantastic co-host professional coach, Alyssa Mullet. Greeting, my friend. Greetings, not one greeting, not singular. Greetings, my friend

Alyssa:

Greeting.

Joe:

No that no that’s live long and prosper. Yeah.

Alyssa:

Prosper. Did you,

Joe:

I feel like you blended, was that like a Mork and Mindy meets Star Trek right there at the same time? Is that what happened

Alyssa:

Greetings? No, that,

Joe:

That was Nanu, nanu, right?

Alyssa:

I was just responding and kind. I felt

Joe:

Well, we’ve gotten off to a chaotic foot here with plenty of eighties references. So we’ve, we’ve really retained that gen Z audience here right off the bat. Go us.

Alyssa:

We are who we are. We gotta go for it.

Joe:

Well, I’m so glad that you’re here today, my friend, because I wanna talk about I wanna talk about apathy. Have you been feeling apathetic lately about anything?

Alyssa:

Hmm, I don’t. I might need a refresher on the con the whole context of, of apathy. So can you gimme like a definition? May I have it in a sentence please? No, I just need a refresher on the difference, I guess, between apathy and all the other words I wanna use disinterest burnout, like all of the other things. Yeah.

Joe:

Yeah. There’s some interconnectedness to everything that people are experiencing right now. Right. so apathy really is defined as a lack of interest, a lack of enthusiasm or concern. And so, you know, I think people experience that as just a lack of get up and go or a, a sense of, I don’t care. And I think we all have probably felt that in certain ways about certain things in recent months, I mean, I I’ve experienced it. There are some things that I do here at work that I’ve long been passionate about and been driven and have found myself going. Yeah, whatever, you know I, I think it’s human nature to experience apathy periodically around certain things. I think it is something that even pre COVID, a lot of leaders struggle with. They could, they would see an employee and feel like they’re just going through the motions or they’re just doing the minimum. And they would say, why don’t they have any enthusiasm for this? Why don’t they have any interest in it? Why don’t they seem to care? And now with everything that we’ve all been through for so many months, I think that’s just occurring at a higher level and with a greater frequency. So with that definition as a backdrop, have you experienced apathy around any things lately?

Alyssa:

For sure. I have experienced it in my life as this counterbalance to what I have foundationally thought of myself in terms of this very deeply empathetic person, that there has to be some kind of balance because you cannot healthfully digest the world as it is right now, empathetically all the time. Yes. There has to be a limit to what you will put your mental health through in order to continue to have any will to be a part of humanity. So yes, I have absolutely kind of embraced at some points, apathy, disassociation, however you wanna, you know, all the means to which to obtain a little bit of that apathy. Yeah.

Joe:

And let’s acknowledge that that fleeting apathy is completely normal around almost anything. Nobody is turned up to 11 on their motivation on everything all the time. Right. Nobody is, is completely on fire every day about like I’m changing the world with this report that I’m putting together, this accounting spreadsheet, like, you know, there are, it’s completely normal to come to work some days and be like, eh, this part of my job probably isn’t my favorite, I guess I’m just gonna, you get it done grind through it.

Alyssa:

These TPS reports really do for me. I mean, that’s why I get outta this bed in the morning.

Joe:

Uh there wasn’t a cover sheet on yours though, so I’m gonna need to see you. Yeah. I’m gonna need you to come in tomorrow. By the way, for, for anybody listening, that’s a reference to movie Office Space, which would probably be a pretty great escape for you right now, if you’ve not seen that movie. Well, we in our, our Boss Better Leadership Academy, our ours program, we did a coaching clinic recently on apathy. This was something that, that our subscribers had kind of started to talk about and said, you know, we, we want some help around this. There’s some insight around it. And so I spent some time kind of going deeper on like, where are the root causes of apathy and what I took to that coaching clinic. And what I wanna share today with our BossHeroes is in most cases, not all because very few things have absolute tied to them, but in most cases we can trace apathy back to one of four root causes. And the first is to nobody’s surprise burnout, right? Burnout is really about no longer having the, the drive or the skills to cope with what is being put in front of you. And so if you are experiencing apathy in the workplace from some of your direct reports right now, this is probably the most likely culprit because burnout is at an all-time high. We are experiencing unprecedented level levels of burnout and exhaustion, two different things across nearly every industry because of, of everything that we’ve all gone through for the last two years. But here’s the thing burnout was in an all-time high before COVID. And so we gotta remember that too, that, you know, work has been hard for a long time and the constant encroachment of it on our lives and the many things that the people are asked to deal with outside of work and all the different ways that we tend to grind and deplete people of their emotional capital can lead to burnout. And so if the root cause of apathy is burnout what we need folks for folks in most cases is some kind of change of scenery, right? Maybe they need a change in their duties. Maybe they need a change in their schedule. They need some more time away. They need an adjustment of their workload. Maybe they need to, to, to be surrounded by different coworkers for a time you know, getting away or a change of scenery in some respects is likely the only cure for burnout. But that is one of the root causes of apathy. You wanna comment on that before I go onto the next one? Alyssa?

Alyssa:

No, no, no. I, I concur, I, for me, apathy has been a necessary introduction, but certainly there are experiences where folks are not wanting to feel apathy. Right. And, and so that’s certainly what I can appreciate this kind unwillingness to stay in this place, cuz it’s not healthy to stay there either, obviously. Yeah.

Joe:

But, but I completely take your point that we still at times need to give ourselves permission to feel it because that’s like we said, we gotta normalize that nobody is like all go all the time and that that’s just a recipe for other kinds of health problems, for sure. So if, if people aren’t burned out at work, one of the other reasons you might have people who are showing up in an apathetic way is because a low morale. So morale is this sense of, of why bother, right? And, and there’s a lot of different experiences that employees can have that can lead to low morale. So for example, if they have a toxic coworker, who’s getting away with murder, right? Who is, is acting out or, or not doing as much as everybody else. And there’s never a consequence for that bad behavior. A person’s gonna look around and say why, and that’s gonna impact morale. Another example might be if I have a boss who takes credit for my work, right? I’m, I’m busting my hump and I’m too trying to do great work and make a lot of change. But when the time comes, it, it, the light never gets shined on me and I don’t get credit for that work. So it’s like, why, why bother? You know there’s for, for employees who maybe start to believe there’s no future for them at their employer, right? If, if they’ve been passed over for opportunities or they’re in a position that just has no opportunity for advancement, they may start to have low morale. They may start to say why bother? And they may then start to show up apathetically with a lesser level of enthusiasm. So burnout is a root cause. Low morale is a root cause. The third potential root cause for apathy is what I see as a lack of purpose. They do not see their work as making a difference. They, they are unable to see the impact our work has on the lives of others or on a problem that is worthy of being solved. And now maybe that’s because their efforts are ignored or maybe it’s because it feels like they’re I just totally lost the analogy that I wanted to use. What’s that analogy about like the ocean, like they’re, they’re trying to the raindrop in the, or something like that.

Alyssa:

Yes. Something, something like that. I, I, I understand what you’re going for, even though I don’t know the whole thing, it completely went away. I was it’s okay. Maybe it’ll come back. Can I say something about

Joe:

Rescue me, save me

Alyssa:

From the ocean, but you can’t. So I think what I am understanding the difference between morale and purpose is this, the morale is kind of centered off of this concept of why bother because of these other people, right. Because of other people’s actions. Right. Versus purpose is more of this internalized directional of meaningful, right? Yes. And what you’re maybe,

Joe:

And maybe it’s beliefs versus experiences. That’s a great way of thinking about it. I’m having these experiences with other people and it’s, it’s making me think why bother and that’s, that’s low morale, which leads to apathetic behavior. But internally, if I don’t see that my work is having an impact, if I don’t feel that if I don’t have that belief internally, for one reason or another, then that can also lead to burnout perfectly well said,

Alyssa:

Didn’t come back to you yet.

Joe:

No. There’s some kind of great analogy about trying to shovel all the water back in the ocean when I was gonna try to use, and it, I like opened my mouth and there was total silence in my brain. And I was like, oh, well, that, that didn’t happen for me. But

Alyssa:

Listeners, when you get done listening to this episode, let us know what that was that Joe was thinking.

Joe:

Yeah. Some people are like it’s right there.

Alyssa:

Someone out there knows.

Joe:

Yep. That’s exactly right. But it, it, it, you know, it’s a lack of mattering. It is what I’m trying to get at with, with purpose. And so that’s the potential third root cause of apathy. I have one more and it’s really kind of broad, but I call it personal. You know, sometimes people are not able to show up at, at work with enthusiasm or interest because of things that are going on with them outside of work. And the list of things that could fall into that bucket are way too many to name, but, you know, maybe their kids are struggling school when they can’t focus. Maybe their relationship is in trouble. Maybe they’ve got some health challenges, maybe they’re in some financial distress, maybe they’re the primary caregiver to an elderly parent. And it’s just really zapping them in, in a way that we can’t fully understand unless we’ve been through that. And so we may not always be able to address the root causes of apathy for someone at work work if they are in fact being caused by circumstances outside of work.

Alyssa:

So as a leader, I think what we’re trying to help folks do is by understanding these causes of apathy understand that you’re not going to be in the position of fixing all of that.

Joe:

Not always. That’s right.

Alyssa:

Right. moreover, what you can extend in lieu of fixing: understanding, empathy and grace. Yeah. Right. What does that actually translate to? It might translate to, Hey, they need this project taken off their list or they need to leave, you know, two hours early on a Friday. All of those things. Right? Yep. It can be very, or it could just be a generalized communication of understanding that you get it. We’re all human and, and maybe taking a look at yourself and saying, okay, where, where am I, you know, being apathetic? What am I experiencing? Again, taking the opportunity to give yourself some grace as the boss and say, I might not be able to bring my A-game every day and that’s okay. That’s okay. Right.

Joe:

And I think the other lens through which we have to ask, we have to view it as leaders is to ask ourself is the way that this person is showing up. If they are apathetic, if they’re lacking interest or enthusiasm, is it doing harm? And if the answer is yes, consistently over time, then you have, cause to try to set some stronger boundaries or have more direct feedback conversations. You know, the, the, the caring almost switches in that circumstance from, you know, maybe at first I’m caring about the person over the position and I’m trying to be supportive and do everything that you just said and, and give them space and give them encouragement and connect them to resources and understand and coach. But there may come a point where this just isn’t working because this person’s circumstances, whether they’re burned out or whether their morale is low or whether they don’t feel like their work makes a difference, or whether they’ve got something personal going on at home where you actually have to say to someone, are you happy here? This is one of those Boss Scripts we gave out before. Or you may have to be even more direct and say, this can’t continue. This isn’t working. There is harm being done. And either the behavior has to change or the person in this role has to change. And all of that is legitimate. If there’s harm being done. And if you’ve done all that you can to help move that person away from the root causes of their apathy, at least away from the ones that you can control and influence.

Alyssa:

Yeah. We’ve talked before about the establishment of a pattern, right. Being a telling sign of when you need to cross that line from the understanding to holding people accountable. Yep. And I think that that’s a, a, another good line of connection to make in this particular conversation. Because the, the thing is we can sit in a place of burn out for a long time. Cuz some of us don’t recognize that we’re burned out.

Joe:

That’s right, right.

Alyssa:

Our bodies might be telling us before our brains listen. And so it’s important to have really strong communications about these pattern behaviors and how, what is actually harming pretty routinely because the tolerance that we each have and that the organization should have for apathy is gonna be different.

Joe:

Yeah. And I think it, it’s helpful to give folks this kind of, of inventory of root causes because sometimes left to our own devices. We assume, well, people don’t care or they’re not motivated and I need to motivate them. Right. We just talked about this in the last episode. What do you believe about people? Do you believe that? Okay. If they’re not enthusiastic, then that means they don’t care. Well, that’s elementary, right? That’s falsely reductive and it assumes something about their character. That’s probably unfair to assume versus, okay. I think most, most people are, are pretty driven. Most people wanna do a good job. And if I’m looking at someone who has previously been that person, then I have all the, a more proof and evidence that I need, that, that that’s the case. Then the question becomes, what’s this about, then I have to get curious and say, oh, well, what were we talking about on that episode of that podcast? They said it could be burnout could be morale, could be purpose or could be something personal. Let me try to get in there and check in with this person and, and connect and see if we can’t do some work around some of things offer some support, offer some resources, offer some services or just offer a, a, a empathetic ear and yeah. See what that does for us. And so I think that’s a really a, a point really well taken.

Alyssa:

Yeah. And do your own self inventory around this too. Yeah. Be honest with yourself. It’s okay.

Joe:

Yeah. Oh, by the way. So we’ve talked a few times BossHeroes on here about this Boss Better Leadership Academy subscription that we offer to organizations. And, and that whole model of apathy was a piece of the larger program we did for our subscribers a few months ago on overcoming apathy. And anyway, our, our BBLA subscription provides all the leaders in an organization with bite-sized monthly programs. From time to time from me, it also provides some monthly Q&A office hours where you can pop in and ask me questions. And we also have a, a digital vault full of training content that managers who are subscribed can access 24/7. And so the whole program’s really designed to help busy leaders keep showing up as better bosses. And so if your organization is looking for an affordable way to provide ongoing year-round leadership development support to the managers who work there, then this might be a good fit and you can email us at hello@JoeMull.com and ask about that subscription. And we can send you more information. In the meantime are there other aspects to apathy that you want help with? Are there are other questions you’d love to see us tackle? If so, just shoot us an email at BossBetterNow@gmail.com. And we might ask your question on the show and get you some answers. I don’t know if they’re gonna be great answers. They’re gonna be our answers. We’re not gonna always have the answers we might give you options. I think that’s as best as we can promise people, Alyssa.

Speaker 3:

Yes. Agreed.

Joe:

And so we come once again to the CQOTW, which is how the cool kids refer to the Camaraderie Question of the Week. Bosses build camaraderie on teams, by making it easier for people to find things in common with each other. That’s why here on the show, every week we give you a question you can use at meetings to facilitate connection and build camaraderie. Alyssa, I can’t wait to hear this. What was the worst style choice you ever made?

Alyssa:

All of them, Anytime that I thought I could be in trend, that that was, that was the wrongness right there. Although I have to in sticking with our generation X theme of today, I have to say I had a killer affinity for genie pants, or you might also know them as MC Hammer pants.

Joe:

Okay. Okay. Was that an I Dream of Genie reference?

Alyssa:

Well, they, I, no, I, these, I don’t, I can’t be the only one that called them genie pants. I don’t think

Joe:

I’m not familiar with the term unless you’re referring to I Dream of Genie, which I Don’t think you are.

Alyssa:

Oh. So, so I am thinking about pants that were, you know, cotton and, or like sometimes they were really shiny silky, you know, whatever. Okay. And then they ballooned out from the hips yes. All the way down. But at the very end in, they were like V-cut almost at least for women. Okay. For girls in, in the, you know, nineties it was,

Joe:

I like how generic you made that you made it a whole decade.

Alyssa:

The 19 hundreds. Um they were like V-cut so that they came up and they showed your ankle. And part of your, your calf. How salacious. And, and pointed on the other, you know, side I did have a particular set cuz it was, it was always a coordinating like top and pants that did give me like sailor/genie vibes, because I think it had like anchor on it. It was white. And then it had like these golden black emblems of like anchors or something like that. And then it had a big thick black waistband, you know, the elastic stretchy kind. And

Joe:

Now were you trying to, to keep up with style at the time because you saw other people wearing this sort of thing or were you going out on your own as a trendsetter?

Alyssa:

Oh dude. So first of all, you remember that I grew up in a town of like 600 people. So when, when I say trend or on style, that would have meant about two years, post actual trend is whenever we were on trend.

Joe:

Got it. Yes.

Alyssa:

Correct. That’s when we, we received the information. Yes, yes. And so when I received the information is when I subsequently made, said transition into what, whatever pegging the jeans.

Joe:

All those things well that, well. Yeah. But that’s

Alyssa:

Coming back, you know that right. That that’s coming back.

Joe:

I thought you were gonna say you, you started pegging your jeans for the first time, like two weeks ago. Cuz that’s how long it took for the, to get to you. But you’re right. I mean the MC hammer pants referenced. I get totally because yes. Uh you know, mid-forties, totally get that reference. And remember that too, that, that definitely had a moment. And it’s funny cuz as you were describing them, I’m realizing that my daughter who is 11 actually has some pants like this now that are like really loose and kind of bagging, it’s all about comfort, but they have the cuffs at the bottom and because now everything’s going the other way. It used to be all skinny and now it’s all roomy again.

Alyssa:

Yeah. Yeah. Also do you remember the, the hydro like the color wave things? Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Put

Joe:

The hand print on the shirt. Yeah.

Alyssa:

Change colors. That was so awesome. Those

Joe:

Are great. That’s oh wow. Total flashback.

Alyssa:

Okay. So now I need to hear what You are. So

Joe:

Or style choice. I, I there’s two. I’m gonna tell you about, so, okay. Have you, do you have a picture from your childhood that, that you just can’t get away from? Like it keeps coming back. Like wherever you, everywhere you turn, for some reason you end up seeing this picture, like, you know, for some reason it shows up in Facebook memories and even though it was taken 20 years before Facebook existed, why is that on Facebook? Or you see it, it, it at, you know, your parents’ house cause it’s in a frame or a photo album. I’m like, it just, you know, it’s on the wedding slide show. I have this picture of me as a, I believe it was right at the end of my I freshman year of high school or beginning of my sophomore year. And I’m sitting in the backyard at my cousin’s house. And so like what age is that? 15, maybe 14. And I am sporting a mullet and a Motley crew. T-Shirt

Alyssa:

Yes. I was hoping for a mullet. I really was.

Joe:

Yes, it was the ultimate. So this was like 1990. Right. And no, 1991 maybe. And I’m sporting the, the famous spiked mullet. So the front and the top is spiked like with the goo and then I’ve got the mullet coming down to like the lower part of the neck and I’m wearing this Motley crew a t-shirt and I remember feeling like I was completely in style at the time. And I look at that now and I’m like, oh dude, that is just not working. So that that’s, that’s answer A. Answer B is that in grad school, one summer after the, the, the school year had finished and I was just doing like some, I was still at a full-time position, but it, it slowed down a lot in the summer. A colleague, friend of mine convinced me that we were gonna shave our heads for the summer. Now he wore bald often like a super low buzz cut or bald often. And I never had, and I was like, I could end up like what, what if it ends up being a really good look for me? How will I know until I try? And like, when you try, you’re like the summer where there’s not as many people around and whatnot. That’s a good idea. This was a terrible choice. This was an awful choice. I want you to imagine me without hair. But imagine if you took my head and you dipped the top of it in white paint, that’s what it looked like. Because the skin under there has never seen the light of day Alyssa. And when you shave it all off, it is gleaming, snow, white beacon.

Alyssa:

Becomes a beacon.

Joe:

And as soon as I did it, I was like, oh God, what did I do? And so needless to say

Alyssa:

I see you as a QTip.

Joe:

I, I wore hats a lot that summer because as soon as I did it, I was like, oh, grow, please for the love of God grow.

Alyssa:

And so that’s why is that why you are a hat collector? Because I never got to that.

Joe:

No, I’ve always worn hats. And you could probably tell I’ve always worn hats because of my receding hairline, right? You slap a hat on your head enough times for enough years, eventually that edge, those guys are gonna surrender and start to, you know, evacuate or retreat. My receding hairline is of byproduct of too much hat wearing I’ve worn hats since I was a, a, you know, kid. But having a significant hat collection came in quite handy in the summer in which I regrettably shaved my head.

Alyssa:

Oh my.

Joe:

So those are the two worst style choices I have ever made.

Alyssa:

This was funny. My face hurts from laughing. We need to move on because it hurts.

Joe:

And that’s the Camaraderie Question of the Week.

Joe:

All right, friends, we wrap up today with a Boss Script. Our Boss Script today is the first question a new boss should ask somebody that they are supervising for the first time. Now this can go in a couple different directions. Maybe you are newly hired and you are introducing yourself to the team. And as you are connecting one-on-one with, this is a question that is a great first question. Or maybe you’ve hired somebody new into your team and you’ve been supervising the other people there for a while, but this person is new. This question is a great first question that I think should be asked constantly. And the question is this: How are you feeling now? I know that sounds really simple and generic, but I love this question because of what tends to happen when we have a new person that we’re supervising, again, whether we’re new to the team or whether they’re new to our team, we tend to immediately dive into housekeeping or get to know you or here’s what’s coming up next or like generic stuff. Like how are you? And I really like this question, how are you feeling? Can you imagine sitting down, you’ve got a brand new hire that’s it’s their first day they’ve walked in that’re they’re the first appointment on their schedule. And they walk into the office and you, they sit down in, they in the chair at your desk and you sit down and you say, Alyssa, okay, how are you feeling? That’s a different kind of question than maybe you would expect to get first and what’s gonna happen next. If, if, if you just got hired by me, Alyssa, and it’s a brand new job, and this is your first day and you like, you drove to the place and you figured out the parking and you found it and it’s all new and you sit down in front of me and I say, Alyssa, how are you feeling?

Alyssa:

I’m gonna go one of these. Well, actually I’m really freaking nervous. And oh my gosh, this has been so stressful. And then I’m gonna word vomit all over you, whether you’re ready for it or not.

Joe:

I mean, maybe

Alyssa:

That that’s an awesome start. Yeah,

Joe:

Yeah. Maybe or, you know, most people would go, I think there would be that pause where you kind of take that inventory and you’re like, I’m good. How are you? Like some people might just go I’m okay. You, or some people might, some people may not do like the whole vulnerable thing. Like you described. They might not wanna do that. Cuz they’re afraid that people will think they’re unprepared. You know? They might just say, I’m excited. I’m excited to be here. I’m good. And I think the beauty of this question is that it shows them what we care about first above all other things, which just them, their feelings what’s going on inside. And I think the value of this question becomes greater when we ask it again and again and again. So after at the end of their first day, okay, you’ve got through this first day, how are you feeling? Cause sometimes what we do is we say, what do you need? What questions do you have? Do you have anything that you’re struggling with? Yeah. But sit, stop and say, let me check in with you. How are you feeling? I think it evokes a different kind of substantive concern and investment in how that person is moving through that experience.

Alyssa:

You, it issues this kind of directive that their feelings about anything are of concern and of care to you. Right. And so,

Joe:

And are valid no matter what they are.

Alyssa:

Right. And so whenever people, yeah, you sure not, everybody’s gonna be like me and, you know, word vomit all over you. Some people might be, might be so, you know kind of programmed yes. To say I’m good. How are you? I’m you know, instead of really, truly registering that you’re asking about their feelings. Yes. Versus how are you? Like it’s not a greeting. Okay. This isn’t a greeting of, Hey, how you doing? No, no, no, no, no. This is how are you feeling? So whole different wavelength.

Joe:

Yeah. Yeah. I’m, I’m reminded of a lot of the MBTI workshops that I’ve done over the years, the Myers-Briggs type indicator. And I will avoid going into a whole deconstruction of that instrument and its effectiveness. And just to say that some people like to make decisions based on relationships. So their relationship focused versus some people like to make decisions based on logic and analysis. And so they, they actually step back in a macro view kind of way. And so I would always do this exercise with groups that I was using MBTI with where I would say, what, what do you want your boss to ask you on your first day of work? And you know, all of the, the people of one persuasion in the room who had one preference who are relationship focused would say, I wanted to ask about me and how I’m doing and my family. And what’s important to me and the people who are logic and analysis and kind of very sort of task driven would be like, I want them to ask me what I need and then set me off to do what I need to do. And so we would always have these really interesting juxtapositions in the room where I would say to the, to the logic and analysis group, what, how would you feel if the first thing your boss did on the first day was say, listen, for the first 90 minutes today, we’re gonna go to Starbucks. And I just wanna know everything about your family. I wanna know about you. I want, I wanna know the story of you, you know, what’s their reaction,

Alyssa:

Ah,

Joe:

Ah, like they’re dying inside. They’re like, no, no, that, that is not the kind of relationship I want. I, that is, that is uncomfortable. Versus if they had said that to the group, that was a relationship focused, they’re going, oh my goodness, this person like really cares about me. So people just experience that differently. And so I like this question because it, it is a way to express to people of all persuasions that you care about them without creating discomfort for anyone.

Alyssa:

Yeah. People can take it or leave it and they can take it exactly. And, you know, run with it or they can say, okay, here you go. This is where I’m at. I’m cool with that.

Joe:

And it’s an important person question to ask when other new things happen, maybe there’s new directives, there’s new changes, there’s new policies. Maybe there’s a new manager on the team and you’re, co-managing the team. And so, Hey, this person came in, we’ve made some changes. How are you feeling? You know, how are you feeling is a great first question in almost every circumstance. And I think you will get richer and deeper answers. The more you ask it, the first time you ask it, it might just be, it might feel like a kind of cursory surfacy it’s like how you doing and people are just kind of programmed to answer in generic response. But the more you ask it and the more sincere you are about caring about the answer, I think the, the more power it has over time.

Alyssa:

Agreed.

Joe:

So ask it, if you’re a new boss, supervising new people in either direction, your Boss Script, the first question you can ask people, how are you feeling? That’s a Boss Script.

Joe:

All right, friends, we have reached the end of the show this week. And one thing we would like you to know, and that we would like to ask simultaneously is about reviews. Reviews are really important to podcasts. And so if you like our show, we would really appreciate it. If you take a moment right now to leave us a review if you’re listening on Apple podcasts, they definitely take reviews. You just leave a comment in the box below the episode, if you’re watching on YouTube. But if you’re on Apple, just look for the link that says a write a review on the show page on all other platforms like Stitcher and Spotify and whatnot. There are varying degrees of being able to leave a review or not. And so if you’re listening on a platform where you can’t leave a review there, then just post it somewhere else like on LinkedIn or Facebook, or write it on a piece of paper and tape it to a tree outside your house. We don’t care. We’re grateful for any nice thing you have to say about our show. In the meantime, thank you for listening and take care of yourselves out there, friends.

Alyssa:

This show is sponsored by Joe Mull and Associates. Remember commitment comes from better bosses. Visit JoeMull.com today.

 

Related Posts

Previous
Next