How’s work? with Scott Sallée
Development and career mobilisation manager at Dentsu Aegis Network and a NABS Ambassador, 2 yrs in industry
Using only three words, describe work.
Enriching, challenging, exciting.
Why are you doing what you’re doing?
To develop the potential in myself and others for personal and professional success.
Is the best yet to come?
Yes. I just have a general feeling of optimism, both in terms of our industry but also because of the increased recognition that the importance of mental wellbeing is receiving. I feel like I’m able to share my story and be there for people. I had someone who was there for me when I needed help, so that’s what makes me really hopeful. And now it’s my responsibility to turn around and be that person, if I can, for someone else. And then that care will spread organically through everyone else who has had the good fortune of being helped.
When was the last time you laughed at work?
Getting away from your desk. Discuss.
Plan a proper lunch break into your calendar. Say no to meetings. Have catchups outside and walk around. Get face to face and don’t rely on email.
Crying at work. Discuss.
Makes me respect them more if it’s about vulnerability and sharing. Makes me offer them help if they seem fragile.
What place does emotion have in decision-making?
Essential. Previously when I was in large teams in quite an operational function, (before I moved into HR) I protected myself against any vulnerability by relying on my logical brain but it caused a distance between me and my team. Whereas now I’m realising that I don’t have to be concerned about vulnerability. I can just be happy with myself and I can make decisions and not have it be seen as a weakness or bad management.
Just worrying less overall about the perceptions of others has been my journey.
Are you better at what you do because you work where you work?
Where I work, you’re encouraged to take time for yourself, to speak up when you’re not well. Let’s take care of our people so they can continue doing great work. But I’ve worked in other companies in other industries where they’re like, ‘Stop complaining and work – just get through it.’ It was seen as a weakness but that’s no longer my impression.
What would be missing from your workplace if you weren’t there?
Good humour, drive, can-do-attitude and empathy.
A diverse tribe is a strong tribe. Discuss.
I am really proud that we actually built diversity and inclusion objectives into our KPIs. If you’re not attaching it to your leadership goals then it’s just talk. I have part of those deliverables in my remit, which focuses not only gender diversity but neurodiversity, LGBT+ inclusion and cultural diversity because we want the company to reflect the world.
In what ways is it easy and in what ways is it hard to belong?
It’s hard to belong if you’re not being genuine. It’s hard if you don’t let it happen naturally. It’s easy if you just go along with the crowd at the risk of being self-effacing.
The GP. In a timely fashion or not until you’re at death’s door?
Not always in good time. I didn’t reach out to a GP until I had considered suicide very seriously – and I think that that was obviously much too late. That’s why I hope that people can address things more proactively because you don’t want to get to that stage where you’re at the flip of the coin, you don’t want to get to that position before you say, ‘Actually, I need some help.’ So, that’s why I love NABS because they work a lot with resilience and helping people understand what their challenges might be and what they can do to help themselves before they get to a crisis state. There are a lot of charities that help people that are in crisis, but it shouldn’t always have to get there before people reach out for help.
That’s why my big campaign now is to destigmatise mental health and say, it’s not something that you have to be ashamed of; it’s something for you to work on proactively.
Our how’s work? zine was created to start a conversation about wellbeing in the workplace. We asked people from across our industry a set of probing questions designed to dig into every facet of their wellbeing. Take a read of their thoughts here.