Bruce Daisley - The NABS Podcast
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Creating community with Bruce Daisley

Bruce Daisley, workplace culture expert extraordinaire, is our very first guest on the NABS Podcast, and we’re delighted to welcome him. Bruce is the host of the internationally acclaimed podcast Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat; author of Fortitude; and formerly VP EMEA of Twitter. Bruce knows workplace culture.

Bruce is a brilliant, smart and engaging guest, especially when he speaks enthusiastically about the power of community when it comes to supporting our mental wellness. Community is central to NABS’ mission and vision too, so we enjoyed a fascinating deep-dive into why community is so important and how you can create connections in your own life to bolster your mental wellness.


Louise Scodie, Bruce Daisley

Louise Scodie  

Welcome to the NABS Podcast, your essential listening for mental wellness at work. This is where we find out how leaders across our industry take care of their mental wellness and that of their teams. Together, we’ll get refreshed and inspired. I can’t wait to start chatting.

This week, our guest is Bruce Daisley. Bruce Daisley is a writer and consultant and one of the UK’s most influential voices on the intersection of life and work. His research into better working practices has featured in publications including the Guardian, The Telegraph, Wired, UK, the Washington Post, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal. His podcast Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat has been an Apple number one business podcast and has featured psychologists, neuroscientists, and workplace experts. It’s also a really good listen, I’m a fan. He was previously the European vice president for Twitter, the firm’s most senior employee outside of the US. Bruce’s latest book,

Fortitude is out now. It’s so good. And every three pages, I just had to stop and think, well, Bruce is really smart. So if you’re up for an intellectual challenge, but also you want to learn some stuff about fortitude, you should definitely read the book. So welcome, Bruce. How are you?

Bruce Daisley  

That’s a really nice. The comment about the book is strongly appreciated. Thank you.

Louise Scodie

Oh, well, you’re welcome. And I think that there were some really great points in it about the power of community and how your childhood experiences can shape you going forward. There’s some really fascinating stuff there. And we’ll come on to some of that in the discussion. But given that NABS are all about mental wellness, and I know it’s a really passionate subject of yours as well. Let’s go in with the first question, what does mental wellness look like to you?

Bruce Daisley

Yeah, I think we’re probably coming to terms with it a bit more than we ever have before. You know, I certainly think that it’s probably this there’s people who joined the workforce who went through college, who never really reflected on their state of mental wellness, and, and only laterally, now, seeing that others are having some considerations for these things. I’m a big tennis fan.

And it’s really interesting that in the last few weeks, there’s an American tennis player called Amanda Anisimova, who has sort of pulled out of tennis saying that her mental health is struggling and people are interested in tennis before and isn’t over, there was Naomi Asako did the same. And you know, both them citing mental health issues is something that I don’t think anyone had done in previous eras, but they’ve definitely been tennis players in previous years that have, have opted to, to take a break from the sport. And it’s just because we didn’t put a label to it. Probably one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Bjorn Borg, retired at 26. And yet, possibly, we might say that was there was a mental health reason for that. But in the time in the 1980s, it was not something that was even considered.

So I think a lot of us are finding that discussions of mental health or writing on the on the agenda. And look, what it looks like, I think is entirely subjective. So what good mental health looks like is whether you feel like you you’re experiencing strong mental health. I think my view is probably that there are origins that underpin most strong mental health, and the mistakes that we can make. I think the perspective I take is that thinking that somehow the origin of these things is somehow individual, or that some of us have, and some of us don’t have. And I think, in my view, it’s far more complicated than that, why an organisation like NABS actually have got really important role to play.

That point about it being an individual thing is really important, both in terms of you might be the only one who’s experiencing a challenge, which is just we know that’s not the case, everyone’s on this continuum on they have mental wellness, but also in terms of how we rise to any mental wellness challenges, or just support ourselves ongoing.

Louise Scodie

So in Fortitude, which everyone has to read, you talk about the importance of community helping us to thrive, which is something that NABS is really passionate about: the importance of community coming together to find solutions and support each other. So how do you think we can go about building that community that supports mental wellness both in hard times? And also, something that you write about fortitude which really resonated with me, this notion of shared joy, so in the books you use the Hebrew word ‘simcha’, which I was interested in because I’m from a Jewish background, I’m Jewish. Simcha is really specifically those joyous moments that you share together as a community. So we call events such as barmitzvahs, and weddings, we refer to them as simchas as because you can only really experience joy of those when you have your friends and your family and your community with you. So it makes sense that community is important for thriving, and you really go hard and long on that in the book. So how can we practically go about that, especially in these post pandemic times where people are still like working from home, or maybe they’re feeling more socially anxious?

Bruce Daisley

To take a step back, because it was such a beautiful setup that maybe to sort of, to stay, take a step back to add substance to what you’re saying. And there’s been no shortage of people who’ve looked for another sort of resilience and individual form of resilience.

So the US military has got this pretty big existential challenge that more soldiers die from their own hands than die from enemy combat. And so they’ve got this huge issue with, with people taking their own lives when they finished service. So they’ve spent a billion dollars in training and equipping soldiers, combat veterans with dealing with this, and the great thing that when a piece of work has been undertaken, that’s of that ambition and that scale. Other people will come in and say, well, let’s check if it worked. Because truly, if they’ve unlocked the panacea, that the way to unleash resilience on the rest of us, then great, actually, where’s the limit? Let’s train everyone on this. And the truth is that people have gone and analysed it and said that this training has had zero impact a billion dollars in the pursuit of individual resilience, and it hasn’t worked.

Additionally, there’s been school programmes, schools around the world are trying to instill resilience in kids. And similarly, people who’ve gone out and said, let’s replicate these programmes. Let’s see if they work, let’s see results. They get broadly, sort of big surveys of all of the studies have said, Oh, this doesn’t work. It doesn’t have any achievement. So effectively, you’ve got this notion that of individual resilience that some of us have got it. There’s almost like a switch for resilience. People have gone out and tried to prove it with as much resource as I think we could reasonably muster. And they’ve said it doesn’t work.

In parallel with that, there’s no shortage of evidence to suggest the opposite. To suggest that resilience is a collective strength, that resilience is the strength we draw from each other. I was looking at some data this morning that is in Fortitude, but it was just, I was just looking at it for for presentation about people who are hospitalised and they can be hospitalised for a major operation of an episode of, of mental health, poor mental health. And actually this common thread that runs through their welfare. And their wellbeing, after two years and five years, is largely predicted by how many social groups they report feeling part of.

Really strange thing why, you know, most of us would say, if presented with that evidence, say, well, isn’t that kind of irrelevant? You know, if someone’s a member of a group that goes to watch football, or a group that does cycling, or a group that goes to do hobby crafts, why on earth would that predict their health, but there’s something strange, something innate, that human beings seem to be social, and feeling connected to other people seems to be transformative. And I think it adds huge implications for any of us thinking about mental health.

The direct application that I’ve made of this is the I was probably, especially in the sort of post-pandemic era, I was probably one of those people who sort of left friendships to chance that, you know, if someone contacted me saying, you want to go out to lunch, or you want to go out and do something, I would reply, but I would never initiate. And what I’ve done of what I’ve really tried to focus on is, is trying to think about all of those groups on part of or all of those relationships I’ve got, and try and initiate more regular contact with them. I’ve tried to be someone used the phrase to me of, in your social life, you should try to be the sherpa, you should try to be the person who leads the way. And you have set about trying to do that really try and sort of instill those things. So I think you know, if I was going to summarise it, I would say, the mistake we make about resilience is thinking that it’s the fact that we don’t feel it is our fault. And actually, the only times we ever experienced resilience is when we feel connected and emboldened by the people around us. So for me, that’s the way that I’ve tried to reinvent my own life personally.

Louise Scodie  

So it’s simply by being part of an active community, whatever that looks like, that your mental wellness is bolstered. It’s not necessarily the case that that group has to be doing something active, that specifically bolsters mental wellness, but just by dint of being part of a group, you can feel better and therefore have more fortitude,

Bruce Daisley  

Yes and there’s really interesting evidence on this. So you know, most of us if, if you still got a grandmother, most of us if you heard that your grandmother was going to be doing aerobics or any sort of exercise you say you are fantastic, you’re strongly supportive. But what you find these researchers have said, let’s measure the impact of that physical exercise. And they found that the benefit that all people get from doing exercise is directly replicated by other old people getting together in just a social grouping. Actually, the magic isn’t the aerobics, the magic is being part of a group. So yeah, the aerobics group is enhancing for them. But actually, we seem to get almost all of the benefits from just being a participant. So you know, whether they’re in a storytelling or nostalgia group, or a group that talks about the good old days, those things seem to have as much benefit as getting on putting on your leotard and kicking your legs up for half an hour.

So there seems to be, inexplicably, you know, there seems to be a magic that exists that emboldens us enacts greater mental wellbeing. And, you know, look, you know, I don’t think it necessarily is easy to explain, but I think we instinctively feel it. When we participate in something when we feel collective, a collective linked to the people around us, it seems to be really enhancing you see lovely examples of it. If you get strangers together, and put them in a choir, and get them to sing together, people’s endorphin levels go off the charts, they, there seems to be something about feeling connected to other people that and especially sort of feeling like we’re synchronised with them. That seems to have a magical effect on us.

Louise Scodie  

So if you’re not currently part of a community, or you’re feeling a bit post-pandemic, isolated, anxious still, it seems to me it’s a question of just finding something that floats your boat that has a community attached to it, and just going and joining in and finding some solace in in people that way.

Bruce Daisley  

Yeah, and it looks, it might be a really simple thing, it might be that you’ve got two or three friends that you used to work with, and you get that group together. And, and you just made sure that on a regular basis, you meet up with those people, or it might be that you’ve got an interest or a passion that other people don’t share, and you want to get together with like minded friends, the thing that seems to be most enriching is feeling part of two or three of these things.

So you might even say, it’s sometimes included in the research sometimes isn’t. But you might feel like you’ve got a lovely bond with your family and friends. And so you want to just call your family, one of your groups, your friends, one of your groups. Most of us have got like a group of friends that maybe we either studied with or went to school with, or worked with a few jobs ago.

And that’s one of the things that I’ve been really focused on, I organised another reunion of former colleagues, I already run one reunion of former colleagues, and I’ve just realised that look, you know, these things are so cheering when they happen, that actually sort of being the person who initiates them is not a bad thing.

Louise Scodie

It’s easy to be the sherpa when you’ve got beautiful people around you to show up.

Bruce Daisley

Yeah, yeah. But look, you know, and I recognise that, from my own mind, I knew that I was missing this degree of connection, not being around people as much I was missing this degree of connection, and thought I just wanted to be I wanted to try to initiate those things. So you know, that that, for me is the the fascinating, fascinating lesson about this, this lovely evidence of this research as well, there was, there was something really charming that I was really taken with. It was during the start of the pandemic, one of the world’s leading experts on teenage mental well being is a woman who sort of studies teenagers, she just had a book out last week, actually, in America. It’s coming to the UK in June. And she studies sort of teenagers and, and, and how they’re dealing with life in the internet era.

And you know, it’s fair to say that she’s worried about it, she sort of shares anxious research about how it’s going. But one of the things she did observe is in the start of the pandemic, when teenagers were when everyone was locked down when we’re in that era of the pandemic, where maybe you were, you were turning your hands to making some breads, you were doing a jigsaw puzzle for us, to the astonishment that you never thought you’d find yourself doing these things. That first six or eight weeks the pandemic she found that teenagers who were reported having an evening meal with their families every night, saw their resilience increase and their depression decline. Wow. Actually, sort of, it’s, it’s baffling when you think about that, why on earth would in a period, would they feel that way? But they felt that they were just more connected to their siblings or their parents or their step parents and carers. They just felt that connection seemed to elevate them and protect them.

And I think there’s such powerful lessons in that, you know, for me, the feeling of I guess the absence of resilience, that helpless anxiety is quite often a really difficult thing for any of us to bear. Because the challenge in that moment when we feel like that is that we don’t know what to do that that uncertainty can produce a degree of helplessness. You know, one of the things I really take issue with the people who’ve introduced resilience training, is that if you look through some of the guidance, and the suggestions they give, is, they would say, in that case there, and it’s based on a very famous American psychologist called Martin Seligman, but they would say, oh, one of the things you should do if you’re not really feeling resilience, is reframe the bad things in your life and think about the good things in your life.

And to me, that’s such victim blaming, because it’s suggesting to someone that you’re feeling depressed, you’re feeling anxious or feeling isolated, and gone. Well think about all the good things in your life. Like, that’s not helpful right now, actually. And actually, I really see that as toxic. I see that as sort of, you know, especially when some of the people who’ve been subjected to this training have been combat soldiers who have come back from deep trauma of war. And they’re being told the problem with you is you’re dwelling on all the negative things you experienced. I just, I can’t, I can’t help but feel a little bit angry and frustrated about that.

If, on the other hand, you said to people, look, the thing that gets other people through these dark moments, is a sense of connection. I saw a beautiful thing, which was a poet called David White, he says, the gift of friendship is to feel understood by someone, and in turn to know that you understand them. It’s like, wow, that’s exactly right. You know, when any of us feel like maybe the bad things we’ve experienced or understood by other people, or that actually, you know, the things we’re going through, are, we’re not alone in experiencing them, it’s far more helpful than sitting there and writing a list of 20 reasons to be cheerful when you’re in the middle of a sort of depressive episode.

And so you know, I think for me, most certainly I’ve, I’ve really reflected on these things and try to and try to adapt my own life in that way, really.

Louise Scodie

So for any managers listening to this, and thinking about what they can do to support the wellness of their teams, the mental wellness of their teams. Is it about listening and forming a bond and forming a community? With them? And with the team? Are those actions at the basis of it? And is there anything else that they should be thinking about in order to give that support system?

Bruce Daisley

Look, I think there’s something interesting in that thing that we wince and hesitate about thinking about now, which is pop culture, and we all sort of shrink away from it, because we recognise what’s wrong with it. But if we analyse what was right about organisations that talked about pub culture, it can be instructive, and it can help us in a sort of more enlightened perspective to work out what we could do, right?

So the thing where pub cultures go well, is that generally, you know, biggest predictor of whether someone is engaged with their job is whether they’ve got a friend at work. Generally, it’s our social connections to people around us that seem to be the thing that gives us life. And pub cultures achieve that. Now, what do we also recognise about pub cultures, a culture built on alcohol consumption after hours, generally is quite cliquey, because only a subgroup of the office attend to their other parts, the office don’t want to come or they don’t have the time, the money or the the desire, the sort of the interest in doing that.

But what we can recognise is when people get together and connect socially, it seems to be something that produces a benefit for the organisation. What we’re also probably recognise is asking people to do that, in their own personal time, is, you know, in an era where there’s already a lot of demands, and work is already fully meshed in our lives, asking people to stay late and do that doesn’t feel right. But then you start thinking, Okay, are there any things then that maybe in the old days, where we’d have had a team bonding session or team strategy day? Could we do something that that creates the social connections between team members?

Now, you probably have to do it obliquely. So if you said, we’re going to have an afternoon just talking to each other, I suspect most of the team would say, I’m too busy for these haven’t got time for this. So you’ve got to think about a way to do it. That’s going to accomplish the same goal, but without necessarily being explicitly like, we’re just gonna have a team conversation session. And so just thinking about that, knowing that look, social connection between team members seems to be enhancing knowing that doing that outside of work hours probably isn’t a progressive way to think about it.

So I went to chat to some people who run the storytelling night called The Moth. And they, they run the storytelling night that you can sort of turn up and see true stories told live. So their idea is you turn up somewhere you turn up place in, in Shoreditch, and you’ll see people stand up and tell a story for 10 minutes. And I saw, I loved their book, which is how to tell the story. But I saw in their book that they mentioned that they run corporate sessions. And I was just curious, it was like, OK, well, what is this cure at this corporate session? Is it to teach people how to tell better PowerPoint, you know, to sort of deliver slides better sets them. So how’d you do that? How, what’s the philosophy there? And they said to me, Look, yes, anyone developing storytelling skills is going to be beneficial elsewhere. But the objective actually is that one, we’ve sat down and Louise has told her story about her experience when she was 17 and how it changed her life, then immediately, we’re all in a room where suddenly the backstory of each of us has been established.

And suddenly were transformed into these three-dimensional characters that maybe we know through busyness through demands of work through the fact that we don’t sit next to each other five days a week, we’d never drawn out those details. So they said effectively just bring some degree of humanity to work. The great thing is you can present that to people as listen, we think it’s beneficial for us all to learn how to tell better stories. So the covert objective feels like okay, well, that seems like it’s a sort of business, relevant skill for everyone to have. But really, the overall objective is that but the covert objective is this get to know each other and feel like we care about each other and how we’re getting on.

And I loved that, because I thought I saw something else when someone said that, you know, the job of a modern middle manager, really difficult job for middle managers jobs are becoming harder and harder and harder. But so is it the job of a middle manager now is to be entrepreneurial, about connection? How can you make team members feel connected to each other. And here’s one of the challenges is that if we were in a room together with 10 people, we’d make sure that we had an individual conversation with everyone in that room in the course of a day together. You weren’t, you’d feel like, by the end of the day, I’ve still not gotten over and chatted to, to this colleague or that colleague.

And yet, when we’re on Zoom calls, we kind of feel like we’ve done that by addressing the screen. But we’ve not built that depth of relationship. And I think, you know, that idea of managers being entrepreneurial, about fostering connections, not only between themselves and their team members, but between each member of the group, I think he’s probably how middle managers skills are evolving. And the demands upon managers are evolving.

Louise Scodie

I definitely agree with those middle managers. They’re a key area of the workforce that we’re looking to support, because they have all of the demands from above, but then they’ve got all of the demands from their teams as well. And that’s not just about work. Now, that emotional piece, that mental wellness piece is huge. And people are quite rightly expecting mental wellness support from their managers with managers don’t necessarily have the toolkit yet to be able to do that. Because, as you said, at the top of our conversation, mental wellness is understood differently now to how it used to be. And we’ve all got to get to grips with that and understand how we can support people effectively. So I know what you’re going to say, next question, but you could surprise me, what’s one thing we could all do to support our mental wellness this week? And I’m thinking join a choir, join a book group, find your find your tribe find your people? Would that be your answer?

Bruce Daisley

It probably would. But it might be to think about what tribes you’re already a part of, and you’ve not been sustaining. So it might be you know, I’m going out on Friday with just four people who I used to sit on a bank of desks with. So it’s a really simple one. It’s just like a little group of us who were a group that used to laugh together all day. And so you know, it doesn’t feel like anything, august, it doesn’t feel like I’m joining the Highgate Harriers running club.

There’s nothing that I’m necessarily doing anything that requires admin or discomfort, but it’s just about trying to seek and rekindle those connections that probably all of us have got to some degree, and trying to keep them active and regular, really. So you know, just trying to think about the groups you’re already a part of that you’ve neglected and I think that would probably be my start point on it.

Louise Scodie

I’m very happy to hear this because today, my team organised our next team lunch. So we’re going to go and a couple of weeks and we’re all looking forward to it, we’ve chosen what we’re going to eat. And then a couple of weeks after that, I am going for lunch with my teammate Lewis who produces this podcast. And we’re going to have a very important discussion soon about where to go. We really look forward to that. Because we’ve we’ve really bonded over food our team, there’s two things we like doing, eating and having a laugh. So we know that when we give ourselves these team lunches to look forward to, we can do both.

Bruce Daisley

And this is important lesson isn’t it, that if you’ve got like an old reunion of people that you used to, to know, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, the first thing you recognise is that there’s a degree of curation in it, you generally don’t say, here’s what we’re doing, we’re making this all bar one on Thursday at 630, you don’t do that. You say, we’re doing something, it’s got to feel like an occasion, I think, you know, understanding that that curation done if you know that book by Priya Parker, the Art of Gathering and, and actually it’s more a concept than a book, really, I mean, the, the whole book there, but it’s one of those books where you’ve got it, a few, a few chapters in, but it’s the notion of, you know, create a gathering that’s got a rule to it, create a gathering that’s got a reason for it, create a gathering that’s got a specific invite list to it.

And, you know, answer as a result that she says in that, you know, people will say to her, oh, look, you know, we’re having this reunion of people, and someone wants to bring their partner and she’s like, well, no, that’s not what this group is. So if you want to create a different group for that, yes, but we are specifically trying to curate an experience here. And, and it’s, like she says, often, you have to create rules that people are uncomfortable with, to make a moment feel special. Now, whether you agree or disagree with some of it, it’s a really interesting way to rethink and reform.

So, you know, team lunches quite often will be that people will say, we’re going to the place across the road, or the place up the street. And we’re going there. And either it’s going to be, you know, old school, or boozy style lunch, and it’s a one off, or we’re going to do, and it seems a little bit accidental. Whereas if you say we’re having a lunch, we’re going to this place, we’re doing this in the afternoon afterwards, we’re going to spend a couple of hours working through some ideas. It develops a different energy to it. And I think thinking about those things a bit more intentionally, probably will have a transformational impact.

Louise Scodie

I think that’s, that’s really good for your mental wellness as well. I listened to Priya Parker be interviewed a couple of years ago. And it was fascinating. And what came through for me was the importance of setting those boundaries. When you’re organising social gatherings, like you just said, if you want to bring your partner, that’s another gathering. I always end up coming back to boundaries on this podcast as they are so important for your mental wellness. Because if you say to your teammates, or whichever group you’ve identified, let’s get together and someone says, well, let’s go to the pub, but you’re not drinking and you know, you’re not drinking for good reasons. And actually saying, well, no, let’s be really firm about where we can go that we’re all going to feel comfortable is a really important piece to sustain your mental wellness. Otherwise, you may end up going to the pub and feeling really compromised, because it’s a not a space that you’re happy in.

Bruce Daisley

Precisely that. And you know, quite often people go to the pub because they want to create something that feels different. But if you said, look, the way we’re doing that is that we’re, we’re going to eat different food, we’re going to eat Malaysian food, we’re going to eat some food that none of us have. And you turn the novelty element into something cuisine related, then immediately, it’s got a, it’s got a focus, it feels like a different moment. But it works in a different way.

So, you know, I would, I would suggest that probably all of us challenging ourselves a little bit more away from some of the obvious and predictable things. And look, you know, this goes back to why the job of middle managers harder than ever before, this could be for a middle manager, something they delegate to the team. So they say, look, here’s the role, we want to do something that’s within 20 minutes of the office, we’re going to spend the afternoon so we need to go somewhere afterwards, there’s going to be no drink involved. And then give that brief to a team member.

The challenge is, I think a lot of people might say, oh, this is just a waste of time. But it’s just the recognition that, you know, back to those things that are mentioned, the thing that makes people most engaged in their job is whether they’ve got a friend at work, feeling like you’ve got a connection with your teammates seems to be one of the biggest things that predicts work outcomes and work productivity.

I was looking at some research by Gallup, the global workforce survey. And one of the things they say is that in teams that are motivated, generally their productivity is significantly higher, but they describe smiling and being happy all day. They describe sort of often feeling like they have a laugh with teammates. And those things don’t happen by accident. I think so. Okay, let’s work on the basis that we’re in the office far less than we used to be. How can we use the time that we are together in a more or think, productive and relationship building way.

Louise Scodie

One thing that we’re really keen on is supporting yourself so that you prevent getting to a crisis point. But at the same time at NABS, we do help people who have gotten to a crisis point, what’s a big tip you can give to people to help themselves or to get help before they get to that point where they really are feeling desperate?

Bruce Daisley

Yeah, I think, you know, it’s like, the critical things are quite often when people are feeling in that state, it’s often a reflection that they feel a lack of personal control, they feel they feel like events are conspiring to, to put them into a helpless state, I guess if you if you accept that as an opposition, helpless or control, and you know, there’s a scale that runs from those things.

Normally, people are in their worst mental health state, when they feel a total helplessness, they feel a total absence of control. And firstly, actually diagnosing that is a really helpful thing, by someone pointing out, okay, you often feel like this when you feel like you’ve got no, no control over the things happening to you.

Actually, one of the first things that you can recognise is, oh, well, there are some things that control control. One of the first things that, you know, we first recognise, then when we were given that opposition, we go, okay, well, I can stop doing a few things. I can, you know, feel overwhelmed by the amount of meetings I’ve got, actually, I’m gonna tell my boss, that I’m not going to attend this one, this one and this one, or, actually, I feel overwhelmed by the burden of work I’ve got, I’m going to tell my boss, actually, I’m not going to be online tomorrow. Because I just want to get this big project done, whatever it is, but I think the very framework that enables you to think about that opposition control or helplessness gives you some leverage to realise, okay, I need to I need to take x steps to mitigate it.

And I think that’s what I would say I would say that often, the ability to diagnose these challenges gives us the opportunity then to recognise, okay, well, now I know why I’m in this situation. And that can go for a lot of things, you know, people’s anxiety come from can come from helplessness in their relationship, financial helplessness, helplessness at work, they might feel that their relationship with their boss is toxic, and they feel set upon these unreasonable demands.

Now, look, you can’t solve all of those things by diagnosing it. But I think recognising the reason why I feel this way is a direct relationship to that, at least helps you to work it out. The amount of people who say to me, you know, my life is characterised by my calendar, being back-to-back meetings all day. And I look at it on a Sunday night, and I think I can’t cope with the week ahead. Right. That’s a really interesting observation that I think, look for a lot of people. That’s the reality of work right now. But at least it enables you to work out, okay. If I was able to carve out a couple of hours, maybe on Wednesday morning, or Friday morning, where I could get something done, would it help me feel a little bit better?

I remember seeing some research that really studied, people whose whole life was overwhelmed by work, it studied sort of management consultants. And they, they asked these management consultants to take one night a week, away from their devices one night a week off email. So it really seems like a small step. And to make them do it, they, they ask them to commit to do it for the team benefits. So if anyone breached this and went on emails one night, when it was their night to be off emails, the whole team would fail in this little project that we’re doing.

What happened was that people reported, oh, I had a date night or a had had a nice night, I went to the movies, it didn’t look at my phone. And they reported feeling more connected to their jobs more inspired by their jobs. And look, you know, I think probably a lot of us. I often talked about meeting-free days, this idea that teams might agree to have one day a week with no meetings in the calendar. And the first thing that people say when I suggest it, they say, it wouldn’t work here, it wouldn’t work here.

But if you are able to get some of these, like slight adaptations to the way we work, generally people report their engagement levels, their happiness levels, their stress levels, all that predictively a positively enhance. So I just think often getting some degree of control, no matter how small, has a disproportionate impact on our mental wellbeing.

Louise Scodie

Yeah, both nodding along here to that that that sense of control and having some space for yourself is just invaluable, isn’t it? What’s the lesson that you’ve learned about how to support yourself?

Bruce Daisley

That resilience is a team sport I think And really that you know, that all of us are stronger than any of us. And that if you think about resilience as a collective thing, and that goes for just a workplace culture, workplace culture is better if people feel connected to each other. And just thinking about devices to do that is is there then becomes an added nuance of the job. We’ve, previous generations of managers got away without doing this, or they got away with, you know, demanding that the team worked hard. And then on Thursdays or alternative Fridays, taken everyone down the pub, and it was like, you know, it was so simple, there was no effort that went into it. And the truth was that it didn’t always work, then either. It just no one really took the time to work out who was there and who wasn’t there. Or, you know, the people who didn’t come down the pub were seen as the team squares. And so you know, it’s we’ve evolved to an era where actually we can, we can do something better than that, that learns the lessons from it, I think, an understanding that, that resilience and team culture are a collective thing, I think, is probably the big lesson that I’ve got.

Louise Scodie
I really want to be in a book group or somesuch with you, Bruce, where we can experience the power of community and also I can listen to some more from you. I could listen to you all day. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining us. And it’s a good point to say that a lot of what NABS offers in terms of our support services are built around community so whether you come to one of our exploratory workshops or attend to talk, it’s also a chance to get together with people across the industry to meet some people you might not ordinarily meet, and to form some connections all in the hope of bolstering your mental wellness is in the meantime, it just raised me to thank Bruce massively remember to go and read fortitude it is a stonking read. And Bruce, you are welcome at one of my simchas anytime. Thank you so much for today.

Bruce Daisley
Anytime. Thank you so much for today. I love it. What a lovely chat. Thank you


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