Focusing on the 3 Building Blocks of Belonging at Work with Katie Rasoul

In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with leadership and culture coach Katie Rasoul on the importance of prioritizing belonging at work and what it looks like.

A few reasons she is awesome — she’s the Chief Awesome Officer at Team Awesome Coaching — a leadership and culture coaching agency, she’s been a leader in human resources and organizational development for more than a decade, co-host of the Life and Leadership podcast, professional speaker, TEDx talker and author of the best-selling book: Hidden Brilliance — A High-Achieving Introvert’s Guide to Self-Discovery, Leadership and Playing Big!

Connect with Katie on her platforms:

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What belonging feels like at work
  • How belonging is associated with DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion)
  • Why it’s still challenging for organizations to talk about belonging
  • The role of culture and leadership in building belonging
  • How personalization and belonging can be tricky
  • Where to start either as a corporate leader or a team leader.

“If we don’t spend time, energy and passion supporting people, why would we ever expect them to give it back.”

Katie Rasoul on the importance of prioritizing belonging

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW

Russel Lolacher
And on the show today is Katie Rasoul. She is awesome and here is how she is. Well, she’s the Chief Awesome Officer at Team Awesome coaching. See, I said awesome, like three times in one sentence. So we’re onto something here. It is a leadership and culture coaching agency, she has been a leader in human resource and organizational development for more than a decade, co hosted the Life and Leadership podcast, professional speaker got to throw that one in there as well. She’s a TEDx talker, and author of the best selling book hidden brilliance, a high achieving introverts guide to self discovery, leadership and plan big exclamation mark at the end. Hi, Katie.

Katie Rasoul
Hello, thanks for having me.

Russel Lolacher
I love doing a podcast where the time difference. And I’m earlier in the morning than my guests. So I’m like, sort of like, I’m awake, I have lots of coffee. I’m good. I’m waiting. So it’s a good way to start because it helps me up to

Katie Rasoul
That’s good. I’ve had enough cold brew, I’m lit up like a Christmas tree. It’s good. Thanks for saying awesome a bunch of times, because that’s sort of the one sort of the impetus of naming my company Team Awesome. And when you start your own business, you can call yourself whatever you want. And I’ve, I’ve often been told I use the word awesome, too much. And so why don’t I just spike that in the actual endzone and use it a whole bunch?

Russel Lolacher
We’ll leave it there. If you say it enough times your win points, whatever it is.

Katie Rasoul
I hope so.

Russel Lolacher
So let’s start with the first question for the podcast, which is, what’s your best or worst employee experience?

Katie Rasoul
The best experience I’ve ever had, I can think of a couple of bosses that I had that weren’t necessarily the best leaders on paper, or you know, in practice, but they were bosses that really trusted me, like that word trust is what comes up. And they they had my back, that I just knew that trust was foundational to the relationship, they trusted me and I trusted them. And those were the best work experiences of my life. And the flip side being I had a boss who didn’t trust me at all, and made that very clear. And I felt incredibly unsafe. And so that’s what I look for in how I lead is creating trust and how I look for other leaders to present that in the workplace as well.

Russel Lolacher
The topic today we’re gonna get into is very much about a feeling it’s very much about inclusivity, and so forth. So I want to dig just a little deeper into the idea of trust at work. How does that show up feeling trusted, or not feeling trusted? Like, what does that look like in a workplace? If you can give me an example of that?

Katie Rasoul
Yeah, absolutely. I think that it really just comes from a sense of psychological safety. And I couldn’t articulate that at the time of maybe these bosses earlier in my career, but it was really knowing that I had a place there, I felt like I could speak in meetings. I wasn’t, I could, I’m someone who feels things very deeply. And I’m very empathic. And so I could articulate when I felt safe or didn’t feel safe by what was happening in my body. Like I would walk into a meeting and and feel really, like my muscles were clenched. And I just felt like fight or flight, I guess being in a room and couldn’t always understand why. And so think about you got to have that low key sense of lack of safety all day every day. That’s very wearing on someone. So that’s what I can could always sense versus what was happening and I was experiencing in my body.

Russel Lolacher
So let’s talk about belonging, which is our focus for today, because it keeps coming up actually quite a bit. In the podcast, I recently talked to Alexa Harris, and she was digging into di which was the whole focus. And then she kept bringing in the B. Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and we didn’t dig too much into it because dei was the focus. But it certainly was something that she’s seeing and feeling is now much more part of the conversation and should be much more part of the conversation especially with those the other acronym, what does it mean to have belonging in a workplace?

Katie Rasoul
Yeah, I love DEI work. I very much respect that. And you can see that we we haven’t crossed the finish line on this work by any means. And when I see belonging, I define it with three words and that’s that you feel safe, that you feel love and that you feel whole at work. And none of those aren’t words that we use to describe work right we don’t talk about love at work fact all of the attorneys in the HR people listening are like little squirming in their seats when you hear that word. But you feel safe. You feel you know, supported and loved by the people that are responsible for you at work and that you can bring your whole self without having to edit without Having a cover? And those are the ways that I describe what belonging really looks like in an organization.

Russel Lolacher
Why are we not talking about this more? Because dei seems to have a much better marketing team than belonging does. It doesn’t show up on the posters, it doesn’t show up in conversations. So why is that if this is the natural progression in which we should be going to?

Katie Rasoul
Yeah, it’s certainly starting to, you’re starting to see some folks who are right, the chief officer of belonging, I’ve seen some of that. So you’re starting to see a little bit and it’s, it’s coming on to the scene over the last couple of years, I’ve been probably talking about belonging for about five years now. And it’s starting to explode in some of those places. But I think that we’re not done in the work that we need to do in diversity and equity and inclusion. And those have always have come first and have been around for decades, frankly, and organizations and people who lead organizations, I think, are slow to make some of these changes. Because they don’t fully understand, right, it doesn’t show up on a spreadsheet, they don’t fully understand the impact that it has, and what the experience the lived experience people have at work. And so the more that we can tap into the actual outcomes and experience. For example, if you work really hard and creating a diverse team, but it’s a crappy atmosphere, when they get there, there’s no inclusion, there’s no sense of belonging, they’re going to leave, right. And so we have a lot of companies and leaders that still haven’t cracked the code on some of the basics. But this is the natural progression, this is what still continues to be missing. And if we want to retain people, especially as people are leaving jobs in droves, this is something that companies really need to be looking at.

Russel Lolacher
Is it because it’s not measurable? Because D I, to some degree feels measurable, like equity. Well, I’ve seen that graphic, well, people get different sizes, Apple carts that they can sit us down for a fence, or diversity, hey, I’ve got a person of color, I’ve got a neurodivergent person. So it feels like it’s something that people can physically point to because everybody loves a frickin checklist. So it’s nice and easy for a metric. Belonging doesn’t feel like it has a metric Am I wrong?

Katie Rasoul
There’s definitely metrics. I think that people really struggle to make the connections in what those metrics are. In fact, we already measure them in a lot of companies. So that’s why we ask questions and engagement surveys with employee engagement surveys that say, Do you have a best friend at work? Do you feel supported by your co workers, those are measuring belonging. And so a lot of those are important. And I think we’re because it’s a newer way to look at it. And it is based, like I talked about it based in feelings and experiences on purpose, because it’s helping tell the story in addition to the data we literally already have in our organizations that tell us whether or not people feel like they belong.

Russel Lolacher
So let’s go back to the DEI conversation. I listened to your TEDx talk a bit about and your blogging talk. I love the idea of, well, we’re working on diversity, but it’s not far enough. We work in academic, but it’s not far enough. Can you get into that a little bit for me?

Katie Rasoul
Yeah, I mean, diversity is the idea of diversity started decades ago, and we realized we were going to run out of people in the talent pool, we needed to find workers at the time from wider pools, so they started looking into these broader pools. And then we realized that that wasn’t enough, and that we really needed to, you know, help them feel included. And the reason I say that, like it’s this evolution is because we’re we’ve been doing that work, we’re not done with the work. But if we stop there, if we stop and just bring diverse people into the organization, if we, you know, even if we do a great job at aquity, which most organizations are not, let’s be honest, even inclusion is a sense of people fitting in fitting in to your organization fitting into your mold, versus creating a space that truly allows people to show up as their whole selves as they are. They’re still, you know, men, most people still show up in the workplace covering some sense of themselves. That means, right like a black woman who feels that she can’t wear her hair in a natural state because she’s been told that’s not really professional looking. Or that is someone who is a mom, who doesn’t really talk about her kids because as it might make her seem like she’s not committed to the work that’s covering, and that is all still happening. And it is, it is something that we can take actual steps to create teams that feel safe, that feel love and feel whole. And that can transform people’s experience at work, that can transform whether or not people join our team, whether they stay on our team for more than a hot minute before they leave. And that all ultimately ends up in money, right, like turning one person over at a high level in your organization costs you probably hundreds of 1000s of dollars. So I’m not sure why we have to keep having the conversation about why it’s worthwhile, or how you measure it. Because the all of that data is there. But that’s the progression like we’ve sort of, we have to keep doing that work in diversity and an equity inclusion. We haven’t solved the riddle there. And most organizations, but there’s all this information right in front of us with our own teams that we could be using to help understand people’s actual lived experiences.

Russel Lolacher
So you really can’t have belonging until you’ve also gotten D E. And I defined with and encouraged within your organization as well. It feels all interconnected.

Katie Rasoul
Definitely. I mean, certainly, you could be on the journey and still have more work to do. But you have to do some of these things simultaneously, and be continually improving them, we have to continually improve all of the DEI processes as well as belonging, because it’s a little bit of a chicken and an egg, right? Like if you don’t have a place of belonging? Do you bother trying to hire diverse people? Or do you rather trying to hire anyone that’s not going to stay? Well, of course, we have to do all of those things at the same time, because that’s how it works. But ultimately, we do this work, we do this diversity work, we do equity work, and we say we did it, we have this many people, and we checked everyone’s pay, and it’s pretty equitable. But that doesn’t change the fact that someone feels like that they can’t speak up in a meeting, or that they can’t wear hoop earrings. Because someone said it wasn’t professional like or that they can’t be them their whole selves, right? Like we could be great at diversity, equity and inclusion and still be missing the boat on how people experience their day. And it’s about culture is like not the poster on the wall. Right? It is not the dusty poster. It is the actions that are lived and breathed every day, in the the actions that are taken the things that are said, What is accepted and what is not accepted in an organization. And so you can be great at dei and not, and still wonder why people were leaving

Russel Lolacher
Culture. I’m glad you brought it up, because it was definitely the direction I was going in. So I want to look at it from a macro micro standpoint, because I love when people say what’s the culture of your organization, I’m like, that doesn’t exist, there is 7000 cultures within that organization. It doesn’t exist where there’s just one. So I want to look at it from the leadership of an organization standpoint and their role, and the more micro team based culture, what’s the difference? And what are the steps you can take to be a little bit more in the realm of safety, love and wholesome?

Katie Rasoul
Yeah, I think that’s a really, really good call out you’re right, because someone on one team might have a vastly different experience than someone three cubicle rows over, right? They’re breathing the same air, what’s the difference, right. And as leaders, and I, what I really like to do when I talk about belonging and in culture in general, is to look at like who owns it. And I see that we I see things as the self, right, we are responsible for ourselves. As leaders, if you’re in a leadership role or a role of influence, we are responsible for the team that directly reports to us. And we are responsible for the organization for leaders who actually have a say in what happens in policy in practice within the organization. So we are in a unique vantage point is that you have a stake as all of those players in the game. And so there’s things that we all need to do individually and our self leadership and how we show up at work and the work that we do and how we are going to create belonging with the people around us. There’s things that leaders can and need to do with their teams, and the people that report into them and how they communicate. And then there’s you know, actual policy Tea and procedural things that we should be looking at through the lens of belonging, like does this help or hurt the relationship with people? My dear friend, Jason Lauritsen is also a speaker and an author like that’s the relationship test that he that he came up with, I have to make sure I credit him for that is right, like if you were to have onboarding a new employee, and you just spend several hours of their first day telling them all the ways that they’re going to get fired? Like, does that help or hurt your relationship? Like, would you do that with a best friend or a family member? You would not. And so that’s a great example of a procedural thing that harms belonging that harms that relationship, right? From the get go, that you could procedurally change and look at through a lens of belonging and treat differently.

Russel Lolacher
What do you say to that organizational leader who says, oh, cultures, that’s the supervisors job, those are the manager’s job. They’re the ones that are dealing with their staff every day. I’m up here doing important things. I’m outsourcing my belonging, I’ll hire a consultant, they’ll figure it out for us. What do you say to that leader who feels like it’s their influence maybe isn’t big enough?

Katie Rasoul
Oh, that’s what we’ll get then, is some off the shelf package something and people will understand the difference. And really, it’s everyone’s responsibility. You know, even if you don’t, you’re not you don’t have anyone reporting to you, you are responsible, and how you show up to work, and how at peace you are with yourself and like ready to create connections and belonging with others. As a leader, it is obviously like they have people who are directly in their purview that they touch every day, that has a lot of touch points where they could create, build or break belonging. The higher you go in the organization, the more responsibility you have, because you have your team, or maybe people report to you, our leaders. So it is everyone’s role. It’s just a bigger role when you are higher in the company, because it needs to be something that everyone sees as part of their job as a leader, every organization should be teaching people how to be inclusive leaders and expecting them to be inclusive leaders, like just the same as any other leadership competency or KPI. That is absolutely part of what it means to be a leader. And we’ve struggled with that. How many organizations promote people over time that either weren’t trained, or were good at making widgets and now became manager of widget makers, but never learned how to be a leader? And so there’s certainly plenty of leaders out there who are missing this information.

Russel Lolacher
Well, it always comes down to that well, look there delivery people look, they can deliver, they can get it done without people above them realizing the wreckage below the iceberg of what they had to do to get to that point. Because they just see oh, well, they got the thing that I wanted done. So they must be a great leader. I’m like no other shit, they basically destroying your culture every step of the way, and people are going to be hemorrhaging out of here. But I guess you got that report. Okay, good to hear. But the long term effects are going to be horrible.

Katie Rasoul
Yeah, you know, I’ve worked with organizations that have had those leaders that shouldn’t just should not be in those roles. And someone has to be courageous at the top to remove that person or help them be better one of the two options, rather than just saying, well, they got the job done. So we’re going to look the other way. Because you’re right, there is so much carnage in the background. And I used to administer and help support organizations, both in house and out of house and their engagement survey data. So people would be like, what’s, what is this issue? What is why is this so low? Right, and it matches the exit interviews, and it matches the state interviews and it matches every other piece of feedback. But often they’re like, Well, why is this so low? I’m like, because your leader sucks as a leader, like, they may be incapable to get the job done if the job was that task or that one responsibility. But they have created a long line of carnage that is incredibly difficult to fix, right? It’s years worth of, of repair. That happens in some cases. And so we have to understand that this is part of the job as leaders is that we’re creating inclusive cultures that we are creating belonging and safety. And we have to support but expect leaders to show up in that way.

Russel Lolacher
Belonging feels very personal though. So belonging to me might be very different to you, Katie, and how I am in an organization. Now that can be difficult if my sense of belonging is in contrast to your style of belonging, where we can get cultural or religious, like there are some things in there that can make this a little complicated. How do you approach that?

Katie Rasoul
Yeah, I get that question all the time when I talk about like, showing up is your whole self because we’re like, okay, we don’t want everyone to show up as their whole selves,

Russel Lolacher
Assholes show up with their whole self all the time. I don’t want them showing up.

Katie Rasoul
And yes, that’s really fair. Because there’s, there’s such a thing as the balance of being able to show up, right, not at the detriment of someone else’s experience. And so if you show up wearing a swastika on your shirt, that that might be detrimental, someone else’s experience. So that’s maybe worth a conversation, obviously. Now, I think you’re right, it is personal, in the sense of like, what makes you feel safe, what makes you feel like you can show up as your whole self, but ultimately, like, they’re all on the same spectrum of human emotion and experience that we all experience. And so what that looks like, is obviously personal to people’s, every existence and experience they’ve had up until this point, right? And they have their own filters and their own biases they bring as far as what works and what doesn’t for them. And so that’s a really easy solution for leaders. I can’t tell you how many times they say, Well, did you ask them? Right, or just building a one on one relationship with the people that directly report to you and making it safe, so that they feel like they can share things with you. That’s what it takes is having a one on one relationship where you say, what’s important to you? What helps you thrive here at work? And how many times do we just not ask people what they need, and be situational be able to adjust our leadership to what is most effective for the people on our team. It’s, it’s that simple. It just doesn’t it doesn’t mean it’s easy, always. But it is simple.

Russel Lolacher
A big part of why I branded this podcast relationships at work is that one on one personal aviation thing that people seem to ignore. It’s that if you don’t know the names of the kids of your direct report staff, there is a problem there that you don’t even understand what their world looks like, on beyond the fact that I know how to use them to get a thing done. You don’t know them as people. And that scares me. Because if leadership’s being defined differently, however, I do want to talk about the employee experience journey, because you’ve touched on it a few times with onboarding, stay interviews, of exit interviews, there is a conversation there that I think the personalization aspect can really be dug in, if we take that journey a lot more seriously. What are your feelings and thoughts on on those interviews?

Katie Rasoul
I think there, there are so many points along the way that are touchpoints of opportunity, where those are opportunities to build trust opportunities for us to gather information about what people’s experiences are like. And then we could make adjustments off of that. I think, the more you can build trust and build relationship along the way. All of those touch points that employees experienced, from the hiring process, to onboarding, to training, to annual reviews and everything in between that they that they meet with their boss or with other people in the organization’s if we look at that through the lens of building trust, and Building Safety and building a sense of like, we got your back, you are not just a cog in the wheel, then that can inform each of those small moments of opportunity. There’s no one big thing that we could do differently. There’s no silver bullet, because trust is built in every single tiny moment. I you know, to that point of my worst boss I’ve ever had. He was it was really bad. It was a bad match. And he said, Oh, how was your your daughter’s surgery? And I clearly didn’t know my daughter’s name. And I was like, it was fine. Thanks. And I can tell you he didn’t know my daughter’s name because I didn’t have a daughter. I had a son. And I left like fu buddy. I literally just spent the day in the ER and my son had surgery and you didn’t know that I had a son and certainly didn’t know their name. So to the your exact point like those are the moments where I just I don’t trust you. You don’t you don’t have my back. You don’t know anything about me. You don’t trust you. And so those what a small conversation that was and and if I had more care and trust in that relationship, I would have given him more leeway, and the benefit of the doubt to be like, oh, a No, it’s okay. And I would have said, actually, it’s my son. But I didn’t have any trust built. And so that is an example of like, when we have those strong relationships, teams, like give us the benefit of the doubt. And they assume that we’re trying to do the right thing, and that we have their back. And we were missing that it is it is clearly missing, and continues to break down trust and belonging and an organization.

Russel Lolacher
Safety, love, and bring your whole self to work. Could you define each of those terms a little bit deeper? So we we can understand. So they don’t get just icky? I don’t want to talk about it. Because it’s a word I don’t understand.

Katie Rasoul
Yeah, I mean, so ultimately, let’s start with safe if we want people to feel safe, that means mistakes don’t exist. That’s the phrase I attached to that. And so what that looks like, if you know, Dr. Amy Edmondson, she’s at Harvard Business School has done a lot of the research around psychological safety. And it really is this idea that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking, so that you can say something personal about yourself or say something that might be unpopular, and it’s okay, it’s safe to do that there’s no downside. And I’m sure that everyone has been in a situation where they have felt safe, and then other times where you feel like everyone is out for themselves. I’ve seen that in like mergers, where people are freaking out and trying to protect their turf. Right, and it doesn’t feel safe anymore. So that’s what it really is that idea of safety. And leaders can build that by, you know, making a group agreement with the team that reports to them, how do we want to show up with each other? When things get hard? How are we going to react? And how are we going to keep keep the culture intact here within our team. That’s really what the safe pieces about no love, we never use love. It feels very touchy feely. But I go back to that relationship says like, think about what does love look like at work is that it really means that you, you know, we spend time, energy and passion on people. That’s what love looks like is that as a as an organization, we spend our time our energy and passion towards people, not stuff, not whatever service we provide, like, people. That’s what love looks like. So like, if we don’t spend time, energy and passion supporting people, why would we ever expect them to give it back? You know, and so people will give us their time, but they will not give us their energy and passion. That’s when they show up to work. It is in exchange for a paycheck. And there is no relationship there the leave whenever they want, because they understand they are psychologically unattached to the workplace. And so what love really ends up looking like is how do you build processes to show people that we you have their back, that it is about the actual human versus the stuff, because work doesn’t love you back. But we can build it in a way that real leaders can show that I that I do see you I do have a personal relationship with you. And that we care that you’re here and that you’re just not some replaceable person. I think that’s really what what love looks like, I like to use the this just like me empathy test for people to like, if you want to grow some love in your relationship, it’s really empathy that we can start with by saying, think someone like you don’t like very much, or maybe don’t really understand on your team and say, This person has thoughts and dreams and fears just like me. You know, this person has friends and family, maybe even children that love them, just like me. So you can think of like your mortal enemy and have that conversation with yourself that they are just like you and these ways, that’s ways to start to build empathy as a base for love. And then the idea of of feeling whole, I mean, I think it was a Deloitte study a few years back, it was like over 60% of people are still covering who they are in some aspect at work. That’s a lot. Right. And so, if organizations and leaders can examine how we build it for these different people and welcome that that means you know introverts versus extroverts that means different kinds of neuro out diversity, different kinds of leadership. I mean, I’ve worked at companies where top down the very top leader was a very directive leader. And everyone else felt like they had to be directive style leader as well. And anyone else who didn’t fit that mold was not successful in that organization. And so they, it would behoove them to find ways to say you’re needed here. For more supportive type of leader, we need you because we’re not great at this. So we need this aspect and this strength to come from you. That’s really the difference. Where we start to look at the processes look at what you do within the organization, and say, How can I make this feel like everyone can be their best selves and their whole selves at work.

Russel Lolacher
Let’s talk about it from those that don’t feel belonging, or do feel belonging… like what does that feel like? Even from a mental health standpoint?

Katie Rasoul
Yeah, as humans, we naturally scan our environments like looking for proof of belonging. And we see a nibble here and a little piece here are we see have an experience where it shows Oh, can’t say that here, that’s not safe. And so right that, I don’t know that we fully understand the toll that that takes. But it is a lot of psychological work. So a lot of attention and like actual brain power, when people don’t feel like they belong, or they’re actually using more of that brain power to scan their environment. And then this is all very subconscious, really, like they don’t, people mostly cannot articulate, this is what I’m doing. But what it does is it takes away people’s capacity to do the actual job. And so they are just constantly looking for the places where they belong for proof of safety. So some of this work has been done actually in education, and understanding how students who don’t feel like they belong, right can’t learn as well, because they’re spending so much time trying to find their place or find that proof of belonging. And so it, it reduces people’s effectiveness and productivity at work. It’s certainly it’s exhausting. And when you feel that way, you don’t feel successful, you don’t feel chosen, you don’t feel welcome at work. When that low key trauma every day of experiencing that means that you’re going to continue to seek that somewhere else in another company in another leader in another job.

Russel Lolacher
Do you think belonging is a key part of the great reshuffle great resignation, whatever branding you want to use, do you feel it’s key?

Katie Rasoul
Absolutely. And I think that’s why organizations are caught flat footed and seemingly confused. Like, why are people leaving because your culture sucks, because that leader sucks. And for the first time in in a while these, these people who are leaving, eat especially younger employees, like millennials, Gen Z, we get it now that like, we can expect good leadership. And if we’re not going to get it here, we’re gonna go somewhere else to find it. We’re in the past, we didn’t really have that freedom to move around or didn’t have that sense. And so now we, you know, employees have higher expectations of us as leaders. And when you see the opportunity in the market is hot, why would you not move. So that’s absolutely what’s happening. And people will tell us if we’re willing to listen, if we’re willing to look at the data we already have in our organizations, if we’re willing to hear what people say in an exit interview, and really hear it, we have all the information we need. For people that are explaining that to us. I remember an exit interview with someone that I had once and the leader came to me and said so and so’s leaving, they’re moving to this other state with their boyfriend, the case closed. And then I did the exit interview, and had built a lot of trust with this person. And the reality was this person hated their boss so much that they felt the need to move three states away to take a job and drag their boyfriend with them to like, get a new have a new experience. And so it’s helpful to have all of the information right. Do you see how that leader just determined it wasn’t their problem? It wasn’t their fault. And I don’t like to use the word fault. But I’m saying like if we look through the lens of what might we have done differently, the reality was the experience and the leader and the sense of belonging caused people to say I’m going to look somewhere else. The reason people say well, I’m good Going somewhere else, because they’re gonna pay me more money. That’s not why they looked, they looked because your culture sucks, or the leader stocks. And so people are willing to jump now because they can. And they know that they deserve better and leadership.

Russel Lolacher
There’s a quote from Scott Stratten, there’s just been ruminating in my brain for a while, which is, “you don’t know what it’s like to work for you.” And that covers so much of the problem. But if people just leaders specifically focus on the whole, and I can’t stress how much I feel that these are superpowers, which is self awareness, and situational awareness, if they actually know what those are and build those muscles up over time, you won’t have those leaders that go as they’re leaving, they’re just leaving, it’s it’s probably have a better opportunity. They’re immediately mentally passing the buck because it couldn’t possibly be them. It hurts my heart so bad.

Katie Rasoul
Yes, I every time someone has left my team, when I was in leadership roles, I would always use the 100% test, which is if it is if this was was 100% my fault for my responsibility. What can I learn what what might I have done differently? And obviously, it’s not 100% In real life, but it is a lens that I asked leaders to put on to say, let’s say this was you 100%, what would you say to like, what would you do? What would you learn? And there are some folks that just aren’t willing to look at that. And you’re right, I think self awareness. Just understanding that’s right, just basic emotional intelligence, understanding yourself understanding other people’s emotions, and how you control those emotions and how you show up. I mean, that’s been around for decades now. And leaders who aren’t willing to understand how impactful that is in their leadership and their team’s lives, or have some reading to do, and some practice to do daily.

Russel Lolacher
As much as this is very much a feeling, it’s about emotional intelligence, it’s about love. It’s about all these things. If as an organization, we want to take some first steps in where to look to know how big of a problem or not a problem, it might be in my organization, what are just a couple places they can look just to understand where they sit now with their employees.

Katie Rasoul
Yeah, I think at an organizational level, really any process, any procedure, any process that touches employees, set in some way, they can look at it through the lens of does this build belonging? Or does it break down belonging? Because it’s probably one or the other? It’s a bit of like an all or nothing test, just for the sake of the exercise, right? Because if you’re not helping, you’re not building trust, you’re probably breaking it. And so those are all ways that you can say, Are we doing the right thing here? Or is there an adjustment we could make that would build belonging, I think it’s teaching leaders that this is the expectation and giving them the tools, making sure that they’re trained and that they understand why this is important, so that they’re able to do it, but to expect the leaders in the organization to live into this. And to live into emotional intelligence and being a quality leader that creates inclusive environments. That’s what an organization can do. Like leaders who say, Well, I don’t really write policy or make HR procedures, but I just do in my job, and I kind of have this team that I’m leading. You can help people in every These are small moments, you have to take the opportunity to build belonging and trust. It’s things like setting a group agreement with the team that works with you is saying what would help you thrive? How do we want to show up when things get challenging? What do you expect from me as a leader? Setting that group agreement and revisiting it creates a rules of the road for the team and that they know that they can say what needs to be said as long as you’re living into that agreement. It’s having things like productive meetings and having an agenda for people who are introverts and process things before the meeting, instead of preferring to process in real time. So if you have someone who’s an introvert on your team, having no agenda or just showing up to a meeting is feels very unsafe, as an example, because they don’t know what to prepare, they don’t feel ready. They haven’t processed what they need to say or do in the meeting ahead of time. So that can feel really unsafe as just an example. These are things you could be doing every day to adjust to really intense Shouldn’t we build for belonging. So we have to build the organization for belonging. And we have to teach leaders how to be inclusive, thoughtful leaders. So that’s how we take those two pieces and put them together. And that could be revolutionary, right? That could change the game in your organization, if every leader got 10%, better, that could be revolutionary in your turnover in your people’s experience and your customer service scores, right, whatever that ends up looking like. I think we always think we’re have to go like zero to 60, or like black or white. What if 10% improvement could change the world? I’m willing to take the chance.

Russel Lolacher
Last question, Katie, what is one thing, one simple action that people can do right now to improve their relationships at work?

Katie Rasoul
Self awareness, self development, self leadership. So I think we keep looking outside of ourselves to improve relationships when it comes to the longing. We have to belong to ourselves. We have to be at peace with ourselves in order to have the capacity to create space and belonging with others. And so doesn’t matter who you are in organization. I think that if we can start with ourselves, especially after the last couple of years, it felt very chaotic. That that is probably the most impactful place we can begin.

Russel Lolacher
Hey, everybody, that’s Katie Rasoul. She is the chief awesome officer at Team Awesome coaching. And she’s a speaker and she’s an author and she’s just shared her brain with us. Thank you so much, Katie for your time today.

Katie Rasoul
Thanks for having me. Good to see you.

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Russel Lolacher

Russel Lolacher

Digital Communication Director, speaker, advocate for healthier workplace cultures and kind candour. Host of the Relationships at Work podcast.