Erin Skillen on bringing humour and joy into work

Bringing Humour and Joy into Work with Erin Skillen

In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with workplace culture consultant Erin Skillen on the importance of bringing and keeping humour and joy in the workplace.

 

A few reasons why she is awesome – Erin is the founder of Content4Good – a consultancy helping organizations improve their culture and engagement (sounds familiar), Co-Founder of Amira Health and Family Sparks, award-winning organizations focusing on managing mental health programs, and she was the producer/vice-president of a production company for almost a decade. She also has a few projects on the go, including co-hosting the Demarried Life podcast, and a virtual skateboard company.

 

Erin Recommends 

  •  Humor, Seriously – Why Humor Is A Secret Weapon in Business and Life (And how anyone can harness it. Even you.) – Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas

Connect with, and learn more about, Erin on her platforms: 

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Why is now a great time to focus on humour and joy
  • The connection humour and joy have to mental health
  • Where to find joy in the workplace
  • The importance of psychological safety
  • How “professionalism” and the notion of “work-life balance” has done a lot of damage on cultures
  • What humour might not be appropriate

“The more that you set an expectation that this [type of humour] is okay, the more other people are going to start to, you know, dip their toe in and go a bit further and give it a try.”

Erin Skillen

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW

Russel Lolacher
And on the show today we have Erin Skillen and here is why she is awesome. She is the founder of Content4Good, a consultancy helping organizations improve their culture and engagement. Well, that sounds like a familiar topic, co founder of Amira Health and Family sparks award winning organizations focusing on managing mental health programs. She was the producer, Vice President of a production company for almost a decade, just as a few projects on the go, including co hosting a podcast of her very own called de married life. Oh, she also used to or still does a virtual skateboard company. Curious, curious. And here she is hanging out with us. Hi, Erin.

Erin Skillen
I swear I’m not a kajillion years old. All these different fragments and pieces. Yeah. Hi. Thanks for having me.

Russel Lolacher
Just a lot of plates to spin. That’s all it is. That’s all it is. shiny ball. shiny ball. Oh, that looks fun. That looks fun. I’m the same totally. So to start off the episode in which we’re going to talk about humor and joy. Yes. interesting topic. Yes. For the workplace. What’s your best or worst employee experience, Erin?

Erin Skillen
Yeah, I had an early one that kind of shaped kind of how the rest of my life when I worked at Walmart, from I worked there in high school for a year in Manitoba. And then for three years out here in BC, and it was a really good lesson in how not to treat your employees. There was a cheer in the morning, they tried to make you do I never did the chair I lip synced to the chair. And that was meant to be like inspiring, and engaging. That’s like, no, not so much your your this is degrading and embarrassing. We had customers take a dump on the shelf we had, we had this was this was back in the you know, the late 90s, early 2000s. We had like a customer throw a Gone With the Wind double VHS at one of my co workers. I had a you know, a guy asking me if there were any men in my electronics department who knew what they were doing before I’d even opened my mouth to help him. So it was a really surreal experience just in what cost the customers already is always right mentality, versus let’s take care of our people. Let’s make them happy. And let’s let that happiness sort of fuel the customer experience. So it really set the standard for me to go, Okay, this is not my life. corporate life is not happening for me.

Russel Lolacher
If anything, lessons we learned as much about what not to do and what we never want to ever do again, as it is to model behavior.

Erin Skillen
Exactly. And I’ll just say, I know some people are working there. And I know some people need to work there and all that and all the power to them. I just I did not have the patience. And I started getting pretty mouthy in my last year. So it was never me one of us was going quicker than…

Russel Lolacher
Let’s hope some cultures have changed since then.

Erin Skillen
It’s been 20 years. Fingers crossed.

Russel Lolacher
So today are and yeah, it’s humor and joy in the workplace. Where the hell do you have time to put humor and or joy on a to do list? I don’t have that kind of time. My outlook is full. Why do you think my team’s meetings are blowing up? Yeah. Where’s What are you thinking? And what are you talking about when you say a world where humor and joy exist in the workplace?

Erin Skillen
Yeah, I think that it doesn’t have to be about time, it can be about the way you do things. So I think that it’s often we get so lost in the nuts and bolts of the what we have to do that we missed the bits that can actually take a little more work now just a tiny bit, just do it a little differently now, but will actually pay off down the road. Because you’ll have a more connected team, you’ll have people who are more in sync and what they’re doing, and you’ll be able to harness that get better results. But first, you have to build that and it doesn’t have to be difficult. It really really doesn’t.

Russel Lolacher
So lay it out here. What is what is humor enjoy? Is it somebody makes a joke at their stand up at the beginning of the day. And it’s mandated? Or is it somebody coming in and saying I saw a funny movie last night? Let me tell you about it. Is it prescribed? Or is it just more organic?

Erin Skillen
I think it’s just being thoughtful about how things are being done. So creating opportunities when people are being a bit more authentic and letting it all kind of hang out in a funny way, not kind of stamping that down and putting the serious mask back on and be like okay, no get back to work, allowing those moments to take place because there’s actually a physical release that happens when you laugh. You know how you feel after you’ve watched a funny movie. So it’s, I think when it’s too prescribed, like if you if you stood in a room and sat a stand up and said everybody has to tell a joke. People would quit and they should quit. That’s a nightmare. That’s a nightmare for a lot of people. It’s more about let the funny people be funny. Let the the people who like to laugh, laugh at them. And then everyone who’s in between, let them see. They’re allowed to be human beings and they’re not going to be smacked down for it. It can be professional.

Russel Lolacher
Side note. We’re both Canadians. So writing humor. Yeah, for this in the shownotes is going to be real fun.

Erin Skillen
Exactly does have like that the Canadian version and the American version. Yeah,

Russel Lolacher
We’re gonna have to do that.

Erin Skillen
Exactly.

Russel Lolacher
So why would you feel this is necessary for a culture? What has been lacking, that we even need to have a conversation? Why humor and joy are so necessary?

Erin Skillen
Yeah. So I really you know what it was honestly, during the pandemic, I was, I was working in mental health, and running a mental health company, I’m on my own now. But I was running this company through this intensely difficult experience. And I looked at it and I went, Okay, I’m not a therapist, I can’t provide actual counseling. But what can I do to help lighten the load for people. So it was looking for opportunities to add humor, not to laugh at anyone, but to laugh with people and circumstances, things that are going on, to be able to create are also the joyful moments that don’t have to be funny. But moments where people feel really seen and that you took a moment to think about them. And just those moments to help people really nurture their emotional well being while they’re there busting their ass is getting the job done and doing really difficult work. And so that’s when I kind of looked at it, and I went, Okay, I got I collected testimonials for my company was one thing I did, and it what kept coming up was about humor. People kept saying humor, and I was like, hmm, is that a thing? Like, is there value to that? And so I did some research and I took a course actually for a for resilient team making during the pandemic, when everyone was separated. And yeah, there is actually a lot of value to it, this is the thing that actually matters. So that’s when I started digging into it and looking at how I could sort of motivate others to bring those elements into the workplace that I was trying to bring in to whichever workplace I stepped into.

Russel Lolacher
I find resiliency a word I have some trouble with because we use it a lot. And we keep talking about it. Like it’s a goal. When I’m going why to teams need to feel like why do they need to be resilient? What is it because you have such a shitty culture that you need to build resiliency, so you can put up with it? Or is it a matter of being resilient in times like the pandemic? Yes. Like, it’s I don’t think it’s defined well enough. So how do you feel that humor and joy help with resiliency in a good way?

Erin Skillen
Yeah, so I see in a good way, because no matter what you’re dealing with in life, there’s always typically one area that’s not going well, at least one area, like the moment I think was Bridget Jones, who said the moment something goes right, something else goes wrong. It’s just this weird juggling act that we have to keep us on our toes. And so I think that resilience is really about bouncing back. It’s about that ability to get back up again, when things can really suck. And yeah, if you’re constantly, if you’re one of those clowns from the 80s, those inflatable clowns, you remember those and you punch them in the face, and they they pop back up, and you can just hit them over and over again, if you’re that person at your work, you don’t need resilience, you need boundaries, and you need to get the hell out of there. But when something happens, and maybe it’s a one off, or maybe it’s just one area of your life, or just thinks compounding, that ability to be able to nurture yourself to get back up, and to keep going is so key. And to me, that’s where resilience has value. It’s not about making yourself be susceptible to more bad and I can just take it. It’s not about that. It’s not about mental toughness. It’s about that ability to get back up and go, Okay, what did I learn from this? And how do I move on?

Russel Lolacher
You talked about hearing from validators and feedback around mental health when it came to humor. What what were people looking for? What was the connection for mental health to humor and even deeper joy? I know we’re kind of combining humor and joy into one topic, but they aren’t. Because what somebody finds joyous might not necessarily be funny.

Erin Skillen
And what’s funny, create zero joy whatsoever. So yeah, they don’t always go together.

Russel Lolacher
Fair comment. So let’s first connect what you’ve seen. Let’s connect mental health from what you’ve heard to joy. First to humor. Yeah, first of humor.

Erin Skillen
Yeah, so connecting mental health to humor so it’s it’s interesting because I always I say that Schindler’s List the movie, even even though funny movie really intense, so funny. And even that movie has jokes in it if you if you and it took me probably the second or third time I saw it in my life to kind of go, oh, wait a minute, that was funny. And it’s that release. It’s a physical release. That’s actually good for your heart. It’s good for your digestion, it’s good for your circulation. It releases dopamine and other good drugs, healthy endorphins in your brain that give you that natural boost. It’s kind of like going for a little run, right? Physical activity is really great for mental health. So is that what I call like internal physical activity that happens when you’re when you’re engaged in a funny moment? It’s one of those things it’s things are just super, super intense. And then you just someone makes the right joke at the right time or says the right thing and it’s just like, the pressure isn’t all gone, but it’s gotten a little bit lighter.

Russel Lolacher
How do you feel I enjoy it work. Let’s jump around joy.

Erin Skillen
Yeah, so my take is not about finding it, you make it. Because if you, you can look for it, you can go around, like I’m very much an advocate for, like, look around, see something beautiful find something that’s really cool and amazing and give it some time. But it’s actually been proven that the act of creating joy for other people can actually be more psychologically beneficial than receiving the joy on your end. So I always say get out there and create the joy. So, you know, get to know your coworkers. And that’s again, we’re connection as part of this, you have to be connected, you have to know people to some degree to be able to create joy for them. Because at like, similar to the jokes, what something will make someone laugh, it makes someone else horribly offended with joy. Something might go a long way with someone and with someone else. It’s like, Why did you bother?

Russel Lolacher
Is it a singular thing is this? I mean, you talk about I want to create joy, I want to bring humor into the workplace. But is it only singular I feel like a culture needs to be a group effort, can you help others find joy and humor in it?

Erin Skillen
Exactly. Everything underlining all of this, it’s about site psychological safety, it’s about people knowing they can take risks, they can be innovative, they can do something a little bit different they can and most importantly, show up and be themselves. And that can be a very unfunny person, that’s okay, too. But just it’s about creating that psychological safety where you’re connecting with one another as human beings. So it’s safe to do things like laugh together, it’s safe to do things like make somebody really really happy by doing a kind like a kind, post it on their screen, whatever it might be. It has to be it’s a group effort. And it’s that whole, like, you know, kindness is contagious kind of idea. Contagious carries a lot of weight now, so the pandemic but I mean positive contagions, where the more that you set an expectation that this is okay, the more other people are going to start to, you know, dip their toe in and go a bit further and give it a try. So absolutely one person running around trying to make everybody laugh and make everyone happy, that person is going to burn out and it’s not going to go well for them or anybody else. Because it’ll be like, we don’t have time for this Get out of here. This isn’t safe here. We don’t have psychological safety, you’re gonna get yelled at.

Russel Lolacher
But in order to grow a garden of joy and humor, you have to have a garden of good culture and psychological safety. Because culture can crush joy. Yeah, there’s a lot of people that like their job, but hate where they work. How can you push back?

Erin Skillen
Exactly. So I think one key thing is, no matter what, obviously leadership, it comes from leadership, if the leaders are, you know, the harbingers of negativity, it’s really hard to change that energy, unless you’re in sort of private quarters where they were, they don’t lurk. But I think the more than individual people stand up and give each other space for those moments to occur, and show them, show them a positive response, but then connect it to, you know, obviously show how that works. It’s not just we sit around and giggle to each other and get no work done, show how it creates better experiences together. And the more that you get buy in from the leadership, and the more that leadership doesn’t have to be funny, but you know, it sets out example, that the more it will pick up in the organization, and there are some organizations where this just won’t work. It’s just not that type of organization, they’re just too far gone. It would take a lot of effort to bring them back. But there are those that are somewhere in the middle, and trying to do those really, really forced specific things like hey, we never talked to each other personally, let’s go out for you know, drinks once a month and sit and stare at one another. So I think it’s definitely for those those cultures that are trying to get better and want to get better. And understand this is one of the ways to create psychological safety, but it’s not the only option.

Russel Lolacher
My fear is organizations labeling this unprofessional. Yep. They’re looking at this as going well, this is not how you should behave. But then those same executives will turn around and talk about diversity in the next sentence. Yeah. And talk about how we need to embrace all different types of people. Because I’ve been told we have to, but they hide behind the unprofessional label. What do you say to that

Erin Skillen
Professional has done a lot of damage. I think this delineation I’ve, I really don’t believe in work life balance. I don’t believe in a personal professional separation. Those two things are interconnected, they will always be interconnected. If I have a terrible morning, everything goes wrong, and I come into work. Even if I’m trying my absolute hardest, there’s going to be a little piece of that, that sticks with me in the day. If I have a terrible time at work. If things are compounding in all areas of my life. It’s they influence one another. So the best thing is for people to have a healthy life in all aspects and to be you know, as as cared for and feel as safe as possible in all regards. And then you’re going to have a better team, they’re going to be more productive, they’re going to be better able to focus people I don’t care how professional you are, the world is is crumbling around you as it is for many people right now. It’s really hard to get Job done. And you can only kind of grit your teeth and bear it for so long.

Russel Lolacher
So I’m hilarious. I’ll tell you that right away.

Erin Skillen
I find it funny as people are the ones that say it the most. So typically there’s correlation.

Russel Lolacher
We’re the best at selling it, that’s for sure. But in the workplace, there is such thing as inappropriate humor, and different types of humor. Yeah. And how do you reconcile personalization?

Erin Skillen
Yeah, so one rule that I think is really valuable. And I wish some more professional so called professional comedian, comedians would honor this. And there’s a sort of a prejudice in the term punching down just saying down meaning. But anytime that you’re taking a shot at someone who has less power than you taking a shot in general, not super cool. That’s really where you know, you’ve crossed the line. I think the power with work is observational humor, the things that happen think of like, like, I don’t want to say like everyone should be Seinfeld. But in the 90s, Seinfeld made his made his mince, just basically making observational jokes about things that we see. And yes, some of them are inappropriate offside. And all the things they didn’t, some didn’t age well. But the idea of the environment and the circumstances creating humor for people, I think, is because there’s the things that you can relate to, what are the shared elements that we have. And again, the more that you get to know about people as individuals, the more you can tailor what you’re saying to their humor. Like, for instance, we had I worked with this guy, who he was very quiet, he was so quiet, and he never laughed, and I’m like, I’m going to make you laugh, David, we’re going to make you laugh. And he and we made a Slack channel called Make David Laugh. And so we would just post gifts and links and all sorts of stuff like that. And he just appreciated that we were trying, but he appreciated it. And of course, it’s nuanced. You have to read people’s emotions and things like that. But find if there’s someone who’s the butt of a joke, that’s not a good idea. Just generally not a good idea. You don’t want to bring people down. But there are observational, just just things that you can do that are funny, and everyone generally can see them that way. Coming from all different backgrounds and whatnot. And even if, even if it doesn’t hit everybody, it’s not everybody’s joke, the lightened energy that arises from that can be helpful.

Russel Lolacher
We keep being told bring your whole self to work. Yeah, well, my whole self is pretty bombastic. My whole self has a lot of energy, or my whole self is a turtle that wants to just put their head down and do their work. Yeah. Should we because I want to speak to joy here for this because that can be humor seems like a targeted let’s make people laugh and have a reaction. Joy is such more of an internal and you can share joy with others. Yeah, but how much did you give a crap a shit anything? Of what other people’s perception of what you’re enjoying in your work?

Erin Skillen
Yeah, cuz, you know, someone said to me once even assholes can be authentic, you can be authentically an asshole, right? So not everyone’s like, not everyone’s authentic. So not, it’s not always like the best thing when people let it all hang out. But the thing the thing about joy, I think if you’re cultivating joy for someone, I like to call them I’m trying to find a less violent way of saying Joy bombs. I like creating Joy bombs for people unexpected moments where you do something nice for someone comes out of nowhere, it doesn’t have to cost a dime. And if somebody else thinks that’s hokey, or cheesy or ridiculous, I really don’t give a fuck. I care about the person that it was intended for. So is it a book I found at a secondhand store that we’ve been talking about and I leave it on their desk? Is it you know, I, I would never bake but if somebody baked cookies, you know, put took them to people’s doorsteps were remote workers or something like that. Finding little ways to make people happy. I think you don’t need to care about what other people think when you’re you’re you’re doing it out of kindness and you’re doing it you’re not harming anyone. You’re doing good for people. It’s when you’re doing something that is a no if you’re being racist, sexist, homophobic. You’re saying anything ignorant, that might be true and honest and feel okay for you. That’s absolutely a buttload of garbage. But when you’re hurting other people, you’re putting other people down. That’s when it matters. That’s when what other people think matters because you need other people need to step up and shut that down. But if you’re doing something kind and generous and sweet, and not sitting around waiting for a shower of gratitude, then just do you, who cares what other people think,

Russel Lolacher
Say someone works for a soulless organization and you want to inject some of that Fun, joy, happiness into the workplace into your team. Where do you start? Like, are there some things you can begin doing?

Erin Skillen
Yeah. So, again, it really organic is best, it’s best if you nurture people that are already bringing that energy into the workspace and let them know, hey, this, we really love your energy like we want, what ideas do you have not assuming that you have all the ideas in this area? One thing that I think works really well is, you know, we’re all used to stand up some, you know, stand up and report what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished for the week, and what’s coming up and all that stuff. I like having a really quick like, meeting with I depends on the size of your team, how divided your teams need to be. I like asking a question that has absolutely nothing to do with work. And it’s not anything that’s and I like to give it to people in advance because some people stress about that stuff. So giving it to them, maybe on the Friday before the Monday and only ask questions that evoke conversation and help you learn to and so some of my favorites that got the best answers were what was your first if you had a first job before this, what was it? And just learning you know, do you know any other languages and why? Questions like that, where people get a chance to tell you something that you might not otherwise know about them. Like the first job when was really interesting, because people come from all different places, where different things are sort of the usual go to job. Mine was an assistant dance teacher and then working at Dairy Queen, like it was just really in in Manitoba. So it’s just really an interesting way to dive into that person. But then you find later you can you can refer to that stuff in comedy. It’s called me a callback, where later in the meeting, you know, they might tell you that they used to like, you know, dig out horse manure out of stables. And you could like, you know, make a reference later to like, who’s going to shovel the shit? Well, so and so has experience in that. So what do you think stuff like that, right? But you’re building those connections, and you’re giving them a moment to be seen as a person with trying to reduce the anxiety as much as possible, because some people just being sensitive about how people like to talk. Another thing that I think we like to sort of intrinsic automatically go to the person who’s the leader of the team to lead a meeting, if there’s someone whose energy is really great, and they’re able to lead the meeting instead. And they can run a meeting with this like fantastic, caring, empathic energy that the rest of the team really responds to empower them with that, you know, if you just get in there, and you set a tone, and you’re like, Oh, God, I hate this I come off so officious and no one opens up above a bar. You don’t have to do that. Let you know delegate, like empower, empower the people around you and encourage them to be that best self. And then hopefully, their energy will help lift lift others.

Russel Lolacher
Thank you for that. I love things that are a little tangible. I’m very much a big proponent of mindset before tactics, but still tactics need to be there. So people can tangibly see it. But without mindset without a will to be bringing joy into the workplace, tactics are going to fall really flat. I remember asking a question. Oh, I proposed there was a group meeting. And I proposed asking an icebreaker who loved that. Of what was your that? What was your last great movie you watched? And I actually got resistance from leadership because they’re like, Oh, what if they see a movie nobody likes? What if they? Who cares? Like that’s conversation that is a point of its art. Its interpretive anyway.

Erin Skillen
And people can build connections. Because if you have a quirky sense of humor, and you’re into this, that’s the thing in a psychologically safe environment. If I say to you, I you know, one of my favorite movies is something just terrible, like starring Dolph Lundgren or something. If I say that, in a psychologically safe organization, you’re not going to be like, that’s a piece of shit. You’re an idiot, blah, wherever we’re in other organizations, that would be fine. But if it’s a safe organization, and you can be like, I didn’t get that one, what did you like about it? Or, you know, oh, my god, I love that. Have you seen such and such, that’s getting people talking to one another, that you need that and not just among the little cliques that they’re, you know, there’s already going to be friends at work, and they’re going to have no problem talking about things. I’m talking about, like, let’s connect the developers and the sales team, like let’s connect all these different disparate people and bring them together. And I think that’s a great idea. So you can tell your leader to show that they’re wrong.

Russel Lolacher
And for those under 35, that are listening, Dolph Lundgren was the bad guy and Rocky IV, also played the Punisher and was in a few Expendables movies.

Erin Skillen
Okay but you know, I remember him because I was in a sea of aging myself. God, I sound like 100 years old. I was. I was at Rogers video with my now ex husband, and we were looking at movies, and I thought he was beside me and I was down at looking at the bottom shelf. And this hand reached out beside me to grab this Dolph Lundgren movie and I looked and I went, are you fucking kidding me? And then I look and I’m like, You’re not my husband. He’s like, No, I’m not your husband. So I got up I was like, I’m so sorry. I’m sure it’s great. And so I went off to find my husband and the guy looks I look back at the guy looks at the video and he looks all sad. He just puts it back on. I ruined his night it was not good.

Russel Lolacher
For those under 35 video store is where you would go to to rent video. I love that you tried to correct “I sound old Dolph Lundgren” by telling a video store story.

Erin Skillen
Yeah, it’s pretty soon it’s gonna be like, you know, there were no way to know what he talked about. It’s just all silent films. You know, I’ve lived a life. What can I say?

Russel Lolacher
People get real judgy. Yeah, people will be bothered by people finding joy in the next cubicle over who are laughing at the other cubicle over and they’ll get real judgy about how they are reacting to their work. Why don’t they just go do their work? Why am I having to put up with this? Why are you guys being so loud? Yeah. How can you as a leader sort of embrace all of this because you’re, you have people that are going to be wanting that joy and that humor, but you’re also gonna find the people that just want to do what they do?

Erin Skillen
Absolutely. And it’s it’s, you know, everything in moderation. Do I think you should have a workplace where you’re laughing constantly 24/7? God, no. I worked in mental health company. If I’d done that, and imagine you come into the office, and I’m giggling and doing cartwheels in a clown suit, it’s all about balance. And it’s, again, it’s it’s a nuanced thing, being able to shift from hahaha, funny, funny, funny and kind of like, alright, let’s buckle down. What are we going to do here, but in a in a in a way that doesn’t feel like that? You’re scolding anyone for participating. It’s like, okay, and now we shift we move into the thing. So it’s finding a way to navigate transitions, I guess is part of it and understand? Yes, if people are cackling in the corner all day, that would be annoying. And that would drive me that would put me off the edge too. So none of this I’m saying is like, completely straightforward. And it does take a lot of I think new leadership skills that maybe you know, instead of whipping people now we’re going to, you know, find ways to sort of ease them into, like, let’s get on task now. So yeah, I think it’s just it takes practice. It takes practice. It’s not perfect, but honestly, people need it, they need it right now. People are are struggling, I put out a post on Instagram yesterday is a very official, very scientific poll, asking if people were kind of at their wit’s end, because everyone I’ve talked to lately is kind of at their wit’s end. And 75% said, Yeah, I’m, I’m, I’m there. So I, in these moments, I prefer to sort of lean on the, you know, let’s, let’s create a little more joy and a little more levity, and see what happens versus let’s not experiment with this, because we were afraid of what might happen.

Russel Lolacher
I think one of the biggest superpowers, especially in leadership, and I don’t think it gets talked about enough, is what you highlighted there, which is situational awareness. Self-awareness is great. And absolutely, and I, I can’t run that flag enough. But situational awareness is really understanding what’s happening around you with compassion and empathy to do something about it. So to see other groups that are and you’re listening, and you’re paying attention, I think it’s all the senses, sort of within that awareness, where you see those people that are laughing, but you eventually do have to get some work. And there are other people that are just working hard, and you need to relax a little bit more, you’re gonna burn out. Yeah. And unless you have that fulsome picture, and understand what that means. I think that’s a leadership skill. We do not talk enough about.

Erin Skillen
No, exactly. And it’s, it’s becoming more and more necessary, because it is so nuanced. You can’t treat even just three employees, you can’t treat them all the same. They all have very different needs, and very different ways of being motivated and inspired. And so the more that we do practice those skills, and are able to sort of in our minds, consider it hold all these things in our heads about not just performance at work, but also what is this person living through at this moment? And how can I best support them as a human being not just a worker bee?

Russel Lolacher
Where would you direct people if they want to know more information about just getting a little bit of more happy in their work? Is there any resources that sort of inspire you?

Erin Skillen
Yes, yes, yes. Yes. There’s an amazing book. I have it here because I always have books. Humor, Seriously – Why humor is a secret weapon in business and in life by two Stanford professors, so they’re legit, super legit. But this is one of the professors that taught this amazing course, the online course that I took, and they talk about for the naysayers for the the disbelievers. Why humor actually is an asset and why it is something to be refined. So that book, highly, highly recommend they have Ted Talks, all sorts of things, but they’ll they’ll sell sell you on if the other things aren’t working. Give this a shot.

Russel Lolacher
So Erin, what’s one simple action people can do right now to improve their relationships at work?

Erin Skillen
Ask questions. Ask questions, not probing questions. Don’t get too personal. Don’t get too rude. But you can always ask somebody, I’d love your necklace. Where did you get that? And there’s usually a story, maybe it was a gift. Maybe they made it maybe they don’t even know but they’re just happy you’re talking to them? Anything, anything you can start a conversation with and ask questions because we so often spend our times thinking about what we’re going to say next. And instead, we just need to shut up and listen and ask a question.

Russel Lolacher
That is Erin Skillen, she is the founder of content for good a consultancy helping organizations improve their culture and engagement. And that’s a little something we try to do on this podcast as well. Thanks so much for being on the show. Aaron.

Erin Skillen
Hey, thank you so much. Have a blast.

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