Ian Foss on managing stress

Managing and Mismanaging Stress at Work with Ian Foss

In episode ten of Relationships at Work, I chat with emergency management director Ian Foss, on the dangerous impacts of stress on our health and the health of our organizations, and what we can do to identify and manage that stress at work.

A few reasons Ian is awesome – he’s the Director of Search and Rescue for Emergency Management British Columbia, an Instructor for the Disaster and Emergency Management Program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and that’s on top of decades of working in the field of emergency management through fires, floods, heatwaves and pandemics. Stressful gig!

Check out all the episodes of Relationships at Work.

Connect with Ian Foss on his platforms:

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The dangerous impacts of stress
  • Where stress can come from to impact your work
  • Things to look for as warning signs of stress
  • Ways to manage stress short-term and long-term

“Sometimes that one more thing is too much.”

Ian Foss

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW

Russel Lolacher
On the show today, well, it’s Ian Foss, and here’s why he’s awesome. He’s the director of search and rescue for emergency management BC. He’s instructor for the disaster and emergency management programs at the northern Alberta Institute of Technology. And that’s on top of more than, well, more than a decade… How long you’ve been working in emergency emergency field, Ian?

Ian Foss
Yeah, just, it’s interesting. You know, I started reading in high school, I became a first aid instructor and a raft guide. And in between seasons, I taught first aid, and then river rescue. So it’s, it started early for me and I just continued on just talking to different positions that involve emergency management in some some way. Basically, I talked about having over t hree decades of emergency management experience and various roles.

Russel Lolacher
I was trying to do the math on your LinkedIn account, I was like, I don’t think that adds up. So I wanted to throw, throw that to you to clarify how long you work in work in an emergency. I should mention, we’re going to talk about stress today, because it is a well, it’s a huge part of a lot of our lives. And you’ve certainly been touched by stress. And you’ve been talking a lot on stress a lot lately, or actually over the last couple of years. So I was really excited to have you on the top 10 most stressful jobs like when I was Googling around emergency or some variation of emergency always came up in the top 10.

Ian Foss
So to be frank, I became much more interested in in about a year ago, when I when I actually survived a stress related heart attack. So 49 years old, had a heart attack. And what I found after that was that fear grief, they can cause a cardiac injury, psychosocial stress by itself. So you know, things like depression, stress, they can have a significant impact on your your cardiac health as high blood pressure. I mean, that, to me is tremendous. You know, when I learned that, which was unfortunately, after I’d had heart attack, so a little too late. It to me it was it was an eye opener. So I had some time off, obviously, after that event, and I started reading up on stress. And you know, in the time off that I had, I was able to read a lot was off for six months, and learn about you know what had happened. And to be frank, I was shocked. I’ve worked in emergency management in various roles all my life. And I had no no ability to sort of contextualize this was a possibility for me. People have heart attacks, I get it, I did check my blood pressure. It wasn’t high. I check it regularly. I check it a lot more regularly. Now, I gotta tell you, you know, and that’s an important piece is actually checking things like that. But it’s, you know, maintaining and ensuring your body’s doing okay.

Russel Lolacher
I want to stop you there because I want to talk first about, well, first this event, the event of the heart attack? Was this feeling like it was out of left field? Or was this like, oh, there are some red flags I just didn’t pay attention to for yourself.

Ian Foss
I’d say both. But I can I can contextualize that as well. So you know, for me, the heart attack itself did it felt like it came out of left field, I did learn some lessons and in an emergency management try and learn lessons out of everything. For me, it was not pushing through exhaustion. So for me, I was actually quite tired. And you know, I was there was a lot of things going on. I was working very long hours. And you know, my heart attack occurred on a weekend when I was doing yard work, which is something I do to de stress just because you’re you know, on the weekend or workday, it doesn’t really matter if you’re if you’re suffering stress during the week, it’s compounded. You know, it doesn’t you’re not recovering on the weekend. What I was finding was I was so tired. I was making myself so tired by you know, basically non stop work on the weekend. I wasn’t capable much, you know, I’d sit on the sit on the couch and vegetate and my wife was picking up on these things. I certainly wasn’t, you know, I was getting my exercise but gardening, which not enough, you know, so for me it was it was a slow decline. But I absolutely noticed that as I got more stressed and more tired, it just compounded on itself. It got worse, not better. You know, I lost the ability to read, you know, something I do in the mornings, I was so tired, I couldn’t really read, I was reading for work. That’s where I was spending my time reading. So I lost that thing that I do for pleasure. For me, it was too little too late. I’d actually taken a couple weeks off, I’d come back to work. I was there for two weeks before I had a heart attack. And I can say that I went from completely exhausted to just tired. So you know, when you take those opportunities to come back, you make sure make sure you take enough time, I could have taken as much time as I required. I took two weeks I went back and a classic burnout move. I went back because I wanted to make sure everybody was okay. And things were moving forward.

Russel Lolacher
I wanted to do this show because stress is something everybody has in every workplace differing degrees. And sure emergency is absolutely at the pinnacle of the top 10 stress jobs. But I just wanted to sort of go to the extreme, but sort of highlight to a lot of people that this is something that could happen to anybody in a stressful job because we put a lot of stress on ourselves regardless of the actual job itself. I know some jobs for people that are not as or I wouldn’t see as stressful but be due to anxiety due to the stories we tell ourselves. They make it that much more stressful on themselves. So I’m curious, what was the story you were telling yourself when you’re seeing These sort of red flags, and oh, you know, I’m fine. No, but just, you know, I just got to sleep a little bit more, I just got to exercise a little bit more like, what was the story you were telling yourself that got you to ignore it?

Ian Foss
Yeah, you know, it’s, it is just that right? I was looking around at everybody else that I was working with. And, you know, they were all working long hours to, you know, it’s hard to sort of separate yourself, if if, you know, if you’re, if you see your boss working longer hours than you are, or if your staff is working longer hours, and you feel bad, you’ve captured something important there. And it’s, if you have the ability to control something, yeah, be happy, sad about it, you can control your reaction to that. But if it’s outside of that, it’s crazy making to try and grab on to that and say, hey, it’s gonna make me happy or sad. Again, it’s a recipe for crazy making or like, for me, stress is where I wanted to find this crazy meeting.

Russel Lolacher
And I’m glad you said it that way. Because I want to define stress. I’m going to the Google here. And it’s basically saying it is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. He He’s obviously under a lot of stress. How would you define stress from your experience?

Ian Foss
Well, it’s just I think that’s a great definition. And you know, I’d maybe add to that a little bit, and it’s what you take on. So it’s the pressure shirt. But you know, in our jobs, and lots of them are high pressure, it’s what parts of that you take on. And for me, unfortunately, like I bought in that I needed to take on more than I should have. And, you know, I suffered to that. I’d like to say I’m reformed, and I’ve learned but I’m back at work now. And I’m struggling with the same thing. I feel myself getting pulled into things, even though I know better. I know that if you have a strong emotional reaction, you actually double your risk of heart attack for two hours. So I know that if I have a strong emotional reaction, I’m risking a heart attack. And I know that and I still catch myself going into a strong emotional reaction. I also know that type A personalities have seven times greater risk of plaque occurring in your heart, your arteries, so seven times the risk. So it’s just understanding those pieces and figuring out a way ways to mitigate them. For me, you know, I don’t work more than seven hours a day anymore. I spent a lot of time outside, I make sure I have a lunch block that gets me outside every day.

Russel Lolacher
The thing is, a lot of people don’t maybe connect the dots here is that? Well, there is that whole work life balance, bullshit idea that that is separated, where it’s not. I know for myself, I’ve had some hugely stressful impacts from work, sure, but also from personal relationships. And that stress has absolutely impacted me to the point of physical pain and physical impacts. And that impacts my work. I’m also curious about how you see it affect in the moment versus over time.

Ian Foss
That’s that pain you feel in your chest, like, you know, you mentioned relationships and other things like that. The pain you actually feel in your chest. That is that is a physical manifestation of stress what you’re feeling so that’s Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, what that is, is it’s a buildup of adrenaline, your heart actually changes its shape. And it hurts. That’s what you feel when you feel… like it’s a broken heart syndrome, is the other name for it. But so that’s like a physical manifestation of something that you like. So there, you can feel stress. Stress becomes a bigger issue when it goes like it when it’s unending. So you know, we talked about our jobs. For me 2017, we had an emergency manager, we had large activation for, you know, big, long flood, and then a big long fire. I was activated, activated. So I was working for, I don’t know, about 90 days in a different role than my normal role. So fairly high stress, I ended up in something called adrenal fatigue. So I basically I had so much cortisol, which is the stress hormone flowing, that I burned out, I stopped sleeping, it affected me in all all manners of my life. And to be frank, I don’t really think I came back from that. Because, you know, we went into another season, the next year and another season and we really didn’t give ourselves a break. Or at least I didn’t, I didn’t give myself a break until after I had a heart attack. So it took for me it took a huge, very in your face, like you need to take a pause. And that’s what strikes me about this. I’ve been a first responder for many, many years, I’ve treated people having heart attacks, I didn’t think I’d be the one having one ever. You know, I did monitor my blood pressure. It wasn’t high. I had definitely changed my eating habits. I started eating crap sitting at my desk more and spending more time working so you know, I pick up my cup of coffee or I eat crappy food and you know that’s not a good recipe sitting for longer eating crappy food, not exercising. Well you know eventually that caught up and and on top of that it’s the stress hormones things like cortisol building up in your system over time and you know, then you stop sleeping properly. And when you stop sleeping properly, you stop getting rest and you know, I probably wasn’t drinking enough water. You know, I can tell you after work I sit down and enjoy a bourbon does to calm my nerves. That idea I now enjoy water.

Russel Lolacher
I just want to really bring home the fact that anybody that’s listening to this going, Well, my job’s not that stressful, I don’t work in emergency, it can’t impact me because I, you know, the stress doesn’t get to that level. That’s why I was really curious of even low level stress or medium level stress over time, can absolutely have those health impacts that you’re talking about?

Ian Foss
Oh, yeah, no, it’s, it doesn’t have to be, you know, it doesn’t have to be dealing with a monstrous emergency that, you know, the provincial scale, you know, to be frank, if you’re, you know, losing your parking spot, for some people can be stressful enough, or being forced to go back into the office or return to work. You know, during a pandemic, I can see how that would be stressful for people. You know, there’s, there’s a multitude of different things that can cause people stress. And you know, it might be something so simple as you didn’t get to walk your dog this morning, and you feel guilty for it, that’s gonna cause you stress today. And the longer things go on, the longer it’s compounded, if you haven’t dealt with stress that builds up, you know, it’s not something that you know, you bottle this up, it doesn’t get better, you know, it sort of, it ferments for lack of a better term, and eventually, the top pops off, you know, after the pressures built up, and something’s going to happen, it’s going to come out one way or the other. Stress and anxiety. They’re strong precursors for things like cancers as well. So for us, we need to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves and others. And that’s where, you know, spending time making sure you’re like, like I say, I talk to people all the time about standing up drinking water going outside, there’s some scientific evidence about spending time amongst the amongst the big trees, but it actually helps you with the energy levels, just going for a walk standing sitting in the big trees, that helps it you know, it’s kind of funny what these, these are small things, they’re not life changing, they are life changing, but they’re small things that, you know, that don’t seem like much they do make a big difference. You know, what I’ve seen in the last couple of years, one of the things that’s increased the stress factor amongst many people, I think, is the normalization of an emergency. So with with COVID, we’ve seen the 24/7 emergency for many different organizations, people responding to something that’s that’s different, right? This is a pandemic, we haven’t we haven’t seen something like this, in this in this way, since the early 1900s. And it’s very different. But what’s happened is the emergencies become 24/7. It just doesn’t end. You know, by definition, is that still in emergency? Like it, you know, or is that the new normal? Good question, right? I don’t know. But should we have an emergency stance to something like this for this long, it’s hard to keep an emergency stance, it’s hard on people, because you need a lot of people doing a lot of things to maintain that.

Russel Lolacher
How can say, for example, someone that’s barely hanging on, because their boss asked for that file with little to no direction and unrealistic timelines? So they’re freaking out? How does that impact the people around them? That that impacts a culture because if you’re normalizing stress, and you sort of mentioned this, if you normalize stress, then it’s a matter of you’re not working, you’re surviving. You’re just trying to get through the day and everybody around you that’s not a cohesive, healthy environment to work in. That’s survivor. That’s your you’re barely hanging on. So how have you seen that in a workplace? Like, I just, I know, stress is such a big factor to it, and they can hurt it so badly.

Ian Foss
It’s funny you say it like that and mentioned like that, because it’s I do, I do see stress like that. It’s it’s contagious, for lack of a better term. You know, when somebody is suffering something, those around them are going to start feeling that they’re, you know, they’re going to be not dragged in is the wrong word. But you’re, you know, if someone is stressed because they, you know, been saddled with something unrealistic. Usually, that’s fairly obvious. And because everybody right now is stressed, I think, and, you know, you’ve alluded to it a couple times, but that, like, the stress doesn’t matter whether it’s from home, work, play, wherever the stress comes from, it’s still stress, you know, your body’s dealing with it. It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from. And that’s the crazy piece. So if you’re, you know, if you’re having a stressful life at home, and a stressful life at work, that’s a recipe for some trouble for me, when I was suffering, my own issues, like any of my heart attack, and I had tremendous amount of stress at home, my son had been in a near fatal car accident, my father had passed away. You know, in near succession, I’d had a series of things happen and things like that just built up. And I gotta say, during that period, I don’t know I I was in a bit of a fog, I don’t know, I think was operating on all the autopilot, which is a stress response. I can’t imagine I was super effective at work. I mean, I know that I was still at work, and I was getting things done. But I don’t imagine that was at my best knowing what I know. Now I could have taken more time off than I did. I didn’t. That just wasn’t in my my brain brainwaves. It is now I understand completely. Now. I should have taken time off then. Kind of funny, because retrospectively 2020 You can look back and say, Hey, and you can shoot on yourself. And it’s like, I should have done something back then. It does make sense to me. But I also understand there’s no way I would have done that. For me. At that point. I was like, Nope, I’m an emergency manager. I’ve got this. This is just one more thing and I can tell you, I’ve learned a valuable lesson sometimes that one more thing is too much.

Russel Lolacher
But if I take time off, even then I have so many more emails to get back to you, then my job won’t get done. And then my team will be impacted with all that extra work. Like the unbelievable excuses, we throw it ourselves to stop ourselves from self caring. And then as you are a physical representation, it can hit you later. So what are the misconceptions about stress?

Ian Foss
Well, that it sorts itself out, you know, if you’re stressed out, it doesn’t just go away, like you don’t just wait for a little while, and all of a sudden, things are better. No. To be frank with stress, you need to actively deal with it. So that’s getting up going for a walk, drinking some water going out amongst the big trees getting exercise, but it’s, it’s thinking about these processes as well. It’s setting yourself up for success. So knowing that, hey, something has happened, there’s, you know, I’ve been triggered, what do I need to do, and I got to tell you, that’s not an easy process. It’s, it wasn’t easy for me, you know, I don’t think it’s going to be easy for anyone. And like, it’s still hard for me, I’m back at work now fully, it’s hard for me to unplug, after, after the requisite amount of hours that my doctors told me to work. And like I say, it’s, it’s not that, you know, I know that it’s harmful to me, I want to work. It’s, it’s a weird thing your brain does to you. But it’s that stress,

Russel Lolacher
Let’s shift gears a bit into the realm of what you can do about it.

Ian Foss
Like for me, I like I mentioned, I have a block in my lunch. And you can probably see my bike sort of behind me there. And so I, I got rid of the excuse that I used to have not going outside because it was raining to ride. So I now have a bike trainer in my office. For me, I’ve put a calendar block in so I spend an hour a day on my bike, whether it’s outside or inside, and that’s just for me for my my personal I know that I need to do that. But for me, sometimes it takes getting on the bike and getting outside realize and sort of think through it like moving meditation style, like what what’s bugging me. A lot of the time, you know you’re working, there’s lots going on, there’s emails, there’s conversations, you don’t really know something’s, something’s got you, but you don’t really understand what it is. So it takes a little time to think that through. And for me, that’s, you know, I get on my bike. And I think you know what, I encourage everybody to figure out what that thing is for you whether it’s a walk, you know, going outside and just standing by the pond, whatever it is, there’s going to be something that helps you. Maybe it’s some time at lunch with your book, but something that you’re going to do to self relax, self care, it’s not going to be the same for everyone. But I think everyone will find that they have something that will help them.

Russel Lolacher
But the thing is, you need to step away from it, to identify it rather than being in it. It’s a lot harder to identify such things, how often do you is it a daily thing to read to assess those stresses?

Ian Foss
For me, I use reflective journaling. So I journal morning and evening. And I use a stoic journal. So it tries to remind me about those pieces of things that I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t buy into, like, you know, for my emotional health that I shouldn’t, you know, if I have no control over the outcome, I don’t need to buy in. To be frank, that’s taken me some work to get there. And I’m still working on it. But that journal is helping me It reminds me every morning and every evening of something and like that’s, to me those little steps, they all help. And you know, I think I’m doing far better now with stress than I was a year ago. But what I would say is I wouldn’t wish what I’ve gone through to get to that point on anybody. The one piece I haven’t mentioned, I guess here is it’s important to monitor your blood pressure. There wasn’t a lot known about, you know, cardiology, back in the day. So like World War Two, the President of the United States, you know, he died of coronary heart disease. During that period, his blood pressure went, you know, it was sort of astounding, actually, and I forget the range. But at the very end, it was like 240, systolic over about, you know, 180, it’s like, incredibly high. And the reason I mentioned this is my blood pressure had crawled up, I monitored my blood pressure, and it was normal. I didn’t monitor it nearly enough. But I freely admit that now I do monitor it on a nearly daily basis now so that I can see if anything’s crawling up. And what I figured out is if you are under stress, your blood pressure is higher, you can tell you even if you’re not picking it up mentally, like hey, something’s going on, your blood pressure is going to tell you so that’s an incredibly important piece to monitor. I’ve watched it wear an Apple Watch now and it helps me monitor my my pulse rate as well. So I have an alarm on it. If my pulse rate climbs, I want to make sure that I’m aware of that so that I can go and do something to try and calm it down. Whether that’s meditation, getting on my bike, doing something but I you know, for me, it’s it’s catching those things. And for me it was you know, it’s catching it before I get to a place where I’m going to be at risk of a heart attack. I don’t want to have a strong emotional reaction, anything. I know the risks of that now. And I’m actively working to control it.

Russel Lolacher
We’ve talked a lot about what you can do to take care of yourself, where the hell is the role of the organization in this? What are things they can do to help their employees manage their stress?

Ian Foss
Where I currently work is emergency operation centers open on a regular basis. And then what they’ve done in the last couple of years is they have a clinical counselor available 24/7. So I can call or text or email and get an appointment with a clinical counselor and meet anytime I want. And if there’s an expectation of performing at a high stress position, I think that’s what’s necessary. And you know, I give my employer incredible props for that. I use that that clinical counselor after my heart attack, I’ve spoken to them every week, for almost a year. And, you know, I, you know, I truly believe that, that they had a great part in me coming back, you know, I wouldn’t have been able to come back without that level of support. And that’s due to the emergency, nothing else, that’s not a normal level of support regularly, we would have had, you know, in government, we get five meetings in any given year with a clinical counselor, that’s what’s covered, I needed far more than five, I gotta tell you, it’s a Mind Bender, to know that, like, the level of care that I received was different. Because there was emergency going on, I feel very, very lucky. Frankly, it saved my life. In the end, and that’s the kind of thing like, that’s not a small step, that is a level of care, that I haven’t seen before. And I mean, to me that it’s heartwarming, and it really does help me, it makes me feel cared about because there’s someone there. But having someone to talk about, it doesn’t have to be someone permanent. If you have something going on bring someone in the it’s the it’s getting help in the immediate period, after you’ve, you know, suffered something. So whether it’s, you know, an immediate event or a long term event, but when people are suffering, if you can bring in someone to help care for them, as your as the employer. That to me is what is really required. And this is outside of like there’s there’s nothing that required my employer to do this, it’s outside of the bounds of norm, it is different. That’s the outside of the box thinking though, that I think we need,

Russel Lolacher
but you’re talking about it from a Well, shit hit the fan, we got to do something, I’m talking what organizations need to do operationally. So I would almost think that just acknowledging it would be a nice first step for a lot of organizations to understand that stress is an issue that their staff go through. And that the benefits of being okay with people taking stress leave, being okay with somebody taking a mental health day, like allowing for that space, to manage your stress, I think would be a really nice will help just even a first step for a lot of organizations. I want to get to the point where organizations understand it. So you don’t need a clinical Holy shit, that person is going to have a heart attack level, you know, more of the what can we prevent that from ever happening ahead of time?

Ian Foss
There. I haven’t seen a lot of great examples. But you know, but I would like to see up front is wellness, organizational wellness up front in or like that that should be one of the first things that groups or organizations are doing when they start up, is figuring out how they’re going to take care of their stuff. You know, you point out… Yeah, I bring it up, because it’s an emergency. And that that to me was when when I needed it. I know that there’s people that need this on a regular basis. And that that’s the piece that I think you’re right, we’re missing? And how do we support it? Well, that’s promoting wellness within within organizations, and it doesn’t have to look the same. I think if we have a wellness, we’re to create these wellness committees, you know, larger organizations where it’s an issue, create a position director of wellness, put somebody in charge of and make them personally responsible for their wellness, their organization, I think you would have a very different outlook if you had someone that was actually looking at that. Because I don’t think right now, that’s something that’s that a lot of organizations look internally and say, Hey, how are we doing? How are people doing mentally? You know, with it with COVID? That might be one of the outcomes that we might start looking at that, but I’m not sure. I do think that that is something we need to be looking at. And, you know, it’s a great point that like, the one that I picked, of course, was the emergency and that that’s because of what I do.

Russel Lolacher
Of course, of course, my only biggest worry is that organizations, and I’ve seen this because they’re like, Hey, take massage, or you know, all these, you know, these things that help the symptoms, not the disease. Why are they getting that stressed? Where is the root of the problem versus well, you get a discount at the gym. Now, what is the root of the problem? Some jobs are stressful, just by definition, but they still could be reviewed from time to time going, Are we doing the right things? Are we doing the right things when we should be doing the right things? Are we listening to our staff? Are we aware of all the stress triggers? Maybe they’re not because they haven’t checked in with their staff because they’re too damn busy as leaders. So yeah, I think from an organization standpoint, I’d like to see more disease focused and symptoms focused. So I gotcha near the end of our chat, Ian, you definitely touched on a lot of things people can do. And I just want to sort of wrap it up with a bit of a summary of tangible things people can do. So I’ve got a couple questions. What are three things we all can look for and how stress might be affecting us.

Ian Foss
Getting your blood pressure is a great, great indicator of how stress is affecting you. You know, and that’s, that’s something you can easily check. It’s very tangible. For me, I just keep a little note on my phone and just write it down so that I keep keep track of it. You can even do it at the pharmacy, you know, the place you stick your arm in, you press the button that tells you just having an idea of what that is, is, is something that, you know, I guess I, as a First Aider and first responder, he’s checking mine on a regular basis, but not as often as I do know, it’s critical that you check that, you know, for me, the other piece is paying attention to how often I go outside. So you know, I work from home now. And it’s easy, you know, I have a calendar alert, go outside, when I’m back in the office, is that going to be as easy, I’m not sure. But again, I’m going to use a calendar alarm to tell me to go outside so that I continue to do it. Because for me, I know that it’s pretty easy to slip into the old habit of just just work, you know, grab your lunch, sit at your desk and continue working so that you get it done. We only have so many hours. So I mean, those are the other things. I guess the third thing, and it’s super simple, is drink water. You know, I try not to drink my calories. Now. You know, I do drink coffee. And I fully admit that, you know, that’s Rhino fuel. For me, it keeps me going. There’s watery coffee, so I take that. But to the rest of the day I stick with water. It’s pretty simple for me, you know, big 20 ounce glass of water, I try and drink four or five of them in any given day. Simple, easy steps.

THE FINAL TWO

Russel Lolacher
So I’m going to wrap up every episode with two questions that I’m going to ask as our final two. So the first one I’m going to ask is, what’s the best or worst employee experience you’ve ever had.

Ian Foss
I was an employee, and the ski hill will remain nameless, as a ski patroller way back when. And they ordered uniforms for their entire staff one piece uniforms, and they didn’t measure anybody. So mine arrived and it didn’t fit. I still got to wear it for the season, though. And the supervisor basically at the end of the year, tried to humiliate me because my uniform didn’t fit the one that he had ordered me. And he had announced the size could certainly set me on a different path. You know, I didn’t want to continue in that path for the rest of my life. But it certainly taught me a lot about how to treat staff.

Russel Lolacher
How long ago was that?

Ian Foss
Oh, that was about? I was 18 years old. So when both 30 years,

Russel Lolacher
…and you’re still thinking about it. It just shows you the impact over the years that people don’t realize bad leaders can have on their staff on how what to do right, and certainly what to do wrong. So my next last question is what’s one simple action people can do right now to improve their relationships at work?

Ian Foss
Hmm. You know, pick up the phone, talk to people, you know, right now, it’s a great time, we’re all fairly isolated at the end of COVID. You know, for the most part, we’re away from the office, pick up the phone, you know, I’ve been reaching out to friends and grabbing a coffee or a walk in the park or whatever we can in the last little while and it’s been great. You know, it’s not the return to normal fully, but it’s spending time one on one, you know, we’ve been isolated for a while it’s time to change that.

Russel Lolacher
That’s awesome. Thanks. And that’s the podcast, man. Thanks for your time.

Ian Foss
Absolutely happy to be on it.

 

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