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  • Writer's pictureAndy Goram

How To Be A Kind Leader

Employee engagement, employee experience and employee wellbeing are becoming topics you increasingly hear leaders talk about more often, today. Obviously, some of this focus has been driven by the COVID-19 Pandemic and changing workplace. But one thing that has struck me recently, is that in all this focus on being kinder to the employee, and the announcement of new policies that accompanies this chatter, the number of times the leader has almost set themselves apart, or placed themselves adjacent to these kinder, people-focused policies. Somehow, and in many cases their actions are coming from a good place, they will say things like "I don't expect my employees to do the same as I do" when they are being interviewed about taking holidays now being mandatory. In this pseudo-altruism, they are forgetting the simple rule that behaviour breeds behaviour. If you say you must take your holidays, but don't do it yourself, you're sending the message that this isn't that important, no matter how good your intentions are. If you want to be a kind leader, it starts with you being kind to yourself.

In episode 31 of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast, you host, Andy Goram from Bizjuicer, talks to Jen Hope, and executive coach who talks extensively about how to be kind to yourself. You can read the full transcript of the episode below, or listen here.

A blonde-haired lady with glasses and a grey-haired man with glasses chatting about leadership kindness and employee engagement
Jen Hope (left) and Andy Goram (right) chat about the importance of being kind to yourself as a leader

00:00:10 Andy Goram

Hello, and welcome to sticky from the inside. The Employee Engagement podcast that looks at how to build stickier competition, smashing consistently successful organisations from the inside out. I'm your host Andy Goram and I'm on a mission to help more businesses turn their lights on behind the eyes of their employees, light the fires within them and create tons more success for everyone.

This podcast is for all those who believe that's something worth going after and would like a little help and guidance in achieving that. Each episode we dive into the topics that can help create what I call stickier businesses, the sort of businesses where people thrive and love to work and where more customers stay with you and recommend you to others because they love what you do and why you do it.

So, if you want to take the tricky out of being sticky, listen on.

00:01:10 Andy Goram

You know when you've made a decision to buy a new car and from that moment on, you start seeing that car everywhere you go? Well, the topic of today's episode feels a bit like that to me right now. It doesn't matter whether I'm listening to the radio or watching TV, or reading a news feed, I keep seeing the topic of leadership kindness, popping up everywhere. I keep seeing, hearing, and reading leaders saying that kindness at work, employee wellbeing and working conditions are all important things, and that's great. I'm all for that message. It's genuinely fab to hear these CEO's and leaders talking about stuff like no email weekends, forced breaks and holidays to enable mental health, reduced travel hours and all that jazz. I love it. Genuinely, I really do.

But Andy, the topics aren't necessarily new, I hear you say. And you're right, but it's the interview questions and answers that are the standout thing for me. I keep hearing interviewers ask these leaders, “So are you not doing work emails on the weekend then?” “Did you take all your holiday entitlement last year?” And whilst they’d given slick, polished, rehearsed answers to the announcement of their new policies, they've often floundered with these seemingly simple questions, answering, “Well, it's different for me. I don't expect my people to work like me.” And stuff like that. Which is where I have the problem. Firstly, burnout isn't only applicable to the masses. It affects leaders too. And then whether you like it or not, the behaviour of that leader influences others to do the same. So, if you're saying don't email on the weekend, but you're doing it yourself, don't be surprised if people end up doing email on the weekend, then find they can't separate work from home. They get stressed, they burnout, they fall over, and they leave. And yes, I'm being deliberately dramatic to make a point.

Look, as a leader most things start with you. That includes those wellbeing, balance and mental health things too. So why is it different for leaders? Is it different for leaders? And why do some leaders find it hard to be kind to themselves? And at the end of the day, what can they do to change?

My guest today is Jen Hope, who's going to help us look at some of these questions. Jen is a business and executive leadership coach with over 20 years executive experience. She knows what it's like to be a leader who's responsible for scaling up and looking after the employees in her care. But she also understands the need for kindness in business and that it really does start with the leader.

Now, I can't wait to hear her views and advice on this stuff, so enough from me. Welcome to the show Jen. How are you doing?

00:04:16 Jen Hope

Hey, I'm great Andy. Thank you. How are you?

00:04:18 Andy Goram

I'm OK mate. I'm really excited to hear your views on this topic because as I just sort of said, I keep hearing this stuff is really important, but then I keep hearing leaders seem to make the same sort of comments that say, “Yeah, it's really important for my people, but don't include me in that,” which, which I think is a bit strange. So I'm looking forward to dig into that.

But look, it'll be lovely just to get a bit of a heads up from you as to who you are and what you do and what's taking up your time at the moment.

00:04:46 Jen Hope

Yeah, so I am an executive and leadership coach, I’m based out of Seattle, Washington, and I have been working as an executive coach in a full-time capacity for nine years. I started this coaching practice as I was ending a career in marketing. So, I spent the first 15-18 years in my career working in marketing, both in the agency world and then for brands and for scaling start-ups here in the Seattle area. So, I helped grow a couple of high growth start-ups and was there myself as a leader scaling up. Scaling an org, a high growth...You know that hockey stick. Doing that hockey stick thing and trying to figure it all out and managing myself and people as well and taking care of others.

In that I think a lot of what you talked about, standing at my kitchen counter, eating my dinner doing work. You know, that falling over thing and working really late nights. So I think I've been there myself, definitely related to some of the things you talked about.

00:05:50 Andy Goram

Hey, we've both worked in marketing, so we know the kind of eating on the go, dripping stuff over your laptop. You know, there's not enough hours in the day. All that kind of stuff, not just about marketing, but I empathise. I've been... I've definitely been in that place. But I think it's going to be really interesting hearing from you with your, you know, the exec hat on that you've had, and the coach hat on, because there's lots of people who sort of say stuff, but I like to listen to people who've been there, done it, and now can kind of give advice. I think that comes with a bit more credence, for me. So, right. Where do we start? Let's start right at the beginning. This kindness thing at work is not new, and do you, well, firstly why is it important, Jen this kindness thing? Let's just start right at the base level. Is kindness at work an important thing or a nice to have?

00:06:42 Jen Hope

It's difficult to show that we care, which I do think is critical, if we don't have the capacity for showing kindness as well. That's you know, that's a Jen-Orientation. I don't know. I don't know about others, but if I'm looking through those lenses of, you know, of caring personally, which I do think is a critical element, thank you, Kim Scott. Then we do have to show kindness. And also, you know, if I take it a step further, there's that capacity, so our capacity for kindness-in affects our capacity for kindness-out. So to your point, it does start with us. How kind can we be? How do we find those places for the space, the pause, versus what we tend to do, which is kind of, you know, beat ourselves up.

00:07:37 Andy Goram

And leaders particularly seem to have a bit of an issue with beating themselves up or excluding themselves. In your experience, why do you think that is?

00:07:47 Jen Hope

We’re high achievers at times, right? We find that for some folks, I don't know if you've seen this, but for some folks I think we learn early on about success and we're reinforced in our patterns, that if we work harder or are doers, you know, whatever that means, and so we get kind of caught in this loop. We get caught in this reinforced loop of, if I work harder, if I do more, if I spend more hours, I am the machine and it is all affected by my force, kind of, into the beast.

00:08:20 Andy Goram

Yeah, I mean leader doesn't mean do everything. That's not the definition of leader here, but it's a trap that people often fall into, right? And I think it's... I think it's very interesting, about this kindness thing 'cause even asking you the question, feels awkward, right? If I have to say to you, is kindness important, Jen? I mean I... I feel my flesh creep at even the question, right? Because it just feels daft. I'd almost like to rephrase it.

Why is kindness not important?”

I mean, that's to me a more interesting question. It goes along with the probable comeback that will come from some people, “So, what's the ROI on kindness?” I mean, that sounds even worse, right? So, I think we're probably in a similar space from where you're coming from, where I'm coming from. From what I seem to be hearing these things are important, but we want to focus in today on the struggle it seems that leaders have in including themselves in that stuff.

So, you mean, you've mentioned Kim Scott, today, right?

00:09:18 Jen Hope

Kim Scott, “Radical candour.” Yeah, yeah.

00:09:23 Andy Goram

I love. I love that model. If anyone listening hasn't looked at the whole, Kim Scott, radical candour thing, where have you been? Where have you been? This is a model you need to understand. This is a model that talks about caring personally and challenging directly, right? I mean, it's a wonderful simple two by two, thing, but I guess under the skin of this is, you've mentioned it already, getting comfy with yourself, right? So, if we take some lessons from Kim Scott, Jen, in your perspective, where do we start with this, getting comfy with yourself, and what lead does Kim give us?

00:10:02 Jen Hope

I think one of the things that she does so well is she sets that the non-negotiables, those places where, you know... she tells a great story about finding for herself, what those non-negotiables are. And for some of us, this is really it's an exercise in noting over time where do we find those things that build that foundation, right? Help us build the pillar that is us, and support us. So, you know, she gives some of her non-negotiables being, eating breakfast and dinner with her family, spending four weekends away a year with her husband, and then a large family trip with like more extended family. And I love this. And she also tells another great story about a CEO in times of stress, who will go to the gym twice a day, right? Because this is what is needed for to like stand up this pillar, that is a leader. And, you know, I relate so much with all of those things, right? Like I, think I’ll have all of those. I'm like, yes yes yes. Those all those all work great for me. I mean I would add to it some of those others, like, you know, mindfulness, right? Like those, are those some of the tools that, you know, I need 10 minutes. My family knows this. I need 10 minutes of quiet in the morning, headphones in. 'Cause that is what stands up the pillar. That is me for the day. And I think that's one of those great places knowing what those things are. Knowing for us, those necessities that help us really, if we're going to care personally, like it's starting kind of pointing at ourselves.

00:11:33 Andy Goram

So that first piece, of having your non-negotiables as you call them, what overtime has that done for you, Jen? And you talked about it's setting up the pillar for the day, but on a long-term basis, what's the effect of understanding those things?

00:11:50 Jen Hope

I mean, we talked about that pause for a second, but I do think that pause. The pause, and I mean the pause between thought and reaction, right? And even like, thought... take a breath... and then act, that has really, really, I mean that's changed my professional life, my personal life. Having that space between, “This is a thought. I can now name it as a thought, and then do the next thing”, that has been remarkable what that’s done for my life. And it sounds silly, but there is this moment where we get to have some intentionality. There's a moment where we get to even think the next thought, which might be then judgement about what our thought was. And I have found being able to name some of those things, name a thought, name that next thought, name the emotion that goes along with it, that process has been so helpful in my relationships. It's been so helpful in any... you know, validating myself to say like, “Oh hey! I noticed that I was having this thought. It was cranky. It was you know, judgmental. It was an emotion or a need that I, you know, noticed for myself.” Understanding that has been, not to overstate but pretty game-changing.

00:13:14 Andy Goram

I think it's so interesting and these things all about timings is fascinating for me, because I'm personally doing a little bit more training on getting some qualifications for a personality profiling trait tool called Lumina Learning (Lumina Spark). It's really, really good. It’s based on the Big 5 and a bit of Jungian stuff. It's fantastic. But there's a piece at the the set-up of all this stuff, which I think was a Viktor Frankel quote, which is so in line with what you just sort of said. And I will absolutely ruin this quote, so no one quote me on it. But it's something like, “That pause between stimulus and reaction is kind of where we find ourselves” right? So, where your natural preferences, traits.. and the thing you've just sort of described there, and I realise I've probably really butchered that quote, but it is that gap in the middle. That giving you an opportunity to make sense of the stimulus, and choose a reaction, you know, choose to behave in a certain way.

(Actual quote: "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." Viktor E. Frankl)

And I guess what I take out of what you're saying is, the more you understand yourself, the more you understand how you might react, the more you can take the right appropriate action going forward. And understanding that greater sense of self is what I would call bedrock, right, of any kind of leadership approach. Having a good understanding of yourself. But training yourself to be comfortable with that silence is tough, right? I mean when you're coaching people, I mean, do you pick this sort of stuff up yourself? Do you talk to them about embracing the silence? And what sort of reactions do you get? Does everybody kind of embrace it, or do some people like really struggle with it?

00:14:56 Jen Hope

I mean I think the go to is the struggle. This is the opposite of what we're taught, in a lot of ways, right?Like I don't know about you. I don't know about you, or know the system how you grew up, but I know for the system where I grew up, we were in “Go mode”, right? Like you, start the day, you get the kids, you do the lunch, you know... Whatever it is that we do. We kind of... you know, especially now you pick up your phone. I mean it's go mode from the moment our eyes are awake. And so yeah, maybe it's really counter. And then when we do sit down, if this is not something that we've practised, those early things that we start to see and feel and experience, if we’ve not experienced it, like we need to like really, really, really.... what's...? Titrate our exposure, right? Because it is, it is not easy. Like, I think one of the most annoying things about working with my wonderful therapist, is her telling me about sitting with my emotions, right? Like, to like sit, and experience, and experience the body, right. Like and what do we notice? Like it is that life lesson, life work. For me personally, life work, right? Like to sit and to be, and so we do start small. And we can even start with things like, you know, moving meditation. Things like yoga or walking, like mindfulness. But if we do have a very, very busy mind, which we do, unless we've trained it, it can be, I mean downright painful, right, to experience some of these things that we've not spent time with yet.

00:16:33 Andy Goram

And so, when you're starting that first conversation with, I don't know a new exec coachee, how do you start that conversation? Because if they're coming to you, yeah they reckon they’re in a good place, right, 'cause they recognise they need some help, right? So, they're clearly at a point where, “OK, I need to take a bit of better care of myself” but won't necessarily be comfortable with some of the things that you're going to get them to do, eventually. So how do you start that consultation? What's the sort of, first sort of conversations that you go through?

00:17:06 Jen Hope

Yeah, I mean one of the things that we'll do, we'll practise, like, in session. So, I can guide a very brief mindfulness exercise where we just do a little bit of breathing. And even if it's only in, you know, a moment-or-two-a-week, or every couple of weeks, then we're practising, right? We're just spending that time there. And even for some folks not being alone in it, you know, with their permission if we can go there, and I ask folks to make a little bit of space for that in our sessions just to practise a little bit of breathing right? Even not doing it alone, you know, can take some of the judgement away if we're there with another person. If we're there with someone who, maybe, hopefully they're starting to trust, if we're working together and we can build that trust over time and we can make it a little bit less stressful. Even there being less judgement if you're doing it with another person. This you know, this person, me. gets to, you know, be so silly and close my eyes and guide us through, maybe we can find a little bit of space to find that space. And for others, there's let's just take a brief walk outside and that's our mindfulness exercise. Some folks, it's writing, right? I mean, if we want to explore things like, you know, what's happening in our mind, we can journal in a more mindful way. Asking ourselves some provoking questions, those types of things. Where this person is comfortable, that's where I'm going to go. It's definitely not like a one size fits all approach.

00:18:37 Andy Goram

And do you think this training... Do you see it act as some kind of trigger to understand this, being kind to yourself? Does going through this process then really manifest itself in this... the leader going, “OK. I now recognise that I do need to be kind to myself. There is a benefit to it?” And we can get into other behaviour stuff later on, but I mean, does it act as a real trigger for people, or is it, I don't know... I guess I'm trying to find out if whether people really get it quite quickly, or is there a big old journey to kind of go through?

00:19:17 Jen Hope

Yeah, so it's not immediate, if I'm totally honest, right. I think what I find in a six-month period of working with someone, we'll talk about it enough. We'll use words like judgement. We’ll use words like kindness. We’ll use tools.. Kind of like I'll throw flag, you know, in a coaching session, or I'll say, like, “Hey do we notice the judgement in that? Do we notice, you know, even some of the narrative”, right? Like if I hear some of the same stories or the same themes, I can kind of hold up that gentle mirror that says, like “What do we notice?” And you know and ask the questions. Let's say or you know, “Name it if it's in the room” at times saying. “Like I hear some harshness, can we even just give that a voice?” 'Cause we only hear what's in our own head, so we don't even know... we don't know to others does it sound unkind? We may never say it to another person, the way we think it about ourselves, but without someone else really in the process with us there to kind of face the flag and say, “Hey, what do you notice about that thought?” Or “What do you hear when I read this back to you?” Then I think we can start to insert “OK we've got awareness now. We talked about the pause.” Then maybe on the other side we can get to behaviour change, or even just an awareness that maybe then we get to start to insert something new on the other side of that pause.

00:20:43 Andy Goram

That's really interesting as well about, if I understand you correctly, listening to what you're saying to yourself and saying, if you said that to somebody else, would that be kind or would that be cruel? I mean, that's a really interesting reframing thing, right? Because there must be stuff that we do to ourselves, that we just brush it off, right? That's fine. I can do that. But if you voice it and say it out loud and said, right, you were going to say that to a colleague, a friend, whoever; Oh my God! That would be awful. I mean, do you see that happen in your sessions?

00:21:17 Jen Hope

I mean, I see it happen in my own head every day, of course I see it happen in my own sessions, right? We would never.... you're driving your car and you're like, “Oh! Blah! Blah!” You know, you do something silly and then you've got all of this judgement about it, right? Or I don't know, if that's true for others, but it's definitely true for me. I do some really, silly arse stuff and I'm sure that I've got, you know, loops about it. But, and I definitely see it in working with others, right. We would have so much compassion for a friend in our position. And I challenge folks to imagine themselves sitting on their front step or sitting on the couch next to their best friend, that person who would be the most empathetic, whoever that might be, and tell them what they need to hear and imagine that's how the conversation went instead, right?

I imagine, you know, how we would tell it to like a tiny kid. A 3-year-old, a four-year-old, a 5-year-old. You know that young kid, we would call it a mistake. We would call it, you know, not a big deal, right? We would give ourselves the space to say, like, “Hey, we're resilient.” Pick ourselves back up and we can move forward. But as adults, we don't have that, right? It turns into something much bigger and reinforces whatever kind of negative loop we've got playing at the time.

00:22:32 Andy Goram

So, it is, I think, I'm coming back to this question about, is kindness really important? Yes. Is kindness for leaders really important? Absolutely. I'm a massive believer of, you know when you sit in the aircraft and they go through the whole drill, and if an oxygen mask comes down from the ceiling, please make sure you put your own mask on, before you go and try and do your kids. You know, you can't save your kid if you're not breathing, right? So, I guess to extend the metaphor back into business, what we're really talking about here is getting leaders in a position where they feel in a good, safe space themselves, that they recognise the need for the pause, for time out. For time for themselves. For that important list of non-negotiables, so that they can balance everything out. Just because they may well be that go-get-em and do everything kind of leader they want to be, you know that doesn't last forever, right? You need to temper it with some of this stuff and your approach sounds wonderful and gentle and very supportive. But I don't know. I hear some stories about a far more extreme kind of kind of approach. Are you aware of any of these other methods that people have about being like, really mega kind to themselves? Because, I don't know, that feels a little awkward to me.

00:23:54 Jen Hope

Yeah, I mean I do, definitely. And I there's a couple of things. One I will personally... only today as we are chatting, I'm in the middle of a high-five challenge, of high-fiving myself in the mirror. I don't know how radical that seems to you Andy? I can imagine you might be slightly cringey on the other side?

00:24:15 Andy Goram

Oh! Come on! I'm British! I'm bristling with hives at this point going, “What! What’s that stuff?”

00:24:23 Jen Hope

I love it. I love it. So, I'm listening to a book right now by a woman named Mel Robbins. And Mel Robbins is a Coach, and she wrote a book called “The High Five Habit” and also there were a couple of other books on some things about the five 5 second rule and things like that. And it's about high-fiving yourself in the morning. So, you know, you get out of bed and while you brush your teeth, or while you know, do whatever you do in the mirror, you give yourself a High Five. And she's got lots of science behind it, about why it works and why it's even more powerful than, you know, mantras and some other things, which I can even imagine if I told you... if we start talking about mantras, I think we might... you might just shut your computer off.

00:25:04 Andy Goram

Hey, it's a good job this is an audio podcast, 'cause people would just look at my face and go “What? He looks scared.” Yep, I’m visibly, visibly shaking right now, Jen. So, look, that’s just me. This other stuff, this works for people. How's the high five thing going with you? Is it working?

00:25:21 Jen Hope

I kinda love it. I kind of love it. Well, I really do.

00:25:23 Andy Goram

That's great!

00:25:25 Jen Hope

You know, I had a coach who at one point told me a story about how she wakes up in the morning, throws her arms around herself and says, “Good morning honey! I love you so much. I hope you have a wonderful day.” For those of you right now, Andy is actually holding his head. It's painful. This thought is paining him right now.

00:25:46 Andy Goram

Ah no! That's the most awkward thing I can think of, personally.

00:25:51 Jen Hope

Right, I mean, agreed. And you know, if this is what we needed as a kid, that we maybe didn't get and this is really where we want to push ourselves, there's power in it, right? There's power in giving ourselves what we need. And doing the nurturing that you know, makes us our best selves. So, for me currently, it’s High 5. The high five is as far as I'm going these days, but I don't know? Maybe someday we’ll work up to the big old squeeze.

00:26:22 Andy Goram

Hey, I'm gonna have a go at the high five. I'm not going near the hug, right now. That's too advanced for me. It's far too advanced. But look, I think it takes all sorts, right? I think, and this is the thing you've got to find the thing that works for you. None of your clients are going to like doing the same thing, are they? You're going to show them a whole bunch of different things, and they're going to choose what's right? Same as everywhere else, and I think that makes sense.

I've stopped shaking now from the hug thing, so I feel comfortable enough to kind of move on. And thank you for that. So, let's come back to the whole leadership stuff. Yes, they’ve got to understand themselves. But do we need more from leaders, do you think, to sort of spread the message a bit more about the kindest thing. So it becomes, you know, a bit more deep-rooted, rather than a veneer of no email at the weekend, type-stuff. What do we think we need, Jen?

00:27:20 Jen Hope

Well, there is practising, you know, I think you're pointing to some of this. Which is really doing it, right, and showing it. I think one of things that, you know, in mentioning time off and time away, right? It is this word and I don't know... I hope this word is OK for you, boundaries.

00:27:41 Andy Goram


00:27:43 Jen Hope

'Cause there's a practise here too, right? So, you know we've talked, we started today talking about and practising some of these best practises. There is a layer in the work that I do of accountability for that, that says, we are going to... Yeah, we would tell our folks to please not work the weekends, or please X or Y right? And then we go ahead and do the same. And so there really is that practise to root this into place, where folks see this and say, “Is this truly in our culture? Is this a part of the organisation that we're building?” So, I think that really shows up here.

00:28:17 Andy Goram

Well, I'd so agree with that. I mean, you know from my side of the coin, on the sort of engagement and cultural pieces that I work on, it's always about, and this is a horrible term, but it's always about role modelling that behaviour. Now the example I gave in the intro, right, about don't do email on the weekends, and then your boss is doing email on the weekends. Now, whether his intention, her intention is for you to answer that email at the weekend, it doesn't matter. Because you're going to see it somehow 'cause you can't help yourself. You have a look, and it's there. And the old muscle memory comes back in that, “Well, you know, if Andy is sending an email, he says he doesn't want a response, but he wants a response.” And if that leader doesn't change that behaviour, he's never going to change the behaviour in that business. It's absolutely about showing things are important and that they matter, and as itchy as it might make me to hug myself, or all that kind of stuff, right, for a leader, you know, if you're going to do these things, I think the worst thing you could possibly do is make some grandiose announcement and then put yourself to the side of it. Sort of say “Yeah, well that's for everybody else. That's not for me.” And you may mean that from a really genuine, heartfelt place, but it doesn't really matter. Because whatever you do is going to set the tone for everyone else. So, I think you're right, mate. I think showing something’s important is the first step. So, if being... if you really want to avoid burnout and stress and all that sort of stuff from your employees, and you have this idea for whatever that thing may be, then you gotta do it. You gotta show it. You gotta live it. You gotta show that it matters, otherwise it's never going to take in.

I'm also interested to see from your perspective differences in people, recognising that diversity on a whole bunch of things, not just gender, and sex, and all that kind of stuff, but what people need. And what do you see today, from that whole diversity perspective in making this stuff work?

00:30:23 Jen Hope

I mean, I think one of the things that I've discovered in my work, so I use a lot of assessments in the work that I do. I use a DISC four colour model. I think most folks have seen DISC at some point. I really try to work with that through again, the lens of kindness, the lens of compassion, really a tool for connection both to ourselves and to others. And then I use a tool also called Leadership Circle. And Leadership Circle, I think is really interesting in that it helps us understand even further, our reactive tendencies and then creative competencies. And I'm flipping my hands up and down because it's a circle. It's a circle and on the bottom half of the graph, is our reactive tendencies and the top half of the graph is our creative competencies. And one of the things that I think is interesting about it is it helps us understand our relationship and task balance. What's interesting about that, I find, is that based on the individual that I'm working with, and the person in front of me, I can see neurodiversity show up in that. And in neurodiversity, even as far... like anxiety.

Anxiety can show up in some of this work. And if I'm sitting with someone who lives with anxiety, we can start to see even our own narratives. And using a tool, a tool built for someone who's I would call neurotypical, it's going to be a different experience to me, sitting with someone who lives with, you know, chronic anxiety. And so, making space, even for tools that we would say are kind of built for leaders. What? Leaders with a neurodiverse, you know, mind body? Leaders who are experienced, have experienced like big T little T, trauma? What are we working with the person in front of us? And that’s even from like, our brains. What's happening in our brains? What's happening in our bodies? And so, the, you know, the work that I do and what I'm continuously being exposed to is what life experience has led us to the person that we are in this moment, to the leader that we are in this moment and making space for that.

So, I have these tools that I sit with in front of me and then I have a person on the other side of me who has a whole set of life experiences. And I can do my best to meet them where they are. And even the tools that I work with, that I believe in very much so, are also limited because we've got unique individuals who sit in front of us. So, knowing ourselves, I think, you know, how do we make space? We start to understand the intersection of our life experiences, and at my job, my ongoing job, is to realise that the person who's in front of me is so unique and there is absolutely no way that I could fully understand, and you know, all that makes up the complexity of that individual.

00:33:27 Andy Goram

Well, I think that's fab. I think, you know, if I take a summary, and we'll get to your summary in a second. If I take a summary out of that, I think for me, what you've covered in this whole debate, is understanding what we need as individuals, getting a better understanding of what others need as individuals in the context of this kindness stuff, and then commit to it right. Commit to it. Show it's really important. Do some stuff, but really commit to it. It's not a them and us, it's an altogether piece.

And I say summary Jen, because we're already at the part in the show where we're looking to summarise all of your thoughts and insights, in the area that I call Sticky Notes. OK, then you would have sussed from this conversation that retention of information is a struggle for me. So, what I like to try and leave my listeners with at the end of every podcast is just three bits of wisdom and advice. So, in this case, if people are going to go away from here today and start to think about bringing kindness to themselves and their work colleagues a little more into focus, what advice would you give them that you could fit onto 3 little post-it notes, Jen?

00:34:33 Jen Hope

Start thinking about training your mind. Pause.

00:34:40 Andy Goram


00:34:41 Jen Hope

And if... one that we didn't talk about yet, I’ll throw this in there.

00:34:47 Andy Goram

Oh! Yeah, go for it.

00:34:48 Jen Hope

Is get a little bit of feedback. So, we can learn a lot from those around us, those who are invested. And this one goes a little bit into if we are getting to know ourselves, we can take a little bit of information, right? Like getting a little bit of feedback from those around us can really help us understand more about ourselves.

00:35:12 Andy Goram

Fantastic, so you really have just nailed the summary of, understand what you need, understand what others need, and kind of just take a breath, take a pause and work it all out. Brilliant.

Jen, that's been a lovely conversation. I've totally calmed down from hugging myself. I may even give it a go at some stage. I will let you know.

Thank you so much for sharing your time and your insights with us today, Jen, I really appreciate it.

I wish you all the very best in bringing more kindness into leadership going forwards. I think it's a wonderful thing.

00:35:48 Jen Hope

Thank you so much. Thank you for letting me be here and take wonderful care of yourself. I'm sending you a High 5.

00:35:54 Andy Goram

Yes, I'm up for the High Fives. That's something I can definitely do. Brilliant!

OK. Well, guys, that was Jen Hope, and if you'd like to find out a bit more about her or any of the things that we've talked about today, please check out the show’s Show Notes.

00:36:14 Andy Goram

That concludes today's episode. I hope you've enjoyed it, found it interesting and heard something, maybe that will help you become a stickier, more successful business from the inside going forwards.

If you have, please like comment and subscribe, it really helps. I'm Andy Goram and you've been listening to the Sticky From The Inside podcast. until next time, thanks for listening.

Andy Goram is the owner of Bizjuicer, an employee engagement and workplace culture consultancy that's on a mission to help people have more fulfilling work lives. He's also the host of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast, which talks to experts on these topics from around the world.

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