Dr. Denise Quinlan: Leadership & Preventing Burnout in the Workplace

Today, we have the privilege of hosting the incredible Dr. Denise Quinlan once again. As the Co-founder of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the University of Canterbury, Dr. Quinlan brings a wealth of expertise to our discussion. With numerous publications to her name and a global presence through conferences and teaching, her insights are truly invaluable. If you missed our first episode with Denise in late 2023, I highly recommend giving it a listen – it was simply outstanding. Today, we delve into topics ranging from psychological safety to leadership and burnout prevention. Get ready for an enlightening conversation with Dr. Denise Quinlan.

Dr. Denise Quinlan: Leadership & Preventing Burnout in the Workplace

It’s my absolute pleasure to reintroduce our distinguished guest, Dr Denise Quinlan. Dr Quinlan’s extensive expertise in well-being science, combined with her impactful work alongside global business leaders and educators, positions her as a true luminary in the field. As the founding director of the New Zealand Institute of Well-being and Resilience and an accomplished author, she brings a wealth of knowledge and insights to our discussion today.

Podcast Transcript

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Unstress. My name is Dr Ron Erlich. Now, before I start, I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which I’m recording this podcast, the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation, and pay my respects to their elders – past, present and emerging.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:00:23] Today we are welcoming back guests that we had on in the end of last year, Dr Denise Quinlan. Now, Denise’s acknowledged internationally as a world class facilitator who tackles difficult subjects with her trademark humour and compassion, generating hope and practical action to inspire and develop leaders. I think when you listen to Denise, you will know that is true.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:00:50] She is a global thought leader in sustainable, future focussed wellbeing and resilience. Now, Denise is committed to developing leaders who can build a better future. And the research is certainly showing, not surprisingly, that leaders are key to well-being in the workplace. Well, she equips leaders with the tools to put your own psychological house in order. It’s one of the paradoxes that the leaders that are asked to do this, sometimes those that need it most, to develop collective resilience. And that’s a term we discuss in this episode.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:01:29] Denise is Co-founder of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the University of Canterbury. She’s an internationally published author. She’s an academic researcher. She regularly presents global conferences, creates and teaches courses online and face to face. And though that’s not enough, she authors books on top of the academic publications. If you haven’t heard the first episode I did with Denise in late 2023. You should go back and listen to it. It was terrific. I know I went back and listen to it twice. I thought it was fabulous and I’m so excited to have it back. In this episode, we talk about psychological safety, what that means, and how to achieve it. We talk about leadership. We also discuss the drivers and the prevention of burnout and much more. I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Dr Denise Quinlan.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:02:33] Welcome back, Denise.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:02:34] It is great to be here. I really enjoyed our last conversation.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:02:41] I did too, and it was only at, towards the end of 2023 and I actually had the pleasure of listening to it 2 or 3 times because there was just so much in it, and I’d encourage our listener to go back and have a listen to this, but I wanted to take up the, the conversation more or less where we left off a little bit and we were going to talk about Psychological Safety, because I know in Australia the legislation is about mitigating, minimising psychosocial risk in the workplace. What does Psychological Safety mean, in the workplace, but in general.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:03:19] So understanding psychological safety is important. But I want to put it in context about why we’re interested in it. We know that for people to do their best work, to be able to work effectively in teams, to learn, to contribute, they have to feel safe to be there. And that, you know, ironically, if we want people to perform better and makes your mistakes, it’s got to be okay to make and share those mistakes. So, psychological safety. The term is older, but it has been popularised by the research of people like Amy Edmondson and the reason they’re doing it is because, I mean, the origin of her work was in health care and knowing that when in health care mistakes often get buried. There is perfectionism. People are punished for their mistakes. And so what was happening was it doesn’t mean people don’t make them because we’re human, but it means they get buried and we don’t learn from them. And what she found when they looked at this initially, it looked like teams that had higher psychological safety were making more mistakes. But in fact, it wasn’t and it was just that it was safer to share them and safer to reveal them. So if we think of psychological safety as being able to be in an environment where, you feel safe to be you, safe to learn, safe to make mistakes and safe to contribute what that means is we’re looking at psychological safety, as it’s often viewed very much as a ladder. The… I think of it as having you’ve got to achieve the safe ground of belonging and inclusion. If we know we want people to be able to learn and contribute, but unless they are, unless they feel they belong, unless they feel included, we don’t get that. So we have to really pay attention to that. And then we want it to be safe for people to learn, which means making mistakes. They’ve got to feel safe to make their contributions. Anyone who works in any workplace has seen someone share an idea in a meeting and have it shot down and be humiliated and see that person not share another idea for a very long time. You know, the lack of psychological safety has significant and lasting effects. And then, you know, you so you’ve got belonging and inclusion, you’ve got learning and contribution. But actually for to… In an organisation that is going to deliver peak performance, we want people who can challenge and innovate. So there’s a degree of… That, you know if you’re not feeling safe and recognised, how safe is it for you to say, I don’t think we’re doing this the right way. I think we’re getting this wrong. So there is so much that we can do to build psychological safety and there micro and macro, and there’s so much that we can do as leaders. Leaders have a huge role in setting the environment. I think it’s a really important part of building our collective resilience. You know, we talked about this the last time, but you know, it’s about the health of the pool rather than the skills of the individual and psychological safety is about addressing that.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:07:02] Well, you mentioned some macro and micro issues around that. Why don’t we go down and break them down a little bit more.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:07:10] So if we think about, the leaders. You’re not going to have psychological safety unless the leaders are interested in building it really early. And it’s… As a leader, I always say who you are is how you lead. So you’ve got to put your own psychological house in order. Be aware of your own biases. Be aware of the things that trigger you and trip you up so that you can avoid doing that. But we… There are so many, just small. Think about the micro. If you’re a leader and you’re leading a team meeting. How do you actually say things like, you know, here’s what I’m thinking. We’re going to look at this. We need to look at this. What am I missing? There are simple, simple phrases we can add to the way we work. I was thinking this, but what are some alternative use? Because, you know, let’s not kid ourselves that we get everything right first time. You know, being willing to say, I don’t know. Actually creates room for other people to share. You know, there’s so much we can do.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:08:33] Yes.


[00:08:34] For me, actually, though, if we’re thinking about the base of belonging and inclusion, I think there’s actually a paradigm shift that most organisations need. Organisations, institutions, you know, I think I’m thinking now here about schools, about almost any community organisation. We need to move from a paradigm of fitting into making room for. We’re all about people fitting into our organisations. And when, when I say to you, people are going to fit in, how can we help people fit into the organisation? You know who’s… When you… When we’re talking about fitting in. Who’s doing the work? Who’s doing the heavy lifting? It’s the person who’s joining the organisation and who decides how much space they get? Everyone else in the organisation. We’re going to give you… You’re going to fit in to that predetermined space. We don’t know what they need. We don’t know what they can contribute. We just say, here’s your spot, fit in. In contrast, a paradigm of making room for who’s doing the heavy lifting and who’s responsibility is to make room for. Yeah, it’s the responsibility of everyone in the organisation. You know, we’ve got new people coming. How do we make room for them? And then you’re immediately going to who are they? What are they bringing? What’s their experience? What do they need? Yeah. Very different.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:10:16] Yeah. Well, this is a continuation of our discussion last time about focusing on their strengths, because you learn so much more about a person if you know their strengths, rather than just identify the things they’ve done wrong.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:10:31] And strengths are a really great tactic strategy to do this because there’s a lot of, a lot of organisations and a lot of leaders that go, yes, we want to do this, but how, what are the things we can do to remind us, you know, at a micro level, at a macro level, at a structure and process level, we need it at all levels. So we need it at the value vision and strategy commitment. We’re about making room for people. We’re about inclusion. And then we need the tools that help us do that. And being strengths-based is definitely one of those because it immediately says, I’m expecting there to be difference between us. I’m expecting us all to have different strengths, and I can be curious about yours.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:11:27] It’s interesting to that change. You used the example of someone giving an opinion and being shot down, and it’s almost like if you just had a rule where you acknowledge that at least 10% of what anybody’s opinion is would be true. You have to at least find 10% that is true. And and you’d go, well, what I like about that idea is and you find that out and then you add and what I think we should do. And that’s just a different language. Well, yeah. You’ve picked up what you liked about my idea, even though it might have been crap, but you found something there and let’s talk more.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:12:09] Absolutely. And I think the, you know, if you find you’ve got a bias towards people or, you know, there’s a particular person and they wind you up and you want to shoot everything they say down in flames, it can be really helpful triggers to stand back and think, in what ways is this person like me? And it could be their shoe size, it could be how they write, it could be how they speak, it could be a value or you know, about their background. But if we can find even small ways that people are like us, we don’t write them off. If they’re like us, they can feel bad, you know. So that’s quite a, a useful small, you know, these there are small things we can do inside our own heads. But there’s a really great book that came up this year, and it would be really good now for me to remember the name, The Psychological Safety Playbook and..


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:13:07] Oh, okay. Good, you remembered it.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:13:09] Yeah. Helbig and Norman and I’ve looked at their work kind of through Amy Edmondson lens because Amy Edmondson thinks about we can think about building psychological safety in… Like in kind of three big buckets. So the first is if you like framing and staging, how do we set things up to invite inclusion? How do we set it up? And so a paradigm of making room for is part of framing and staging. And then the second bucket she thinks about is inviting voice. How do we invite voice? And then the third one is the response… Productive responses. Which is like your Yes- and. And if I think about some of the, strategies that how big and Norman share, they think about it within framing and staging. They talk about reminding people of the mission. You know, people really need meaningful connection to work. And if you can tell people about the mission and how their work connects to it, they feel more part of something. They feel more involved. You’re telling them about share the positive impact that people’s work has. We know this builds collective resilience and we know it prevents burnout. You know, which we can come to later. And the other thing that they encourage is share uncertainty, save when you don’t know we… There is so much uncertainty. We are in a rapidly changing and evolving world. I can’t have all the answers. So I really need to hear from you.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:14:50] This is really a… Even taking a further step back because so many every organisation is made up of individuals. And this comes back to the mindset really. And I’m realising as a health practitioner for 45 years, I really, focussed on recovery as a major part of our cycle of daily challenges, mindset and recovery, daily challenges, mindset and recovery. And as a health practitioner, I focussed initially on recovery and then I thought hang on this mindset business. I need to focus more on that. And are we in? You know, I know the popular term is growth mindset. But another one could be thrive mindset versus survive mindset or threat mindset. And so much of our society is in that threat mindset.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:15:39] And another switch.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:15:40] Survival…


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:15:41] To move towards psychological safety. We have to move from hunt the fault find where to pin the blame to LFM learning from mistakes. What can we learn from this? So other strategies that can be really helpful are blameless postmortems. We’re not allocating blame here. We’re just looking to understand what happened and what we can do differently in the future. But another one they talk about that I really love is this idea of a pre-mortem before you actually launch something and you’re worried that you’re not going to get people really sharing what they think, you say, okay, imagine it’s you know, X month’s time or weeks or whatever the thing the scale is and this initiative has failed miserably. And we are here now looking at this. I want you to tell me why it failed. What we didn’t anticipate. What we didn’t check up on, what we got wrong and why it failed. And then… And you’re asking people to make it up. But they make it up from their existing concerns.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:17:00] It’s a powerful thing to do, too, for individuals to say, yeah, let’s imagine you’re now retiring from your business and you’re looking back on your career. What are you saying? What was important and where did you go wrong? It’s a similar kind of thing, isn’t it? And it’s a powerful way of looking at what you’re about to do.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:17:20] It’s jumping to do and then applying retrospective thought. And another thing, I don’t know if we spoke last time, but I was really, struck by a story shared with me by a psychologist from LA called Jeff Rank works in a big hospital, and on a weekly basis, they have their mortality and morbidity meeting, which is what went wrong? Who died? Where do we make mistakes? Where do we get it wrong? And he said people are literally dragging themselves back to work after this meeting. You have had this incredibly draining impact on people. It’s about what do we get wrong and whose fault was it? And so they began introducing a couple of questions at the end. And it became known as Healing and Hope. And they would have healing and hope after the M&M. It was H&H after the M&M and the healing and hope questions were. What’s one thing that you’ve done this week that makes you feel good about doing the work you do? And then for people who are having a really tough week, though, as what something you’ve seen a colleague do this week that makes you feel proud, inspired, grateful for the people you work with who do this work. It completely changed the tone, and what was really interesting was what actually happened was the healing and hope questions leapfrogged out of the mortality and morbidity meeting into the wider hospital. It became an expression that they used after a really difficult interaction with, the family of a patient that had died. The doctor had asked some, some questions afterwards, and the other doc said, you did healing and hope. And it became a way of noticing that they were supporting and building each other up.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:19:30] Powerful, powerful. This is leading us into rather nicely, actually, a discussion about burnout.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:19:37] Yes. Can we go to burnout but I want to… Can I just give you… I think we kind of covered them. But just before we do, to just to talk a little bit about inviting voice and productive response.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:19:47] Sure, sure. Yes, please do.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:19:48]  In terms of inviting voice, there are some simple things we can do. It’s saying things like I’ve already mentioned. What am I missing? What’s another perspective? What can we learn from this? But then listening to understand rather than respond, the tactic is don’t prepare a response in your head while you’re listening. Just listen to check that you really understand what the person is communicating. Powerful and then some really, you know, so we can have good intention, but we also need structures in place for when we fall short. To kind of… Because we know environment shapes us. So how can we shape the environment to shape us in the way we want? And things like inclusive meeting protocols where you have a rule like no one speaks twice till everyone speaks once.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:20:56] Denise, Denise, Denise…


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:20:56] Rotate the chair in meetings because a different chair, especially someone from a minority or that majority, that marginalised majority known as women, they will see other things. People will feel more safe to speak up or they will go to them and encourage them. So that’s a way of building in psychological safety. And then simple things like, the practice of sharing agendas in advance helps people who are, introverted thinkers, people who need time to consider their views and prepare, or people who find it harder to speak up and will benefit from a little bit of preparation. It’s all really simple, simple stuff.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:21:48] Yeah. Which is actually, you know, a message that comes out of this podcast frequently that is the world we live in becomes increasingly more complicated the solutions are actually remarkably simple, accessible, sustainable, cheap. And guess what? Effective.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:22:05] And I always say simple but not easy.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:22:09] Simple, but not easy. I love that too.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:22:10] Because they’re… So if I think about, productive response, that’s the trying to make your response appreciative and forward looking rather than defensive or negative. That’s easy to say and go, oh, you must do that. Really hard to do. But so we know that things like listening to understand. Help us do that. The simple thing of hit pause. Until you’ve got yourself under control. Hit pause. Go. Oh, that really triggered me. And then deliberately respond not defensively. The one you described of. Thanks for that. Where do we go from here? You know, I’ve, I heard someone described a meeting where… They were in the meeting and who was… They were all kind of division heads and someone said to a woman in the meeting, I think we should scrap your division. You contribute nothing of value, and it’s dragging this business down and the air kind of thickened in the room and this woman paused and said, that’s a really interesting statement. Tell me more about what you’re thinking and what that’s based on. And the whole room with “hmmm”, you know.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:23:34] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yes. Interesting, interesting. Well, Burnout. I mean, we had, we’ve come we touched on this topic in a few different directions and most recently with Doctor Tabitha Healy, who is an oncologist who has personal experience of burnout and is now focussed on burnout within the medical profession and shared a statistic with me that was quite disturbing considering these people deliver our health care system. 44% of doctors and 60% of nurses suffer from burnout, which we would define. We might just remind our listener of how we define it. You want to share?


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:24:16] For me, burnout is when people are subject to, sustained or chronic stress. And it’s characterised that… It’s characterised by exhaustion, cynicism and ineffectiveness. It’s not just that you’re tired. You become cynical about the work you do, about yourself. You become and feel ineffective. If you are finding yourself, unable, you know, if something that you would normally whip out in an hour takes you a day, or you find it really hard to make decisions, that’s a chance that you are, you know, you’re showing signs of burnout. For me, the most important thing, though, is if we look at the World Health Organisation‘s description of burnout, they talk about it as it’s a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that’s not being successfully managed. But my favourite part is the description of it as it’s an individual response to systemic problems.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:25:24] Yep.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:25:25] And too often the solutions to burnout or send someone for counselling. Give them a week off. Get them a gym membership. You know, we talk about the three F’s flu jabs, fitness and fruit bowls. Oh, but we put biscuits in and we bought a new coffee machine. What’s wrong with people? The systemic factors are really important. And if we think about I have for the last two years refused to speak to organisations about burnout unless the systemic factors and the drivers are on the table, because otherwise, it’s more than unfair, it’s misguided, it’s uninformed. And it’s unethical to focus only on the individual response from we know it’s a workplace. It’s a workplace illness. It’s not a mental illness. It’s classified as a workplace syndrome. If you…


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:26:34] Which makes far more sense when we reflect on those shocking statistics of 44%, 60%, you know, it’s a systemic problem in the health care system, which the individuals are reflecting quite accurately…


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:26:51] Completely. They are, you know, we come back to what we talked about the last time about human sustainability. They are working in inhuman conditions and structures, and they are under there being asked to perform an unsustainable workload in many cases. So if we think about the drivers of burnout, the drivers of burnout are, unsustainable workload. Lack of autonomy. So being micromanaged. A lack of support or community. Not feeling valued or not being rewarded, a lack of fairness and respect and a lack of real clarity. You don’t know what you’re meant to be doing. And so I often flip those around and say to organisations, so really what we need to focus on are sustainable workload. How can we give people more autonomy in their work? How can we get more supportive and a sense of community in our workplaces? How can we ensure that people feel valued at work? Where are the opportunities to demonstrate fairness and respect?  And actually, oh my word, if you didn’t do any of the others. People need real clarity. Yeah? Real clarity and sustainable workload. The organisation needs to be the one delivering those. But my take on it is what prevents burnout, motivates and retains people. So it’s not just fixing a problem. If you can do these things. You build the kind of organisation that people want to join and stay in and where they can do their best work. So if you can create an organisation where people feel those things, then they are enabled to do their best work because, you know, essentially the factors… Psychological safety. We just look at this psychological safety is all about, the support of community, making people feel valued and rewarded and included fairness and respect. And then, you know, real clarity. Autonomy and workload. This is the job of organisations. And this is where I find myself reminding organisations that wellbeing isn’t about teaching people stuff. Wellbeing is about how you work. Is your workload sustainable? And we’ve talked for a long time, at the Institute about, ruthless prioritisation. You know, resilient people focus on what matters and what they can control. And within that, that little intersection, that Venn diagram, that intersection is actually really big. We’ve all got a lot of stuff that matters that we control. So then we’ve got to be really clear on prioritisation. And that’s important at an individual level. You’ve got to be really clear. What can I do? What can I delete from this list? What can I delegate? And then when you have a clearly prioritised list, it’s much easier to negotiate with people coming at you to ask you to do other things. You know, you can say, well, here’s my list of priorities and timeframes. What do you want me to do later? Which one do you want me to push? Ruthless prioritisation becomes more powerful when we do it at a team level, when we actually think about what are agreed priorities as a team. When as a team, you are clear on your priorities and goals. That’s real clarity for people, isn’t it? It’s really helpful. And in a rapidly changing environment, you know, if you think about the early, the early and ongoing days of the Covid pandemic or any other challenges, where things shift rapidly, if priorities are changing rapidly, then we need to keep communicating that to people. The example I always give is, have you ever done a piece of work for somebody? And you hand it to them and they go, yeah. Nah. Oh, look, we changed our mind. We don’t need that now. It really grinds people’s gears. You know, you feel disrespected and not valued because no one told you it wasn’t needed. You could have stopped. And. So. So ruthless prioritisation is important, but I think we have reached a point where we need to move from ruthless to radical prioritisation and radical prioritisation. In the true nature of radical. It cuts to the roots. And that is we’ve got all of these priorities and we say how many of them can we do? You know, the prioritisation still has this assumption that somehow we’ll find a way to squeeze all the work. And the really important question is how much is possible to do. And I. I put it to people, as you know. Or what’s the question we’re asking is the question. You know, if somebody says, I can’t cope with my workload or how can I cope with my workload? It’s the problem is them. The workload is there. So is it I can cope with my workload or should it be? My workload is unsustainable. And I think this is a hugely important issue for all organisations.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:32:44] Well, this is about… Well, we touched on this, we talked about this last time about the dehumanisation of the workplace and the priority of the shareholder, the shareholder supremacy the customer and down the track the will worry about the employer-employee. Whereas in fact it’s flipping it around the other way is a win win win all the way through.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:33:08] Honestly, I was in a meeting, a few weeks ago and a CEO, we were discussing something, and something came up again about an initiative to do something for well-being. And their response was, yeah, but if we’re making if… That money came from somewhere, surely, surely that money should go to the shareholder. And that and I thought, that’s a really good question. Could we just all put them and we passed over, went on to something else. But when I thought, we need to ask that question, should the money go to the shareholder? How much of that money should go to sustainable workloads and employee wellbeing?


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:33:50] And acknowledging work done. And this is really about… This is actually what I find most exciting about the workplace now focusing so strongly on wellbeing, because I truly believe it’s a good place to focus on wellbeing. Better, I would argue than the health care industry. And the key word there is industry. Good health makes sense but not dollars. But in workplace good health, wellbeing actually does make dollars.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:34:20] But it makes sense in all of our workplaces. But we just have to actually look at the data. And, you know, a key thing when we start to look at is my workload sustainable? That’s the elephant in the room for so many organisations because and I think we really need to drill into that. Why are we terrified to ask that question? And I think it comes down to fear and lack of trust that somehow in there is the notion that if you ask somebody what’s sustainable, they’ll shirk, they’ll say… They’ll just go for the easy ride now and, and then I think we’re getting into actually, we need some fundamental understanding of what humans are, what workers are. We know the research is clear from all over the world, and it doesn’t matter what level you are looking at, what workers want is to be cared for about their life outside work, autonomy over how they work, to be able to grow and develop, to be part of, to do meaningful work and to be part of something worthwhile. And. You can go back and trace the view that workers are lazy and shirkers, and want to get away with doing as little as possible. That dates back to the beginning days of the Industrial Revolution, and that is a myth that was put about to justify keeping workers hungry and poor so that they would be willing to go and work in the mills and the mines. Now, you know, it was a myth then, and I think, you know, it’s the end of 2023. It’s really time to update what human beings are about. I see this as being a bit like the selfish Gene Dawkins thing that, you know, the idea that we were all selfish and cared about our self. That’s been completely debunked.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:36:22] Yes. Rolls off the tongue well, easily. But it’s not borne out, is it? By human experience.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:36:33] And in the same way. We need to understand what workers are about and what they want. And I think that kind of opens the door for me to the whole question of trust. And there’s a lovely definition of trust as, by a guy in America. Do I have his name? And its willingness to open oneself to risk by engaging in a relationship with another party. And, I think it’s time for us to have some big conversations about where trust fits in our organisations and who is able to trust who. Because I think since if you think about what’s happened since the early days of the pandemic, workers have been trustworthy. If we think about trust as, consistency, competence, caring and commitment, workers have demonstrated all of that. They’ve demonstrated massive commitment to their organisations to keep things going, you know, and in return for their work. What do workers get? You know, like, the social contract is long dead. No one expects a job for life. Not even tenured professors. There is no social contract, and I think we might not be able to get back to that sense of benevolence, consistency and caring from the organisation to its employees. But surely a commitment to sustainable workload would be a really important first step in rebuilding trust and some kind of social contract.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:38:18] Yes. Well, I’m an optimist, and I actually think maybe the tide has turned and that tide has been going one direction for the last 40 years, and we could explore that a little more. And, you know, I know you’re short on time, Denise. So we’re going to. Well, this is a great excuse for me to get you back again because we were going to talk about indigenous health, which we touched on last time. And so much has happened in Australia since we last talked. The referendum, the voice has been rejected resoundingly in New Zealand. There’s a whole new politics with a whole new push, conservative pull back.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:38:59] Which is affecting our tobacco policy, which was supposed to phase out access of tobacco to young people. It’s affecting sexuality and consent education in schools. It’s affecting the treaty that… They’re looking to relitigate the treaty. It’s the government in the first week in power, requested all the ministries whose first… Whose name was first Te Reo and then English to switch it round or stop using Te Reo.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:39:27] Wow. Just to remind our listeners and whet the appetite for the next episode. Just tell us what the political situation was, because Jacinda Ardern was the Labour. She had her own government there for a while, which is unusual in New Zealand and the tide has turned now to…


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:39:43] A coalition of three parties, the National Party, which is a kind of a mainstream conservative party. The New Zealand First, which is led by a veteran politician called Winston Peters, who, I think is kind of conservative contrarian and, the Act party, which is led by a libertarian.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:40:07] Okay. Okay. And pulling back on all of those issues is an issue that we’re going to discuss… You mentioned last time about the wonderful indigenous wellbeing program and I really wanted to explore that. But we’re going to do that next time. Denise, thank you so much for joining me again today. As always. I love that conversation. Thank you so much.


Dr Denise Quinlan [00:40:30] Delight to be with you and your listeners. Thank you so much, Ron.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:40:34] Well, I just loved talking to Denise. I go back and listen to that episode again. I just think she has so many pearls. And it is interesting because as I mentioned, the, research shows that engagement is key to reducing stress in the workplace. And the key to that engagement is for managers, leaders to have meaningful, regular, meaningful conversations with their, with their team. And, and I thought, addition to that, about inviting a voice, listening to understand not to respond. I mean, she was that’s… That’s part of podcasting really. Some people just can’t wait to ask that next question. Listening to understand, not to respond. Inclusive meeting protocols, sharing agendas, rotating chairs, productive response. I thought, that’s really interesting because, in the world of positive intelligence, it acknowledges that at least 10% of what someone is saying, even if you disagree vehemently about it, at least 10% is worth… Is true. And to find that truth is a really empowering thing in a conversation with another person. What I love about what you just said is… And this, you can identify that 10% and then go on to add your own observation to it. It’s a great tool to use in having meaningful conversations with people, let alone people you are managing. Look, we will have links to, Denise’s, New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience. And, there’ll be that in the show notes. I hope this find you well. Until next time. This is Dr Ron Erlich. Be well.


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