The Mix Tape: Ep. 6 — Gratitude, Honor, and Healthy Workplaces

In the modern era of work, companies understand many of the physical needs of their employees...but what about emotional? How can organizations cultivate positive workplace attitudes through HR? Mix Talent's Paige Nelson uncovers some solutions when she sits down with Ashley Herd in today's episode. Ashley Herd is the Founder and CEO of The Manager Method, where she helps upskill individuals in their career goals, managers in becoming people leaders, and organizations in their enterprise-wide needs.

Transcription

Valerie McCandlish:

Welcome to the Mix Tape. I’m Valerie.

Natalie Taylor:

And I’m Natalie. Welcome back to another episode. Today we have a celebrity. We have a TikTok celebrity which is, nowadays, a legitimate celebrity.

Valerie McCandlish:

A real claim to fame.

Natalie Taylor:

A real claim to fame. It’s true. Valerie keeps me in the know on TikTok.

Valerie McCandlish:

I love the TikTok.

Natalie Taylor:

Val loves TikTok. She’s always sending me TikTok. She’s keeping me up to speed, she’s keeping me hip and cool, and keeping me laughing.

Valerie McCandlish:

Yeah.

Natalie Taylor:

Most importantly. She knows it all.

Valerie McCandlish:

Well, and as much as I love to laugh, I also love to be informed on TikTok too.

Natalie Taylor:

It’s true.

Valerie McCandlish:

Because there’s just a lot of really awesome people out there. And our guest today, I didn’t realize until I learned who would be joining us, I got her Tiktoks on my feed all the time, which is so cool.

Natalie Taylor:

Yeah.

Valerie McCandlish:

That is so cool.

Natalie Taylor:

She has some excellent content, which she’ll talk a little bit more in depth about in the episode, but her name is Ashley Heard, and she is a lawyer and an HR leader and the founder of the Manager Method.

Valerie McCandlish:

Yeah, we got to give her some props because, of course, the TikTok theme is a huge accolade in itself, but she’s recently been featured on CNN and CEO Weekly. Her content is making waves with people and it’s really been impactful, so we’re excited for her to join us. And we have Paige Nelson returning, so you might remember her as being the head of sales for Mix, and we’re excited for another great conversation from Paige with an awesome guest. So with that, we’ll turn it over to Paige and Ashley.

Paige Nelson:

Hi Ashley. Good to see you.

Ashley Herd:

Hey, Paige. So glad to have you here.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah, thanks for having me in Atlanta. It’s a beautiful day today. It’s a little humid, but my hair will curl and we’ll get over that, right?

Ashley Herd:

That’s right. That’s what I always say.

Paige Nelson:

Well, thanks for having me. I want to introduce myself and then we’re going to have some fun today, over the next 30 minutes talking about your Manager Method, talk about the workplace, but more importantly, grace and gratitude in the workplace and how we can show that to others each and every day, but also how we see it coming through in the corporate America, as well.

So my name is Paige Nelson. I work at Mix Talent. I work in business development and lead many of our recruiting staff in our different business units across the life science industry. I’m thrilled today to have Ashley Herd with us. And Ashley, I’ll hand it over to you.

Ashley Herd:

Yeah, so Paige, so glad to have you here in Atlanta. And I’m Ashley Heard. I’ve been in corporate for many years, being a general counsel and head of HR, but last year I started my own business called Manager Method. Along the way, I have started social media accounts and what I do now is provide training and tools, as I say, for all levels of the corporate ladder to help employees and managers truly work better together. But yeah, glad to talk today.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah, fantastic. So Ashley and I met at an organization called Chief. It’s a women’s executive leadership organization, and we happened to be at the happy hour in Atlanta in early June. I was intrigued by Ashley and learning about her background and also what she’s putting together for the Manager Method. But I’ve been following you on LinkedIn and TikTok, and you are TikTok famous, you know that, right?

Ashley Herd:

It’s very embarrassing for me to say anything like that, but my kids definitely, that’s their claim to fame to their friends at school.

Paige Nelson:

Fantastic. Who doesn’t want a TikTok famous mom, right? Well, we met at a Chief event in early June, and Chief is a women’s executive leadership organization, and I had the great fortune of meeting people across the country, but really meeting you, I had so much fun talking and then I started following you on LinkedIn and then I discovered your TikTok.

But there was one Sunday when I saw a post and it was a simple post that you actually said, “What would happen if we all gave the friendly Jeep wave as we passed each other in the hall at work, what would life be at work”? And I kind of paused because that’s what happens at my work. I mean, at Mix Talent, although we work remotely and we sometimes see each other in our headquarters office in Columbus, Ohio, we certainly have a lot of fun. And even by video, we’re giving the Jeep wave or we’re interacting with each other. And I thought, is that not happening everywhere? So I talked to my friends, I talked to my neighbors and they’re like, no, that’s not happening everywhere. So it really struck me, Ashley, that you are so in-tuned with the workplace, and that’s quite honestly probably why you designed Manager Method, and we want to hear more about that today. But really I want to hear about gratitude and grace and kindness in the workplace and how we can show that to one another.

Ashley Herd:

Yeah, I think those are fantastic topics and I love that that post connected us and we had such a big conversation on just such a simple idea.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah, great. So Ashley, let me ask you a couple of questions about Manager Method. Let’s dive into a couple of main points and I’d love to hear your thoughts on gratitude, grace and how the US can work better together. So first, let’s focus on hiring. Finding the right candidate for a role can be really tricky. Is there any advice for hiring managers about selecting the optimal candidate? What do you think?

Ashley Herd:

Definitely. I think for years you think of when someone has a job description, they start with the basics. Okay, what degree is necessary? What are the minimum years of qualification? Or sometimes you see a maximum years of qualification, which I really don’t care for. And sometimes in the life sciences, certainly, there may be certain licensures, certain education you have to have, certain degrees. But altogether rethinking that, to think about what does the job actually entail, rather than framing out who’s this ideal candidate, what college do they go to, what’s it going to look like on day one and the 30, 60, 90 day goals and mapping that out.

So rather than having more arbitrary content around degrees and things like that, being more expansive, having that grace. Someone may not have as much experience in one area, but that might be okay, that might not be what you need on day one. So thinking about really what that job looks like and then opening up the aperture a bit. So further opening up the aperture is where you’re getting candidates from. Frequently it’s you post on LinkedIn, every job site under the sun, and then as recruiters now know, you may be getting 500 to a thousand applicants. So it can be really challenging to vet through those being really strategic, but also thinking about if you’re trying to improve your candidate pool or open up to more diversity, having that aperture open, going to HBCUs, diversity job fairs, looking intentionally at places with people that may have different experiences than the ways that you’ve been posting online before.

So I think having that more expansive view and really looking wholesale at all sorts of candidates and what that can look like can really help as well, rather than just having the same old, same old.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah, that’s really good. And Ashley, it’s really important too, when we hear from candidates who come to Mix Talent, they want to find the culture of a company, they want to fit within that culture. Could you describe to us how conversations happen from an HR perspective, a hiring manager perspective, on how one can talk about a culture of an organization?

Ashley Herd:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, a culture, first of all, your candidates are going to be looking at what that culture looks like before they even talk to a human. Many times candidates are going to be looking online. So sometimes organizations will spend a ton of time, money, investment on that candidate experience, but then you’re missing out on that employee experience because if you’re telling candidates one thing, but your Glassdoor rating, or any other type of writing online, your Fishbowl, that says another story, then candidates may write you off before you have an opportunity to have that conversation.

So ensuring to think about how does culture, the values that we have on our website, how do those really come to life? Those are the investments that if you’re doing a good job in having employees, that’s going to carry through in your interview experience and having that true authenticity. So that’s the number one question, I say, is your employees are going to be the best recruiting tool for your candidates. And a lack of synergies between what your online profile says and what you’re telling candidates is going to be your number one destroyer.

Paige Nelson:

That’s good. So oftentimes, not only culture is a question from candidates, but talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion and treating everyone fairly. Fair and consistent treatment of employees is important. So talk to us a little bit about Manager Method and how you teach that through your program.

Ashley Herd:

Absolutely, and I think we talked about gratitude, honor, care, those type of values really need to come through. And for a lot of people, especially if you’re in a really technical field, that’s not something that you’ve studied in school. And so it’s another skill that you truly have to learn and study and practice. My North Star Manager Method is to treat everyone like humans, mean that when people come to you, they’re not just going to be words on a page. So as you write some sort of policy for employees on sick leave, employees that are going to need that, or bereavement policy. When employees are needing that, they’re experiencing some of the biggest challenges of their life. So understanding that you’re going to need to meet individuals where they are.

Thinking about as a manager, do you have favorites, or are you treating people truly the same? Because if people on your team see some people are getting this treatment or there’s unwritten rules for others, then a lot of those feelings start to fester. And I say people will often speak with their feet and leave, rather than have an opportunity because they don’t know how that conversation will truly go.

So I think another one is, as people come to you with any sort of challenge, oftentimes as a manager it’s you want to solve everything in the moment. And that’s not possible, it doesn’t have to be. But having some of those behaviors of thanking people for bringing that to your attention, thinking through that empathy, again, that’s a really important skill that, again, isn’t always natural to anyone at the workforce. It’s not like you become a manager and all of a sudden you have these people skills built in. And so seeking that out with other leaders and understanding how they integrate on their team can not only help you, but also remind those other leaders to treat their teams, their trains the same as well.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah, it’s really important to think about empathy and vulnerability. Vulnerability was kind of the buzzword, I don’t know, maybe a couple of years ago and now it’s empathy in leadership. Is there a time where you think empathy is more important or less important in leadership?

Ashley Herd:

No, I honestly think empathy really is a core value at all times. Empathy, meaning when someone has a win, stopping them to say, reflect in that, this isn’t just time to be like, okay, I got lucky, let’s move on. But to really relish that and be there for that employee. To the converse, if someone has a bad day, whether there’s something going on in their personal life, or they had an account they didn’t get at work or a research project they’re doing that completely displayed their hypothesis and they just feel crushed. Reminding them, it’s okay and we will be okay. And having that and truly being there for that individual, because at the end of the day, things will go on, new projects will come up and it may be a challenge that was the last thing you wanted to deal with when you woke up in the morning as a manager, but it’s probably the same for that employee.

And oftentimes employees are taking on those burdens really heavily. So at any point things that managers can do to thank them, to listen to them and encourage them to keep talking and keep working, I think that that is the one kind of 24/7 emotion that I hope doesn’t go out of style.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah, I agree. I mean, that’s the gratitude, the thankfulness in the workplace. And sometimes, quite honestly, when employees make a mistake, it’s the grace that you offer them and the space for them to say, it’s okay. It’s okay that didn’t go your way, or we didn’t have the win, or quite frankly, we messed up. But let’s move on and let’s do it again. And then thank them over and over again when they do have the wins, right?

Ashley Herd:

Totally. I mean, so often how do you hear the sign on the wall? I think dating back to elementary school, the book fair, you see the signs, if you’re not messing up, you’re not trying, or things like that. And that’s great when you see it on the wall, or even when you see it in corporate values. But too often when it happens in real life an employees terrified because they think they’re just going to get reamed, or they may have seen a colleague that got absolutely destroyed for making a mistake.

And so ensuring that as you think about that and truly that’s how people can learn. And managers have so many opportunities, especially those bad moments, meaning what a mistake was made, that’s time that you can truly impact your team, how they’re productive in that employee’s career. And so those are the moments that I truly think is where you can live values in action, but it has to be rehearsed. Because many times for managers your natural instinct is, ugh, great. But being intentional and changing that can truly change your leadership and has ripple effects for the rest of your team.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah, I like when you said it has to be rehearsed. Oftentimes, especially in life sciences, commercial sales really, sales representatives do a lot of playing, not playing, they do a lot of role play. That’s the word I was looking for. With each other, and I think there could be role play with managers. So to your point, having those hard conversations and role playing how you would interact with an employee or how you would speak differently to an employee is pretty important, don’t you think?

Ashley Herd:

Totally. It’s a huge thing of what I’ve done, in groups and individually, because you may not know this, but aside from doing employment law and HR, I’d also done IT security law. And so as part of that, I had to support teams and we would do data breach exercises. Okay, how do we prepare if something goes wrong? And it was truly humbling, not in the like, I want an Oscar, that went amazingly, but truly humbling that every single person, even if they were experts in their field, they were learning things, they were fumbling, they were saying the ums and figuring things out. And it really made you relieved that, one, to see the humanity of all these people that are absolute rock stars, but also to see this is something that people are challenged with and you’re learning, you’re working the kinks out. And so I’d taken that, as I moved into HR in particular, to do that with managers, where I’ve done that exactly as you say, in individual, in group times, to say, what if someone brings this to you?

Because I’d much rather have someone fumble through, get coaching from others, talk with them, me then chip in with my thoughts, rather than have it on the fly when it happens in real life with an employee and a manager thinks, I have no idea what to say. Because those are going to come up, so I do have things I tell managers about, here’s your exit eject button. If you’re truly panicked, these are things you can say without totally feeling like you’re blowing it. But absolutely, those role plays and that muscle is an important one to build over time.

Paige Nelson:

It makes me think of Luke in your TikTok videos, and how Luke is always asking you questions that maybe on the edge of what you don’t want to do, and then you kind of steer Luke back into what we should do. Who is Luke?

Ashley Herd:

Luke is truly fictional. I have to, otherwise I’d be saying attorney client privilege. But what Luke represents is, in my mind, I definitely see a Steve Carell if I have to humanize it a bit. But what Luke is, I think often, and sometimes Luke varies into that, I say sometimes, and for life sciences I have no scientific backing for these numbers, but I say there’s 10% of managers that are just awesome. They have great instincts, they really don’t need that much coaching, but you always should still get it. But they know how to really lead and inspire their teams. There’s 10% of managers that shouldn’t be there. They go out of their way to ruin employees. And that’s that. And sometimes Luke falls there, but there’s, I say 80%, or just a wide swath of managers, that just don’t know. They haven’t been trained, they haven’t learned things, things haven’t occurred to them because haven’t always been in the other employees position.

And so Luke to me represents a manager that was put in place that for whatever reason, keeps rising up the corporate ladder and really doesn’t have training and oftentimes has terrible instincts, but keeps coming back to HR for that perspective. And so I’d much rather have a Luke that’s willing to learn, and Luke’s really got to learn his lesson these days, than have managers that feel like you have to pretend or don’t ask for help because every manager should have a resource, or resources, at the colleague level, HR, senior leadership, that you can go to ask these questions and be vulnerable or empathetic to really develop those skills.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah. I’m going to do a little plug for Chief here, because in Chief you have a core group of women who support you wholeheartedly. 100, 200%. And I find, for my core group, we are very vulnerable and we’ll ask those questions on how should I approach this situation, or what could have been said differently? And Chief has offered us that opportunity for like-minded individuals, but also individuals who sharpen us, like iron sharpens iron. And so I don’t know if you’ve experienced that in your core group, but certainly Chief offers that for me.

Ashley Herd:

I do. I have my next Chief a week from now. So for me, absolutely my core group has done that. And we’ll have both learnings, we have a guide, but then we will also have structured time where people bring their very real challenges. But we also get a guideline of things to say and things not to say. And that’s what’s really helpful, is because things may seem helpful, well why haven’t you tried X? But the core group explaining of why that isn’t so helpful, because it makes the person retract a bit into their turtle shell. And so how to ask questions that show that you’re supportive, rather than making them detract is a really powerful aspect of it as well. So I love my core group.

Paige Nelson:

I know. If you haven’t checked out Chief, do so.

Ashley Herd:

Yes.

Paige Nelson:

So let’s move on to team meetings. Also, a theme that I’ve seen in LinkedIn recently is that a lot of our corporate meetings could have been emails. So how do you build team rapport and productivity without that unnecessary time?

Ashley Herd:

It’s true, it’s so often true and I think we can all literally visualize a time we’ve said that. And there’s kind of three groups of meetings I talk about. One is either whole departments or whole broader teams of people of different positions, or even whole company. I think it’s really important to have those, that cadence might be quarterly, that might be annually. It often doesn’t need to be as frequently, maybe even monthly for a group team that’s smaller. But when you have different people in different roles, oftentimes it’s information sharing, building those bonds. So I think having that built in is important.

Then I think there’s meetings that are true team meetings, that are different people on the same roles, I think about meetings with account executives. I actually think it’s really important to have those weekly, so you’re not thinking like, wait, which week is this, is this an on week or is this an off week, this is every third week. So to have a regular time built in, generally at the start of the week, to help learn from other colleagues. But there are ways to make those really productive and meaning that you share the ownership of that meeting, you have things to freshen them up, so it’s not just the same old, same old.

The third, where I think people often fall into that trap is when you have projects, especially cross-functional projects, people may set it up and say, all right, we’re going to meet every two weeks on this, but you really don’t need to have everyone in there. And so I think a really powerful tool can be for that, talking through a meeting and say, okay, this is what we’re going to do next time, these are the individuals that we really need to be here because this is to follow up. Or other individuals can share their feedback. So also giving people the permission, when it’s possible, to say, I don’t know if I’m needed. And the owner of the group may say, oh actually it would be helpful to have you in here for a few minutes.

But I think, oftentimes, it’s this expectation of having huge project of six to 16 to 20 people all in one, and people are just sitting there checking the box. I do think those are the type that often can be more status updates when habit may be have everybody in there to be included, but it’s not really the best use of everybody’s time.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah. Do you think there should be agendas for all meetings, or just certain meetings?

Ashley Herd:

I do, because I think there’s a lot of [inaudible 00:20:07] and people often say the three C’s of something. The big C I have for every aspect of employment is clarity. Whether you’re an employee, whether you’re learning things, understanding things, so when you have an agenda, for a lot of meetings, especially if you have a weekly team meeting, it’s probably going to be a pretty consistent agenda, but having a shared doc where people can put things in.

So let’s say your team meetings on Monday, so on Tuesday you have a client meeting and that client meeting, there’s something that comes up, you think, I really could use everybody’s feedback, but you’re probably going to forget about it by the next week. So if you have a shared Google doc or more sophisticated software where you can pop that in, then you can have it real time in the moment and preserve that. And the more people do that, then it does become more engaging. But I do think having that agenda and setting it and having it shared and everyone able to pop topics in there can be much more powerful than just running through or certainly having the meeting and saying, so what do you guys think?

Paige Nelson:

Yeah. Those happen a lot, unfortunately, but sometimes it opens up good ideation space, like brainstorming, which could drive the next agenda. But I agree, I like agendas, I like knowing what’s coming, what’s next, and then maybe is just open at the end.

Ashley Herd:

A hundred percent. I think always having that blank space at the end and even go, you don’t have to do the roll call around the room, but literally if you’ve seen someone, for example, that hasn’t had items for a while or calling them saying, hey, do you have anything do to add? Or what do you think on this? To use that as a moment to really help vocalize some of those colleagues that may have been more quiet or not added to the agenda.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah, good, good. Well, also another theme obviously that we’ve been seeing in LinkedIn is the layoffs that are happening, the quiet quitting, I think that was a term couple of weeks ago that we saw in LinkedIn. But then also thinking about just people who are not present in their workplace. I heard somebody say that if someone’s halfway in then they’re all the way out. Can you talk about how to resolve some of those feelings in the workplace and avoid that quiet quitting phenomenon?

Ashley Herd:

Absolutely. The term quiet quitting and it popped up on TikTok, it’s hot, like wildfire, it’s still out there. And my response to a lot of that is, it’s been a connotation about something that I do think is a push back of employees that for years, and I was a big fan of Office Space like 20 years ago, that movie, which really kind of embodied quiet quitting, but now I think it’s a lot of employees looking that, especially the last two and a half years, but as even more beyond that, as people have devices, people will say like, oh, there was such a better work ethic back in the day. Sometimes our response to that is, right, but I remember being a kid and we’d go on vacation and my parents may check in at work, but otherwise they were free. They were building sandcastles, we were out there playing, we weren’t all on our devices. So the recharging was really happening.

It can be really hard to do that in the era of work email on your phone. And so I think a recalibration of that is natural, I think it’s bubbled up for a long time. But the idea of quite quitting, which I think adds this kind of pejorative or negative tone to employees that may be really carving those boundaries. And I think if you see employees on your team and you’re a manager that do seem like they’re withdrawn, I think both managers and colleagues are in a huge powerful position there, because that may be a sign about work, and oftentimes as a manager, your first thought may be are they getting their work done? But taking a step back, it’s also an opportunity where you may be seeing them, you may be the only person that colleague sees in person that day that has a meaningful relation for them.

And so taking that, saying, hey, is everything okay? And not always framing it of, are you getting the work done, I haven’t seen you on teams at night. Rather than being punitive, but focusing on that because oftentimes employees that are going through challenges, it may be a situation where they’re like, I’m burnt out and I’m trying to carve my boundaries. But it also may be, I’m going through something and I don’t have support, I’m just trying to get through every day, and listening to them and taking steps to really open up that conversation can be a lot more important in their life than just the day to day of the work.

And so I do think having those conversations, I’d first done a video and I said, if you bring up the term quiet quitting, I’ve learned that’s actually probably a terrible idea. So I’m always willing to admit feedback, but I think managers saying to their teams, I’m curious, are you all feeling burnt out or how are you thinking? Because a side to that is, every time a manager, for example, gives a new assignment to an employee, or things are changed or a colleague leaves, rather than just assuming someone’s going to take over their workload, having a conversation to say, how are you doing? How’s your workload? How would you prioritize this? Is there anything we need to move off their plate? That’s a really helpful conversation, not just for that employee but for your own goals as well. And I think it’s one that’s often missed.

And so having that and understanding if people are burnt out, and if it’s been a long time and you realize as a manager, I really have no idea how my team seems, but they do seem a little bit checked out or burnt out, asking them, how are you doing? What can we do? And then being able to act on it. So it’s using your voice to also talk to more senior leadership. And sometimes, as I say, everyone should care about employees because it really is the right thing to do.

Put that aside, you should care about your money. And if sometimes that’s what other people want to hear about, especially when you’re talking up ladder about employees, but to say, our investment in our people, we’re not using it in the right way, and I think there’s things we can do that are better. Having that and painting it in that way, I think can really be helpful and be impactful for the employee and for your team.

Paige Nelson:

I think it’s key, the words, investment in people. Obviously from a leadership or for the owners of the company, that’s critical. You got to have the right people in the right places to do the great job to grow your company. Any advice you can give to employees? I mean, it’s easy for an employee to be silent if something’s going on either in the workplace or at home and just trying to get through their day. But when a manager comes up to that employee and says, hey, are you okay? I’ve noticed you’re quiet.

Can you talk through how employees can strip away their vulnerability and just be okay to talk? Obviously you’ve been in legal counsel and in HR and sometimes from an employee perspective it’s not always easy. Any advice you can give?

Ashley Herd:

Absolutely. Ideally, the person you can go to is your manager. And sometimes you’ll hear people say, well, HR is not your friend. And my response to that always is, absolutely not. Because if I’m friend Ashley, then my response to anybody is, if someone tells me something happened at work, I’m like, oh, that stinks. Let’s go grab a coffee, let’s go out. But HR Ashley is, okay, let’s talk through it. So HRs job and your manager’s job isn’t always your friend, but ideally you have those conversations with your manager, and you have that position of trust and that takes a lot on the part of managers to build it up. It takes a lot on the part of employees to have trust in how that conversation will go. And so I think making a decision to say, okay, what am I going to do.

Altogether, sometimes employees look and they’re like, this isn’t for me. There’s things I don’t like about the organization, another place is better for me. Ideally having that, being able to give that feedback to your manager, but also, at times, giving it a chance and saying to your manager, I’ve really been wanting to build a career here, but there’s things I’m not feeling as productive, and I have some ideas why, and I just want to talk through with you.

The number one comment I frequently get on Tiktoks is people that say, one, I’m afraid to ask my manager because I think they’d fire me. Or, I asked my manager and nothing happened. And so it really is being thoughtful, sometimes you hear people say, you should never bring a problem without a solution. And I don’t think it’s always on employees to solve a company’s problems, or give a manager ideas. But they do think to say, to think through about what it would look like for you to feel like you’re fulfilled in a roll and really contributing and all of that. And to say to your manager, these are certain aspects, I have these projects, I have to do this report. It takes me an hour and a half. I think there’s a way we can automate this, or I don’t know that it needs to be done as frequently. And if that were to happen, I would be more productive. And honestly, even if it’s just getting more sleep at night, I feel like I’d come to work more recharged.

And so having those to show the wins, you have to meet people where they are, no matter who you are. And so, as an employee, thinking through how can you portray this in a way that shows your manager that you’re also invested. Because managers may be getting a lot of complaints all day long from people.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah.

Ashley Herd:

That’s part of it. But bringing that and showing what it is and your idea for a solution can really be helpful. And again, sometimes you have to go to HR as help as a resource, but ideally HR is also helping you to have that conversation and build that with your manager because that can be a really critical aspect of your employment.

Paige Nelson:

That’s awesome. Well along those lines, employees can come to their managers, but you said something very important, that managers have to earn that trust. And quite honestly the respect, it goes both ways. So talk to me a little bit more about leadership training. What does that look like? And ultimately we want everybody to have the Jeep wave and be good with everybody. So talk to me more about Manager Method or your thoughts on leadership training.

Ashley Herd:

Yes. So when I had done my original post, I’d gotten a Jeep a year ago, Jeep Wranglers, but my dream car, it took me, I won’t say how many years to get it, but I had no idea about this whole part of the Jeep community, which is every time you pass a Jeep Wrangler, and now I’ve learned every Jeep is welcome to it. But doing this wave, it’s just instinctual. And it really is this pos vibe, it feels great and people are wow, that haven’t seen it. I literally will take my friend, my friends, my kids’ friends in the car and they go nuts about it. But it’s such a positive, that that’s just an instinct back.

And so for managers, it’s building up those instincts. So if you’re a great seller, selling may be totally instinctual for you. You may have no idea how to teach someone that’s struggling in sales and help to bring them up. But it’s about building those instincts. So the instincts I always say are, for a manager, is to thank people for bringing anything to your attention. You may think something is the absolute worst idea in the world. You may have tried it a hundred times, but that person that’s bringing that to you, it took a lot of courage for them to raise that to you. They may have been nervous, they may have practiced, they may think it’s the best idea.

And so if you were to dismiss it, then that may be the great idea they have, they’re never going to bring to you because they’re afraid of how it’s going to be received. But if you can say it’s, so thank you, I thought about that in the past, but we haven’t exactly tried it or that’s really interesting. Let me think on that a bit and following up with them. But hearing people out, that instinct of just a thank you. And again, never having to solve things in the moment, but always say, all right, let’s talk on that. And meeting your commitment and keeping up with your one-on-ones. Holding those times and having that as your instinct, if you’re a busy manager and people are trying to schedule all sorts of things, having that muscle, that a leadership of company has to support, for you to say, this is my time I’ve committed to my teams. Because if you say that, I guarantee other managers maybe like, you know what? I should probably say that too. So holding that time firm. So having those instinctual reflexes is really helpful.

I even had someone on a Tiktok that commented and said, I work in a factory and every single day our manager thanks us for showing up. And I used to think it was so corny and I once asked, why do you do that? And he said, because every day you have a choice of whether you do or don’t. And it means a lot to me to those that do. And he’s like, I thought about it totally differently and that aspect of thanks. But I think building those muscles can be helpful. Because as a manager, you’re going to be hit with all sorts of things, work wise and otherwise. But having just some of those built in reflexes and being that source where employees feel comfortable coming to you and have that trust, that’s leadership that will carry you through your whole career.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah, that’s awesome. And I feel very fortunate, and I’m going to do a plug for Mix here. I feel very fortunate to work at Mix Talent because our leaders care, and it’s a natural comfortable position for our leaders to always say thank you, or what do you think? And we really have a lot of win-wins, not only with our clients and our customers that we serve, but win-wins inside, because when I have a manager-employee meeting, we want to win together, and so it is important. And it is important to have that leadership training to go through the highs and the lows. And sometimes managers don’t always get it right. But trying again is really important. And at the end of the day, gratitude and grace, that’s what we always want in the workplace.

Ashley Herd:

That’s true.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah. So I’m going to borrow a question from the Chief community because I just really, really like this. And I wanted to know, what is your mantra in the mirror? We heard a Chief, I think it was actually Carolyn, who asked this of one of our Chief speakers, but what is your mantra in the mirror, Ashley?

Ashley Herd:

Well, I actually have gotten a new one lately, but I took from Atomic Habits by James Clear, which is a book that’s been around for a while, but I’ve just read. But it is, what kind of person do I want to be and is what I’m doing living up to that? And it’s this idea of steps, not a goal, but just those everyday steps and what am I doing in every moment to be that kind of person that I want to be. And that’s been really powerful for me, or just a great instinct for me to think through as I go through my day, how I work professionally or in my personal life as well. But what about you?

Paige Nelson:

I like that one. I’m going to have to read that book, Atomic, what is it?

Ashley Herd:

Atomic Habits.

Paige Nelson:

Atomic Habits. Okay. Let me put on my book list. But for me, I really have been thinking recently about happiness. We have highs and lows in our life and our workplace, but happiness is important and I want to achieve it every day. So my mantra in the mirror, when I think about each and every day getting up, I’m not going to put the keys of my happiness in someone else’s pocket. And so I tell myself that every morning, don’t put your keys to happiness in someone else’s pocket. And I try to live by that.

Ashley Herd:

I love that.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah. Thanks. All right. Before we wrap up, I have two important questions for you, we ask of all of our guests.

Ashley Herd:

Okay.

Paige Nelson:

First, what is your favorite song?

Ashley Herd:

I have to say Hard Way Home by Brandi Carlile. My go-to. I like to listen to it, I like to play it on guitar. The first is much better for everyone to hear than the second. But yes.

Paige Nelson:

Good. We’re going to add that to our Spotify. Awesome. Good, good. And second, what is your favorite interview question that you have asked or been asked, and we’d love to learn more about that.

Ashley Herd:

I love the interview question of asking other people what has been your career highlight or something that meant a lot to you in your career. Because so many times in an interview people are nervous and they’re trying to think through and talk about the challenges they faced and dealt with a challenging personality. But when you can kind of flip it, you can see someone almost become more relaxed and you see that pride, and I think it’s helpful because you may find out in that the things they work on are not really what this position is, what’s going to focus on. And that can be a challenge, but oftentimes it’s better to know that. But to see that in someone’s pride can just be awesome.

Paige Nelson:

Yeah. Ashley, it’s been a joy to be here with you and it’s an honor and a privilege to talk through all of your Manager Method, your thoughts on leadership, employees, and it’s an honor to be your friend. So thank you so much and we’ll look forward to seeing you more on LinkedIn and TikTok.

Ashley Herd:

Thank you. It’s been such a pleasure, Paige.

Natalie Taylor:

Thank you so much to Paige and Ashley for that wonderful conversation. We’ve covered a lot of ground, a lot of topics.

Valerie McCandlish:

Just like my Tiktok feed.

Natalie Taylor:

Just like your Tiktok feed. Tying it all in.

Valerie McCandlish:

Tying it all in. Next time, one of Ashley’s, “Hey, Luke” videos pops up on my feed, I’m going to think, I know her.

Natalie Taylor:

Right? It’s so cool. We are so honored that she joined us here on the Mix team.

Valerie McCandlish:

I know, and I totally agree that there are just a lot of topics that they covered, and I have so many takeaways, so I’ll try to keep it short. But one of them that I really appreciate that they addressed was that earned trust with management, and how that really goes both ways between employees and their leaders. Because from my perspective, working with candidates who are interviewing for these jobs, it could be the best place to work in the whole world, but if the manager is not someone that you’re going to trust or isn’t going to be a strong person to work with, it’s not going to be an ideal place to be, because that’s who you’re spending a lot of your time with, and that’s how you’re going to feel like you’re going to continue to develop is if you have someone who’s a true leader, not just your manager. So I think really understanding that it is such a trusting relationship can be a huge impact on how you continue to excel in your career.

Natalie Taylor:

I agree. And that kind of ties into this quiet quitting concept that we’re seeing all over the place. We’re all still trying to figure out exactly what that means. It’s taken on sort of a meaning of its own, depending on who you talk to, but I think having that earned trust amongst your team, employees and leaders, that can help to avoid conversations like that or topics about quiet quitting in that regard. Just if you have that trust and there’s open lines of communication, then you can sort of avoid that quiet quitting.

Valerie McCandlish:

Phenomenon.

Natalie Taylor:

Tough phenomenon.

Valerie McCandlish:

Yes, exactly. And another thing too is that Ashley and Paige had mentioned the organization Chief a couple of times, and I’m really glad they brought it up and how cool for them to have gotten to know each other through this organization, which is a professional network for women in leadership. And I actually learned about it because my soon to be mother-in-law is a member of Chief as well.

Natalie Taylor:

Cool.

Valerie McCandlish:

So there are chapters all over the country that kind of centralize and bring women together. And I really loved how they described it, like sharpening iron because there are these just incredible women who are paving the way for others and are supporting each other. And, how cool, they have amazing guest speakers. In the past year they’ve had Amy Poehler, Shonda Rhimes, and Michelle Obama.

Natalie Taylor:

Just some speakers, just casual speakers.

Valerie McCandlish:

Yeah, they’re not very well known.

Natalie Taylor:

Yeah. It’s a very cool organization. And another cool thing is that Ashley just casually threw in there that she also plays guitar. I mean, what does she not do?

Valerie McCandlish:

Yeah, I mean, we’ve got some Hard Way Home by Brandi Carlile to add to the Mix tape playlist, but I wonder if we can find a little guitar version from Ashley…

Natalie Taylor:

Acoustic from Ashley onto the Mix tape.

Valerie McCandlish:

Of Hard Way Home. I would love that.

Natalie Taylor:

Maybe. Yeah, maybe she’ll put a TikTok version up.

Valerie McCandlish:

Ooh.

Natalie Taylor:

We got some ideas for you, Ashley.

Valerie McCandlish:

So thanks again for Ashley and Paige for joining us today on the Mix Tape and for all of you for listening in, we’ve got just a couple episodes left of this season and appreciate everyone listening along. And with that, thanks for being in the Mix. We’ll see you next week.

 

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