Episode 110: Changing your workplace after Covid – with Sarah Hosein of Sarah Hosein Coaching

How can workplaces change for the better as we return to the office?  Some of you may want to continue working from home or work more flexible hours, but what other beneficial changes is there now an opportunity to make?

Leadership coach Sarah Hosein discusses how organisations can make a new and better workplace post-Covid and how you can approach conversations at work to encourage those changes.

Today’s guest

Sarah Hosein

Website: Sarah Hosein

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Sarah Hosein is a Leadership Coach who works with people to develop their leadership style, navigate the complexities of workplaces and make career transitions with boldness and grace.

A graduate of the London School of Economics, where she studied international relations, Sarah earned her master’s degree at King’s College London in international management.  Her global experience as a healthcare executive, in addition to her multicultural background, informs her work today.

Sarah’s prior roles include managing emergency departments in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service; leading strategy implementation at Harvard’s teaching hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; teaching business management in Sierra Leone; and leading innovation of services at Planned Parenthood in New York City.

Sarah is also a member of the International Coaching Federation and supports people to take real action to build the career or business they desire, getting to the place where they make the impact they want in this world.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • [1:58] Who can benefit from a leadership coach and how it can help people in their careers.
  • [3:55] How Sarah pivoted from working in healthcare to starting her own coaching business.
  • [7:14] Why now is the perfect time to instigate change within your workplace.
  • [10:45] How to have more open and honest relationships with your colleagues.
  • [17:42] How to identify the type of work that brings you the most satisfaction.
  • [22:30] Ways to influence how things are done in your workplace when you might not have direct authority.
  • [27:02] Effective ways to identify areas that can be improved within your workplace.
  • [29:48] Specific areas that are ripe for change in many workplaces.
  • [31:39] The benefits of change both for the organisation and its employees.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.

Episode 110: Changing your workplace after Covid - with Sarah Hosein of Sarah Hosein Coaching

Jeremy Cline 0:00
Some of you, as a consequence of the pandemic, will have made some pretty significant and substantial changes to your career. Maybe it's led you to change careers entirely or to start your own business. But for many of you, it's not these big changes that you necessarily want to make, but some of the smaller changes that we've been forced into as a result of the pandemic. You want to stay in the same job, but you'd like to make a few tweaks around the edges. Maybe in terms of your ability to work from home every now and then, or to work more flexible hours. As we start to return to the offices, how can you make these changes a reality? Who do you speak to about making your working environment suit you a bit better? That's what we talk about in this episode. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.

Jeremy Cline 1:00
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, the podcast where we're all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. As things hopefully return to some kind of normality, after pandemic lockdowns and social distancing, many of you will have learned a lot about how you like to work. Whether it's working from home or working more flexible hours, I bet there's a lot of you who really don't want everything to go about the way it was before COVID hit. So, what can you do? Is now the time to make suggestions to your employer about how things might be done differently? If so, how do you approach them? To talk about all this, I'm delighted this week to be joined by Sarah Hosein, a former healthcare executive. Sarah is now a leadership coach who helps people develop their leadership style, discover the strength of their voices and make decisions from a place of self-authority. Sarah, welcome to the podcast.

Sarah Hosein 1:50
Hi, delighted to be here.

Jeremy Cline 1:52
Can you start by telling us more about the sort of people you coach, what it is that's led them to get coaching in the first place?

Sarah Hosein 1:58
Yeah, there's three areas that generally people come to coaching for. One is navigating career transitions, and I will say how to do that with boldness and grace. And the second thing's around how do you define your unique leadership style, what does that look like for you. And then, the third thing is usually around navigating complexities of corporate workplaces, particularly for those from minority groups. So, how do you sort of approach things in sort of heavy or bureaucratic workplaces? And you know, when people come to coaching, they say various things. One is, you know, maybe something super tangible, like 'I want to get my next promotion'. Sometimes it's 'Yeah, I want to sort of discover more around, like who I want to be, what the impact I want to make in the world and what my vision is for the future'. So, it varies. And then, as we go through coaching, we discover more of their sort of areas of focus.

Jeremy Cline 2:54
Just on the leadership side, what's the sort of frame of mind that someone's in where they think, 'Oh, yeah, no, I need leadership coaching'? What's kind of triggered that response?

Sarah Hosein 3:03
A few things, some is they've had not so great experiences of own bosses, of other leaders, and they're trying to figure out, 'Okay, how do I find a workplace where I could work with other leaders identify with? 'The second thing is, people will say to me, 'I want to be more consistent. As a leader, I want to be consistent, or I want people to know what they can expect of me, what I'm really about.' And the third thing really is around the self-authority piece, that they want to feel clearer around who they really are when they're sitting at that table, how do they want to say the thing they want to say and be very clear about what their expectations are for themself as a leader too.

Jeremy Cline 3:50
Touching on your own background, how did you end up in the healthcare space in the first place?

Sarah Hosein 3:54
In a few different ways. My dad is an infectious disease doctor, and so, I always had this in my family. And he's worked globally, and I've always been drawn to thinking about inequities. When I went to university, I studied international relations, I've always been drawn to understanding where I can make a difference and contribute my time in a way that's impactful. And so, healthcare is, you know, direct impact, right? You're there every day in the hospital. And when I started working in hospitals, I loved the energy of it. I loved the team environment, I love the fast pace of it. And so, I continued on my path in healthcare, and my first job was in emergency departments, which I absolutely loved, it was one of my favourite jobs. And so, I was just really drawn into how do we make this like minute by minute, day to day impact, and then also, larger, systemic, societal wide change. I think healthcare sort of steps there for all of us. And so, yeah, I've just always been fascinated by that question. And yeah, love, I love it.

Jeremy Cline 5:01
How did you end up pivoting from that to what you're doing now?

Sarah Hosein 5:05
So, you know, my story is, I worked my way up and through healthcare. I've worked and I've had 10 different roles in healthcare, it was I think about in four cities and three countries. And, you know, across that time when I was making all these career transitions or figuring out where I wanted to go next, I sought out coaching, or coaching sought out me, people recommended it. And it really helped me to gain that level of clarity about why and where I was going, and for what, what were the really core reasons, what were my driving forces in my career. And so, coaching helped me along the way, when I felt burnt out at times, when I felt exhausted, when I felt like I didn't know where I was going. And so, now as a coach, I get to support people to do those things. And I think having been through many transitions, having sort of risen the ranks and felt satisfied or dissatisfied at times, I understand some of these complexities, I bring all of that, in addition to my multicultural background, it's something that really informs my coaching, and some of the beauty and challenges of that experience.

Jeremy Cline 6:15
Awesome. So, the topic in hand, and let's just set a bit of background, so we're recording this in May 2021, and things are hopefully returning to some kind of normality, and there's much more serious talk about offices reopening and people being expected to go back to the office for a number of days a week, it seems to vary from company to company. And some of us would definitely have preferred some of the changes that we've had to live with over the past 12-18 months, whether it being more working at home, whether it being more working flexibly, or whatever they might be. As we start to go back to working in an office, is now the time for people to speak up at the workplace about possibly changing the way things were done or not reverting back to what they always were, before the pandemic hit?

Sarah Hosein 7:14
It absolutely is. And I was reflecting on this, I was on the subway in New York City yesterday, and it felt much busier, and I was thinking about all those times when I was travelling into Manhattan every day to go to my job and be in by 8 AM and worried about the trains and all these things. And I suppose I was reflecting on how little flexibility there used to be, and how do we use these learnings, this point of discovery from the last year, and all the discomfort and sometimes pain that we've all been through to leverage and to say, 'Okay, what do we want to do with all of this?' And both, I think, from an employee perspective, from who you are as an individual, and from an employer perspective, and where can we find some new common ground? Where can we innovate? Where can we say, okay, this isn't backwards, this isn't buckling down or putting stakes in the ground. This is our new way of being, that it's okay to say, 'Hey, I need this or I need that', or, you know, 'Things have changed in my life'. I think that there's more room to say that now, more than ever, is what I'm observing.

Jeremy Cline 8:30
What sort of changes can we be advocating at the moment? I mean, there's the obvious ones, like more working from home, and clearly, that's going to make a difference to some people. But what changes do you think we've seen during the course of the pandemic, other positive changes, which people might go back to their workplace and say, 'Well, what about introducing this on a more permanent basis?'

Sarah Hosein 8:56
You know, it's been a really interesting thing and observation that I've had is, more people are telling their personal stories. There's been this expectation that we go into the workplace, and we're sort of these blank, right, we can say certain things in the workplace, and not other things, about our family life and our personal life, for fear that it will be perceived as getting in the way. And so, I think that we can encourage telling our story, and that can be role-modelled from top leadership. And that's going to be a really effective way to identify what needs to change. Because when we sort of pick and choose and say, 'Okay, we'll change this, we'll change that', we might not be getting to the root of what's really going on for people, and allowing that space to say, okay, what's different now to what was different six months ago and allowing that sort of adaptability to emerge over time. So, yeah, that's some of it. And then, I have a few specific things that I think can definitely be redesigned in the workplace, for sure.

Jeremy Cline 10:02
I certainly want to hear those specific things. But first, this point about telling stories. So, presumably, you're not talking necessarily about client facing, branding, you know, suddenly everything is about the people who work for the organisation that provides the product or service, but you're talking about internally, people having conversations with managers or with each other about their own personal circumstances. I'm curious as to how that might manifest itself. How would you approach it? How do you avoid the potential discomfort of it and make it sort of a positive thing, rather than, it could be quite cringe worthy, I suppose.

Sarah Hosein 10:45
Yeah. And you know, I think there's this long-standing question in the workplace around can we really bring our whole selves to the workplace, and yeah, what is the discomfort or the risk or the gains around that. And I think that, what we're discovering now is sometimes throughout this year people have been asked more around how are you doing, how are you really doing, and having more of those real conversations. And so, in terms of how to approach, there's a couple of different ways that come to mind. One is in your one-on-one meetings, how do you make it less transactional and more sort of engaging in general? How do leaders take responsibility to ask those more open questions? But also, in these sorts of team environments, having these group discussions and creating more open forums and safe spaces, and we can talk about what safe spaces look like, brings this level of transparency about, we are these whole people, we know this, than why are we continuously shutting down parts of ourself? In terms of the discomfort, my sense is, as more leaders do this, you create habits, you create new ways of sort of being in the workplace, and it sort of flows from there. That's not to say that it doesn't come with complexities. It's to say that, I believe that is the direction we should be going in, because otherwise, there's something that you're holding back on in saying, in your workplace, and I think this is true for many different groups in many different ways. But you know, to all the listeners, there's something that you're hesitant to speak up about to your boss or to your colleagues, and so, my encouragement is we need to start trickling it in more and using this year as a learning that we do have these whole lives, so how are we going to keep on talking about it and sort of normalise this and use it as an opportunity.

Jeremy Cline 12:44
I think that's really interesting point you make, because I think there's a lot of people who, when they go to work, it's kind of like they put a mask on. And there's their work persona, and there's their home persona, and there may be some differences between the two. And possibly, breaking that down, so that people can feel more authentic at work, they can be more of their true selves at work, is that kind of the direction that you see people going?

Sarah Hosein 13:15
Yes, and that we can all trust each other more. I think that some of this is around, you know, this fear is around, if I say I have to go pick up my kids, if we use that example that's in everyday life, and I have to leave at 4 PM, how is that going to be perceived by others around my commitment to work? And this is a very real thing that is well documented around who's going to get the promotion if they think that you have other responsibilities. We all have other responsibilities. And I think that we have to trust, we have to build trust in our employees, and their story, their life, their full life does not detract from their commitment to their work. And I think that there is a growing narrative around, we want people who are working all hours of the day, seven days a week and kind of moving at this faster pace than anyone, you see these job descriptions now. And I don't think that's the direction we should be going and why should we expect people, particularly in the culture that I work in, in New York City, why should we be expecting people to be there all hours of the day and always on? So, I think that we need to trust that people will know how to do their jobs, and that they will find their ways to be productive, and they will tell you if they feel trusted.

Jeremy Cline 14:34
How would you approach a line manager with this suggestion of having these safe spaces, and perhaps you can talk about what you mean by safe spaces, but having these safe space conversations, where you get to know each other personally, without it sounding like it's going to be some kind of round the campfire Kumbaya kind of thing?

Sarah Hosein 14:55
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, in your one-to-one, as a leader, listen really carefully what the person in front of you is saying, what you're observing about what their energy is like, how they're doing. I think so often where we're moving at a million miles an hour, that we're not really observing our team. We're saying, 'Hey, here's the five tasks I need you to get done this week.' We're not asking what's really getting in your way, what is your barrier to progress, what do you need more of, is there something else I can do for you. I don't often hear leaders asking enough of those questions. And so, when I think about bringing groups together, it's sort of collating all of that to say, 'Here's the theme I'm hearing, how do we come together to figure out what we're going to do about this?' And so, it's kind of around that, rather than kind of what you're saying, which doesn't feel very, you know, yeah, it feels welcoming, but it's not necessarily what you want to be doing in the workplace, right? It's sort of sitting around the table and sharing something that is just sharing for the sake of it. It needs to be actionable for people to participate in these sorts of things.

Jeremy Cline 16:07
Actionable is the right word, isn't it? Because there's nothing wrong with team building exercises and away days, and that kind of thing, when we had away days, and it actually could be quite fun. But then, a week later, it would be entirely forgotten. So, I think what I'm saying is that these conversations need to go somewhere, they need to lead to some kind of a shift or a change within the team or the organisation.

Sarah Hosein 16:33
Yeah, and I hear a lot of things in my private one-on-one coaching, that you might not hear out there in the workplace. And people have things to say that they are holding back on, because they fear that, if they say it, there'll be repercussions. And so, this is around responsibility in organisations to create that openness. And I'm seeing some of that, I think there's room for a lot more, and so where we started the conversation, there's responsibility on both sides to sort of create, contribute the information and take the actions. And so, yeah, it's about us all taking more responsibility, I think, to redesign and rethink our workplaces.

Jeremy Cline 17:22
Just on that point, where is the dividing line? Is there a dividing line between what individual employees should take responsibility for themselves, and what they can encourage or expect their employers to take responsibility for? A quote that I came across recently is that happiness is largely an inside job. So, in other words, it's your own sort of mindset and beliefs, and how you approach things from within determines to a large extent how satisfied you are with things. So, how much should employees just get on with shifting their own mindset, versus talking to employers and maybe having some kind of expectation that employers will implement some kind of changes?

Sarah Hosein 18:17
Yeah, I love what you're saying about the happiness piece. It's sort of like, how do you build towards more daily satisfaction, fulfilment, balance, those sorts of words, because yeah, that sort of pursuit, just kind of look externally for what our employers will do and then I'll suddenly feel happier. That is not the case, and so, it's really, yeah, I love that you reminded us of that. And so, the inside job piece, what comes to mind, I have this acronym SELF. And so, SELF is, so the acronym is S is Specialist. What am I absolutely brilliant at? What am I just like contributing at my highest level? What am I getting good feedback on? What am I great at? This is this reflection piece on what am I celebrating about myself. And then, the E in SELF is Energised. Back to your point about the Sunday blues, what gets me up on Monday morning. And yeah, what is it? What is it that a Monday morning is better than a Tuesday morning or Wednesday morning or Saturday morning? And so, paying attention to really what energises you. And then, the L is Learn, what do I need to learn next? Back to that individual, what am I discovering about myself? How am I growing? What do I want more of what's next? And then Focus, the F in SELF is actions. This is back to, now I know all of this about myself, what is my specific ask of my workplace? What do I exactly need from my boss? And so, I like to sort of start there with that piece of, as you've said, like how much should employee shift their inner ways of thinking or doing. And then, as an employee, you're just clear on what you're asking. So, it's not like everything's going wrong, it's like this is what I need, this is what I need. And then, on the employer side, then they can hear it in a more specific way. And then on the employer side is back to what questions are you asking. Are you asking your employees questions like that? You know, around what are you really enjoying about this project. Why are you enjoying it? Who are you enjoying working with? What's not going so well? And asking those sort of very open, precise questions can get you huge gains, rather than the directive, here's our work plan for this year, and how does this all fit for you, asking for feedback after the point is a different approach. So, I think back to this openness, I think, can make big gains on the employer side.

Jeremy Cline 20:59
This is a really interesting point. And it touches on the way that an employer can encourage employees to think about using your SELF acronym, so how employers can effectively act as coaches really to their employees. I mean, I have to think that there would be some benefit in coaching of some description, whether it's mindset, performance, leadership, whatever, being offered to all employees in an organisation. It doesn't have to be formal external coaching, but it could be the leaders, the managers being asked, or being trained, I suppose, to ask these sorts of questions. How would you make that sort of thing happen, if you're not a leader? Okay, let's leave aside whether, in fact, everybody is a leader, which there's a school of thought they are, but if hierarchically, you're not a decision-maker, how can you start to encourage this sort of approach in a workplace?

Sarah Hosein 22:09
Yeah, what comes to mind is this piece around how do you influence without direct authority. So, if we say that sort of leaders are the ones with teams and direct influence, so I think that's sort of what you're pointing to. And where I'd start is, in every interaction and every moment, you have the opportunity to engage in a different way, and get people on board with whatever you're doing. If you're the project coordinator, and you're in a room full of all sorts of people from different levels in the organisation, you still have some power, you, of course, have some power in that room. What's your point of power? You know, it's when you're giving the update, or you're saying, 'Here's how this is going, this is what we need.' And your way of communicating, your style of communicating, your way of saying, okay, well, anybody can ask that question, what's getting in your way? Anybody can ask that, you don't have to have formal authority to ask most of these questions. And this will make you seem, because you are being, just curious, just open, just kind of wanting to know more about people, wanting to know more about their role or how things are going with them. And so, I think it's this different way of engaging, and I think that we can all do that. So, that's sort of one example that comes to mind, take all the opportunities, ask more, just really ask the question that you want to know about the person in front of you. Look at the person in front of you and say, 'What do I really want to know about them? What's going on for them right now?'

Jeremy Cline 23:55
How would you deal with objections? Let's say you're having a one-to-one with your line manager, and you've got this idea that, yeah, maybe if we were a bit more open, and you know, have these opportunities to find out a bit more about people and what's motivating them, what their fears are, what their concerns are, that sort of thing. So, you suggest this to your line manager, and maybe you get a bit of a kind of eye roll, 'Oh, that will never work here', kind of response. What would you do in that sort of situation?

Sarah Hosein 24:27
I think, back to your point around some of these things can feel really uncomfortable, especially where we've been expected to operate in a certain way and say certain things, and now, you're sort of shifting. I think that planning ahead and predicting some of these reactions can lead you to feel less off guard, and sort of saying, okay, given what I know about what I'm asking for, what the suggestion is, what are the three things I'm expecting my manager to say? And you know, I think when you plan ahead and sort of do that, you can layer on a bit of confidence, you can try and sort of say it in the way that you want to say it. I think that there's only so much we can predict about leaders' reactions, managers' reactions, and so, there's a few options. One is, throw it out there with no attachment, say, 'Hey, I was thinking this, this is an idea, this is what I've been hearing, what do you think about it?' And if the reaction is the eye roll, okay, give it a bit of space, go back to base and say, 'Okay, well, that was the reaction. What do I want to do next?' Seek out out a conversation with a colleague, a mentor or somebody, to say, 'Okay, what is it now that I can do differently here?' And then, some of it is also around, what is the mood of the organisation overall, who else is feeling this way or experiencing things in this way. And this isn't to say you need to bring together your own group to sort of, you know, collusion around a specific topic. It's just to say, okay, am I really off point here, am I really on point here and sort of gauging these things. And that's just a useful tool for anything we're going to do in our workplace, or suggestions we're going to make, it's just sort of saying, 'Who can I get on board with this?' or, 'What I' expecting, is this really unreasonable? 'And so, thinking about other ways to influence as well. But yeah, giving someone space, giving them space for a pause, you don't know how the next conversation is going to be, it's not always about you and your suggestion, it might be for whatever's going on with them and their day, you don't know what the other 10 suggestions are. So, kind of giving, bringing that confidence and say, 'Okay, I've said my thing, now I can adjust, move forward, think about what I want to do next.'

Jeremy Cline 26:33
You mentioned that you have a couple of other specific ideas for things that people could suggest that might be changed at the workplace. Should we start to talk about those?

Sarah Hosein 26:59
Yes, I think a lot about the team meeting structure, and I'm hearing there's more and more just, people just being more and more drained by the floating heads on the screens, or they turn their cameras off, and so what can we do. You know, you have to keep changing the way that you structure these things. So, yes, we need frameworks, we need frameworks to report back. But we also need flexibility. We also need to keep adapting, and be open to that. And so, one way is to say, is to kind of just keep redesigning and asking in different ways from the team, like what's really going on this week, what's getting in your way, it's something we talked about, but ask those questions in different ways. Just keep shaking it up every week, don't kind of say, 'Alright, this is the three things we talk about every week. That's what we're going to do.' And I used that tone, because I hear that's how it is for some people in the workplace right now. And so, it's sort of like, how are we going to, when we think about the team meetings, how are we going to continue to be like the great adapters? How do we keep on building and shifting and changing and saying, 'This is the way that we do these things'? So, yes, the team meetings, you absolutely need to know what's going on, what are the project updates, but what else are you going to ask? What else are you going to do next? And so, looking outwards and saying, 'Okay, what are other organisations doing to restructure their days, to think about how they reflect on the week that's just gone or the week ahead? How to have quicker, more precise updates, how to keep changing things?' And then, see, the key thing is observe really what's going on around you, and say, 'Hey, is this really', just like even interject and be like, ''Is this really working for you?' Why people are turning their cameras off?' Because you know what, that will shake everyone to turn the cameras on and say, 'Okay, if this isn't working, what can we do differently?' Back to the sort of a collective responsibility, people have a ton of suggestions, we think that they don't, but they do. It's about how you ask the questions to get them to make their own suggestions about how the company can work better.

Jeremy Cline 29:11
Meetings, for the sake of meetings, I think is definitely something which could be changed, as well as the format of meetings and the fact that they may, or they may not have a particular structure, or you may end up just talking about the same things over and over again. I think this is possibly an idea for a future podcast episode I might explore. So, aside from looking at things like that, I mean, is there anything else that comes to mind that people can go back and think, 'Okay, now is a really great opportunity to change X, Y, Z', anything specifically that you've seen or that comes to mind?

Sarah Hosein 29:44
You know, I think that it's back to, you know, I think about strategic planning in the workplace, and it's kind of like, okay, we're going to do these sort of laborious, you know, five-year plans, and there is this time and space for that, but how do we create organisations that sort of collect more information from everyone, that it's not just like the top leadership developing the strategic plan all the time, and saying, 'This is where we're going and this is what we think we need in the market.' You've got to get more people involved with what's going on. Because what I've seen a lot in the last few years is, the strategic plan comes out, and it's delivered to the rest of the organisation. And everyone says, 'Oh, I didn't think that should be in it.' And so, we have to figure out ways to kind of flip the process. And I think that, if you restructure your team meetings, if you have more effective one-to-ones, if you are asking more of these open questions, you're going to get more feedback in general, around where's everyone seeing the direction of this company, how aligned are we. And so, when you get to the point of implementation, it's going to go a bit smoother. It's not going to feel as heavy and clunky and all these things. So, that's something that comes to mind around what can specifically be done differently. Because I think there's a lot of just like archaic use of these models of like, you know, 'This is the way, this is the formula for developing a strategic plan.' And I'm not quite sure it's working in the way that companies want it to.

Jeremy Cline 31:13
So, if you're advocating a change along these lines, and a company might say, 'Well, we've quite successfully been doing this for however long.' What's the benefit for the company, for the employer? How would you say, 'This is not just good for us employees, but actually, this is going to have a positive effect on the business as a whole'?

Sarah Hosein 31:36
Yeah, there's measures of success. What do we mean by success? And yeah, sort of using that reflection piece of, yeah, we've been successful in this way, financial, I don't know, the usual sort of scorecard indicators that are used, but it's like, what do we want to be going forward? What do we as an organisation want to be known for? When our employees go out into the world, what do they say about us as employer? What do they say when they go to see their friends at the weekend? And you know, this is all about our external branding as companies and again, it's like, is it really all that aligned? Because if it's just the top player of the organisation say, 'We're successful, we've met our metrics for this year', but you have a bunch of employees who really have those Sunday blues, are not waking up on Monday morning energised. Like, how sustainable is that really? And so, you'll hear company say, 'Well, there's trade-offs to make', and we're seeing more and more companies actually say, 'No, our employee satisfaction, employee retention, employee wellbeing needs to be more at the centre.' And that's sort of going front and centre on some of these sort of tracking of success indicators. So, I think it's really reflecting on what does success really look like going forward. Because if you're in expansion mode, and your employees are not going out there and saying what a great company you are, there's a problem.

Jeremy Cline 33:12
There's been an awful lot of redundancies, people put on furlough, that sort of thing. How would you approach the discomfort about rocking the boat, versus the count yourself lucky if you've still got a job?

Sarah Hosein 33:29
Yeah, you know, it makes me reflect on when I was going into the workplace, it was the middle of the 2008 recession, and it very much was, not the same, but a similar vibe, get the next job you can get, and yeah, be grateful for it, and stick it out, those sorts of things. Things will keep adapting and changing. And how do you prepare yourself to be ready for it? So, no, I'm not saying we all need to go out into the workplace and demand things, but being clear about what you need, start to think about like, 'Where would I like to be in the next few years? How does this organisation really align with me?' Because it's not about the next three months and the next six months. It's about what's going to be in the next year, and how can I start to seek some of that out? I think it's a very challenging time right now for all sorts of reasons, and people are on edge for very valid and difficult challenges that they're facing. But we will re-emerge. We're all re-emerging, and we will continue to. And so, I suppose I believe in the resilience of us all, but I think I first believe in, get clear on what you really need, and then sort of look out and say, 'Okay, right now, this job kind of aligns 60%. But here's what it does give me right now. And this is what I'm going to recommit to in my workplace. And I value being here every day and doing the best that I can possibly do.' Because there's all learning in all these experiences, no matter how challenging they are, in this moment of which I recognise.

Jeremy Cline 35:12
Brilliant. Well, I think that's a great place to leave it. Do you have any books, quotes, resources, which you can recommend to the listeners, which have either helped you or you recommend to your clients?

Sarah Hosein 35:26
Yeah, something I'm reading right now, something I'm fascinated by and we've touched on today is, how do we get really clear on what our inner voice is telling us or guiding us in a particular direction? By that I mean, we all have these voices in our head, which say, 'I feel fearful about this. So, I need to go to my workplace and have everyone like me or please people in certain ways.' And some of these voices hold us back around making a career transition, speaking up in the workplace, building our confidence. And so, the book that I'm reading right now, it's called Chatter, the Voice in our Head, Why It Matters and How to Harness It. It was published earlier this year, it's by Ethan Kross. And I'm really enjoying it, and I've recommended it to a few of my clients, because it's really, it's the key thing that we have within our control, as we sort of approach our day-to-day in the workplace. Yeah, so that's one resource I would definitely recommend.

Jeremy Cline 36:28
And where can people go to find you, to find more about you, to get in touch with you?

Sarah Hosein 36:32
Yeah, they can go to sarahhosein.com. And I have details around the type of coaching that I do for individuals, teams and organisations. And then, on social media, I have snippets that I do every week with certain leadership tips, and so, they can find me on the usual sort of social media channels, on YouTube and Instagram and all those places. And yeah, it's been a delight to be here. I've loved our conversation.

Jeremy Cline 37:02
Oh, thank you very much. You've given us a lot to think about. Sarah, thanks so much for coming on the show.

Sarah Hosein 37:07
Thank you.

Jeremy Cline 37:09
Okay, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Sarah Hosein. I was really intrigued about Sarah's suggestion about encouraging more openness. How, if your leader and your colleagues are going to find out a bit more about you personally, then they will have a better idea about what you might need in order to do your job effectively. Say, if you've got childcare responsibilities. I think that's something that will definitely represent a pretty big shift in culture. It's certainly not a bad idea. But there's definitely a feeling amongst many of us of, well, this is what we're like at work, and this is what we're like at home. So, certainly, some interesting ideas about how we can break down that sort of barrier. I also really liked the idea of focusing on your ask, getting specific about what it is you actually want. Valissa Pierrelouis said something similar back in Episode 106. If you can get specific about what you actually want, what you want to change, and you can articulate it, then you've got a much better chance of achieving it, than if you're expressing some kind of vague discomfort, without having a clear idea about what needs to change. So, I hope there were some useful tips for you in that episode, and you'll find a summary of everything we talked about, as well as a transcript, on the show notes page for this episode, which you'll find at changeworklife.com/110 for Episode 110. This is one of those episodes with a lot of concepts that really deserve to be shared more widely, so it'd be great if you'd shared this episode. You'll find on the show notes page buttons where you can share it on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Or failing that, just email someone you know about it. Next week, we're continuing the theme about how organisations can better support their employees, and how you can persuade your organisation to do this kind of thing. So, make sure you're subscribed to the show if you're not already, and I can't wait to see you in next week's episode. Cheers. Bye.

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