Episode 157.5 – Green Apple Slice


Researchers: Compassion From Managers Boosts Employee Productivity



The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a HR Dive article, “Researchers: Compassion from managers boosts employee productivity” by Valerie Bolden-Barrett.


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    Happy Monday. It’s John Garrett with another episode of Green Apple Slices. I have on the other line the Accountants Group Leader for Sage in Canada, Rachel Fisch.

    Rachel: Hello. How are you?

    John: Thank goodness you answered. I’m great. I always get nervous that I’m going to say your name, and then you hang up.

    Rachel: Click and then like that dial tone, yeah.

    John: Yeah, but I’m excited. I’m getting packed to come to Vancouver later today, because tomorrow morning is Sage Sessions.

    Rachel: And then all day long. So rehearsal this afternoon, and then Sage Sessions all day tomorrow. And then the day after, we’ve got our new fiscal year kickoff happening in our Vancouver office. So yeah, no, it’ll be good week.

    John: Wow. Very cool, yeah. I’ve never been to Vancouver, so I’m looking forward to that.

    Rachel: Oh, the venue is amazing. The Convention Center is fantastic. Hopefully, we get it on a clear day because you are basically right down in the harbor, looking at the mountains across the harbor, so it’s very cool.

    John: Oh, wow, that sounds fantastic. And if not, we can just get like Florida ceiling posters, right, that make it look like…

    Rachel: Mountains.

    John: I think it’s in my writer. As a speaker, I think I asked for that. But yeah, I’m super excited. But before I do, I thought we’d throw out another Green Apple Slices as we do every Monday. I found this article on hrdrive.com. It says that “Compassion from the managers boosts employee productivity.” A lot of it was based on some research, apparently, new research at Binghamton University out of State University of New York. I can’t believe that you have to do a study for this, to be honest,

    Rachel: And I can’t believe that — you actually got the name wrong. It’s HR Dive which then explains the terms deep dive, dive brief, and dive insight.

    John: It is HR Dive. You’re right.

    Rachel: Not that my whole mission in life is to correct you.

    John: No, but then we don’t want people going to greenapplepodcast.com clicking on the link and getting confused.

    Rachel: Right, that would not be good. Yeah, there’s a few research here. The first one is Binghamton University, and then another one is the Businesssolver Report and then the West Monroe Partners study. So it kind of tricks you a little bit. You’re like, “Oh, this is nice and short. I can read some highlights.” And then, no, you have to click on the links to get to the reports, which, of course, are not just three paragraphs long.

    John: No, not at all. But that’s why you listen to the Green Apple Podcast is so then we can shorten it up for you.

    Rachel: That’s right.

    John: Yeah, it’s hilarious to me that there was a study and the results show that managers who show compassion to their subordinates and people that report to them nearly always improves workers’ performance, like really? How is it not 100%? I don’t understand how it’s nearly improves.

    Rachel: Right, unless you’re working with people who don’t like compassion. I’m not really sure you had a whole — kind of like the science of empathy program at Deloitte while I was there. I mean, there were definitely some good insights. It definitely helps to be aware of the different personality styles that you could be dealing with and then how to change your reaction to things or the way that you present to accommodate those, the empathy part of things, but ultimately it came out like, don’t be an ass. Be human. Connect with people genuinely. I mean, that’s kind of your whole message.

    John: Much harder than it sounds to do, apparently. Well, I mean, what’s crazy is I guess there’s training for it. In 60% of managers who oversee at least two employees reported having no training at all. I mean, it’s crazy. It’s so important just to have that compassion for the people that are working for you and just understanding what’s going on in their life and also what they’re passionate about.

    I saw a breakout session a couple of weeks ago when I was at CPA Ontario’s, when I was the closing speaker there, for the Not-For-Profit Conference. Marisa Murray was there, and she did a breakout session. She wrote a book called Work Smart. She was talking about how, if you’re very dominating and authoritative, then cortisol is what fills up your brain. Cortisol is just when you’re stressed, and it makes you in that fight or flight mode all the time. You can’t have any creative thinking at all. Whereas if you’re encouraging and compassionate and all that, then the front of your brain and the higher level thinking is able to happen more because of the oxytocin and the good chemicals in your brain for business.

    So it’s just interesting. She was saying, basically, if you feel like you’re the smartest person in the room and you have to tell everyone what to do all the time, then that’s not a good place to be. You should be in the room and be in awe of everyone else’s talents around you. Yeah, sure, you might have the most experience or you might know how to best do it, but it might not actually be the best way because someone else has a different perspective or a different angle to it. Maybe some of it has to do with their passions outside of work. You should embrace that and be in awe of what they can do and what they can bring to the table that probably you can’t.

    Rachel: Well, for sure. I’ve heard it another way, basically saying, if you feel like you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

    John: Right.

    Rachel: I think that as a manager, as a people leader, you need to be learning in order to teach, right? You need to be led in order to lead others. I think anybody who thinks they’ve got it figured out are probably the ones that have it the least figured out. So keeping that part of your brain and your heart open to those connections, I think not only allows you to learn and kind of grow as a person, but it really does allow those connections between coworkers or peers or clients or whatever those relationships are in a much more powerful way. So people do business with you because of who you are and not always because of the company that you represent as I’ve certainly found over my last, I don’t know, 15 months here at Sage. So yeah, just keep your heart and your brain open.

    John: Absolutely. No, that’s really fantastic. Really good takeaway right there.

    Rachel: Hey, thanks.

    John: Absolutely. Where has that been the last year and a half that we’ve been doing this? No, I’m just kidding. See, that was cortisol going into your brain right there because you were angry, and you were like, “If this was in person, I’m going to punch you. But instead, I’ll wait till tomorrow morning when I see you Sage Sessions, John.

    Rachel: I’ll wait for tomorrow.

    John: “And I will give you a black eye when you go on stage.

    Rachel: No, I’ll wait for you to get off stage.

    John: See, you’re so kind, so compassionate, so Canadian. But I’m super excited to see everybody in Vancouver. Yeah, we’re going to have a lot of fun. So enjoy the rest of today. I’m not even going to say the rest of the week because I’ll say that when I see you tomorrow.

    So yeah, but check out greenapplepodcast.com has a link to the article there. You can see all the past episodes that we’ve had. And yeah, don’t forget to hit Subscribe and follow us on Twitter and GreenApplePod or FischBooks or RecoveringCPA. Yeah, we’ll talk to you then. So I’ll see you tomorrow, Rachel. Have a good one.

    Rachel: See you tomorrow, John. You too.

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