Unlocking The Psychological Contract With Ethan Nash


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Episode Overview:

In "Unlocking the Psychological Contract with Ethan Nash," Skot Waldron delves into the profound implications of understanding and nurturing the psychological contract in organizations. Through an engaging dialogue with Ethan Nash, they explore how this implicit agreement between employers and employees influences workplace dynamics, productivity, and ultimately, organizational success. They discuss the importance of trust, communication, and alignment of expectations in fostering a healthy psychological contract, emphasizing its role in enhancing employee engagement and retention. Waldron and Nash offer insightful perspectives and practical strategies for leaders to cultivate a positive psychological contract, thereby fostering a culture of mutual respect, transparency, and fulfillment within their teams.

Additional Resources:

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Skot Waldron (00:01.196)
What's up, Ethan? It's good to see you, man.

Ethan Nash (00:03.597)
Scott, Scott with the K, good to see you as well.

Skot Waldron (00:06.67)
Here we go. So, uh, we had to talk for a little while in the meantime, you lived in a van by the river, um, in New Zealand, which sounds pretty awesome, man. Pretty awesome. So welcome back to the States.

Ethan Nash (00:21.645)
Thank you, yeah, I lived in a van by the river, by the ocean, in the mountains. My wife, Alyssa, and I were traveling all around New Zealand. And like I mentioned to you before we started recording, if there's one thing that's either gonna draw a couple really close together or break them apart, it's living in a minivan together for six weeks.

Skot Waldron (00:42.542)
Yeah, man. Well, I'm not going to ask you which one it did for you. I don't want to, you know, get into, I don't want you to, you know, unleash the news on my podcast unless, you know.

Ethan Nash (00:46.025)

Ethan Nash (00:52.353)
Yeah, yeah, you couldn't ask my wife about that. I think it drew us closer together. I'll just, I'll leave it at that.

Skot Waldron (00:58.158)
Good, good, good, good. Oh, that's awesome. Okay, man. Here's, here's my thing. What's your, what's your one takeaway from that experience? Um, just about life, love, relationships, the world, like, what is it? You had to have taken something. That's a pretty life, life -changing experience. So what was it?

Ethan Nash (01:18.029)

Ethan Nash (01:21.451)
Yeah, yeah. That's such a good question. You know, I'll tell you what, since we were camping the whole time, there were so many opportunities to just kind of look at a super bright night sky, all the stars, and there was just moments where I was looking up at the stars. And I know this sounds a bit trite or cliche here, but kind of looking up and just remembering like, wow, we are really small down here, aren't we? Like, wow.

Some of these stressors, quote unquote stressors in my life, they're really not that big of a deal, are they? Right? And so it was just this, I don't know if it was a new realization, but it was a pretty good reminder to relax a little bit. You know, there's so much just out of our control. And so, you know, relax. So that's, I think that was my motto that I took away and carried without me is, hey, just relax.

Loosen your grip a little bit on life.

Skot Waldron (02:23.566)
That's, that's pretty good. I, you seem like a pretty relaxed guy. I think even when I, uh, we were talking last time and, uh, doing, doing the conversation, it was just kind of like, you're always just kind of even like you're pretty, pretty level, you know? So.

Ethan Nash (02:40.141)
Yeah, thank you. I try to be. I've worked on that throughout my life a little bit, being a little more level. So I'm glad it's showing up. Yeah.

Skot Waldron (02:46.894)
Yeah. Good. Good. Well, um, also let me, let me ask you about this ultra marathon thing. So you're one of, I'm, I'm, I'm just going to say, um, with full on respect, you are one of those idiots. You know, so I'll, I'll say this full respect, man, but, Oh my God, like I hate running a mile. Yeah.

Ethan Nash (03:02.541)
I am one of those ideas, yes.

Ethan Nash (03:11.149)

Skot Waldron (03:12.034)
By myself, let alone that man I ride, I cycle. So I do a lot of cycling and I'll do long distances on my bike, but you know, I can coast down hills if I want to, when you run, there's no option to coast. You just like, you either stop or you keep moving. And so, you know, I always look at my runner buddies and I'm like, I can just coast and still go 20 miles an hour. So.

Ethan Nash (03:34.861)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, goodness, yeah. I agree, I am one of those idiots and I can't actually kind of believe that I'm doing these type of long distance stuff right now. Honestly, it was really organic. I was like you, I hated running. I grew up playing sports, but team sports, basketball, baseball, football, and like just going for a run was like, how would I do that? Like, no.

Skot Waldron (04:02.03)
Exactly. I'll write up a balls in front of me, but you know.

Ethan Nash (04:04.525)
Yeah, if I'm dribbling a ball, that makes sense. But you know, once you know, my wife actually got me into it, she was a runner and I actually found just a lot of relief in running. I like, you know, it relaxed me and you know, all my what I considered my best ideas came when I was running and it just became something that really just helped me in my life. And then I just kind of extended those the runs. So they were longer and longer and

thought, hey, why not sign up for one of these really long races? And yeah, I could go on and on about running and how it's transformed me, but that's probably not the point of this show. I will just say this, Scott, that I learn a lot about life through these really long races. So I'll leave it at that.

Skot Waldron (04:55.36)
I believe it. I did a solo ride. I did three centuries in a day. I mean, in three days, not in one day, and three days. And by the end of that, it was like, it was, and they were all solo, right? So it was just, you're just there with yourself and your thoughts. And there was so, like I got to the end, I saw my family, I just broke down and was like getting emotional. And it was just like,

That would just was tran transformed me in some little bit, you know, and, and I think those experiences are pretty important in life for all of us in some way. Um, so, you know, I encourage people, not that you have to go, you know, and do idiot runs as long as you do or idiot bike rides, as long as I do, but it's, uh, finding time to be with your own thoughts. There's, there's something magical there.

Ethan Nash (05:50.957)
Yeah, and that's some serious writing, Scott. I'm sure you had a moment on that trip or other trips where it's like, you are at a decision point, or you either choose to, do I keep going, or do I kind of quit at this point? And just that kind of battle with your thoughts there. And I don't know, I see that transferring to other aspects of my life, whether it's relationships and continuing to push through hard stuff or work or whatever it is. So, I don't know. I think...

Skot Waldron (06:19.372)
Yeah, man. That's good. That's good stuff. And I, and I just, I just want to introduce you to the world that way. Cause, uh, you've had some Epic experiences here recently. I don't usually start my shows this way, but it was just, you know, I just wanted to, I think it's interesting to get to know the guests and that, and that level, if they've done something like that, I think it's a, uh, it's really interesting just to find out the kind of person you are. I think it shapes how we do business and how we work and how you probably coach your clients, um, with.

Ethan Nash (06:20.301)
Pretty cool stuff.

Skot Waldron (06:48.662)
perspectives that you have like that. So really quick, introduce what you do to the world here for us.

Ethan Nash (06:56.173)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Introduce what I do to the world. I don't know if you have this experience as well, Scott, but I feel like any time I try to explain to somebody what I do, I just kind of get a look on their face like, huh, okay, I'm not sure I really get it. So I'll try here. I'm sure your audience is a little bit more in the know than others. But, you know, so I would say by training and practice, I describe myself as...

Skot Waldron (07:12.43)

Ethan Nash (07:24.945)
Practitioner of Organizational Development. So essentially, Nash Consulting is the company that I run. It was my father's company. My father started it about 25 years ago at this point, was a solar practitioner for a long time, started the bill of team. I came on board after kind of my own first part of my career, working in leadership and management. And so essentially what

I do what the team at Nash Consulting does, is we work with organizations to try to get them as healthy as possible. I know that's fairly vague. And so a few of the things that we do to help organizations get as healthy as possible is probably primarily we work with leadership teams. And when I say leadership teams, we're typically working with everybody from the top level executives down to frontline supervisors.

and really helping them kind of start singing off the same sheet of music in terms of best practice management skills and behaviors. How do we want our management leadership culture to look like in this organization? We're all gonna come with our own style and flavor, and that's great, that's encouraged. We all come with our own personal brand, which I know you do a lot of work around, obviously. But what about just a general culture that we're trying to create here?

and how do we align our behaviors, our skills, our mindsets as a group. So that's a lot of the work we do. We'll also just work with teams on helping them develop their behavioral commitments to each other of how they're gonna be as successful and collaborative as possible. And then we do one -on -one coaching as well, when the situation calls for it. So that's the Reader's Digest version of what I do and what Match Consulting does.

Skot Waldron (09:16.782)
Yeah, very cool. Very cool. Talk to me about this idea of a psychological contract. We're going to hit on this today because I'm intrigued by this concept and just the way that you, you know, you talk about it. So I want, I want us all to learn about this concept from you and what it is and why we need to incorporate this into our workplace.

Ethan Nash (09:42.541)
Yeah, good, good, good. I'm also excited to talk about this. I'm always excited to talk about this. And let me just preference it by saying it's one of these things, it's one of these concepts that's not super, you know, new or exciting or flashy. In fact, it's one of these concepts that I think kind of have turned into somewhat of a platitude at this point.

And that's why I feel like this is a really, really important thing for every manager, every leader to understand, is because it is so simple that we often forget about it. And so the psychological contract is basically this, Scott. It's the more you invest in me as a human, as an individual, the more willing and able I am to invest back into you as my leader, my manager, the team, the organization.

So, again, the more you invest in me, the more willing I'm able to volunteer my heart and my brain into the work that I'm doing here. So, basically, it's the idea that, as a manager, if I'm a manager, I have a power differential over my employees. Whether I know it or not, whether I think I do or not, there is a power differential there. And so, I have to demonstrate that I have my people's best interests at heart.

or it can be terrifying for them, subconsciously or not. And so I will pause there, but that is the general crux of the psychological contract.

Skot Waldron (11:20.27)
Okay. This power dynamic is really interesting. One of my colleagues was talking a bit about this and there's different, and he talks about it in the light of, so there's positional power, right? Like it's title, which is part of that. There's also presence of, you know, my stature in a meeting, whether I'm...

large, whether I'm small, how I show up, how I dress. Um, there's also communicative power dynamics at play, whether I'm more reserved and how I communicate or softer or stronger or more vocal and how I communicate. Um, there's, so there's all types of power dynamics at play, whether we know it or not and whether we, uh,

I don't know whether we thought about it and how much we tied, tried to downplay. It's like, Oh, I know that I'm allowed presence. So I'm trying to be more intentional about coming back from that. It's the default is you're allowed presence. And, uh, there's these pike, these, these power dynamics, I think that that play a lot into our workplace. Um, so how do those things play into the idea of the psychological contract?

Ethan Nash (12:34.317)
Yeah, yeah, well, I mean, you hit on a key point, which there's all sorts of power dynamics at play in the workplace, in culture, right? You hit on a few ones that are key. And there's also, you know, gender stuff can come into play, you know, race stuff can come into play, all sorts of perceived power dynamics. And we have to pay attention to those, no matter what level of the organization we're at. All right, that's just some self -awareness.

This power differential I'm talking about is... I'm really solely focused on the positional.

Skot Waldron (13:11.726)

Ethan Nash (13:14.061)
So, I'll give you... Actually, let me give you an example by a study. You might be familiar with the famous Whitehall studies that they did in the UK. This was in... Okay, alright. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is... I love this study because it demonstrates, I think, this point really well. So, I think it was between the 1960s and 1980s. They studied...

Skot Waldron (13:27.182)
No, I'm not. Educate us. Educate us.

Ethan Nash (13:42.925)
I think it was like over 30 ,000 British civil servants. And essentially what they were looking at was a bunch of different health metrics. And primarily they were looking at the stress levels and the anxiety levels of different levels of employees. And by levels, I mean where they're at on the organizational chart. And the hypothesis going into it was that, well, you know, those that are further up,

on the org chart, if you will, they're going to have higher levels of stress, right? Really stressful job. They have a lot to manage, a lot of expectations. But what they actually found is, as you might have guessed at this point, is the people lower down in the org chart that have higher levels of anxiety, stress, and negative health outcomes because of that. And I think what that demonstrates here is that when we have less agency,

or less autonomy, or people, we see that people have power over us, that negatively affects us in many, many ways. And so again, the power differential is there whether we know it or not, and people below you are gonna feel it as a manager.

I'll give you an example. I work with some managers and they'll say, oh, you know what? There's not really that big of a power differential there. You know, I don't actually have the power to, you know, fire an employee. And it's like, okay, that may be true, but do you have the power to maybe influence that decision? It's like, well, I guess so. Do you have the power to assign work projects to them and decide who gets to work on what? Yeah, I guess I do. Right.

Do you have the power to decide if they need to come in early or stay late? Well, yeah, I do. So, in all these different ways, there's a power there. And not to be too repetitive, but I'll say it one more time. When someone has power over us, we're going to do what we can to keep ourselves safe. And if I feel like that person with power doesn't have, really isn't investing in me as an individual, doesn't care about me, I turn inward, I don't bring my best self to work, I don't collaborate, how I...

Ethan Nash (16:01.557)
you know, best can and so on and so forth. So I'm rambling on here, but I hope that makes sense about kind of the type of power differential I'm talking about.

Skot Waldron (16:09.742)
Yeah, it totally, it totally does. Uh, it totally does. So if I am, if I'm a manager and I am leading a team of individuals, um, by default, I have some power or influence over certain decisions that can be made. And the people that I'm leading my direct reports are always looking to me to, you know,

That they want to perform their best so that they keep their jobs and there's some self preservation in there, obviously for, you know, I need to be able to pay my bills. I need to be able to look like I'm successful and competent so I can move up the ladder and achieve the things that I'm looking to achieve in my career. But it kind of depends sometimes on that manager and their perspective and the hell they report to me. Um, so when we're looking at this psychological contract idea.

What if I have a manager that isn't invested in me? What if that struggle is there? Is there something we're going to take it from both sides? Okay. We'll take it from the manager side in a second, but what if I am the person that's reporting to this individual who doesn't seem to invest in me? But I'm still concerned about my job. I still need a paycheck. I still need all these other things.

What advice do you give to those individuals to make sure that they do stay somewhat invested and that they are trying to pour back in or at least have those conversations or whatever?

Ethan Nash (17:46.029)
It's a really good question. And I appreciate you taking the perspective of the person that has the manager that doesn't seem to have their best interest at heart. Cause I also, I often don't think about it from this perspective. So this is good. Um, let me, I'm going to do that weird thing where I kind of throw it back on you, Scott, and see if you can answer this. And I just, just from your perspective, but you know, when you look at, you know, throughout your life, the people that,

you felt like really had your best interest at heart, professionally or otherwise, what were some of the behaviors that you saw, witnessed, felt?

Skot Waldron (18:29.646)
They, uh, they, they definitely spoke in, they spoke positivity into me, encouragement. There was encouragement there for sure. Um, so there were, there were those things of what, what I'll typically call high support items. Um, they, they spent time with me. They were encouraging me. Um, but then I also throw in some of the, what I call high challenge items. Um, they didn't let me off the hook. They were.

You know, they pushed me and challenged me to, you know, do, do things. And then when I didn't do those things, they came back and said, Hey man, I noticed that, uh, these things didn't happen or what are we going to do next time? Make sure that these things happen. And, um, so I think there was that calibration, that even calibration of kind of both of those things.

Ethan Nash (19:20.557)
Yeah, good. Yeah, I agree, right? It's when we're looking at someone having your best interests at heart, it's not just the time, the encouragement, right? It is also pushing you to be your best, holding you accountable in a respectful way. So, if I'm that employee that doesn't feel like I'm getting this, I would ask them, hey, in which areas, first and foremost, do you feel like you're not getting that care and respect? In which areas do you feel like that psychological...

Contract is is broken. Is it the hey, I'm just you know, you're not sitting down with me to learn about my Hopes in my career About how I'm doing on a personal level. Is that what you're experiencing? Or is it more like I'm not feeling like I'm getting a lot of coaching they don't really seem to care if I You know get in crappy work, you know, it doesn't really feel like they're trying to drive me in the way I'd like to be driven

It's going to be individual on that aspect. But once you identify that, again, this isn't any groundbreaking advice, but I think it's having the courage to have that conversation with your manager and maybe give them some feedback on that. Go to her and say, hey, look at, I, you know, it always starts, a good way to start is always with a little bit of encouragement and even flattery if you can. Like, hey, here's what I appreciate about you as a manager and what I think you're doing really well.

You really drive me on my work and kind of push me. And I'm wondering if we could spend some more one -on -one time together. You know, I feel like there's a lot that I want to accomplish here in this job. And I want to be able to talk about that with you to see if we can partner together on that moving forward. Because what I find, more often than not, and maybe you've experienced this as well, Scott, is that with managers and leaders,

they'll have an employee that leaves and then they hear later, here's the reason why, and they wish they would have known. They wish they would have known it was because we weren't having dedicated time to just talk about my development. And if they would have known that, maybe they would have adjusted. Maybe not, but maybe. So starting with that conversation, if that feels like a step that you haven't taken yet. But I don't know, what about, what do you think as well? Like if you're in that position,

Ethan Nash (21:45.431)
Would there be some other things that you think you could do to help build that psychological contract from the employee's perspective?

Skot Waldron (21:55.118)
I think, uh, yeah, I think that it's really easy to take a victim mindset in that situation. Like, oh, they're not investing in me and they're not spending time with me and they're not doing this. How am I ever supposed to grow? And my future is in their hands, but they're not trying to build it. Like it's a lot of, it can be a lot of that, I think for a tendency. So I think it's first of all, um, understanding, like I totally, I love what you said is understanding.

What am I, what do I want? It's like, what am I missing here? Um, what am I not getting that I'm expecting to happen? Cause you know, basically disappointment is just misaligned expectations. So it's, it's once I feel disappointment and my dis, you know, the ability to not grow and do all these other things, it's because my expectations are being met. But.

Their expectations may be different than my expectations and how are they ever going to know if, unless I communicate them. So it is getting to that point of having that conversation. Um, I also understand their personality and maybe it's really not their tendency to spend a lot of time with people. If that's the thing that I think I need, like, Oh, I feel like I need more time with this person. But that person also.

I have no idea what's going on with that manager and how many things that they're involved in and their tendency may be like spending time with people is really hard because they're just not great at it. They're just, they're just hunker down, get it done type people. And when I sit there and have to spend an hour with you, I'm not getting crap done in my eyes. So there may be some perspective there that I don't understand yet. So I think it's, it's how do I empathize with the other side first?

So that I can start to go, uh, okay. Yeah, that could be the reason why maybe, you know, so just that little crack in the door, I think opens up this. Okay. Maybe there's something else going on. And I think that that helps lower down this wall of self preservation that I may be feeling. So that's probably where I would take it. You think.

Ethan Nash (24:11.213)
that. I love that, especially just going to that empathy piece, you know, as a starting point, you know, trying to put yourself in that person's shoes, and just saying, Hey, what, what is it about them, right? That might contribute to how they're showing up? And is it really about them not caring about me? Or is it about, yeah, misalignment of expectations with each other? I really like that. I really like that. I

You know, let me just mention one more thing here, which is that, you know, I think part of, you know, we hear a lot about managing up, and that's, you know, essentially what we're talking about at this point. I find, you know, in my career, one of the best ways to manage up, and this seems counterintuitive, maybe, but it's to model the behaviors you'd want to see, which is weird, because if you're saying, well, that's my manager,

You know, why should I be modeling the behaviors I want to see from her or him? Well, try this. Hey, can I get 30 minutes with you, Mr. and Mrs. Manager? Sure, let's do that. Hey, I just wanted to check in on you. You know, I'm realizing that I don't know you as well as I would like to. And can you, like, tell me a little bit more about your career? Like, how did you get into the position you're in?

And hey, where do you want to go in your career? What type of projects do you really get excited about here to work on? That goes so far. I mean, I'm just giving you a few examples, but it goes a long ways to play the role that you would want to see your manager play. I think so often we can, like you said, take a victim mentality and say, I'm just going to be passive and wait for it. No, take action.

And I do think that that... I mean, just knowing how humans need to connect with each other, that right there can give them the... I think the insights they might need to then turn that around and do the same to you. So, I don't know. Give it a try, if that works.

Skot Waldron (26:20.43)
Oh, I love that, man. I love that. So it's, it is, I was just reading a book, um, Dr. Mark Goulston talks about, um, in his just listen book, it was about these, you know, mirror neurons and how, like, if we, if, you know, it's, it's the thing that if we act a certain way, usually others are going to mirror that behavior or mirror that emotion in us and how can we.

Use that as a way to be the example of what we want in return. It doesn't always come back like that, but when's the last, I mean, I can't even in my career, my earlier career, I can't imagine going to my boss and then asking them questions that usually a boss is asking you, you know, about your future and your career. What do you want for your career? What do you want? Like that's what managers are supposed to ask the people, you know? And so as, as a direct report come in,

Like that, that would be kind of an out of the box idea and approach. So I love that. So let's, let's talk about, let's flip it though. Let's talk about the manager side. If they want to develop this idea of the psychological contract and they want to get better at what they're doing, what are some tips? What are some things that they can do?

Ethan Nash (27:37.869)
Yep. So here's where I start with managers, is I, again, I come back to the power differential, yada, yada, yada. We talked about that. And then I ask them, hey, what behaviors from you or any hypothetical leader manager would exaggerate the power differential? And so the things they start getting to is, and we can play this back and forth here, Scott, but you know,

Well, any sort of type of vibe of like, well, because I'm the boss, that's why. Why do I have to do this? Because I said so. I'm the manager. That's going to exaggerate the power differential. Raising your voice, getting angry, that never feels good, no matter who it is, but especially when that person has a lot of influence over your job and career.

And what would, Scott, what would be another way to exaggerate the power differential as a manager?

Skot Waldron (28:44.76)
Um, making, making threats. Um, I mean, it could be in a low tone, you know, but still coming in and saying, Hey, uh, Ethan, yeah, you're not really cutting it, man. And if you can't do it, then I'll get somebody else who will, you know, and just kind of dropping little threat bombs on you. Just subtle ones, subtle ones.

Ethan Nash (29:03.725)
Threat bombs, yes. No threat bombs. Yeah, yeah. So, I mean, it's these type of things, and there's a lot more subtle ones as well we can get to, but the point is here, hey, to start with the psychological contract, we got to make sure we're not exaggerating the power that we already have, because it's there. We're not going to get rid of it, because then the next question I ask, what would eliminate the power differential?

So, when you exaggerate it, it's going to hurt psychological safety. When you eliminate it, you might be ineffective as a leader, and it can also hurt psychological safety. So, to eliminate the power differential, you might never give feedback, never make a hard decision. It's these type of things that can also harm that psychological contract, as well. Because it also feels like you're not stepping up to help in the way you're supposed to help as...

someone that does have some authority here. Okay? So, we don't want to exaggerate it.

Skot Waldron (30:02.734)
So you're not saying necessarily that the power differential is a bad thing. It just is. So we don't want to completely eliminate the power differential.

Ethan Nash (30:10.869)
Mm -hmm.

Ethan Nash (30:15.629)
That's my take on it, yeah. Exaggerating it, bad, eliminating it can also be bad. Because, I mean, let's be honest, do we have to use our power sometimes? And I even hate to use the word power. So, I mean, let's use authority, right? Do we have to use our authority? Yeah. We do have to sit down with an employee and give them some really hard feedback, right? We do have to make a hard decision about, you know, occasionally, you know...

if we have to move somebody from a project to a different project that they're not going to be happy about. We have to be able to do that. So, yeah, it is... I think of the power differential as neutral, but the point is we have to recognize it, that it's there, so we can engineer our behaviors in a way that it doesn't get in the way and hurt the psychological contract, if that makes sense.

Skot Waldron (31:10.67)
Yeah. Okay. So, so we've got, we don't want to necessarily, you know, we know what we can do to exaggerate it. We know what we could do to eliminate it. How do we make sure that we embrace it in a way that's positive and up building up, uplifting for everyone that creates psychological safety and creates a healthy psychological contract that we're trying to do here.

Ethan Nash (31:30.989)
Good. Good, yeah. And I call it, you know, mitigated. We mitigate the power differential. Not eliminate, not exaggerate, but we mitigate it. So, I mean, there are some... I'll start with this. Regularly scheduled one -on -one meetings with each and every one of your direct reports. I know that, I think it was Microsoft that did a study on this, and some other companies have, as well, but they actually found that...

regularly scheduled one -on -one meetings, was one of the strongest predictors of success for managers. Right? They had these one -on -one meetings. But the reason why I think these are so important is because this is where you get to do all the cool things that shows that you have their best interest at heart, while also fulfilling what you need to do as a manager. So, in these one -on -one meetings, you're talking about...

First, how are they doing individually, as a person, as a human being? Hey, how are things in your life? How are things at home? Everybody's gonna have a different tolerance and preference for how much they wanna share about their personal lives in the workplace. And that's okay. You know, have some self -awareness around that. But you're covering those type of things. But you're also covering just how are things going in your job? What are you struggling with? What do you need help with?

Coming back to the career development, where do you want to develop in your job and your career? What I find, and this is probably no shocker, is that unless we're having these regularly scheduled one -on -one meetings, these conversations just aren't really happening at the frequency they need to, especially when we're moving into or staying in the remote or hybrid work world. There's less of that water cooler...

Run ins that we get a you know, ask about someone's day So having those one -on -one meetings is where you get to do all the cool things that a manager Really should be doing to demonstrate they have their best interest at heart. So that's where I would start Have those regular scheduled one -on -one meetings

Skot Waldron (33:42.606)
What, how often do you recommend having those?

Ethan Nash (33:47.213)
Yeah, I mean, and that's a tough one because, you know, I'm actually coaching a woman right now who has, I kid you not, Scott, 30 direct reports. 30. I mean, to me, that's just that's just absolutely insane. And so I know. And, you know, so the the recommendation I would give her is different than I would give, you know, my my colleague who has four direct reports.

Skot Waldron (34:04.558)
Bit much, bit much, yeah.

Ethan Nash (34:17.037)
But if you're in the sweet spot where you have somewhere between four to ten direct reports, which I think is usually typical, try to do that.

once a week or every other week for 30 to 60 minutes. If you have more than that, sometimes it's once a month. It's really whatever you can realistically do while getting the rest of your job done, which I know that's the key caveat there, while getting the rest of your job done. And that can be hard to make time for this.

Skot Waldron (34:49.646)
Yeah. Yeah. Cause I, I, I can, I can just see the people's faces right now. As, as you said, once a week, once every other week, they're going, what? Like I'm already doing this and doing that and doing this. And so, uh, but what's the danger in that? What's the danger in. In saying, ah, I just don't have time for that. Ethan, like I can't spend that much time doing that.

Ethan Nash (35:19.916)
Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's as the old adage goes, right? Pay now or pay later. So yeah, right now, it is more quick and efficient to not have these meetings, but at what cost? At the cost that your employees start to feel that once again, you don't have their best interests at heart, right? And when that happens, people start to leave, right?

People start to fall behind on their work. You're not hearing the things that you might need to hear to get the job done to the best of your ability. I mean, that's part of these one -on -ones is to understand, again, challenges that are happening, roadblocks, right? Things that, assuming, presumably, you're responsible for as a manager to help resolve at some level. And so, yeah, it can be tough. You have to work with each leader to figure out how are you going to fit this in, you know, where...

Can you maybe delegate some things that you're doing right now to make time for this? What I hope to get people to see is that this is one of the most important things to do as a manager. So somehow, some way, let's figure out a way to engineer your schedule so this works. And maybe just start with a light touch. Hey, if you're going from, I never have one -on -ones, and say I have 10 reports, to let's start having them, try once a month for 30 minutes and get in a rhythm with that. Right? Start somewhere.

And then as you're learning that these are really beneficial and as you're kind of sharpening the axe with how these go, yeah, maybe you go for an hour once a month and go from there. So I don't know. It's going to be individualized.

Skot Waldron (37:03.278)
Yeah, I think that's good. I think it's, uh, you know, I think some people get so gung ho and just want to like, go all in on this thing. And it's like, Whoa, hold up. Like you haven't, you know, you haven't even been running a mile. You probably shouldn't do an ultra marathon like next weekend, you know? So, yeah. So, um, you like what I did there, Ethan? You like what I did? Okay. Full circle, man. Full circle telling stories. Um,

Ethan Nash (37:20.397)
Right. Exactly.

Ethan Nash (37:26.349)
Yeah, I like it. Full circle.

Ethan Nash (37:31.917)

Skot Waldron (37:32.878)
No, this is cool. I appreciate that advice. And I think that that's very applicable to a lot of people. Um, I think that as I don't know if this was it or not, this could probably be a whole different show, but, um, I don't know if there was a, you know, while there was obviously a big layoff and people doing more with less during the pandemic and then gradually hiring back on and kind of filling those spots. But then.

You know, with mergers and all kinds of things happening, it's like companies have just kind of. Like, I don't know if there's this new mentality now where it's just kind of like, well, you know, we did it during COVID and you can not that they're thinking that, but like in the back of their brain going, you could do that. We survived through a pandemic and you know, I know you're a little burnt out and I know that you're pushed and I know that you're doing some things. And so I don't know if there's a mentality still there sticking around, but, um,

Ethan Nash (38:30.413)
Yeah, there might be.

Skot Waldron (38:30.958)
I noticed a lot of my people are working a lot. I mean, still no, no secret that the burnout topic is really top of mind right now. So I don't know something to think about.

Ethan Nash (38:41.803)

Scott, can I ask you a question? Do you, um... Throughout your career...

When you were in situations where you had one -on -one meetings with, say, any managers that you had, did you generally... I'm always curious about this. Did you generally find those beneficial? Did you have situations where it was like, this is kind of just a waste of my time? I'm just curious your experience with either conducting or, you know, being the subject of one -on -one meetings.

Skot Waldron (39:17.038)
I was very accidental in my conducting of meetings when I ran my company. They just kind of organically happened. I was, you know, a pretty personal guy. So I was, I was, I am a person. I liked to be in the presence. We liked to hang out and we would be driving somewhere and we just have college. They weren't very structured. I was more in the like once a year annual review.

conversation kind of thing. And it's just like, if I knew what I knew now, like I would have done it so much differently. Um, but that's kind of where I was with those. And I think that they were effective, but I should have had them more often, you know, um, the structured ones, the informal ones I had all the time, but the formal ones I should have definitely had.

Ethan Nash (40:11.565)
Yeah. You know, and I've seen people, and this might be the case, would have been your case, but, you know, managers, leaders who are really, really good at building this trust and respect just through those type of spontaneous conversations, right? Not having structured, scheduled one -on -ones. Like they're doing all of these things and that's their style and they get it done that way and it works.

I would say that for the majority of the managers that I've spoken with that think that is working for them, it doesn't seem to really be working from the employee's perspective. There's a small percentage that it is really working. And so that's why I just encourage as a general statement to make them intentional and scheduled because we don't know what we don't know about how we show up or impact those around us. And so if you think you're really, this is working for you, get some data from your team.

Would they like to sit down with you more?

Skot Waldron (41:15.278)
Yeah, maybe they don't. Maybe they don't want to sit down with you more, you know? So.

Ethan Nash (41:18.925)
And if don't, that might tell you something. I don't know what, but it might tell you something to look into further.

Skot Waldron (41:23.31)
Something, something. Yeah. Like maybe you should wear deodorant more often. So something like that, something like that. Um, Ethan, this is awesome psychological contracts and I invest in you invest in me. I invest in you. Um, you pour into me. I pour back into you that, that feeling of mutual respect of mutual building up of the things that we're trying to do and alignment is so critical.

Ethan Nash (41:27.661)
That's right. That's right.

Skot Waldron (41:49.806)
If people want to get in touch with you, they want to find out more about you. You have a program that you launched twice a year. Can you tell us about that and how do we find out about it?

Ethan Nash (41:58.381)
Yeah, yeah, thanks for mentioning that. So, well, I mean, first off, if you want to learn more about the work that I do, that Nash Consulting does, and the great team that we have over here, you can just go to NashConsulting .com. We have a whole lot of cool resources there. At least, I think they're cool. I'll let you judge for yourself. But our podcast is on there that Scott has been gracious enough to come on a couple times now.

We have a whole bunch of blogs, and they're really centered and tailored for managers, those that want to learn and continue to improve at managing other people, managing and leading other people. So, a lot of cool resources there. We have guidebooks for downloadable guidebooks. But, as you mentioned, we do have a course twice a year. It's done remotely. It's done on Zoom. For anybody that's interested in either...

you know, just getting better as a leader and manager, or is looking to take that step in their career to become a leader and manager. So, the program is called Managing with Mind and Heart. And it is a six -part series. And this is really our cornerstone program that we bring into a lot of different organizations. But it's, I mean, hey, we're focusing on everything from, you know, emotional IQ and self -awareness as a starting point.

We're getting into things like, hey, how do we just listen well, so people feel heard and respected? Which, by the way, is another key component to building that psychological contract, right? Actually having the skills in which people feel heard and listened to. Talking about how to give feedback while staying connected relationally and telling your truth. How to receive feedback non -defensively. And then we get into some of the nitty -gritty...

leadership management skills. How do we just run an effective meeting, an engaging meeting? How do we have these one -on -one meetings? What are the type of things we should be talking about to get the best out of them? How do I deal with different employee concerns that come up? So, a lot of stuff. We're excited about this program, but you can go, again, to NashConsulting .com, and we have one coming up this fall of 2024. So, love to see you there.

Skot Waldron (44:20.718)
That's awesome. Yeah. I was looking at the, and you've got the information on your website about it. And I was looking, I was going, wow, this is a meaty stuff. Um, it's, it's really good and it's priced very reasonably. So, uh, that's super awesome. Um, very cool of you to offer that and to keep spreading the wisdom. So thanks to you, uh, for being on my show and, uh, you know, uh, it was fun being on yours. So anybody can check that out and, um, I hope.

people got some out of this. I know I did. So I learned something new today. So thanks for, thanks for teaching me.

Ethan Nash (44:55.533)
And, yeah, Scott, I, again, just the perspective of looking at it from, you know, the employee's perspective, and what you can do, if you don't feel like your manager has your best interest at heart. That was a cool conversation. I don't have that a lot. But also, Scott, I wanted to thank you, not only for having me on the show, but when you were on my podcast last time, the Managing with Mind and Heart podcast, you...

And people can listen to this. So you walked me through an exercise that was about kind of helping me uncover, like, what is my brand? What is my leadership brand? And you encouraged me to go to all my teammates and have them give about five words or so to describe me. And believe it or not, I actually did that. I set up a Survey Monkey survey, sent it to all my team members, and they all gave five words. And I got to say it, um,

Skot Waldron (45:47.544)

Ethan Nash (45:53.069)
It really did bring me to tears. It really did. I read what they were saying, and not only were there things that were new that I just didn't have awareness into about myself, but it was clearly I was impacting people in positive ways, and there was some affirmation towards things that I was hoping that I brought to the table in terms of my brand. So it was an emotional experience for me, and...

It stuck with me, and that was really helpful. So, I just want to thank you for that. That was really cool, Scott.

Skot Waldron (46:30.318)
Dude, I, I had forgotten that we did that on your show. I totally, I remember that now. That was awesome. I want to thank you for actually following through and doing it because you know, you know, as us as coaches, sometimes we just, we talk into the void. Sometimes we feel like, and we don't know if people do the things that we ask them to do. And, um, that's, that's really cool that you did that. I'm so grateful that you did that and had that experience. I think that.

Ethan Nash (46:37.389)

Skot Waldron (46:59.086)
It added something to you, but I think it adds something to the other side. When people have to consciously stop and think about who you are as a person, they actually can, it solidify something in their own mind about you. So I think it's a powerful exercise for them to go through as well. So that's cool, man. Ethan, I'm so stoked. So glad you did that. So, um, well, thanks again for being on the show, man. And, uh, this is a good one. So, uh, anything I can do for you, you keep, let me know.

Ethan Nash (47:19.693)
Yeah, yeah, you got it.

Ethan Nash (47:28.813)
You got it. Thanks, Scott. This was fun.


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