Power of the Parent 1: S5 Ep1: Genelle Aldred – Broadcaster
What a guest to open up the new series!! Today I’m joined by Genelle Aldred – communication strategist consultant, broadcaster, author, deputy chair of Women In Journalism, previously a journalist for BBC/ITV/ ITN, a golfer and an ambassador for the charity SANDS.
In her book, Communicate for Change (and pretty much any interaction you have with her), Genellee asks the questions we should probably all be curious about. But, unlike a lot of reads, Genelle doesn’t fill the space with infinite answers. She sparks curiosity, vulnerability and rallies the importance of listening, mixed with practical insights and anecdotes.
One of the lines I hold really close to my heart of Genelle’s is ‘clarity is kind’ so I was grateful that we covered this off for the realities of the corporate world. We openly explored that nuance is necessary but not easy to give, the reality that there is no silver bullet but there is a first step and there was some golf analogies thrown in for good measure!
Genelle has a unique and empowering style about her and I’m incredibly grateful to have gotten to know her and her work a bit better over the last couple of years. This is a conversation I’d love as many people to listen in on as possible, because her incredible experience shines a light for individuals and companies about the power of better communication.
Charlotte Speak 00:00
Hello and welcome back to another episode of Power of the Parent, The Podcast. Today I am joined by the legend that is Genelle Aldred. Genelle is a communications strategist consultant, a broadcaster, an author, the Deputy Chair of Women in Journalism. She has previously been a journalist for the BBC, ITV and ITN. She is a golfer, and she’s an ambassador for the charity SANDs. I have admired Genelle’s work for a number of years now. And I have been very privileged to exchange a number of voice notes with her over time about the work that she does, and an abundance of topics that I feel really grateful to chat with her about. In her book, Communicate for Change, and pretty much any interaction that I’ve ever had with Genelle, I find that she asks the questions that we should probably all be curious about. But unlike a lot of reads, Genelle doesn’t fill the space with infinite answers. Instead, she sparks curiosity, she shares and encourages vulnerability. And she values the importance of listening, as well as being a great talker as well. But it’s also mixed with incredible practical insights and anecdotes. So today, I am so excited to be able to tap to chat to Genelle so thank you for joining me.
Genelle Aldred 01:22
Thank you for having me. And I’ve enjoyed our voice note exchange. I’ve gained a lot from it as well.
Charlotte Speak 01:28
Now that is quite the list of things and strings to your bow. Did I capture, well, obviously not everything because I’m sure that’s a whole other book!
Genelle Aldred 01:39
The main gist. Yeah, I feel like it’s always weird when someone reads back a list to you of the things that you do. Because when you’re getting on with your life, you’re not thinking about your strands, it’s just your life, isn’t it? You’ve weaved it together in some way that kind of makes sense to you. So then when you hear it, you’re like, oh, gosh, yeah, that’s a few things.
Charlotte Speak 01:56
I mean some of that is in chronological order, but not all of it is. But one of the things that you have done most recently is to step into the world of golf, and I know very little about golf. But I absolutely love following your Instagolf account, because you can hear the passion that comes out from it. And then also your frustrations with yourself and that kind of very, up and down, very fluctuating relationship with the game and where that’s taking you. And we’ve talked about changing clubs and all that kind of stuff. It’s just a world that I think you share very uniquely, actually. And yeah, I really love following you on there.
Genelle Aldred 02:45
Golf has taught me a lot about life. I think things that I probably knew. And I think I articulate a lot about my life in general, because it’s kind of been a broadcast, which means you’re a storyteller of some kind of means you can always kind of story-ise, if that’s the right word, your life. But golf has kind of clicked a lot of things in my mind about how things work. Things like you know, the up and down nature of my golf. I went on an amazing run last month, amazing. Like I cut loads of shots off my game, it was amazing. And this month has been horrible. It’s been like absolute skid row. It’s like someone went and all the brakes have gone on. Everything feels different. I feel tense, I feel tight, I feel like oh, will I ever get that back again, but I know it’s in me somewhere. And I can relate that so much to life. Like the ups and downs of life. You do something great, you achieve something amazing, and you feel like you are on top of the world. And then for some reason, things just change. They just change around you, the way you feel changes, the euphoria feeling or the euphoric feeling goes away, you’re left at like a plateau stage, it just feels horrible. Then you see flashes of that good thing, then other things that you thought you’d left behind in your past of ways of being or things happening, they happen and it’s kind of all intermingled, and you just feel like oh my gosh, I thought I’d left that kind of icky feeling behind or it was so good recently, I didn’t feel like I’d ever be back here again.
And so it’s teaching me, it’s almost like a real living anecdotal way, that that is what life is like. And you kind of have to push through. So at the moment I’m like, I’m just still playing because I need to push through this because I know I will get through it. But the thing sometimes in life is we feel like we can’t keep pushing. We feel like oh, this feeling has come back and I feel like well, maybe that is me. Maybe that other good thing was a fluke or a glimpse of something but it’s meant to be mine are not meant to stay. So I think, yeah, it’s teaching me a lot about myself and probably the different things I can apply to my life and think about more deeply rather than just kind of going through it. But kind of a bit more strategically, it’s really interesting.
Charlotte Speak 05:18
That must be something…that was like a really leading question, but when you when you kind of sum it up like that, and golf as a life analogy that we didn’t know was there, particularly that kind of keeping pushing through side of things. I can’t think of a world where that shouldn’t be relevant for somebody. I think one of the things that we’re often faced with, you know, we’re both on social media, and we will both have seen the kinds of posts about the shortcuts, the silver bullets, the things that should’ve been happening overnight. I remember when I first set up, the amount of posts that I tuned into about, do these three things, and you will immediately get to a £5k month or a £10k month and all that other BS. I mean, that’s a whole episode for another day. But this idea that sometimes everything should just happen easily, and it should be linear. That I think is, I certainly find in my line of work is often a bit of a trapping of where we then give ourselves a whole heap of pain about what a failure we are, because things haven’t just very naturally fallen into place. It’s squiggly, and it is going to be really up and down. And it’s all of the analogies, you know, whatever analogy you want to throw at it. That feels like that’s a really common thread in your book. And I know you’re not just going to talk all about the book, even though I do love it. I think that’s something that really features in there heavily. But also the messaging that you give that sometimes these things are going to feel hard, but that’s normal.
Genelle Aldred 07:01
And this is it. We are living in a world where… I want to tread carefully, because this is difficult and me and you talk about nuance all the time.
Charlotte Speak 07:12
Yeah, I’m gonna pause there to say if anybody is going to play a drinking game, do not play it with the word nuance, because you’ll probably die by the end of this podcast, because that word is gonna come up a lot.
Genelle Aldred 07:25
It’s difficult but I think we live in a world where we lean into really leaning into our problems rather than trying to lean into solutions. I don’t know if I’m describing that well. So it is about we lean to the problem of no money, by not leaning into a solution around hard work, but by leaning into a solution around hacks.
Charlotte Speak 07:47
Genelle Aldred 07:48
Maybe I’m not saying we’re leaning, maybe that’s not leaning into the problem. But we kind of lean into what we think will be the easiest thing.
Charlotte Speak 07:55
Genelle Aldred 07:55
Rather than leaning into a realistic thing which means those three hacks might give you a £5k month. They could do. But the next month might still not be a £5k month, you’ve done all the three things. So what now?
So I play golf, and actually, what I’ve realised is the amount of golf I play does not always mean good golf. So I can play a lot. It doesn’t mean I get better, I can still be frustrated after playing a lot. But sometimes I play a lot and it’s like everything clicks. So it’s not the playing a lot. That’s part of it when it clicks. But there’s also obviously something else going on. Because sometimes I play a lot and it’s still not good. But what we want to lean into, maybe it’s that we want to lean to the fairytale. We want to lean into the happy ending, we want to lean into all of those things, without leaning into the reality that sometimes you play a lot. It’s not good. You feel frustrated, you feel like nothing is changing. But you have to keep showing up in order to get to a better place. It’s not, if these three things don’t give me £5k, I need to stop.
And I think, when I say we lean into the problem, it’s almost like we lean into that. And we lean into a quick fix and we lean into a fairy tale. And we don’t want to lean into the well proven over time reality that sometimes you just have to stick with things. I think, in all of the things that people talk about building now, resilience is just not one of those things, and I think that’s a big shame. Resilience is tough, because what builds resilience is the tough stuff. And I think it’s like we don’t want to lean into that. We don’t want to lean into that you’d have to do those three things, not overnight, but every day for a year to see the consistency of the results because that’s the consistency of the input. But still through that it’s not linear.
If I look at you know, in golf, the whole aim is to kind of get your skill level down low. If I look at my trajectory, it’s going down. But there are some times when it spikes up. Like, this weekend, when it spikes up high back to where I was like two months ago. In that week, I had a spike that was like massive triangles, because I was scoring low and then scoring higher, then scoring low, and then scoring high. That’s what’s gonna build my resilience in this to keep going.
But if I lean into that, well, I went low, and now I’ve gone high, everything I did hasn’t worked. I just need to go and find another hobby. Then I’ve missed out on the opportunity to keep going until I get low. And I just think there’s something about the way that we communicate at the moment, about how we communicate solutions that does not lean into resilience. It leans into the other thing. Yeah, I can’t quite categorise what the other thing is, but it’s not resilience.
Charlotte Speak 10:55
Yes. I totally agree with you on that. And I think that sometimes it’s that grey area that we can be incredibly uncomfortable with sitting in, isn’t it, because ease does exist in the world, some things will happen with ease. It’s not that we’re kind of dismissing that everything has to feel hard, or everything has to be a drama or trauma, or anything like that. But it is knowing that yes, these emotions and feelings can coexist. And that there isn’t always going to be a definitive answer.
Genelle Aldred 11:31
No. I’ve always been comfortable on a microphone in front of a camera. That is the easy part. The easy part is not getting on screen. And for a lot of people, that’s the tough part. The tough part is being on camera, microphone in your hand, a crowd of people, and having to speak and say what you feel and say what you mean. That’s the easy part.
The hard part is working with a group of people, our job is getting someone to say yes to your face, and putting you in front of a camera and doing all of that and being promoted and being retained and getting more pay. Like I say, the things, they coexist. The being on screen part for me is easy. But there’s a whole load of mechanics around a job or a journalism career or a broadcasting career that is not easy. That’s where the rejections come in. That’s where the no comes in. And then the wanting to get it right and wanting to appeal to a certain crowd or wanting to appeal to a certain boss or needing this opportunity or needing to be friends with this person or know this person or be in this space. And I think that’s the coexisting. And that’s where the resilience comes in. Because my ease of being on camera never changes. Some days, I feel nervous when I go on air, but it doesn’t debilitate me or stop me. But the rest of it around it, making it pay, making it earn. That’s the difficulty.
And I think so for me to do the thing that feels easy, I have to lean into the thing that is difficult. And I just don’t think in terms of success, there is any getting away from that complicated, kind of a Venn diagram, the sweet spot is in the middle.
Charlotte Speak 13:22
Yeah. I love that. Thank you for summing that up. I think that will resonate with a lot of people.
One of the things that I took away from your book was a line in there about clarity is kind. I think it’s a line, I think it’s towards the end of the book, and there’s then some things that you need to be thinking about or need to not do. And I felt that very, very sharply, when I’ve been in the corporate world, that the opposite of clarity feels very unkind and very difficult to navigate. And I often have conversations, particularly with line managers, when they are trying to support parents in the workplace at a variety of different stages. And I also then hear from parents on the other side of that poor clarity. And this is not about me bashing line managers over the head at all, because there are some absolutely cracking ones out there. And nuance! There’s lots of different shades to what makes a great line manager.
But I think one of the things that I have found to be very consistent is that impact of clarity or lack of clarity. When it comes to looking at that from an organisational perspective, are there other particular challenges that you find and encountered with organisations where the clarity just isn’t there? Or anything that we can do to enable that kindness, that you kind of think like this is low hanging fruit people, why aren’t we doing it?
Genelle Aldred 15:04
I think it’s a really interesting one. And I was doing a consultation the other day and we were talking about a scenario that had occurred, and how a situation had really just gone sideways. And it had gone sideways, because they didn’t feel they could say what needed to be said. So they didn’t say it, the actions came first, then the reaction came, and then it’s awkward. And I think a lot of people can identify with that. You don’t quite know how to say what you need to say to the person, so you don’t say it. Instead, you do the thing, which might be via email, or they find out another way that you know, a request has been denied, or whatever it is. Then you do that. Then, because you’re feeling defensive, you’re feeling vulnerable, you’re feeling like you don’t want to say it, and then the other side then sees the action. And then, of course, they react because they feel that very deeply that it was unclear what would happen. And rather than someone then saying what would happen and why, they’ve done it. And now they’ve done it. And now you have to deal with what has been done without being explained or being clear or being explicit.
And at this stage, now, it’s really hard to communicate, because now you have two parties who are kind of on the run. And there’ll be a lot of anger, frustration that’s hiding in there, there’s a lack of accountability in there. And once these things are in a relationship, and especially in a working relationship, very hard sometimes to row back from there. And then where you’re going is normally down a road of change of job, grievance, you know, all of those things that are avoidable, if in the first place, a conversation is had.
But I recognise for a lot of people, it’s not not actually that easy. And I think the number one reason why people don’t have clear conversations with people is because they’re afraid of the reaction from the other person. For whatever reason that is. Because they know it’s a no. Or they know it’s not the answer that somebody wants. Or they just don’t know how they’re going to react. So that’s why people avoid conversations. It’s why I avoid some conversations, why you, it’s why we all avoid some conversations, because you don’t know how someone is going to take what you’re going to say. And I think we all understand that fear, be it especially when the person is different from you. So if you’re a male boss about to say no to a mum who’s returning off leave, and she’s got a flexible working request, and you know, it’s a no, but you don’t want to tell her it’s a no, because you don’t know how she’s going to take it. And you don’t want to be the one to take the flack and you know, in a room, two people talking, that just feels like a whole load of conflict, which most people spend their whole lives trying to avoid. So you find a way to do it via the system. So that she then receives an email or, you know, or something that lets her know, it’s a no. And now, it’s very hard for a conversation to take place, because the damage is already done.
One of the things that I think is a big issue. Someone I was talking with the other day… I’m on a couple of committees… and someone said, how do you always get people to agree with you? Not that I think everyone agrees with me, but how would you always get your way or get things done? I said, because if I think something’s a bad idea, I won’t say I think it’s a bad idea. I will ask a question. And I think a lot of people who are nervous in these scenarios, would be better off asking a question, rather than thinking that they’re going to go in a room and deliver a piece of bad news that they don’t know the reaction to. And so someone suggested, it was around social media, they wanted to do this thing. And for me, I was like, I know, if we do this thing that is going to be dumped on me, I’m going to be the one doing it. And I don’t want to. So I didn’t say let’s not do it. What I said was, oh, well, that sounds like a lot of work. Who’s going to be responsible for creating that content? And then everyone whose idea it was start going, Oh, well, Oh, I haven’t got the time to do that. And someone else said, Well, I haven’t got the time to do that. And before we know it, that went to a peaceful end somewhere else, and we didn’t end up doing it.
Now, if I’d have gone in and said, I think this is a really bad idea, this is gonna get dumped on me, I’m going to be the one that ends up doing all of this work, and I’m just absolutely unwilling. You guys have not thought this through as per usual, dumped on me… That meeting would have just been very, very, very, very different.
And I think when people are going into these scenarios with people, it’s a slide I do in one of my workshops, which is you’re talking to the person sitting in front of you. And the reason why you don’t know how they’re going to react is because of all the things underneath that you can’t see. And we’re going back from like childhood things that make us feel funny. And you’re speaking into, not a vacuum, but you’re speaking to something that you don’t know. And so you feel that not knowing. And so you just avoid. A better question is, you know, you just start gentle. How are you feeling about coming back? What other difference would it make for this situation? And if we can’t do it, like, what does that mean for you? And actually, if we can’t do it, how could we support you through that?
But I think a lot of people don’t think about those things and think about how they could facilitate that conversation in that way. Because all that’s on their mind is delivering a piece of bad news, that’s going to provoke a reaction. And so of course, you run away from that, because most people would, because you don’t want to be in that situation.
So I think, for me, a lot of it is about asking, setting up the conversation, you know, like in golf, we tee up the ball to make it easy to hit. You know, you tee it up, you don’t just go in there. And it’s about being honest. There’s a corporate level that you need to speak on, there’s also a human level that you can speak to someone on, which would make a huge difference. And say, and as I said to some people when I’ve managed them, look, this is what the business needs. So this is what we need for the business. I know this doesn’t suit you. So you need to decide what do you want to do. Because if you stay here, this is what’s happening. However, if this is not right for you, I am happy to support you in finding something that is right for you. So it’s not that I want you to go (sometimes you do want people to go!) but it’s just that I know that this is what we need to do here. Sorry, I rambled.
Charlotte Speak 22:07
Not in the slightest. I think what you have just summed up is exactly the kinds of examples that we need to hear more of because that’s hit on a couple of levels. One, if I think about the last, let’s say five conversations with parents, a lot of it comes down to flexible working conversations, sadly. And you’ve hit the nail on the head with a lot of the experience that it gets passed through a policy. And like just email, just make sure you stick within the timelines to give them a No, but that’s what we need to do.
But the other side of that for a line manager, I’ve been sat on that side of being the line manager. I totally get that it is hard to line manage people for all the reasons in the world, because you don’t understand the nuance that sits underneath their own lived experiences, that you don’t know what their upbringing has been like, that you don’t really understand a lot of the intersectionality that might face somebody because we can’t.
We absolutely should learn and seek to educate ourselves. But on a given day, in one given moment, we will forget all of that. Nuance is not that easy to give, is something that you’ve said to me before. And I think we probably need it on a t-shirt, that we want to strive to give it but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to be the easiest journey. And I think often, and this is where I feel like we’ve really got to help line managers, because we ask an awful lot of them, is that we want to enable them to have that conversation, not to feel like they’ve got to hide behind the policy. Well, you know, we’ve stuck to it. And we’ve given the reasons. And we’ve followed whatever. Actually, you are working with a human, not a house plan, and therefore you need to have that conversation. That doesn’t mean that we think you’ve got to be a natural conversationalist with this person. Let’s help you. Let’s equip you. Because it is about being a cracking listener. And it is about being able to say, Okay, let me go away and think about that, it’s that immediacy, again. I’ve got to give somebody an answer straight away. Because we celebrate quick results, we celebrate getting an answer. As opposed to celebrating a bit of the process, I think and just holding space for that.
Genelle Aldred 24:29
And a solution. You know, we want an answer, rather than a solution. And this thing goes both ways. So when you’re pushing for an answer, think about whether you’re pushing for an answer or whether you want a solution to this. Because that’s the other side of it because there’s two sides of it. A lot of line managers are doing what someone above them is telling them to do. Like they are not actually doing the deciding but they are the person that sits in the moment of conflict. I think it’s also because we look at conflict as mainly a negative thing, rather than kind of like a pressure to, like make a diamond. We don’t think about conflict like that. But it’s the buffering of something rough to make it smooth. And a lot of things need that smoothing out. And so it’s about thinking yourself, also, if you’re a parent, or anyone who wants flexible leave for whatever reason, what am I willing to give? Because, actually, if you want an answer, then that’s an easy yes or no. What would I be willing to cede in this, if nothing, it’s nothing.
But then also knowing that if it’s nothing that might mean this place is not the place. I think, even though we know jobs aren’t for life, we have this weird kind of attachment to things, even if they’re not working for us, which is, you know, I don’t know, we moved around a lot of children with my Dad’s job. So I’ve always been very comfortable with walking away, but a lot of people are not comfortable with walking away. But spending most of your time fighting an organisation is equally an unhealthy way for you or anybody to spend a lot of their working time because actually, that is very, very stressful. And so it’s always about thinking, what do I have to give?
I said to a friend the other day, in a work scenario, don’t let your ego get the better of you in this. Some things that we’re taking on? Yes, they’re not fair. But you have to decide whether that fight is for you, right here, right now. Because sometimes it isn’t. And there are some things that people are like, I don’t want to let them win. At the cost of my peace, I’m happy to be a loser in this particular battle. And you know, and I think we live in a financially precarious world and all of those things. But there are some battles, I’m happy to be a loser in order to preserve my sanity, preserve my peace. And I think a lot of people don’t realise how much confidence is taken away from you in some of these battles, especially when it doesn’t go your way.
And so I was saying to my friend, this is the scenario, this is what it sounds like from my outsider perspective, don’t let your ego take you into a fight that you probably can’t win. Unless you really feel like you want to do that. But I said, you know, you have two scenarios here: one you ride it out, this person will be gone, or you go. But I tell you, what you shouldn’t do, is take this person on, and do all of this because of how it all sits, you’ll probably be the loser of this particular one.
Now, that can sound quite anti to fighting for social justice, fighting for the right thing. I’m a big believer in causing good trouble, you know, a big advocate, do it all the time. But I equally have also learned actually that for some of those battles, the cost was too high for me. And I walked away with my confidence decimated on the floor, and not sure if I am as good with things that I am good at as I thought I was, because of what that fight took from me. And so I think it is always, you have to weigh it all up. You know, whether or not some things, it’s not, are they worth fighting for. It’s what’s the cost for you. And do you have that to spare? Because sometimes you have it spare, and sometimes you like, no, absolutely, I think I’m gonna take this on. Good. But you have to know for yourself, whether or not a battle is for you at any given time. And I think that’s something that we sometimes don’t work enough into the equation.
And, you know, like I said, with that staff member, someone she, you know, I took over a team, she wasn’t a big fan, she was going to have to do a lot more work. And I get it and I totally get it. But we just had a conversation, I sat down and I said, Look, this is what we’re doing. And if you don’t want to, take the weekend, have a think about it, decide if you think this is for you. And if it’s not, I promise you, I will help you to find something that you want to do. If you need a reference or introductions, fine. And I actually think a lot of line managers who are terrified if you have that kind of human conversation, I think everyone’s worried about getting in trouble. That was in no way for me anyway, I’m saying to her look, stay if you want to stay, but this is how it is. And I think too many people are afraid and too many businesses are actually afraid just to be honest about the way they are.
And on the other side of that you have to sit and think, do I want to work for an organisation like this? And I think enough people don’t ask that question because we’re too busy thinking about if we fit for them or where we fit, or where we belong. Where do they belong with you? Where do they sit with you? Their values, the way that they lead, the way that they treat their staff. Like, where does that sit with you? Does that sit nicely? Because if not, you know, maybe it’s not the space for you. And maybe you’re fighting a fight in a place that doesn’t even deserve the outcome or deserve you. And I think we need to think about roles a bit more like that, because I think it would be helpful for some of us in our confidence to go somewhere where you don’t have to be battered and bruised, getting the bare minimum.
Charlotte Speak 30:39
Wow, I feel like I need to pass you a mic just so you can drop it. Because there was so much that I’ve just taken away from what you’ve shared there. I found it really impactful when you said about, you know what, what’s the cost for you? Do you have that to spare? I think it’s an incredibly powerful and empowering question to ask ourselves. And it isn’t always easy to vote with our feet and leave organisations. One hundred per cent, I do get that.
But I think sometimes we have agency in situations that we forget, we have agency in. And that’s something that I feel really passionately about. And also I feel like you kind of radiate out for people as well, reminding them that they do often have that even when we think we don’t. I mean, the topics that you cover, and that you support organisations with, are for everybody, right?
We’re talking about it on Power the Parent, because I think there are lots of very specific examples. And there is a niche there definitely, that exists for your world. But ultimately, this is a whole person kind of conversation, regardless of your family status and setup, isn’t it? And that, I think is something that we’ve got to talk more about because, and I suppose sometimes it might sound like conflicting, because I’m saying like, these are conversations we need to have with everybody. But equally remember the nuance. So there isn’t a silver bullet. There isn’t going to be like, here’s a line manager toolkit for everything you ever need to know about how to communicate with your people.
Genelle Aldred 32:25
Charlotte Speak 32:28
But is there a first couple of steps that you would ever encourage a leader, or a line manager, or anybody that’s basically got responsibility for looking after other people in the workplace, that you would encourage them to think or reflect on, when they find themselves in a situation where, I don’t know just just that they need to have a conversation, not necessarily a bad one. Are there things that you would, as a very standard filter, expect somebody to think, right, have I ever considered this, have I thought about that, do I need to check in here? Is there anything that you would kind of, I don’t know, nudge people in the direction of?
Genelle Aldred 33:08
I remember someone saying to me once, she was once my boss, and she became a friend and I was having a meeting and it was gonna be a tough one with one of my managers. And she just said, Go in there and speak to them, like you would like to be spoken to if the situation was reversed. I think there’s something about power that separates. So if you are holding the upper hand in a conversation, it separates two people. So it means you’re coming from very, very different places. And so what for you is a fearful conversation because you don’t know how someone’s gonna react, is a fearful conversation for them because of what it impacts. So you’re coming from like two different places. You’re worried about the reaction. They’re worried about a whole different scenario. What does this mean for their money? What does this mean for their childcare? What does this mean for their quality of life? What does it mean for them? And I think it’s about recognising how you would like to speak to someone if you were in that scenario? Because then I think you get a bit more of an understanding of the scale of the reaction and why the reaction is, what it is.
And I think the other thing I would say is to think about the power that you’re holding in that scenario, because you do have the power to affect someone’s life greatly. You don’t see it like that, because with the nicest way in the world, even the best managers, you know, staff are like cogs that turn your wheel, you know, and you need them to turn. You need them all to turn so the big wheel turns and so that someone else’s big wheel turns you know, that’s kind of how it works. And I think we need to… when you think about your power in that scenario, and how you can affect someone’s whole life inside and outside of work, it will hopefully make you think a bit differently because it’s like this massive ripple effect. Like my Mum always used to say, when I know that you know that I know that, you know, I can afford to be nice to you. I think sometimes people, and we’re talking about scenarios, not where someone does me wrong, but when someone’s making a perfectly valid legal request for something that is their right to ask.
And the other thing that I think is, don’t treat that with contempt, because they’re allowed to be asking it. And I think sometimes, even when we’re asking for things that we can ask that we aren’t legally allowed to ask for, there’s the unspoken rules of the place. And I think sometimes managers treat valid requests with contempt. And I know I’ve been on the other end of that. And so I would say, understand what your power is, and treat it like the valid legal request that it is. And put that also in its context. Yes, it’s an inconvenience to you, or what you’re trying to do, because you’re trying to turn the cogs. But from the other person’s point of view, they’re allowed to do this. So you mustn’t treat it as if they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing, even if that’s the unspoken rule. It shouldn’t be because actually, they are allowed to. I don’t think you can ever put yourself in someone else’s shoes, maybe because I’m uptight, I don’t think you can do that.
But I think it’s worth remembering that you weren’t always in charge. And when you weren’t, what does it feel like and look like when someone else held a decision pertaining to you in their hands, and they treated it with contempt, or they almost didn’t recognise the power that they had, and didn’t seem to mind about the impact that that was going to have on you and the people that you care about outside of this space. Which is why you have a job, so that you can look after the people you care about, and hopefully, you know, you enjoy your job and, and love it too. So I think it’s just really reminding yourself of what it feels like to sit in the other seat, even if you can’t understand the whole reaction, you can sit in the seat. Remember the power imbalance, remember the power dynamic that’s in a room. Remember that they’re allowed to be asking. And you should, if you want them to keep working well, honour that a bit and be a bit nice about it. So that actually the working environment can continue to be friendly. Even if that is the beginning of the end of the working relationship, let’s say, while they’re there, you still want them to work well and for the team to still function. And to do that, it’s respect. Maybe I could sum it up in one word. It’s about respecting the person and respecting the request. Yeah.
Charlotte Speak 37:59
Thank you so much. That was really incredible advice. I’ve got a few managers I might send it along to! Thank you so much for sharing all of that wisdom in there. I know that we’ve barely scratched the surface and that it would be probably like a week’s worth of podcast and then some if we were to carry on. So I think that’s a really lovely place to be able to stop. If an organisation is listening, or if an individual is listening, and they think we need a bit of Genelle in our organisation, or we need a lot of Genelle in our organisation, where is the best place for people to come and find you?
Genelle Aldred 38:40
Find me on my website, which is genellealdred.com. Or LinkedIn is another good place where I’m kind of living at the moment as well. But yeah, just drop me a message. I work probably in the grey spaces and in the things that kind of hold things together. But yeah, I’m always open to working with individuals or organisations that think you know what, we’ve got a lot of tough conversations. We don’t know if we’re quite getting them, right. And we want to think about how we could bridge that little communication gap. Because that’s what it is. That’s what I do. How do we bridge that little communication gap? And with most things, it’s just a tweak. It’s not always like a big shift. The answers remain the same. You know, Power of the Parent deals with the answers and deals with the solutions. Those things remain the same. But sometimes you can just smooth the way it happens by communicating it in just a more respectful, thoughtful way. And people will feel that and appreciate that even if the solution is not what they want. It won’t completely break everything down. I think that’s actually what happens a lot of the times when it’s not working, everything falls apart. And actually I don’t think those moments need to be big fall apart moments. Even if they’re uncomfortable, they can still be respectful, they can still be understanding the person and everyone leaving kind of on terms of you know why it didn’t go the way we wanted it to but there’s a lot of respect and warmth there. I think that’s always the best way to end if you can end on that note.
Charlotte Speak 40:12
Which is a brilliant note to end on. And I also think that will have given people a lot of hope, as well. So thank you so much. It has been an absolute pleasure to chat to you. And I will put all your website link and your LinkedIn link in the show notes. So if anybody’s listening and wants a quick look, then they will be there sat waiting for you. So thank you so much, Genelle.
Genelle Aldred 40:37
Thank you for having me.