Lots of programs and benefits most often don’t lead to a more well employee. However, when employers install a culture of health in the workplace, employees are more than twice as likely to reach their well-being goals than employees who are still subject to a workplace wellness model that formed more than 60 years ago.

Richard Safeer, MD, earned his BS in Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University under the tutelage of T. Colin Campbell, author of the China Study, before attending medical school at State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Safeer is the Chief Medical Director of Employee Health and Well-being at Johns Hopkins Medicine, where he leads the Healthy at Hopkins employee health and well-being strategy. He also holds faculty appointments in the School of Medicine and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.

Prior to arriving at Hopkins, Dr. Safeer practiced family medicine in Northern Virginia. He was then on faculty at the George Washington University, serving as the Residency Director of Family Medicine in his last year at the institution. He was the Medical Director of an Occupational Health Center in Baltimore and Wellness Director for the Mid-Atlantic region of the parent company, just before starting at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield in Baltimore, Maryland as the Medical Director of Preventive Medicine. He has been credited by some for bringing ‘wellness’ in to the realm of responsibilities of the managed care industry. He also led CareFirst BCBS to be among the first cohort of health plans to be accredited for Wellness by NCQA.

He holds faculty appointments in both the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as well as the School of Public Health. He continues to see patients one day a week in the Pediatric Cardiology department. Dr. Safeer is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice, The American College of Lifestyle Medicine and the American College of Preventive Medicine. He served on the board of directors for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He is on the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst Insight Council.

Well-being at Work Timestamped Overview

  • [00:07:30] Small things lead to big well-being.
  • [00:09:13] Shared values improve employee engagement and success.
  • [00:14:35] Ideas for leaders to improve well-being.[00:18:49] Put mask on first, emotions impact team.
  • [00:21:01] “Right mindset needed for successful leadership.”
  • [00:26:35] Six well-being building blocks for teams.
  • [00:31:01] $80k is comfortable; money loses impact after.
  • [00:32:51] Six steps to success in workplace wellness.
  • [00:37:36] Connect with team through personal bonding activities.
  • [00:43:59] Best boss cares, leads, and markets.

Guest Resources

If you’re interested in learning more about Richard and his resources be sure to check out the following links:

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The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode. 


Scott McCarthy [00:00:00]:

Rich, sir, welcome to the show. So good to have you here today.

Richard Safeer [00:00:04]:

Thanks for having me.

Scott McCarthy [00:00:07]:

I normally don’t dive into people’s backgrounds, but it’s interesting because you’re a medical doctor. Yet here we are talking about company culture and leadership. Where’s that connection come from?

Richard Safeer [00:00:21]:

Yeah, company culture, leadership, and peak performance, by the way, and hopefully get the connection on that later. Well, I studied nutrition in college, and I went to medical school, became a family doctor, practiced for a couple of years. And during that time, I realized in these 15 minutes appointments, it was kind of hard to make a big difference. A lot of my patients were coming in from work and then running back to work. I started to see a pattern, and I’m thinking to myself, they’re spending 15 minutes with me, but they’re spending almost 2000 hours a year at work. That’s probably a much better place to influence the health and well being of my patients. So let me explore that. And I’ve had three jobs since, so now I’m on my fifth job, and I am the chief medical director of employee health and well being at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Scott McCarthy [00:01:21]:

You’re not the first medical no, I’ve had medical doctors on the show before. However, not ones that are still kind of active in the space per se. They kind of moved on to other areas. So you’re definitely the first along that line. So let’s dive in. So what is the state now of people’s health and wellness within the workplace today? Let’s get a baseline here.

Richard Safeer [00:01:50]:

Frankly, it’s not good.

Scott McCarthy [00:01:52]:

I was expecting that.

Richard Safeer [00:01:54]:

Yeah. Most of your listeners have probably seen the headlines. I mean, mental health in particular is poor out in our communities, but also in the workplace. And it’s unfortunate, although the silver lining is that employers are understanding this and they’re trying to address it. But the challenge is most employers don’t know where to begin, and they’re looking for help. And often they think the help is by making a big contract with some app or some kind of quick fix. And I don’t think that’s the best path.

Scott McCarthy [00:02:37]:

That’s interesting. So let’s go with an app. Let’s go with some kind of contract. Now, I assume there’s probably some small things that we could, as leaders, just start implementing right away to start kind of negating this negative trend that’s going on, wouldn’t you think?

Richard Safeer [00:02:55]:

Yeah, there’s always small things that can be done, and small things, when done regularly and done with a lot of other small things, can lead to big things. And yet I think it’s important before leaders make any decisions that they kind of see the big picture. Where are they headed? Supporting employee health and well being is really an organizational change effort that requires a project plan, goals, just like any company would have for any big project. And I strongly recommend that leaders sit back and take a decent amount of amount of time, even dedicate a little retreat amongst leaders who are committed to this and figure out what kind of blueprints are we going to follow? What kind of framework are we going to use so that we make sure that we’re addressing the entire scope of well being and not just encouraging our employees to eat an apple a day. It’s just not that simple.

Scott McCarthy [00:04:03]:

Right? No, that actually makes a lot of sense. I’m not a firm believer in Band Aid solutions. I do like quick wins. Like, okay, let’s get some quick wins. Let’s get some positive momentum going. However, I also believe exactly what you just said in that let’s deliberately look at this. Let’s deliberately plan this out. Let’s look at all the different factors. Let’s get the experts in the room. And most importantly, I think which I find often gets forgotten about, is get the people in the room who are affected and get their input on.

Richard Safeer [00:04:38]:

Right? Absolutely. Wow, you said so many things there, like getting the quick win. Cotter’s eight stages of organizational change. Yeah. Quick wins are important leaders and employees in the room. Scott one of the well being, culture building blocks that I propose is something called shared values. And most companies have core values, but these are often determined by the C Suite or the board of directors and do not include the input of employees. Shared values are values that are agreed upon by leadership and employees. And if you’re a bigger company, maybe it’s a representative sample of employees. And when employees are allowed into this decision making process, the shared values usually include employee health and well being or something related. And the reason why this is important is not just for the individual, but we know that when companies land on shared values that include employee health and well being or some other type of caring concept, that employees are more likely to be engaged and companies are more successful, it is a win win. And this is a very commonly overlooked strategy. And what I mean by asking leaders to take a step back and look at the big picture before diving in on an app or a theme of, like, nutrition for a month, there are much bigger foundational concepts that need to be addressed first.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:28]:

Those core shared values. That’s awesome. And I think that’s something that does not get addressed enough per se, because I totally agree with you is that the C suite, the senior leaders of the organization, business, whatever, set the organization’s core values, but they don’t necessarily reflect the employees, and they should. So you need to kind of get everyone on board, and everyone needs to be looking towards it. And actually, it’s interesting you bring this up because I host the Mastermind community. It’s a leader growth mastermind, and we meet weekly and discuss our challenges that are ongoing. And one of our participants brought up something last night about an employee they were having a difficult time with. And I said, Right, do you have core values? And she was like, yes. And you know where that’s going, right? They don’t really espouse them. They don’t really discuss them or push them out on their people. I’m like, well, there is a problem, right? There is that, one, your employee doesn’t know what’s expected of them from a core value standpoint, but two, you don’t even know if they would have been bought into it in the first place. So I think that’s super important.

Richard Safeer [00:07:46]:

Scott, not every one of your listeners is in charge of the whole organization, or a big chunk of it. So some of your listeners are team leaders. And even without the organization having shared values around health and well being, a team can do this exercise. A team can have this discussion. What is important to everybody on the team about their health and well being? Is it about getting out of work at a certain time? Is it about not checking emails at night so that people can relax and get a good night’s sleep? Whatever it is, just having the discussion will make the people on your team feel valued, feel respected, and knowing that the team leader supports them in this manner, that alone will make a huge difference in the health and well being of the people you lead.

Scott McCarthy [00:08:40]:

Absolutely. And I’ve actually, again, back to my mastermind community, another member actually did that with her team and she doesn’t oversee the whole organization, but she’s a team lead. And she was able to actually do that with her team. She was able to convince her supervisor that they shouldn’t be on their phones all the time, they shouldn’t be accessible all the time, that their weekends are actually to them and establish some of those boundaries for the mental well being of her team. So super proud of her when she was able to do that.

Richard Safeer [00:09:13]:

Sure, absolutely.

Scott McCarthy [00:09:14]:

But it’s very pertinent to this conversation. Now, rich, the listener there, they’re listening like, we got to do better. People are running, burning themselves out. They’re working until God knows what time of the day. They don’t take any lunch breaks, they come in early, they leave late. They’re answering emails at 01:00 a.m.. They’re answering emails Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, right through the whole week. Don’t know when the last time they took a vacation was. We got to do better, but I don’t know where to start. How does one start taking the health and wellness of their team and actually making a priority and start moving forward per se?

Richard Safeer [00:10:00]:

So every team is in a different situation. Every leader is in a different situation, every company. So I’m going to give our listeners a few different ideas. So one way to start is to not rush in and just reflect back that maybe this requires some reading, some planning about a long term strategy, a foundation. So that’s one way of looking at it. If someone is kind of like, you know what, I’ve been thinking about this for too long. I want to start doing well. Then put well being on your agenda. So well being on the agenda means that it’s always going to be there. It rises to the same level of importance as customer service, product quality, whatever area of work that you do and when it’s a standing agenda item, that will force you as the team leader to think about, okay, well, it’s that time of the week again. What is it that I’m going to discuss about well being? And just as a sidebar, Scott, I have a series called Ten Minute Wellbeing Tips for Managers. The videos can be found on YouTube. I actually created it for the leaders at Johns Hopkins and we recorded them. And Johns Hopkins uses the YouTube server. So if anyone wants to watch those, you’ll have 46 episodes and you’ll have 46 ideas about what to do for your team meeting that week. So let me just recap. One is take the big picture and spend time planning your long term goals and doing some more reading. Two is the put well being on your agenda. Three would be to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. And I’m happy to get into this more with you if you want, but the importance of self care, because as a leader, if you’re not well, you’re not going to be the best leader. And when you’re not the best leader, you will negatively impact the people on your team. And I can talk to you about that as a little bit. The fourth thing, and this will be my final, is I did write a book for this very reason, a Cure for the Common Company. And I wrote this because after being in this space for 25 years, the thing that continues to be the biggest challenge is that people who do this work, like myself and our team, we can’t do this alone. Every team leader, every human resource professional has a role to play in the health and well being of their team themselves and the entire organization. So this book is really meant for leaders so that you can know what to do.

Scott McCarthy [00:12:51]:

Here at the podcast and really my whole ecosystem, I talk about my three domains of leadership. I thought we’re going to talk about the third one mostly, which is leading your organization. I. E. The institution and developing that type of culture within it. I figured we’d hit on domain two, which is leading your team, I e. The individuals within the teams I E yeah, Scotts and Riches and Janes and Jills and so on and so forth. But the first one is leading yourself. And you brought it up very eloquently. So, yes, I definitely want to dive down that route because I’ve seen it time and time again. I was a victim of it. And I had the victim mindset of it that I was in that rut, not taking care of myself, burning myself out, running, metaphorically speaking, of course, myself right through the ground. So, yes, let’s go down that route of how leaders can take care of themselves, especially when they feel like they’re almost obligated. They’re obligated to be setting the example at work, but I find that they’re setting it not necessarily always in the right way. So let’s set the example the right way by taking care of yourself so you can hit peak performance. Because as I’m sure you’re going to tell me, you need to take a break to be able to perform. So have at it.

Richard Safeer [00:14:14]:

Great. Well, there’s so much here. Where to start is a little bit tricky. Let me start by sharing something, Scott. As I was listening to some of your podcast episodes and looking at your podcast description, you and I share something in common. You use the phrase put your own mask on first. And I actually include a call out box in most of the chapters that has a title put your own mask on first because if you’re not well, you won’t be able to help the people on your team. But let me just first, before we talk about helping ourselves, let me just emphasize why this is important for you and your team. There’s something called emotional contagion, and that is literally the spread of emotions. And as the team leader, your emotions disproportionately, largely impact the emotions of the people you lead. If you are happy, the people you lead are much more likely to be happy. If you are stressed, they will feel your stress and they will internalize it. And as a leader, if you want your life to be easier, you want a team that is happy. If you want your life to be harder, then you want a team that is stressed. So guess what? One of the things that I think is really important I didn’t include this on my list of four, Scott, is where to start. Maybe the starting place is before you walk into any meeting, just take 5 seconds. How am I feeling right now? If I’m feeling good. Awesome. Proceed. If I’m feeling bad for whatever reason, why am I feeling bad? How am I going to adjust myself so that I can have my next meeting, my next interaction in a better space, so that I don’t accidentally or inadvertently make somebody else not feel well, which is going to come back and bite me? Does that make sense?

Scott McCarthy [00:16:26]:

Makes absolute sense. And I would like to even take it a step further and I’ll give you a quick little anecdotal story. Sorry, tongue twister here. Little story for you. So 2009, deployed to Kandhara, Afghanistan, and when we’re in our pre deployment training for that, we’re going through what we refer to as instant management. I E, something bad happens, you’re in charge, how do you deal with it and how do you take control? So there’s a whole whack of lessons that come out of this. The lesson I’m going to talk about now is one of the guys was telling us when he was there and what happened to him. His convoy got blown up. He had take control of the situation, evac medical, evac security area, blah, blah, blah. And then finally his right hand man walked off to him. Last chopper was there and he’s like, sir, self check. And he’s like, what? He’s like self check. Are you good? And then he looked at and he’s bleeding out. He’s got blood coming out of him. He looks around and he’s like, you’re right. He walks over. He’s like you’re in charge. And he walks over and gets on the medical helicopter and pulls himself out of that situation. So I mentioned that because when you were talking there, this is kind of the story that popped in my head was because am I in the right mindset right now for this meeting? If you’re not, then you’re not going to bring the value added that you can potentially bring, that you need to bring. And maybe you need someone else to step in for you at that time if they’re able to.

Richard Safeer [00:18:07]:

Right, right. Or even just asking the team, hey, you know what? We’re going to start 15 minutes late today. I’m sorry. Because it’s better to have a shorter meeting that’s a good meeting than a longer meeting that results in problems. It takes a lot longer for us to make up for mistakes than it would be just to do it right the first time.

Scott McCarthy [00:18:29]:

Absolutely. So doing those self checks, awesome. What else do you have for us?

Richard Safeer [00:18:37]:

Well, the whole self care piece. Putting your own mask down first is very individual. And one of the greatest gifts someone can give themselves, I think, is figuring out a way to have some introspection, figuring out what your well being needs are. Most of us are given messages growing up that you need to eat well and you need to exercise and don’t smoke. And that’s all important. I absolutely agree. But there are so many other pieces to well being. Does someone need to be out in nature to feel more calm? Does someone understand that? You know what? When I get a great night’s sleep, it turns out that I’m less likely to be stressed the next day. It’s not just a matter of being tired or awake. It’s also about feeling stressed or not. There are so many other pieces of our well being that I can’t answer this for you. All I can say to your listeners is spend some time. If you can’t figure it out for yourself, it really could be worth finding a health coach. Or maybe there’s someone in your organization. Maybe you have a health and well being team that you can turn to to just say, hey, something’s not right. I eat well and I exercise and I don’t smoke, but still, I’m not feeling, like, as best as I can, can you just talk to me for a little bit? Or have a peer, have a friend, a coworker who you can have that conversation with? It’s not very common, unfortunately, for us to actually talk about our well being.

Scott McCarthy [00:20:22]:

Yeah. The individual approaches, I find, are always better. This may sound ironic from a guy who’s in the army, but I’ve never been a one for all for one approach to everything. Right. Like, the one size fits all, right? It just doesn’t work.

Richard Safeer [00:20:39]:

Not for everything, that’s for sure. Yeah.

Scott McCarthy [00:20:42]:

No, it just doesn’t work for everything, especially in the long run. Now, that being said, this, I foresee the challenge a lot of leaders would have with that is, I have you’re rich. That comes to me like, hey, Scott, I’m not feeling the best. Long story short, what I really need out of you is I need to be able to go for a walk multiple times throughout the day to clear my head, get out nature, reground myself, and then come back. I’m like, great, I’m a supportive boss. I’m like, yeah, absolutely, I definitely want to support you, and I can see the benefit out of that. So you do that and you do that solid for a week, and then suddenly next week, I have Jane coming in, and Jane’s like, why is Rich always leaving? Why is he always getting all these breaks? And here I am slaving at the keyboard.

Richard Safeer [00:21:37]:


Scott McCarthy [00:21:40]:

To me, that’s kind of the paradox we’re in, is that, oh, we want to make sure we treat everyone fair, and we want to make sure that we enable people, but then all of a sudden, other members of our teams feel like they’re being disadvantaged. So do you have any tips out there for leaders to kind of navigate those waters?

Richard Safeer [00:22:00]:

I do. So another building block of the six is a building block I call Social Climate. So, Scott, there are six well being building blocks in the model that I propose leaders use to create a well being culture on their team. So the first one I mentioned was shared values. The second one that I’m bringing up now is Social Climate. And by the way, there’s no particular order. This is how it came out in our conversation today. So fairness is part of a good social climate. Social Climate is the way we feel about working with the people on our team and the way we feel about working in our organization. And so fairness is definitely part of our well being. And fairness is not very flat or one dimensional type of word. It can be very complex. Part of feeling that things are fair is having a high level of trust on a team. And so that Jane and I can’t remember the other character you picked? Was it Scott? Jane and Scott trust each other and know each other well enough to understand that maybe Jane can appreciate that Scott is much more effective when he walks. But rather than trying to have people guess if they’re effective or not, I try to make this a win for everybody. Why not have Scott and Jane do a walking meeting together? And not only is this good for them to get outside, it’s also good for movement. It will increase collaboration and creativity, which are all benefits for a team. And if Jane doesn’t like to walk, that’s fine. But if we make a walking break more of a norm rather than the exception, then it’s Jane that’s going to be the one who’s out. And maybe it’s Scott who’s going to be saying, hey, why isn’t Jane getting up from her desk? I’m concerned. If she’s at her keyboard all day, she’s probably not as productive, she’s probably not as collaborative. And this worries me that as a team, we’re not doing our best. Scott we can completely turn this on its head.

Scott McCarthy [00:24:20]:

I always say with every challenge there’s opportunity and you just eloquently as an MD, put that into action right there with your words. So I really like that, the switch towards the positive aspect of it, vice the negative aspect of it, yeah.

Richard Safeer [00:24:35]:

Listen, everyone’s different and every leader is going to have their different challenges. But I just ask every leader to recognize that if we don’t make well being a priority and support Scott’s walking during the day to a degree, then you’re going to have people on your team who aren’t as engaged as you want them to be, or worse, they’re going to leave. That’s another thing that’s in the news, and you can’t escape it. People are looking for other jobs. And one of the biggest reason why people look for other jobs is because they want a job that better supports their health and well being. Scott can I throw out a statistic here?

Scott McCarthy [00:25:20]:

How about it?

Richard Safeer [00:25:21]:

Okay. UKG is a large HR company in England. They did a global survey, including employees from Canada last fall, and they asked a lot of questions. But one of the questions was, would you look for another job that better supports your mental health, even if it meant taking a pay cut? And 64% of employees said yes. So guess what? Money is not the only thing, and we knew this, but money is not the only reason why people work. Scott that same question was asked of managers and leaders. 70% of managers and leaders said that they would leave their job for another job that better supported their mental health, even if it meant a pay cut. And I have spoken to leaders who have done just that. We need to support the well being, even if it means taking a walking break.

Scott McCarthy [00:26:26]:

It doesn’t surprise me, actually. Those numbers I remember a study some time ago and I don’t remember the exact numbers of it per se. So take this with a little grain of salt, but the moral story will be there. I think at the time the study was done was 80,000 was the number and this was a US study. $80,000 was the salary which a person felt where they could live a comfortable lifestyle and be happy. And then after that the amount of money increased, the influence of the pay increase went down significantly, and then the other benefits, such as time off, flexibility, et cetera, et cetera, kicked in. So if you think from your study, from that frame point, it doesn’t surprise me that leaders and managers are a higher percentage because more of them would definitely be in the higher over the top of that ADK, whatever the actual number is, you know what I mean? There we go. I’m not making it up.

Richard Safeer [00:27:31]:

No, you’re not making it up. It’s an inverted U shaped curve. So 80K or 78K is at the peak. And if you’re making less than that, maybe it’s not the best for your health and well being. And if you’re making more than that, then your happiness starts to go back down. I’m glad you brought it up because we do make sacrifices if our pursuit is only for the cause of money.

Scott McCarthy [00:28:03]:

Absolutely. Now, you mentioned we’ve discussed two of the six from your framework. What’s the next one? And pick one because I guess you said that the order doesn’t really matter per se.

Richard Safeer [00:28:16]:

No, the order doesn’t matter. But Scott, I’m going to give our listeners a way to remember all six. It’s the phrase plan for success. So the P in plan is for peer support. The L in plan is for leadership engagement. The N is for norms. And then we skip the word for and go to the word success. The first S in success stands for shared values. And we already talked about that, the two C’s culture connection points and then the 6th building block we also spoke about with the last S is the social climate. And Scott, given your audience, I think we should spend some time on leadership engagement. So we already spoke about leaders checking in with themselves before they walk into meetings. And so that’s really about your own well being and doing that self care. But there are many other ways leaders can be engaged in supporting a healthy and well culture on their team. I’ll bring up one. I’ve got several if we want to pursue them all. But you previously mentioned in our recording today the role model and leaders being role models. And we often think that the only way to be a role model as a team leader is working hard or being, quote, successful. Well, guess what? We have an unbelievable influence on our employees in many ways, including their health and well being. So when the leader takes a walking meeting, guess what’s more likely to happen? People will start taking walking meetings. Scott I take walking meetings with people on our team. It’s tremendously helpful not only to get up from sitting, but it really does foster collaboration, creativity, breaks down walls, improves trust. Big believer in not just setting a role model of taking breaks, but not sending emails at the end of the day, making sure we’re not working at our desk when we eat lunch, but eating with others because that fosters relationships. And if you have a team that works remote, it’s okay. Have your lunch breaks together over the video screen or take the walking breaks via phone so that you’re talking to each other. There are so many ways to be a good role model around health and well being that I can’t mention them all. But I will mention one last thing. Depending on what your well being habits are, you may not be able to demonstrate them in front of your team. So I strongly encourage you to verbalize them at a team meeting. I would strongly encourage you to make it normal to talk about our health and well being habits. So if you practice meditation, you probably aren’t going to sit down in the middle of the hallway and meditate. So people may not see it, but talk about it at a team meeting. Share with your team. You know what? I have found meditation very helpful. It helps me relax. It helps me sleep longer. And it just shows your team that you are normal, you have your own well being needs, and you may find it encourages other people to share. We can’t force other people to share. We don’t want to force other people to share. But it really can be beneficial for your team.

Scott McCarthy [00:32:01]:

Love it. Absolutely love it. Yeah. I think just sharing and being authentic is super key. And one way I often talk about how to achieve this for you and the audience is I talk about my 1st 30 minutes of the day often, and the first 30 minutes of my day is always spent with a cup of coffee in my hand and talking to my team members. And I’m not talking to them about work. I’m talking about everything else besides work because I want to create that connection and bond with them. And we all know how to create connection. Bond with people is not about work stuff, but rather life stuff. And this is a great spot as far as I’m concerned, to insert those things that you just mentioned that you can’t necessarily I’m not going to sit in our hallway area, outside our cubicle area and start meditating. But I can talk about how oh, yeah, I was super tired. I was having a really rough night’s sleep. I said, shaggy, I got up, I sat down, I meditated for I took myself out of the out of bed and out of that. Area, meditated for 1015 minutes, felt much more relaxed, went back and had a great night’s sleep after that, insert those types of things. I often talk to my team. Obviously we’re big on fitness, being a military unit, so we even have like a challenge going on right now within my current unit. And I talk about my 05:00 a.m club member. I have two young boys, so they are up early, so I need to get up earlier than them to get my four year workout in. And I talk about that all the time. It’s just like I’m just doing what I need to do because I know I need to get up in the morning and get a workout in. That sets my day up for good. And I talk about my reading and I even talk about this podcast and how it’s not just a business per se, but rather meeting and connecting with people and learning new things is part of that well being for myself, being an extrovert.

Richard Safeer [00:34:02]:


Scott McCarthy [00:34:03]:

So it’s looking for those opportunities in making the space for those opportunities just through a different lens.

Richard Safeer [00:34:10]:

Yeah. And when you share personal things about yourself, including your health and well being, like not being able to sleep and then meditating to help you calm yourself, you show vulnerability and that increases trust. Again, another great leadership skill and beneficial for the team and helps you come back. So we talked about leadership engagement, we talked about self care, we talked about role modeling as two ways you can support a well being culture on your team. A third way, which I particularly like is removing barriers to well being. And what I mean by that is our days are often varied. Sometimes we do some of the same things, but sometimes things come up. There’s often a barrier to our well being during the day and we may not think of it that way. So if you work in an office and the coffee machine always gets jammed and it’s been getting jammed for six months already, it can be really frustrating. Instead of taking a minute to print something, it could take a half hour. So really, maybe people don’t look at it as a well being strategy, but spend the money, get it fixed, and if it’s been fixed ten times, then maybe it’s time to get a new copy machine. It might be much better spent than the money you spent on an app. So the only way leaders are going to know for sure what is getting in the way of their individual team members well being is to ask them. I think it’s a great question. Hey Scott, tell me what’s getting in the way of your well being at work? You’ll be surprised what the answers are. People don’t share everything about them and they may not even think of it this way, but once you do, it’s going to make them feel good that you’re that interested in their well being that you’re going to try to help figure out how to remove that barrier. Yeah, don’t just ask them. Actually get rid of that barrier. If you just ask them and you don’t do anything about it, then that’s another situation.

Scott McCarthy [00:36:25]:

But that ties into so much right there. Like just asking that question and then yet getting the response from one of your members. That ties in so much. So that’s engagement, that’s developing that trust. Because if your member doesn’t trust you, they’re not going to open up with you. And it really boils down to something I talk about a lot here on the podcast is having that level of psychological safety where the person feels safe enough, where they’re not going to be criticized, they’re not going to be judged about opening up and saying, you know, what person next to me eats broccoli, raw broccoli with their mouth open? And it drives me nuts. Well, I can’t really do anything with the broccoli, but how about, you know what, you take your break during your ability to take your break during that time, just kind of finding a way to mitigate that issue. But again, it goes back to having that climate and having that trust so that the person can actually truly open up with you. I think that’s absolutely crucial.

Richard Safeer [00:37:39]:

Yeah, absolutely. There’s very few things that are more personal than health than your own health and well being. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and sharing what the problems are will definitely make a stronger bond for you.

Scott McCarthy [00:38:00]:

Rich, my friend, this has been an awesome conversation. I know we’ve just maybe scratched the surface. Maybe there’s so much more we could talk about on this, but I’m going to leave a great taste in the audience mouth for them. So we’ll talk about your book in a second. But before we wrap up here, one last question for you, and that is, according to your Rich, what makes a great leader?

Richard Safeer [00:38:24]:

Wow. How to be the best boss. One of the chapters in the book, although the word boss is not my favorite, but be the best boss I couldn’t pass up. Listen to me. It all boils down to whether or not you’re a caring leader. Caring involves showing that you’re interested in supporting the health and well being, however that’s defined by the people you lead. We know that when individual leaders and organizations take an approach of caring, that employees are far more likely to be engaged, be productive, be efficient, be successful, stay in the organization and be your best marketing tool. People tell their friends when they have a boss who cares about them when they feel supported. People tell their friends when they work for an organization that cares about them because frankly, and unfortunately, it’s not the usual, more often people are saying that their workplace doesn’t support them. So when you lead by caring, the people on your team not only support your team’s goals, do well individually, but they also become your best marketing people. Other people in your organization are going to want to come and work on your team. It’s going to make it easier to hire new people when the posting goes out, because people on your team are going to tell their friends in the community.

Scott McCarthy [00:40:12]:

Tagline for the show and website and everything is lead, don’t boss. But I’ll allow that answer for sure.

Richard Safeer [00:40:22]:

Yes, I agree.

Scott McCarthy [00:40:26]:

Final thing of the show is how can people find you, follow you, find your book that we talked about so much here today. It’s all about you right now.

Richard Safeer [00:40:34]:

Well, thanks, Scott. The book’s name is a cure for the common company. You can find it wherever books are sold. If you want to learn more about my work and how to build a well being culture on your team, you can go to richardsophir.com. And I’m also active on LinkedIn, so I hope you’ll look for me. The hardest thing for people to remember is how to spell my last name, which is S as in Sam, A as in Apple, F as in Frank, E R as in Richard. Thank you so much for having me with you, Scott, and I hope for the listeners today that this has been helpful and that I can help you going forward as well.

Scott McCarthy [00:41:19]:

You know what? There’s no spelling B contest on this show, so if you’re a listener, it’s easy. Just go to leaddumpos.com two six 4264. The links to Richard’s website, his LinkedIn profile, the YouTube videos that he mentioned and so on and so forth are all there in the podcast. Absolute description. So thank you again, sir, for joining us today. It’s been absolutely fantastic.

Richard Safeer [00:41:44]:

Thank you, scott.