Inclusive Growth Show

Mood Recognition and Inclusive Leadership

December 05, 2023 Toby Mildon Episode 117
Mood Recognition and Inclusive Leadership
Inclusive Growth Show
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Inclusive Growth Show
Mood Recognition and Inclusive Leadership
Dec 05, 2023 Episode 117
Toby Mildon

In this episode of the Inclusive Growth Podcast, I spoke with Rachael Edmondson-Clarke about the importance of moods and how you can check in with yourself to be a more inclusive and impactful leader.

If you're enjoying this episode and looking to boost equity, inclusion, and diversity in your organisation, my team and I are here to help. Our team specialises in crafting data-driven strategies, developing inclusive leaders, designing fair recruitment processes, and enhancing disability confidence. With a blend of professional expertise and lived experience, we're ready to support you on your journey. Reach out to us through our website.

If you want to build a more inclusive workplace that you can be proud of please visit our website to learn more.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of the Inclusive Growth Podcast, I spoke with Rachael Edmondson-Clarke about the importance of moods and how you can check in with yourself to be a more inclusive and impactful leader.

If you're enjoying this episode and looking to boost equity, inclusion, and diversity in your organisation, my team and I are here to help. Our team specialises in crafting data-driven strategies, developing inclusive leaders, designing fair recruitment processes, and enhancing disability confidence. With a blend of professional expertise and lived experience, we're ready to support you on your journey. Reach out to us through our website.

If you want to build a more inclusive workplace that you can be proud of please visit our website to learn more.

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Inclusive Growth Show with Toby Mildon: Future-proofing your business by creating a diverse work place.

Toby Mildon: Hey there, thank you ever so much for tuning into this episode of the Inclusive Growth Podcast. I am Toby Mildon, and today I'm joined by Rachael Edmondson-Clarke. Now Rachael and I met because we both work with the same client. Our client is called Turley, they are a consultancy that specialize in planning permission and the built environment. And Rachel has been working with people in Turley as a coach, so she's developed a program called Empowering You, which is all about helping people develop their influence and their confidence. And then in addition to that Empowering You program, she's also been working with a number of individuals on a one-to-one coaching basis. So Rachael and I met through our mutual clients. And the reason why I want to sit down and have a chat with Rachael today is because Rachael has got experience and expertise in inclusive leadership, which of course is of interest to us, so I thought I would just pick our brains about this. So Rachel, thanks for joining me today, it's lovely to have you along.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: It's an absolute pleasure to be here, and anybody that I meet at Turley, they speak so highly of you and the work that you do, it's an absolute honor.

Toby Mildon: Oh, thank you. I appreciate that. Before we ive into the questions, Rachael, could you just let us know a bit more about who you are, what you do, your background. That kind of thing.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Of course, of course. So I help leaders to create lasting behavioral change so that they can have more personal fulfillment and professional success, and it means that I work with people on a broad spectrum of things that we've just been talking about, from building greater confidence and having more positive influence to dealing with stress and anxiety to having better health and well-being. Emotional mastery is a key part of the work that I do, so helping people to direct their own and others ' emotions in a positive way, and essentially I help people to navigate their professional and personal life so they become who they most wanna be, and they find greater joy and fulfillment along the way. It manifests in a number of ways that you've already mentioned, so whether it's one-on-one coaching, whether it's experiential learning events, or whether it's speaking for larger audiences. So yeah, it happens in a number of different ways.

Toby Mildon: So emotional mastery is something that we're gonna do a deep dive in today as one of those things that inclusive leaders can be conscious of. Why is managing our mood essential if we want to be an inclusive leader, and how does it impact workplace culture, would you say?

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Well, mood directly influences our behavior and how we act and interact with others. Someone's mood, their energy, their ability to deal with stress can have a huge impact on the culture of a team or a department, or even an entire organization, particularly so, I think if that person is a prominent leader. And our moods are very clear signals to other people about how we're doing. And I'm sure Toby, you've maybe worked with someone in the past at some point in time where you knew there were certain days or you're gonna need to tread very carefully or it would create... And there's a little bit of tension may be there, perhaps even some anxiety, wondering how that person might respond or react. So a leader's mood can set the tone for an entire team. And those kind of questions that go through our minds like, "Is this safe? Am I safe? Can I bring this up without fear of judgment or retribution?" Really, really, really important. And I think, coming back to your question, if leaders want to be inclusive and compassionate and they want to harness the best performance, like the creativity, the innovation, the candid conversations, the appropriate challenge from their teams and from themselves, then being aware of their moods and their emotions, and recognizing if they're dysregulated and being able to restore or resolve those is absolutely essential.

Toby Mildon: It sounds like what we're talking here is about creating that psychological safety for our teams, is that correct?

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: It is, but it's also about how we recognize those moods and emotions within ourselves as well. So if we're going to be more inclusive leaders, how do we recognize that emotions are often quite acute things that we're probably keenly aware that those emotions are happening. Moods can be a little bit more sneaky, they can creep up on is over a longer period of time, we don't necessarily notice it. Sometimes I often think that my kids are a really good indicator to me at what kind of mood I'm in, I don't necessarily notice it straight away myself or I certainly didn't use to, but how I respond to them. They might have behavior that one day I find is perfectly okay and normal and will smile and laugh with them, and the next day I'll be really angry and frustrated at that same behavior. And we don't necessarily notice as some of these moods creep in, so I think as leaders, and to be inclusive in our leadership, we've got to have a really good self-awareness of where we are personally as well.

Toby Mildon: That's really interesting. Feelings can appear, at times, something that we can't control, but I know that you believe we can control them. So how do leaders do that and enhance for emotional and inclusive leadership skills?

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: I suppose the thing is that I've learned from decades of studying and practicing and teaching this, that our feelings are more predictable and formulaic than we might first think. And when you understand how they work, what they're doing, because they are very useful signals to us, you can become more aware and you can even start to predict what your mood will be like. And that's really helpful because when you can catch that you're starting to head in the wrong direction, you can understand what you need to do to change it. You end up making better decisions, you restore yourself and you put yourself in optimum physical and emotional states to be able to perform at your best.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: And you were asking me, "How do you do it?" And I think self-awareness is really the first step. Recognizing our mood, which I've already kind of talked about, can be difficult because it can sometimes... We can get ourselves into these funks and it can build up over over time. I partner with CHX Performance, fabulous organization, they have a great mood profiling tool, which in 60 seconds can give you hard data and a profile to help you recognize and better manage your mood. But if you don't have that, you can still become more aware of your written mood, and I would recommend literally just noting down how you are feeling. Have a piece of paper and pen or whether it's your iPhone, iPad, whatever, your device and just note down three times a day over seven days, how are you feeling 10, 20 minutes after you get up and wake up in the morning? How are you feeling sort of in that lunch time, kind of after lunch period, maybe between 2 and 3 o'clock? And how are you feeling when you go to bed? And if you just note that down and look at that data over a period of seven days, what is that telling you?

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: And emotions are typically more acute, like we're more likely to know when we've been triggered, but then what do we do about it? And I guess if I take each one of these a little bit separately, so mood is our summary signal for how we're doing on some very tangible biological measures. So, like I said before, I'm a mom, I've got young kids and I know if I don't get a good quality night sleep, or enough of it even, that my mood's gonna be affected. If we eat poorly or not at all, and this is something I see a lot in the business world, that's gonna affect our biological and our system and that impacts our mood, being hungry is a very real thing, certainly in my house. And it's not just about sleep and food and hydration and those things that affect our mood, is also about daylight and movement and nature and meaningful social connection.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: And so when it comes to our mood, before we blame the kids or the workload or the team or your clients or your boss even, have you checked in on your own resources? Are you well rested? Are you nourished? Are you hydrated? Have you moved recently? Have you been out in daylight, in nature? Have you connected with people who you trust and care about? And the great thing is with a lot of those things that I've just mentioned, is that we can do a lot of those things simultaneously as well.

Toby Mildon: That's very cool. I've got a really good app on my phone, it's called Daylio, and I wanted to get into journaling, but I never really. I just don't like to sit down and kind of write long journal entries, so Daylio is like a really good way of doing very quick journal entries, like literally a sentence or whatnot. But the app basically says, "How are you feeling?" And then it shows to you five smiley faces from really smiley to really frowny, so you just click like how you're feeling, and then you can then select other categories. So what you can then start to see is how things are affecting your mood, so you could say, "Oh, I'm really grumpy," and then you could add a category of bad sleep, for example, and then it starts to show you themes and patterns. It's a really good app, I would recommend downloading it. It's brilliant.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: That is brilliant. And it's Daylio?

Toby Mildon: Daylio, it's called D-A-Y-L-I-O. And I've got an iPhone, so you can just get it from the app store.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Forever learning, I have made a note of that, thank you.

Toby Mildon: That's cool.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: And it's funny, isn't it? Because I guess I have trained myself to become more and more aware of my moods and only... But I'm human like anyone else, and only a few weeks ago, I remember catching that my mood was becoming dysregulated. And the thing that told me that I was becoming dysregulated was that I drop the kids off at school and I was walking back and I couldn't breathe, I couldn't breathe properly, and I thought, Oh, my goodness, I'm getting stressed, I'm getting anxious. And my initial thought was that it was about the work load, and then I actually checked in with my biology around some of these things that we've just been talking about, and I realized that I hadn't had a great deal of sleep for a really long time, and that that was impacting my bandwidth and my ability to deal with sort of simple day-to-day pressures, 'cause there really was nothing that was out of control or that was out of the ordinary, it was just what felt okay for me to deal with a few weeks earlier, didn't feel okay now.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: And I was due to go to the gym that night, and instead of going to the gym, I really thought about what was gonna best restore and serve me, and instead of going to the gym, I walked, and instead of working late, I had a bath and I went to bed early and I woke up the next day like a different human being. And so, I know this sounds enormously simple, and I know it's what everybody knows, but I see so much people either neglecting or disrespecting some of these very basic things, which can really impact our moods, and we'll talk about emotions in a minute, but can really impact our mood. And so I would just encourage people to really just do that sense check of, how are you with these different things and are you fully restored in these areas? Because they have a huge impact on how we feel.

Toby Mildon: It's not just checking and then listening to what your body is telling you, it's also practicing that self-care, and like you chose to go for a walk rather than the gym and get an early night, and it's about doing those restorative practices, it's really important.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: And I say that, like have an early night, and that sounds so easy, but actually when you've got a big workload and you feel like maybe some deadlines might slip or you're under pressure to perform, the temptation sometimes is to work later and to do more, but actually then we're not giving ourselves the best opportunity to show up and perform at our best in that moment, because we're then under-resourced, we wouldn't expect it of a high performance athlete, and yet we expect it of ourselves as leaders, so, yeah.

Toby Mildon: That's really cool. So when we teach people about inclusive leadership, we focus on six behaviors. Now, three of them are being composed or having composure, open-mindedness and empathy. How do you feel leaders cultivate this composure, open-mindedness and empathy within themselves and for those teams in order to create a more inclusive work environment?

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Absolutely. I guess how leaders manage their stress, their energy and their moods, I think is really, really, really important and be great to talk a bit more around the emotional side of things as well, if we get a chance. But like I was just explaining there, when we are under-resourced like with my example, our bandwidth to deal with that stress can be compromised and our composure then can be reduced. So I think like you've just said Toby, forming good habits, it's not just about being able to recognize it, self-awareness is the first step, but it's then about how do we form good habits of sleep, of diet, of movement, daylight, meaningful social connection, so that actually we are restoring and better able to manage moods and our energy so that we can have more composure. I think that would be one thing I would say.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: There's probably a couple of others that I would add to this, and that is that I think great leaders ask more questions and listen more than they speak.

Toby Mildon: Yeah.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: And there's a skill in that, learning to quieten the voice in our own heads when someone else is talking, so that we really listen without comparing to our own experiences, thinking about what we're gonna see next. I think that helps people to feel seen, to feel heard, to feel understood, and I think that naturally fosters a more inclusive environment and essentially, you're kind of role-modeling the behavior that you want to see in your team. There's some great questions, and Dr. Toby, you'll have loads to add to this I'm sure as well, that I think I see great leaders ask to actively seek different viewpoints and encourage individuals to bring their perspective to the table, and one of the questions that I've observed that I always think is a great one is, what's everyone thinking, but no one's saying? I think is a nice one, is a nice one. And I always think there no amount of truth, no matter how ugly, scares me because it's just more valuable information that helps us to make better decisions.

Toby Mildon: Yeah.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: And I think finally, I would add into this what you've already talked about, which is that psychologically safe environment, how do you facilitate, as a leader, and create an environment that fosters that open-mindedness and the empathy? And you do so much great work kind of around this Toby I know, but so that people feel comfortable of being able to express themselves.

Toby Mildon: Definitely, psychological safety is so important if you are interested in creating an inclusive environment, because essentially what we're saying is that we're creating an environment where people can speak up, share their thoughts and opinions or views or concerns without fear of retribution or being silenced somehow. So it's really important and it links to some really critical things, even if you just think about like safety in the workplace, if you're working in a factory and you make critical components for an aircraft, for example, but you work in the environment where you feel that you can't voice a concern if you see a risk or an issue that can have a detrimental impact on safety. I say that 'cause I was talking to an organization that made aircraft components, and when I asked them why diversity inclusion was so important to them, they literally said, "We don't want aeroplanes falling out for the sky, because we want an inclusive environment where everybody can speak up if they notice something wrong in the manufacturing process." So I just thought I'd check in there for the extra measure.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Oh, yeah, absolutely critical, really critical. Great story as well.

Toby Mildon: So when leaders are faced with difficult or challenging situations, how can they really harness that emotional intelligence to navigate conflicts and create a sense of belonging for everyone?

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Yeah, and at challenging situations, gosh, it comes up a lot, doesn't it? I think, again, the themes of what we've been talking about here, self-awareness and regulation of your own feelings is key to be able to retain composure and to not let things escalate. Empathetic listening, which we've just been talking about as well, I think giving people your full attention and asking those open-ended questions so that you can show that you genuinely care when you care bout understanding different perspectives. Expressing the empathy and the compassion, I think that goes a long way to creating that sense of belonging and helps people feel like it's validated what's going on for them.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Encouraging that open dialogue and creating the right environment, and I think... So there are all things that we've talked about, I guess, and I think what I would add to that is reminding anyone that's in a conflict situation of the shared values and the goals, and I always think we have a choice of what we choose to focus on, and are we focusing on what sets us apart or what brings us together, and I think to remind people of that. And that we're aiming, to aim for a win-win situation to make time and to do that, and it might take time and you may need some mediation and some specialist support, but I think that you're always wanting to look ideally for that type of that type of a solution.

Toby Mildon: And conflict isn't always bad, and if we look at Patrick Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team, in his Pyramid he's, "You need to have trust," at the bottom, and then the next level up, he says the dysfunctional teams avoid conflict, or they have unhealthy conflict and functional teams mind for conflict, so they actively seek out differing views of opinions, but because they've got that layer of trust underpinning everything, then people are able to have that kind of healthy conflict or challenge one another without having to kind of do any like back-stabbing or politicking or anything like that.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Absolutely, absolutely.

Toby Mildon: So where do you think that the intersection of mood management and inclusive leadership intersect with one another, and what steps do you think organizations can take to prepare for this intersection?

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: I honestly don't think that you can have true inclusive leadership without supporting individuals and teams to better understand and manage their moods and emotions. I think the future demands of work are gonna require more diverse and distributed teams to get the best results, so that we're innovating, that we're leading markets that we're stretching about realms of what is possible, and mood management is gonna be absolutely critical for that kind of collaboration to work. And I think people have got to act now with this, and I include people at the very, very top. No one is immune to the impacts of our moods and emotions, and just the way that that can influence our behavior, our performance and our impact on others. So I think we almost like needed to understand this yesterday, [laughter] because the world is changing at this, and it's evolving at pace right now. And this kind of mood and emotional mastery, personally, I think is foundational to leadership and any kind of high performance that we're looking to get from our teams today.

Toby Mildon: The penultimate question that everybody gets when they come on this show is, what does inclusive growth mean for you?

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Yeah, good question. I was thinking about this actually last night 'cause you did give me a heads up, you're gonna ask me this as the penultimate question. I think for me, it's an environment where we can all learn and grow together and from one another. I don't pretend to have all the answers or know everything and nobody does, so I've been staying humble and open to learning at every level, in every stage of our lives, that is for me, fundamental for life. One of my favorite sayings is that we're not growing, we're dying or were dead, and when we grow, it has this aliveness to it, and even better than that, when we grow, we become more and when we become more, we can give more. And for me, that is where there is so much joy and so much pleasure, not from what we get, but from who we become and what we give to the world. And I think inclusive growth helps us all to be ever-evolving and better and better versions of ourselves every day.

Toby Mildon: Brilliant. Thank you very much. Now, if the person listening to us right now wants to get in touch with you, continue the conversation and get access to your resources, 'cause I know that you've got loads of information that you can share to help people, what should they do?

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Yeah, absolutely. Well, if you're listening and something in the conversation has resonated with you today, I'd absolutely love to connect. LinkedIn is probably the best place. And you find me as Rachael Edmondson-Clarke. Thats Rachael with an A-E-L, Edmondson, E-D-M-O-N-D-S-O-N, and its Clarke with an E. And if in doubt, just spell my name with as many letters as you possibly can, you'll be in the right space.

Toby Mildon: Just put in all the vowels and you'll find Rachael.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Put it all in. Put it all in there. Absolutely. But Toby, we were talking before we kind of started recording and absolutely, I've got lots of tools and lots of information, I'd love for to connect, I'd love to share those things with you, so, yeah, please do reach out.

Toby Mildon: Brilliant. Thanks Rachel, thanks ever so much for joining me today. It's been lovely to connect with you, and we will be connecting again, because you've got so much information in your brain. We're going to do another episode with you where we're gonna be talking about burnout. Yeah, so if you're interested in burnout, then just keep your ears peeled for that podcast episode where we'll be sitting down with Rachael again.

Rachael Edmondson-Clarke: Toby it's been a delight, it really has. Thank you so much for having me.

Toby Mildon: You're welcome. And thank you for tuning into this episode of the Inclusive Growth Podcast with me, Toby and my guest today, Rachael. Hopefully, you've taken away some great information that you can apply to your own leadership and your own organization. We've talked about the importance of moods and how you can kind of just check in with yourself, see how you're doing for you to be a better leader, a more impactful leader. So if you do want to get in touch with Rachael and get access to further resources, please do reach out to have her LinkedIn. And as always, me and my team are available to help you at any time with your own diversity and inclusion journey. You can just contact us through our website, which is Rachael will be returning, where we'll be talking about burnout later on, but until next time, I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the podcast, which will be coming up very soon. Until then, take good care of yourself.

Speaker 1: Thank you for listening to the Inclusive Growth Show. For further information and resources from Toby and his team, head on over to our website at