Despite our best efforts to ‘wipe our feet’ of our personal life on the door way before we go into work, the reality is that this does not occur and that we take all of us to work – the good bits, the untidy bits, the contradictory bits; whether we like it all not.
But when the typical workplace is only set up to deal with a small part of All That We Are, how does this play out? What is the impact on the individual?
This is the focus of my conversation with Gabriella Braun, who specialises in bringing psychoanalytic and systems thinking into workplaces and has authored the book ‘All That We Are’.
Find out more about Gabriella and her book – http://www.gabriellabraun.co.uk
Bryn Edwards [00:01]
Hello, and welcome back to the podcast. It’s been a little while since last one. But hopefully we should have some fun again. Today, my guest is Gabriella Braun. Gabrielle, welcome to the show.
Gabriella Braun [00:14]
Thank you, thank you very much for inviting me in. WA, I know even if I’m in London,
Bryn Edwards [00:22]
you are in London. So for those who haven’t haven’t come across you before, could you quickly give us a just so we can orientate and place who you are and what it is that you do. That’s kind of meant that we’re talking now.
Gabriella Braun [00:38]
Okay. I work with organisations with leaders and teams in a wide variety of organisations. And basically, I help them to work as well as they can. And what I bring, that’s a bit unusual, pretty unusual. So that is the tie apply psychoanalytic thinking and systemic thinking. So I can help them really get under the surface and understand much more about their motivations, their dynamics, the stuff that’s going on, that is invisible, but can really hinder the workplace and relationships. Or if you can get under it and do something with it can really help. Yeah, so and I’ve written a book. Yeah, talking,
Bryn Edwards [01:32]
which is, which is what is provoked is because I’ve read this book, and I was like, Wow, I’m gonna reach out. So just just to expand on that a bit further, many people will be aware of what a psychologist does. But what’s the difference between a psychologist and psychoanalyst just so we’re crystal clear?
Gabriella Braun [01:50]
Well as site co analyst, and I’m not a psychoanalyst, I need to say I’m trained to apply psychoanalysis to the workplace and in coaching, but I’m not a psychoanalyst who will see people regularly lie on a couch. You know, it’s a cliche, but the psychoanalyst works. And this is what’s very different from psychology. Psychoanalysis works with the unconscious. Yes. And that, I guess, is the biggest difference. So and I also in applying psycho analytic thinking, I also try and get at the unconscious within the workplace.
Bryn Edwards [02:34]
Yes. And I think I, on the podcast, I have spoken to a psychoanalyst before your immune entry therapist, and I just, you know, it’s always always good to re orientate ourselves on that. I think it’s fascinating that we immediately were talking about those deeper levels of, of all of us, which, you know, as you said, our unconscious unsane often felt but difficult to articulate. Yeah. And so as a result of that, they I guess, to sum they can be kind of intimidating, scary, too difficult to handle, particularly if we’re talking about a workplace. Yeah. Yeah. So yes. Go on, carry on. So sorry, you about
Gabriella Braun [03:26]
I think, you know, people can be intimidated if they think you’re coming into a workplace to analyse them. They’ll be very intimidated. And I’m always clear that that is not my job. Yes. And I can’t I’m not clinically trained. But also that’s not what I want to do. Just analyse any body.
Bryn Edwards [03:46]
Yeah, and I think that’s the thing that’s really interesting delineation to me, because often people will think of probably hear the word psycho at the front and and then immediately clump, psychotherapist psychoanalysts psychologist counsellor into a into a thing. And then it’s like, well, I must have a problem to need to go to these places. But they can. There are different gradients of that there’s different scales of grey, that that this can be applied to.
Gabriella Braun [04:18]
Yeah, absolutely. I think
Bryn Edwards [04:22]
one of the sort of opening sort of questions I wanted to ask you, and ironically enough, it comes from the last line of the book. And, and by the way, for anyone listening to this, he’s not read, it’s not a spoiler, it’s not like and therefore he found a pot of gold underneath the pillow and he was sitting on it all the time. And it’s not that sort of spoiler. But if you know the last line of the book you wrote, I hope, I hope you leave this book with no illusions about human nature and the cost of ignoring it in the workplace. And that kind of summed up, all of what was going on in here, as I read it. It was the cost of ignoring human nature. And I think the fact that you’ve used the word nature as well, is, you know, there’s something very innate about this, you know, how we actually are. And yet, here we are, this is how we actually are. And then there’s this thing called workplace that we have to go, because nobody’s figured out how to work off the money grid Chad. And contrary to you know, financial freedom, just mean, for some people means having more money, but that’s defeats the object. But anyway, but the point is that you have this human nature, and you have this workplace. And yet the two have to interact. I guess, can you tell me more about how you see the two interacting?
Gabriella Braun [06:02]
Okay. I suppose this is a slightly roundabout way of answering your question. But I suppose what I see a lot is that what we try and do in the workplace is pretend that they don’t interact. Yes. So we behave as if we can be entirely rational and logical. And we can work with targets, and we might do psychometric tests to help in terms of personality and what we’re, what we are preferences are, etc. And that helps understand certain things. But basically, we don’t go deeper than that as if the workplace isn’t infused with human nature. Yeah. So that that would be my starting point. And I believe, absolutely, fervently believe that you can’t, you can’t cut out human nature when there are human beings there. And given that the workplace is full of human beings, usually, human nature is there. And it does interact. And if we ignore it, and pretend it’s not happening, we can get in a mess, and we can miss all sorts of vital things. I mean, I suppose one really obvious example, that we think about very commonly in the family, but we don’t think about in the workplace is sibling rivalry. We it’s become common parlance for families, isn’t it? To talk about rivalry between siblings? Yeah, very, it’s not at all commonly talked about in the workplace. And yet our peers in work are our siblings. Yeah. And actually, why wouldn’t we bring some sibling rivalry into that context as well,
Bryn Edwards [07:58]
particularly given? You know, some of the foundational elements of the workplace are that it’s individualised? It’s competitive and is hierarchical.
Gabriella Braun [08:08]
Exactly, exactly. And if you take that, to our first experience, of an organisation for most of us, that’s our, our family. And, you know, mum and dad are at the top of the hierarchy, with siblings, and we compete quite often for mum and dad’s attention for their approval, etc.
Bryn Edwards [08:31]
Mm hmm. And I guess that I guess, you said, because the the, the workplace is only wanting this small part of us. I guess, hence why you’ve called it all that we are. Yeah. Because it is all that we are. That turns up. I think you use the analogy of We can’t leave part of us with our pyjamas under our pillow. One of the sort of phrases that we have here is that, you know, I can’t I can’t wipe my can’t wipe the feet of the rest of my life. And I walk through the door into the office. And it’s Yeah, yeah. And I guess the more that we ignore human nature in the workplace, the more that wonky stuffs going to happen, because we just can’t know this.
Gabriella Braun [09:27]
Yeah. And wonky stuff is going to happen. But also we miss out the potential of what? Yeah,
Bryn Edwards [09:36]
that it was actually that was the finish of that line. Yeah, also lifted by the potential of all that we are.
Gabriella Braun [09:43]
Yeah. Because I think I think we, you know, both are there and we need to create the conditions to kind of limit the very difficult parts that we all have and the disruptive Less we’re all capable of, and bring out the best in us. Yeah.
Bryn Edwards [10:05]
Because otherwise surely just looking at small percentage of a small percentage of who we are, you continue that as quite. That’s quite neurotic really, isn’t it? That was? Yeah. You know, it’s it’s a compartmentalising a small part. And then we end up living in that because we spend a significant proportion of our week in in that box. And when the people start to go a bit too crazy, and we have workplace mental health issues.
Gabriella Braun [10:38]
Absolutely. Well, one, one of the reasons that I wanted to write the book was that I think the workplace can be so I mean, it can be great can be absolutely right. But it can be so damaging for people. And we know that, you know, mental health in the workplace. There’s actually a lot of mental ill health in the workplace. There’s terrible statistics on stress and depression and anxiety. Yes. In the from work, and, you know, I think we’ve somehow gone badly wrong.
Bryn Edwards [11:14]
Yeah, is part of that a lot of the focus is put this a lot of a lot of the focus, I find this okay, well, we’ll stick an EAP and employment assistance programme, and then you can have 10 sessions with a counsellor and, and we’ll do some well being training and stuff like that. But it’s all on the individual on the individual on the under, without necessarily looking at the organisation and structure in the workplace, which is creating the conditions that give rise to this.
Gabriella Braun [11:50]
I absolutely agree with that. I think when coaching became so fashionable, one of the reasons for the fashion, I think, was the kind of outsourcing of organisational issues, and you even outsource individual stress to a coach, and you say, to the employee, look, we’re being very generous, we’re going to pay for you to have all this wonderful coaching. But actually, what you’re saying is, we don’t want to know about your problems. And we certainly don’t want to know how they relate to what the organisation might be doing. Just take them off without sauce, or couch and you know, then you’ll be fine. And we’ll be fine.
Bryn Edwards [12:36]
Can’t go to a nice room, sit on the sofa, drink tea and biscuits have, you know, pour me in a bit of tears and come back when you’re ready.
Gabriella Braun [12:43]
Yeah. Yeah. And we don’t have to know about it or be contaminated with it. Yes,
Bryn Edwards [12:50]
yes. I guess the other part of of that line that I wrote out is this reference to human nature. And it would strike me that in a world where particularly we spend a lot of time in the workplace, which has these characteristics that we’ve just talked about, and that we can become quite disconnected from our, our human nature, whether that’s individual and or collective. And I wondered whether you could give us a bit of insight into what you see is more our sort of innate human nature. I mean, I noticed you structured the book over three, three sections, which was, you know, human nature at work. And then there was the losing ourselves. And then there was the finding ourselves. Yeah, I mean, is that part, do you see that as part of our cycle, the losing ourselves and finding ourselves and stuff. And you also talked a bit about, you know, it was a beautiful thing at the end, talking about endings, you know, a good ending is the start of a rebirth, a bad ending, we’ll go round and round and come back and kick you in the ass. We didn’t use that language. But essentially, that was what you meant. So I wondered whether you could just illuminate somebody who’s listening to this bit more into what what is our more innate human nature?
Gabriella Braun [14:23]
It’s a lovely question. I think that one of the things we don’t learn about ourselves commonly is that we’re incoherent right, human nature is not a coherent, cohesive thing. Yeah, we don’t have a coherent personality. So when you
Bryn Edwards [14:47]
say coherent, you mean
Gabriella Braun [14:51]
that all fits together neatly. Yes. And that works together smoothly. And that has kind of one Motivation and One Drive and we are like x Yes, is our main or maybe we’re X, Y and Zed. But these are our characteristics. And this is this is how it all fits together. Yeah, actually, actually, we’re we have in built huge contradictions. We have many, many different parts of ourselves, and they will often vying for position within us. Yes. And the contradictions are very basic contradiction that I suppose I play with work with quite a lot in the book. Is that between our destructiveness and our constructiveness? Yes, and hence, after the bit about human nature at work? I did the losing ourselves and the finding yourself? Because I think we, you know, we, it’s, it’s not uncommon for us to be in battle with ourselves. And a lot of the time Well, it’s, it’s, it’s ordinary, it’s happening all the time. Mostly we don’t know about it is in our unconscious. Yeah. But sometimes it really comes out and we do know about it, we might hear an inner voice that may be hugely critical, and putting us down, and we’re trying, another part of us is trying to say, well, you shut up and let me just do what I’m doing. So then it’s more common. Yeah, exactly. This really isn’t, then that that’s conscious, then, isn’t it? We know that there are at least two different things going on in our heads. Actually, there’s lots of different things, and a lot of them we don’t know about, but it doesn’t mean they’re not affecting us. So I suppose I wanted to, first of all, show something of the basics of human nature, including things that we kind of put negative labels on. But I wanted to say, yes, that they’re extreme, they’re problematic. But actually, like paranoia, for instance. Yeah, too extreme, of course, it’s problematic. But actually, it’s also ordinary. And we kind of need a bit of it in order. If we didn’t have any of it, we’d be so gullible, we couldn’t manage life. A bit of it to manage. But also, it’s really ordinary. I think the story I wrote about paranoia. I hope so. An ordinary take on what can happen to us all. Yeah. So I was trying to show you know, the drive for life and the drive towards death. Yeah. Yeah, and, and all those parts of the human nature, the things that drive us that are just there and just drive us and come out in different ways, and of course, nurture, our family history, all of that will have an influence of their dominance and prominence with our personality, but they’re always part of human nature. Yeah. And then, of course, the losing and finding ourselves, I think, I think, I mean, developmentally, I think the destructiveness comes first. But then as we mature, that we go in, we can go round and round these places, you know, in an hour, you might go from something that’s disruptive to something constructive, or it might take months or minutes, you know, we were going round and in and out of those places a lot. Yes, yes.
Bryn Edwards [18:50]
I really liked that the fact that we are contradictory, we have these competing, we have these competing forces within us. And that, you know, we do have drives towards greatness and drives towards destruction. And, you know, I think you refer to it as you know, like a life drive and a death drive. And I was, yeah, that’s, that’s pretty cool. That’s, you know, and I think deep down, we all know, when we’ve been sort of net dragged towards a death drive, or a downward spiral, you know, you know, for all the positives that are going on, there are negatives, and it ends up being net negative, and it’s pulling us down and then there are times when things are more positive and it’s net positive and they’re pulling up. And I think that idea of almost like net positive as in there’s always competing forces, but at that point, we’re in and, and so for me, it was the book was almost like, a safe space. to actually read things that actually happened. And I mean, it’s not just, oh, that actually happened. But this is really, really what, what we’re like, when we go to work, you know, over over. We look, I like creating safe spaces for people talk about stuff, because this is how we do the podcast. But you know, within the book, it was like, you know, these are real life, things that over my, you know, 1617 years of being a management consultant, I spotted these things playing out all the time, I was involved in them or watch them. And so they they will happen. And I think deep down when we have a quiet moment, we can resonate with most of the chapters, or have experience.
Gabriella Braun [20:50]
Yeah, I mean, people, our readers are telling me that, that they, and I’ve, I’ve had feedback that’s quite surprised me actually somebody in a corporate who has responded to a public sector story, because it’s the theme of the story. It’s not the nature of the work, it’s the theme, what happens to those characters that’s really resonated for them.
Bryn Edwards [21:15]
And it’s interesting, because it’s not just individuals, it’s also treat groups as a whole entity in and of themselves as well. And that’s, that’s really important, because a group is not just a collection of individuals, it becomes an entity in and of its own. Right? Yes. And then it will have content will have the same nature conditions applied to it country. Things. Yeah, yeah. and stuff of that nature. But ya know, I found it, and the fact that there were stories, and there’s this idea that I’ve been introduced to by an indigenous elder here, Sean nanophase, of painting and pointing and so painting has whole painting, and you can see everything. So instead of just pointing to the tree that’s in it, you see the tree and amongst everything else that’s in the landscape that happens to be in the painting. But by painting something you carry so much more information that people can resonate with, and they can build out on from their own experience. And so there was there was a lot of painting in this, but there is the occasional paragraphs where you just pointed something very gently within the context and then come back out. So it to me, it was way more powerful than any textbook that I read in my organisational psychology master’s degree.
Gabriella Braun [22:34]
I love that analogy of painting and pointing and I hadn’t thought of myself as pointing. But I think that makes absolute sense. And the thing that within as you call it, the painting, you’re kind of leaving it to the reader to take what they will from the painting. You’re doing some a little bit pointing, but then, yeah, they’ll they’ll resonate in the way that works for them. And you’re not trying to force that.
Bryn Edwards [23:01]
Yeah. And I think a lot of it is because one of my bugbears with the world of psychology as a whole is that biologically it takes this sort of third party objective white coat with a clipboard, I’ll observe and see what’s going on. And, but that’s not how we work. We are connected beings. And so you might as well just be in the middle of it, actually acknowledging you’re in the middle of life, and then watch what’s going on from the middle of life. And that’s what we do in these stories.
Gabriella Braun [23:35]
Yeah, I mean, what I, my, my journey of writing this book, I was always determined, I wasn’t gonna write a textbook, I wasn’t gonna write an academic book, I wasn’t gonna write a book for people like us, you know, had some psychological training work with organisations, fantastic if people like us like it, but my main audience might, in my mind, was just people at work, who were interested in thinking, what happens? Why do these weird things go on? How
Bryn Edwards [24:15]
is going on?
Gabriella Braun [24:17]
What the hell is going on? I mean, who hasn’t asked themselves at some point in their working lives? So that was that was my idea. And and I wanted it to be stories because we relate to stories, don’t we? Yeah. We make sense of stories. So I really wanted to tell stories, as you say, paint the pictures. Just your other point about being in the middle, I suppose. Then I came to this very gradually that I needed to be in it. And I needed to include biography and my own experiences. And that came in more and more over time. I’m actually thought what I don’t want to be, is that psychologist person that you’ve described with the clipboard? As if I’m somehow superior to all of this? You know, you people get in these messes. And I can look back and say, Aha, wow. So I thought, no, it’s really important that I include myself because I am talking about all that we are. And I’m part of the way.
Bryn Edwards [25:30]
Yes. And you’re showing up at work. Yeah, yeah. All of you. Yeah, that’s lovely. I think one of the other things that shone out through the stories, which is a, it’s probably going back to our, what are some of the, like, the undeniable Truths of Our Nature? And one of the things that seemed to jump out to me, is that in what we think is a very rational and cognitive, cognitive environment, the workplace. There’s a lot of emotions flying around. Yeah, there’s a lot of emotions flying around. Yeah. You know, there’s, there’s a fantastic line that you put in there, which is feelings don’t follow plans, right. It’s just I read that, and I was like, It’s gold. I’ll be using that shamelessly. And, you know, and it’s not just, it’s not just that we don’t allow for it. It’s not just that we don’t, but we don’t even losing to normalise it. We don’t seem to even have the tools. I mean, I asked myself the question, you know, given that, you know, we’re frequently going through change in the workplace, which means that as something finishes, something needs to start, but in order for something to finish, we do actually need to mourn and grieve it before we move on to the next thing. That’s one of the biggest things that comes out in this. And then if we don’t deal with those rising emotions and deal, get into them appropriately, or no, I’m going to take the word appropriate for you, unless you get in, don’t get into them. They’re going to just spiral round, and come down here. And then you know, there’s going to be a stinky smell leakage leaking up from the cellar downstairs. Yeah. And, but then I asked myself the question, but how would you do that in the workplace? Where are the tools? Why I was stumped.
Gabriella Braun [27:45]
Yeah. I think that’s what happens a lot of the time, we don’t have the tools. And for me, the tools are actually the language, right? And the safety, the safety and the acknowledgement, because I think not only do we not talk about emotions, we don’t think about them really playing out in the workplace. But also, we kind of think it’s wrong, that we should be feeling all sorts of things in the workplace, because we’re at work. And we’re not meant to be emotionally, you know, all over the place, or hugely happy or hugely depressed, or whatever we are, yeah, all these different things. That’s that you can do that at home, that’s fine. You’re not meant to do it at work. It’s also almost as if it’s something a bit shameful. Hmm. And that makes it even harder. Yeah, you don’t find tools for something that you think is a bit shameful? No, no. So I think that’s a starting place to acknowledge that this is important that this is unavoidable, and it can be incredibly helpful. And you can only have the tools if you think, okay, there’s something worth having tools for here. Yeah. And then I think the tools, you know, we’ve tried to make tools and things like Myers Briggs, etc. And, um, that, you know, those things have their place. Yeah, but they only go to a certain point. Yeah. I mean, personally, in my work, I don’t use any, quote marks, tools. Yeah. What use is talking and thinking and expressing ourselves. Yeah, but you have to create the space and the time and the safety. Yes, like make it psychologically safe enough for people to do that.
Bryn Edwards [29:45]
Yeah. And that in anomalous that in and of itself seems like when you look at a workplace a rare skill to be able to do Yeah, ironically enough, we all most of us have the capacity to do. Otherwise we’d never have close conversations with loved ones.
Gabriella Braun [30:11]
Yeah, yeah. So if you create the right conditions, a lot of people, as you say, they do know how to do it. If you create conditions. Mm
Bryn Edwards [30:27]
hmm. It’s quite. It’s quite kind of deep and sensitive and simple, all ethical measures, isn’t it?
Gabriella Braun [30:36]
Mm hmm. I think that’s right. I mean, there’s one story where I asked the founders of an organisation how they are. And they say they’re fine. Yeah, I think it’s that story. And I say, Yeah, but really, how are you? And they say, well, we don’t we don’t ask each other that. Yeah, that’s intrusive. I’m responding to you saying it’s, it’s also simple. And that is really simple. How are you? But really, how are you?
Bryn Edwards [31:11]
Yeah, I’m not taking some just crappy answer. I rarely rarely. How I? Yeah. Yeah. Because I guess from that, you know, you talked about, you know, there’s a chapter in there about talking of talking about the unspeakable truths and things of that nature of I guess there’s, there’s a, there’s a fine line between repetitive moaning, and actually being able to sit there in a safe space and go, you know, what, all this shit right now? And people taking that seriously? Yeah. In the workplace, or when again, ready to find the space for that. Usually, when things are gone catastrophically wrong.
Gabriella Braun [31:59]
Yeah. I mean, I think I don’t know what the experience is, like, in WA, I think, talking to leaders here some leaders, I think COVID has kind of accelerated change for the better or potentially accelerated change for the better. So people realised in during lockdowns, leaders, of course, we’re asking staff, really, how are you? And making a case for that? And prioritising the looking out for an after their staff. And I think some of that those conversations will remain, because I think people started and also the barriers between your private self and your professional stuff broke down, you know, you would see each other in your houses in people’s bedrooms, and you went into people’s private space, literally through over zoom or team. So some of those barriers broke down. And also, people weren’t all in the same boat, by any means. But everybody did experience a kind of existential threat to life. Yes. But we weren’t used to
Bryn Edwards [33:25]
was then start to play at some of the basic foundations of many of the illusions that they hold dear to navigate life.
Gabriella Braun [33:36]
Exactly. So exactly. So So I think some of those conversations changed. And I think there are organisations and leaders that now think, actually, we mustn’t go back to how we were, yes, this change is really important. And it’s humanised us more than we need to keep it.
Bryn Edwards [34:00]
Because we all we like being human.
Gabriella Braun [34:03]
Yes. We like being human, and we can see the benefits. Yeah. Yeah. That’s what we’re here to do. Yeah. You,
Bryn Edwards [34:17]
you also talked in the book about that. We mentioned earlier on the life drive and the death drive.
Gabriella Braun [34:23]
Yeah. Which comes from psychoanalysis.
Bryn Edwards [34:26]
Yeah, I wonder if you could just expand on that a bit more. Because on one level, they, yeah, they sound like pretty serious things.
Gabriella Braun [34:37]
Well, I think it’s the I think we all have within us a really powerful drive that wants to not just stay alive, but also live our life. Yeah. You know, enjoy our life, make relationships. Do things we want to do. Do write a book was one of mine, you know, not just survive but live at the same time and that that part of us sorry, just to carry on that part of us is also the part that fuels some of our most constructive parts. Yeah, within that drive, we find compassion for ourselves and for others, we find the best parts of our ambition of our, our discipline, the best parts of all of that. And then at the same time, there’s this other drive that kind of says, let’s just go back to where we came from, which is a kind of innate state of nothingness. I think when people hear the word, death drive, what they think is, what are you saying we want to die? Yeah. And that doesn’t make sense to people. But I think what does make sense to people? is, if you say, it’s about kind of giving up, yeah, deadly nurse. Yep, giving up on life. So we don’t bother to push ourselves to write the books that we really want to write. We don’t either to have the difficult conversation to protect a relationship that matters to us. We don’t we we cut off from our feelings we cut off from other people, we don’t look at them and recognise what they’re about. And we instead give in to some of the things that pull away from life like, huge envy, for instance, which spoils somebody else’s pleasure. Yeah. You know, massive competitiveness, or extreme look at war that, you know, there’s always more somewhere and now we’re seeing horrific war. Um, it’s, it’s a it’s human beings that their most destructive? Yeah, doing that. And of course, war does kill people. It’s used as aggression in our aggression in the most negative way. Yes. But on a day by day basis, we might find that we just can’t really be bothered. Yeah, no, there’s a kind of giving up. passivity. That’s a bit of the death drive.
Bryn Edwards [37:34]
Yes. Always like this toxic passivity that goes into deep set lethargy.
Gabriella Braun [37:40]
Yes, exactly. Exactly. Yes.
Bryn Edwards [37:44]
And I think this is not just within individuals, but it can be within collectives and teams as well, definitely. I think, whilst many someone who’s listened to this might, I don’t know. I don’t know how they are with their own mortality and life. And they might find this bit triggering on an individual level, but I’m sure many people have been in a group where either the wheels came off, and then unbeknown to them, or they can’t put their foot on it, but finger on it, but there was this drive and the team, you know, fragmented and disintegrated.
Gabriella Braun [38:19]
Yeah. Yeah. And that can happen quite a lot to teams, especially teams under stress.
Bryn Edwards [38:26]
Yeah, yeah. Because I suppose ultimately, you know, Team disintegrates to disintegrate. The team might die, but I won’t.
Gabriella Braun [38:36]
Bryn Edwards [38:39]
Yeah. For me, it was certainly something I’ve thought about quite a bit over the last week or so. Just do it sitting considered where in life for my honour, positive life growth drive, and where am I sort of lethargy, that? disintegration drive? And it for me, it’s not just bring is I mean, yeah, look, I talked about earlier on net positive and negative. And, you know, maybe if you chunk it up to a global scale, you could look, look at it from that perspective. But I found it more interesting to be more nuanced and look at different aspects of life. And
Gabriella Braun [39:25]
I think that’s really helpful because it is more nuanced. Yes. And you can be doing a bit of both. Yeah.
Bryn Edwards [39:36]
I can be full of life over here. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s certainly Yeah. So we got that. So for the, I’m going to ask you pretty much that same question with three tilts on it. So for the everyday person who goes to work, what would you hope that they? What sort of chords? Would you hope that the book and the messages in it resonate with them?
Gabriella Braun [40:12]
Oh, and I would hope that what resonates with them is the complexity of human nature, and how that plays out in the workplace, inevitably. And that therefore, it’s okay and positive to actually think about it and take account of it and give it time space. I’d hoped that they would resonate is also the bits for them that they see a gold Yeah, I do that. That’s worth me thinking about. Yeah. And the bits that they think, Oh, now, I think I understand what happened in that situation that I could never get my head around. I could never understand that at all. That would be lovely. If that resonated. And I suppose most of all, it’s something about we are human beings. We are complicated. We have good stuff. We have shipped stuff. Sorry. And can like how can we make our workplaces more humane? Yes. Yeah. So we can, you know, can we? I’d love that to really resonate?
Bryn Edwards [41:35]
Yeah. I guess I was gonna ask. Yeah, cuz I was gonna ask you the same question for what would you hope a manager of a team took out of it? And what would you hope that a leader of an organisation or an Executive leader of an organisation,
Gabriella Braun [41:50]
oh, that’s better to section the questions. So I suppose I had
Bryn Edwards [41:56]
sort of individual employee manager of t, and then executively, the reorganisation?
Gabriella Braun [42:03]
So the man the individual employee probably won’t necessarily be thinking, can we be more human at work, but they’ll think the other things that I talked about
Bryn Edwards [42:13]
why they don’t give themselves more of a free pass just to go easier on themselves?
Gabriella Braun [42:17]
I agree, which will absolutely life with
Bryn Edwards [42:21]
more ease and grace,
Gabriella Braun [42:23]
absolutely go easier on themselves for a not feel oh, God, I shouldn’t be feeling this. I shouldn’t be feeling that you are feeling that. And there’s a reason you’re feeling that. What what happens with it? Yes, not that you shouldn’t be. I agree, go easier on themselves and be more compassionate to themselves and hopefully to others. Yeah. One of the things the FT did a wonderful review on one of the things that they said was this book may make you think, again, about people at work, including those and maybe especially those you just like it says something like that, maybe, you know, be a bit more understanding. So I would hope that for the manager, I’d hoped that they’d think, Oh, actually, this could make me a much better manager. Because if I really allow people to be who they are, and if I recognise that and, and make space for that, I could create better conditions for all the things that I want as a manager, productivity, you know, innovation, creativity, a good good team atmosphere. If I, if I accept that that is all hard work. Because of human nature. Yeah. And it won’t all be linear, but I can include it in what we’re doing. And that could be very rewarding. For the team for me and for the organisation overall. Yes. And then for the leader at the top, really thinking about how do we humanise this workplace? For the leader at the top and the manager. Maybe this is a way of actually doing something about those terrible statistics on stress, anxiety, depression at work. Yeah. Yeah.
Bryn Edwards [44:30]
I really liked that. Because I think that would that that would be the I think deep down everyone would wish for that. Yeah. We like I said, we haven’t unravelled. We haven’t unravelled the question of how do we or not have to go to work that in but until such time as we do, how can we make it more humane How can we move through it with more ease and grace? How can we go there to the workplace and not come back damaged?
Gabriella Braun [45:09]
Yeah. And you know, work can be enormously rewarding, we can find our best selves in many ways in the productivity and the camaraderie. So how to really make the most of that? Yeah, and as you say, not combat damaged. Yeah. And it can
Bryn Edwards [45:28]
be a great crucible for growth. Yes, you know, in a safe place, we can be more free to be who we are, and we can have more robust conversations. And that really go out on a, you know, can go full out on difference of opinions, which creates an amazing creative spark, but in the full trust that we might have vehemently disagree on this, but doesn’t mean say, we’re not going to be friends, once it’s over. Whereas now we tend to run around shittiness out was that we’ve, that we’ve upset somebody, and then that can be part of my performance review. And then I’m going to get not the salary increase or less of a bonus. And then, and so, you know, what is that encouraging in shape? And then all of a sudden, you know, in an ever changing world where we want flexibility and creativity, you’re not exactly promoting that in the in the core work staff?
Gabriella Braun [46:29]
Bryn Edwards [46:32]
Hmm. Hmm. Is there anything else you want to tell us about the this whole adventure of, you know, what you do, and then putting it into a book? So there’s almost like, there’s negative wisdom that goes out there?
Gabriella Braun [46:56]
I suppose. I suppose I, I do think that psychoanalytic thinking has got so much to offer your work. And people like me, have been extraordinarily bad at making it accessible. Yeah. So very few people would think, Oh, this is something we could use to help us in, in the workplace. So that that was part of what I was trying to do say, Look, this is here. I’m not simply making it simplistic, but I hope I’m making it accessible. Yeah. And that was part of my motivation for the book as well. There is a whole lot that we can use here that we don’t, we don’t tend to use,
Bryn Edwards [47:44]
and I think, be big, and sort of coming back to where we started with. Because we’re talking about deeper unconscious stuff. We can’t always point to it. We need the painting of stories in order to orientate ourselves. Yeah. Because, you know, from the outside, it’s scary stuff. You know, what you’re telling me there’s unseen forces in me that are cruising around? I don’t want to know about what the truth, but if we’re all honest with ourselves, deep down, that’s happening, but then how do I access this? Yeah. And I suppose it is difficult for, you know, pure marketing perspective, how, how do you market something that’s less tangible than Cognitive Behavioural Therapy type stuff? salutely where I can I can I can stick a measurable behaviour on it. And look, everybody’s turning up, and that ticking the box. So yeah, you know, 20 or 20 boxes were ticked, everyone’s
Gabriella Braun [48:42]
cool. It is difficult from a marketing perspective. And you can’t say, Well, you know, I can give you six sessions. And you’ll all come out like this.
Bryn Edwards [48:55]
Yeah, well, are you good? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And that’s Yeah. And that’s dealing with the real truth of the matter, isn’t it? It’s like, you know, we’ll, we’ll do a session and see where it goes. Yeah. Because until we unpick it, I don’t really know. And I suppose again, that’s rubbing up against the backdrop of, you know, we like predictable outcomes,
Gabriella Braun [49:19]
and we want certainty. And of course, there is there isn’t certainty, we can’t have certainty.
Bryn Edwards [49:26]
Yeah, there was there was, I think, I can’t remember which chapter it was, there was one where you talked about perfection.
Gabriella Braun [49:34]
And that was just the chapters.
Bryn Edwards [49:37]
But the but you know, is how we create perception, how we create the perception of perfection. Yeah. What you tell us how does, how does the sense of perfection come about and what’s the drive towards perfection?
Gabriella Braun [49:57]
Oh, well, I I think we, we, many of us live with the illusion that there is such a thing? Yes, of course there isn’t. So we try. And we’re always creating work places, we’re always striving for better, better, better, better, better, as if there is an absolutely idea that you reach. So that’s part of how we do it. But then internally, we have things that push us, some of us towards an idea of perfection. So I think in that chapter, I talked about the super ego, this now using a very clinical term, but you know, it’s a part of our mind, that can be helpful. And say, maybe you’ve had enough wine now,
Bryn Edwards [50:51]
you know, parent,
Gabriella Braun [50:54]
like being a parent that’s benign, and helpful, and still compassionate. Yeah. Or we can have a super ego that is responsible for conscience, it’s that kind of part of our mind. And some of us have a super ego that will just be rate us and put us down all the time. So they won’t say that super ego wouldn’t say, maybe, maybe not another glass of wine, that super ego might say more of the along the lines of trust you. Other people would stop, but you don’t. You’re weak, you look at you, you having more, and then you’ll have another one. It’s what you always do. You’re pathetic. What I’m over, you know, that that super critical internal voice? Yes. And the guy in the chapter that I write about seems to have everything going for him. But it turns out that he’s got a very harsh internal voice that is berating him. And that really makes life hard for him.
Bryn Edwards [52:03]
Yes. Because there’s this relentless drive towards perfection status.
Gabriella Braun [52:07]
Yeah. And he can’t he’s never good enough. Yeah, he’s so nice. He’s not good enough. Yeah, the number of people have said, Oh, that really rang bells.
Bryn Edwards [52:17]
Yeah. And even if you do read a sense of perfection, part of that is you’ve had to trim off a lot of the rest of your perception in grip on reality, just to have this nice, perfect state. Because we know, reality is not perfect. And it’s pretty paradoxical, and messy and untidy.
Gabriella Braun [52:42]
And I think I say that in the ending part of the book, you know, how to, you know, and it’s good enough? Yeah. Because you have to do the same when you’re writing a book. Okay. When, I mean, obviously, you help by a deadline, like, you publish, we go to print.
Bryn Edwards [53:00]
Yeah, but but we have, we have this at work as well. I mean, when we all kind of grew up with a, with a school experience where there was, you know, exams that lasted for, you know, two hours, and you had put pens down and two hours, and you had to do as much as you could within the two hours, or you have to get the essay done by Thursday morning. And then that’s the deadline, and it has to be and then you kind of do the best you can and you’re just used to that, and you get rolling and rolling and rolling. Yeah, when we go to work, it’s it’s not so clear cut. And it can be you know, there are deadlines, but sometimes deadlines can be flexible. And the feedback mechanisms are not as transparent as when you are at school. And so then it’s like, well, how would you orientate yourself in this if I’m not getting these blunt feedback? Mechanisms working? And then it’s like, well, what is good enough? And then, so yeah, I can see how, you know, without getting the feedback of Alright, Bretton, you got to see for that internal report that you just written for us. You know, it was what it was. And so I don’t know where I am. So shall I be striving for better? Is it not? Is it this? Yeah. Fair. It’s just not a
Gabriella Braun [54:20]
thing actually, that managers could think about, in terms of how they give feedback. Being aware of some people will be feeling if I the manager say one word about not being perfect, some people will do something with that in their minds, others won’t. Some will really do something. So you know, how do I work out how to give individual feedback in a helpful
Bryn Edwards [54:49]
that that then gets into this whole minefield of if I’m having to constantly think about whether one false word and this person is going to cave in And then how do I ever get to the place where the output of his work is at the standard that is required? It’s not there? No, of
Gabriella Braun [55:10]
course, of course you currently. You can’t you can’t try never to give a word that would somebody might react to. But you might realise with one member of staff that they seem to take any slight criticism very hard. And you might say, you know, I don’t know how you heard that. When I said that, you might give them a chance to say, well, you know, I just realised it was way you were disappointed or something and then the manager, I wasn’t disappointed. All I’m saying is x, you know, yeah. So then might just create a space so that they’re allowing something to be said, that puts it in context, which other people won’t need, but some people may. Fantastic.
Bryn Edwards [56:14]
This, this has been a fantastic conversation. One of the last questions I asked all my guests, which kind of kind of helps sum things up sometimes. But if I if I could, if I could take everybody at work. Usually I say everyone on planet, but we’re gonna make it specific today. If I can make everybody at work, just sit down and chill out for 10 minutes. And you could pop a question into the collective consciousness for everyone to sit down and cogitate on in that 10 minutes, what would it be? Oh, wow.
Gabriella Braun [57:01]
All think it would be? What am I missing? About myself? In the workplace? What am I not aware of? What am I not noticing? What am I not seeing? In my, in my reactions in the workplace? I think the starting point has got to be with our own self awareness. Yes. So what am I not someone else? No, I think we’ve got to start with ourselves. Yeah. What am I not seeing about myself and my interactions in the workplace, my judgments, my interactions in the workplace. Love it. That’s great. The thinking behind that is one about self awareness, but two about thinking about our own contribution to things. So sometimes, you know, you can come out of a meeting and think my boss is the worst boss on the planet. And if only I had a different Boss Life will be hunky dory, or that bloody colleague drives me absolutely berserk. And if it wasn’t for them, everything would be fine. What we miss is the part we I mean, those may be true. But also we may miss the part what we did to provoke the colleague, what we how we make the boss how we actually make it harder for them. So they might be harder on us. You know, the bits that we play in that huh?
Bryn Edwards [58:50]
Yeah, no, I like I like that. There’s more to it. There’s there’s many
Gabriella Braun [58:54]
levels and layers. Yeah.
Bryn Edwards [58:58]
Super. I really enjoyed this conversation.
Gabriella Braun [59:01]
I really enjoyed it a lot. Thank you.
Bryn Edwards [59:05]
It’s been a lot of fun. And obviously, this is the boat. Where, where can people find it and find you?
Gabriella Braun [59:16]
They can find me on my author website is Gabriella brown.co.uk. The book and there are links to the books there. There’s Amazon Waterstones. Yeah, they are selling it in Australia as well.
Bryn Edwards [59:36]
Right. Yeah, yeah. Well, I got a copy.
Gabriella Braun [59:39]
Yeah, exactly. So you can you should be able to get it quite easily. Yes.
Bryn Edwards [59:46]
I think I got it via the the Book Depository or
Gabriella Braun [59:52]
the Book Depository? That’s a good one to mention because they also don’t charge for selling abroad. I mean, sending it abroad. That’s a very good one on there it’s a link to them on my website superb there we go thank you so much