Optimizing Employee Performance and Building Healthy Work Cultures with Dionna A. Appling M.S.M

Hi everybody. Welcome to another episode of School Nutrition Dietitian. Today I'm excited to have Dionna Appling on the show, she's the creator of the New Culture Norm podcast and the owner of Business Advocates Pro Inc. She specializes in professional development training, and today I'm having her on to speak with us about leadership and how we motivate our teams. If you can't take notes during the show, don't worry I've already taken notes for you. Just visit www.schoolnutritiondietitian.com, visit the podcast section and join the mailing list. That way you'll have access to show summaries every time a new episode is released. Alright, let's get started.

Hi, Dionna. Thank you so much for coming on.


Thank you so much, Dalia. I really appreciate you having me with you.


I've been listening to your podcast, and I heard you in some of the early episodes, explain that you've worked with all types of organizations, even in, nonprofits. I just thought you'd be such a great fit for this show. Because company culture is an issue everywhere, but I don't see it focused on in food service management. So first, can we get some background on you. What made you realize there was a need for your podcast? Can you tell us about that?

Absolutely. Well, I started my podcast basically, because I was at that time working with different clients, and coaching and working with leadership teams regarding company culture and doing staff training. And when I would, you know, do further research on Google multiple platforms and do different types of insight on surveys and things like that, I started to notice that a lot of the insights that were provided were from other people who had a, I don't want to say one sided, but they had a different side of the view of company culture. And for me, what was important and really, the major reason why I got into this type of industry and offering the service was to bring awareness and a lot more simple insight into what culture is and to help people to understand how simple it can be to build culture. And it doesn't have to be an elaborate program. But more importantly, to bridge the gap between leadership teams and management teams and their employees. It seems like there's always this level of expectation that management has of how they want employees to perform. But there really aren't too many tools provided to managers of how to ensure that their teams can perform and reach those levels of expectation. So I wanted to provide an on demand company culture resource where people can start to build culture intentionally and focus on leadership and employee engagement intentionally and simplify the process and stop making it so complicated and to understand how simple it is to implement that in your daily leadership walk.


That's a really common issue I’ve noticed. People aren't always given any kind of leadership training before they're put in a leadership position. So I can imagine then the thought of work culture development feels a little advanced. So I'm sure considering how limited leadership training usually is, I'm sure most people don't get to this level. I can definitely see why this was needed. Was that the same thought process behind developing your consulting firm in the first place you already saw there was that gap there?


Absolutely, and honestly, the example that you just gave is really what happened to me and how I ended up in the position that I am in today. I was someone who I was really blessed in high school. Typically teenagers are getting their first jobs at a grocery store or fast food restaurant. I was blessed to have the opportunity to have my first job in an actual office, I worked for a medical practice. So the type of exposure that I had to how businesses work was something that typically you don't get at that age range. And from there, once I even worked there and started going, working and getting other opportunities at other companies. One thing that I noticed was a common thing was that like I mentioned, there was this expectation of how you should perform as an employee, but you really weren't giving given the coaching or the guidance and the tools that you need it to be developed in that career path. And what was interesting is that, you know, I worked for some pretty awesome companies, but I always noticed that same pattern, and eventually I started to develop an attitude of, you know, saying that this bumps into know what they're doing or if things could change this way, then you know, everything would be better. And I had all these ideas and thoughts. And so I developed this attitude that, you know, I would work my way up to become a leader or a manager, and I would implement all of these great changes and employees would be so happy.  Until I actually was given my first leadership role.

I didn't know how to be a leader. And that's something that a lot of people say to even just as you mentioned, you can easily get a role that requires you to be a leader and not know how to execute in that role. So when I was given the shoes to walk in to be a leader, and I realized that I needed to learn what that meant, I decided to further my education and I basically engulfed myself management science as well as leadership and I went on to get my master's in Management Science. And I just focused on what leadership was and how you can truly impact others through your influence as a leader. And once I started doing that. I was noticing that different people would come to me for insight and to answer questions or to help them with different soft skills related matters. It then became clear to me to that I should start actually doing this as a business. And that's how I got into consulting with businesses and organizations and coaching leaders to do the same.


That is really interesting that you were interested in management, and still even with all those great ideas once you were actually in the role, you realized it isn't quite as easy as it looks. That happens to a lot of people, I’m sure. It's easy to come up with suggestions when you're not in the weeds, doing the things. Would you say now that you have all this experience, that leadership is something that should be built up in every employee regardless of their level of responsibility or how many direct reports they have? Now that you're at this point, how do you view leadership?


I believe leadership absolutely is something that needs to be groomed and developed in every employee regardless of their title. The difference is, only certain people within a workspace have a managerial title. But not every manager is a leader and not every leader is a manager. The difference between a leader and a great leader or a manager and a great leader, is that they understand the impact of their influence. Because even if you aren't aware that you're influencing others, and that you're influencing a team, if you have direct report, you're still influencing them. So when you have that awareness about yourself, you can decide how you want to develop those people who report to you. And if you don't have a leadership title, you can also do the same thing you can be aware of how you present yourself in that workspace with your customers with whomever your end user or consumer is and decide how you want to impact their lives through service because that's what leadership is essentially it's impacting and influencing others through service.


That answers my question, what constitutes a good leader? Just so being intentional about how you're leading others and keeping the objective of service clear?


Absolutely. I think what's interesting to sort of tie into your initial question, Does it matter if you have that title or not? or you know, what type of role that you're in, I would say for managers or those who are in a leadership position, if you have direct reports, I noticed that sometimes it isn't always common for someone in that role to automatically focus on how they're presenting themselves, how they're showing up as a leader in that role. And the biggest thing that I would say is to understand that regardless of whether or not you realize how you're influencing others. Everyone has encountered a bad boss. The biggest thing to think about is to have empathy, is to put yourself in the shoes of your team. Do you want to be remembered as dreadful boss? Do you want to be remembered as that unsaid that selfish leader? Your team will inevitably start to move on and perhaps go on in their career. How do you want your impact to last on their career journey and leadership journey? Are you creating other leaders? Are you creating people who are resentful of their experience with you?


Those are some tough questions, I'm sure for some to process.  I know there are a lot of good people that may be can't answer those questions the way they would like to. What are some destructive leadership behaviors that people fall prey to even if they're nice outside of work? What is it that makes people somehow lose sight of how their behavior is affecting others once they're under the pressure of being in charge?


That's a great question. And I think you mentioned something that all of us face, you know, you have different pressures and strains on you if you are in a leadership role. And when it comes to leading your team, it can be very easy and almost second nature to be affected by the things that are going on around you. The constraints that you have and your workload, the overwhelm that you have, not only do you have to produce, and are you responsible for the output of this team, but now you have to focus on keeping them engaged, it can be overwhelming. The biggest thing that I would say is to make sure that you are aware of who you are and how you're showing up as a leader. And the best way to do that is to do a leadership survey or leadership questionnaire and honestly that's actually something that I offer where you can determine what your leadership style is. And the great thing about that is you are aware of your strengths as a leader and how they can impact the way you interact with your team, your expectations of them. And it may at first seem a bit overwhelming or maybe it may sting a little bit to think you know, and am I impacting my team in a negative way, but the sooner you're honest with yourself about how you're impacting them, the sooner you can start to make different changes that will allow them to respond better towards you, and ultimately, what you're looking for, show up better in their daily work life. And it's important for any human, its human nature to have tons of emotions on a daily basis. But we all know that as adults, we have to be aware of that and ensure that we're not operating from a place of emotion, but operating from a place of empathy. And once we just, you know, take the, the uncomfortable nature away from that and we can just honestly look at how we're showing up, we can start to impact change and focus on the areas that we may need to improve on. The biggest thing I would suggest is making sure that you're avoiding toxic behaviors that can negatively impact your team. Some of those toxic behaviors from a leadership standpoint can include gossiping, be openly disciplining or berating employees. That's definitely something you don't want to do. Not being in control of your emotions and openly displaying anger and frustration and profanity and things like that. Those are definitely characteristics that you want to control because if you can exert those behaviors, you're teaching your team that that is a norm and workplace that is a norm in our culture, because it's the leaders doing it, we can as well.

That's a really good point. I took a leadership class through work a while ago when I was a clinic lead. And most of the feedback I got I found, palatable. It was easy to make some tweaks, but there was a smaller percentage that based on all the other feedback, these were outliers, and well these people were not fans, they just weren't. Is it realistic to expect a 100% approval rating? How do you know what to work on, especially if somebody identifies something that you don't see as an issue in yourself and not many other people are saying the same thing? How do you know what advice to really focus on and what to throw out?


That's a very, very good question. I think the biggest thing to pay attention to if you do get feedback about your leadership practices or something that may be a weakness or an area and submit about your leadership, number one, remove emotion. It's important to receive the feedback and understand that that feedback doesn't necessarily have to be true about you as a leader entirely, but maybe in a particular instance or a certain type of matter or approach. The person who may be giving you that feedback has a different experience of working with you than perhaps someone else because our interactions with everyone is different. So they may encounter a side of you or way that you may be addressing something that someone else may not have. So removing emotions first will allow you to receive the feedback openly and willingly without a wall up. And I would encourage you to ask I just engaging questions about their feedback is what made you think that? How did you come to that conclusion? Can you give me an example of what you mean by that? Ask questions to get further insights. And when you get that insight about the feedback they're giving you just take time to process it. I think that's something that we don't do enough is in general, but especially as leaders, the great part of communication and one of the more important parts of communication is the listening aspect. So when you get that information, just take some time to really think about it and be honest about what was given. And as I feel that once you do that you're able to then determine, is this something that I do need to work on? Or is it a specific trigger that only caused me to approach the situation in this manner with this person, and then from there, you can start to uncover how you can address that and what you can do about it going forward. But the bigger picture is to not use that set of feedback that you're given, as the end all be all for who you are, as a leader, we all have habits, you know, and they're going to be perceived differently by the different people that we encounter daily.


That really helps. So, a practical tip is definitely take some time to process it. I think removing emotion might be a tall order. If the person touches on something that is a recurring theme in your attempts to interact with other human beings. You know everybody has little quirks and parts of their personality that maybe don't go over so well with others. So if you feel triggered by the feedback, how do you neutralize your feelings about it? Is there a trick for that? Do you just go to therapy? Like, what do you do with that?


If you feel that therapy is necessary, depending on the significance of the trigger, by all means, go to therapy. Personally, I would say for myself, I've gotten to a place where if I hear feedback, and it is a bit triggering for me, I have to always be conscious of how I'm showing up for the people. I'm leading how I'm showing up for the people that I'm interacting with. And I believe that when you have that mindset of self-awareness, you stop yourself from purchasing Meeting in a defensive way and from being easily offended, there's a way to, for people to give feedback. And there's a way for people to receive feedback. And for me, the bigger picture is, at the end of the day, I want to be the best leader that I can be, I want to impact the lives of people that I encounter. And I want to serve them in such a way that they are able to be the best version of themselves. So if the information that I'm giving, although it may be triggering, maybe it's something I didn't want to hear whatever the case is, if I can take that information, and align it to my end goal of bringing out the best in people and serving them and determine how I can handle that that matter better, what I can do to better approach it in the next situation that I have to make that the priority and deal with the emotion separate Second, it doesn't mean that I won't be maybe won't fill some form of offense. And I may be, it may be I am frustrated by it. But the bigger picture is how does this affect the leader that I want to be? I can deal with the emotion separate from that, and then figure out why does that make me feel offended? Why do I feel the urge to defend myself, rather than addressing the matter that was given to me?


Oh, wow, that is a lot to think about. That's fantastic. So I could see how that changes everything. If you are clear that your mission is to serve the people that report to you and to help them perform at their highest level. I think taking the focus off of yourself helps with so many things. So that's a related to, you mentioned soft skills early on in our conversation. What are the soft skills that you think we need to focus on to being aware of how we're presenting ourselves to others?


Oh, wow, there's so many. I would say, first thing for me, it's funny enough, we've actually touched on this to some regard. I think it's important, especially if you're in a leadership role for a leadership role. You have to understand how to give feedback, and how to receive feedback. And that's a soft skill that many of us have never been taught, you know, officially how to do. There really isn't you know, there definitely isn't a course on how to do that. You know, if you're in college or you're getting your degree, I'm sure that you've taken some form of a communications course, which is great. And like I mentioned earlier, when it comes to communicating, the biggest aspect of communicating is listening so that you can actually seek to understand and not just constantly focused on saying your next point. But I think that was leaders if we are more conscious of the way that we give feedback and how we receive feedback from our team, we would actually avoid many of the barriers that tend to come about within the workplace because we're then putting ourselves in a situation to allow our team to understand why we're giving them feedback, their understanding what their work contributes to as far as the bigger picture and if we can convey that to them as we're giving them feedback and receive their feedback as well. We're making them feel heard we're making their concerns a priority also, which definitely helps in the employee engagement aspect. I also believe that another strong, soft skill in leadership is emotional intelligence.


Well, if you don't have it, I was under the impression, and this could be completely wrong, that it's one of those things that you can measure and that some people will just don't seem to have a lot of it.


That is that can be accurate to a degree but emotional intelligence can be taught. It's more. It's basically the same thing as leadership says, to a degree, you to be an effective leader and to be a servant leader. You're focusing on serving others. So in order to do that, similar to what we mentioned earlier, we have to remove ourselves from the equation and focus on the person in the people that we're serving that we're leading. And an aspect of emotional intelligence is the ability to understand what When you are giving feedback to remove your emotions, you can get feedback in a way that does not include anger, that does not include frustration and disappointment. And we have to be so conscious of making sure that we're not leading from a place of emotion because emotions are temporary. They change by the day, the hour, even the minute and the web. So when we leave our leadership practices to the sole control of how we're feeling at the moment, where does that take our team? Where does that drive our team towards? And there are several resources about emotional intelligence and books as well. I actually am also a fan of a few of those and it really just shows you how to cultivate that skill set and just like any other soft skill, it's not something that you can typically learn in a class. But it's something that's necessary when interacting with other people and being emotionally intelligent, improve your relationship building skills, they will improve how you handle situations, how you respond to situations, and ultimately how you influence others to do the same.


I want to get some of those resources from you so I can put them in the show notes. I'm sure that'd be helpful.


Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.


Now, you mentioned servant leadership. Now, for some people maybe the word servant doesn't appeal to them. Since sometimes people end up in leadership positions that enjoy a sense of hierarchy, and they want to be a little bit higher up on the food chain at work and maybe the concept of servant leadership, turns them off. Can you talk a little bit about what research there is to support that this is the effective way to lead a team?


Absolutely. Similar to what we mentioned earlier, I was talking about the bad boss, no one wants to be referenced or remembered as the bad boss. Studies have shown that employees aren't leaving companies because they want more money. They're not leaving companies because they just got this great opportunity. So don't get me wrong, that can definitely be a perk as to why they leave the incentive. But ultimately, the majority of employees are leaving companies because of a bad boss. They would rather get away from a person and even take a pay cut if that requires them to do so. Just so that they can work in an environment where they feel that they have the ability to showcase their skills and really develop themselves as a professional when it comes to the term servant leadership. You're absolutely right. A lot of people focus on the word servant, which is so interesting to me when the first word is leadership, or the second word is leadership, actually. And when it comes to servant leadership, you have to denounce the notion that it means that you're being a peasant. It's the total opposite. When you're of service to someone, it basically means that you're tending to their needs, so that they can do what you expect them to do. And that's what servant leadership is, you're making sure that your team is equipped with everything that they need to do the job that you hire them to do well, you're being a service to them by removing their frustration, if they're broken workflow process, and they're telling you about this. And you know that this is stopping and hindering their performance, wouldn't want to take care of that issue for them. That's an act of service. And it's interesting that many times when you talk about servant leadership, there is this taboo feeling about the term servant. But in many other areas of life, we can talk about service and its fine. And if I am being honest with my personal opinion about that, I believe that the main reason people have a problem with the term servant in conjunction to leadership is because they believe leadership is about power rather than influence. And that in turn, just basically geared the focus towards ego rather than engagement.


Wow, that's a mouthful. I'm taking it all in. So how would you define work culture and how can leaders be intentional in developing it?


Sure. So company culture first and foremost, I always like to say, it's not this program and it's not a survey. Yes you can have a team dedicated to focusing on the company culture status and maintaining it. You can also have and utilize a survey to determine what your company culture is. But is not the culture. Your company culture is essentially a set of unwritten norms of what is considered okay, and acceptable about how everyone behaves and interacts with each other in the workplace. So many times, you know, people have a set of core values that are maybe hanging on a plaque in the break room or it's been given to employees in the handbook once they begin their onboarding process when they're hired. But are those values lived out, seen and witnessed every single day by everyone in that company and many times, it is not. So your values are just words on paper, but the culture is what's unwritten. It's how people find it normal to interact with each other. Is yelling and constant arguing and disrespectful behavior okay, in the office? Is it normal for managers to scream at employees and never seek their feedback about their job role and how things are done? Is it common for employees to complain to customers or in front of customers about things that are happening in the office? Those unwritten norms because it's happening constantly and no one is raising a flag or identifying this as toxic and dysfunctional behavior. That's what the culture is. And once managers and leaders are aware that how people are interacting with each other every single day, and how they interacting with their team, every single day is the culture, then you can become more aware and more strategic with how you can go about implementing change, but the first step is acknowledging it.


And why does workplace culture matter? What does that affect?


Absolutely. Company culture, even though for some reason over the years because the term has become a lot more popular, which is a great thing more awareness is being brought to it. But there are moments where people think of culture, like a buzz word its sort of luck. You know, it's something that sounds good, but why do we really need to care about it. And the biggest thing about company culture is to understand the way that your people your employees are showing up during their work, how they're interacting with your customer, is affecting your business. Once you realize this then you're able to be more intentional about what you want this culture to be. And studies have shown that when companies are focusing on company culture, they have been proven to increase their customer satisfaction by 40%. They've been shown to increase their employee engagement by 40%, and also increase profits by 35%. So at the end of the day, focusing on culture and making that a priority is good for business. It's a good case for business. And even with those three stats that I just mentioned, I always like to highlight the fact that the biggest increase focuses on people. The increase in customer satisfaction by 40% increase in employee engagement by 40%. Profit was only a 35% increase. And to me that is a testament of how important it is to focus on your people, your employees and your customers, your end consumer. The experience that they have with your company will affect your profit because it affects how they show up and whether they keep coming back.


And that definitely applies with us because in some areas of education, your funding is more dependent upon enrollment, whereas we only make money when we serve someone when someone decides to eat with us. If we don't have happy customers, we really can't run effective programs. I was listening to one of your intros to your podcast where you talk about engagement basically being the key to getting your employees to perform because they want to not because they have to. How do you inspire people? Or what's the difference between inspiring people and motivating people? And what do you do if you're already in a workplace where people are run down and demoralized? Let's say you inherited a team that has been beat up maybe by someone else.


Yes, that happens. First things first, I think that is extremely important to understand why employee engagement matters. Again, that's something that can be perceived as another buzzword and it can be perceived as this notion where everybody is just getting together and singing Kumbaya, we're holding hands, and nothing is wrong. We don't have any problems and that's the furthest from the truth. The simplest way to understand Employee Engagement is to understand that the effects of a disengaged employee and Gallup reported that in the US alone, there are only 35% of employees who are engaged in the workplace. You're 35% and that's in the United States. So that means that there are over half over 60% of United States employees who are actively disengaged in the workplace.


I have to insert that people are always accusing millennials of requiring a lot of pampering to stay engaged. But millennials do not make up that much of the workforce so that must mean there are people who are disengaged across these generational divides and just because you're sitting up straight and keeping your eyes open, it doesn't mean that you're engaged.


Absolutely. And you hit the nail on the head. Because those disengaged employees, they're actively disengaged, meaning that they're only doing just enough work, just to stay there just to get by. They're not going the extra mile. They're not doing their work with intentionality and precision and quality. They're just doing the very bare minimum just to keep the job. What does that mean for the service that's been provided to your customers or your end consumer? That means that they're getting the lower end of the totem pole when it comes to quality customer service. And you're absolutely right. It's not just millennials. It's everyone. And I always reference employee engagement and the importance of point employee engagement to a marriage. Number one, employee engagement is not an HR responsibility. It's the responsibility of every manager and leader of who had direct report. And its relationship building, it's not a program. So when you think of a marriage you go on a few dates at first, you know, you're actively engaged with that person, you want to learn everything about them so that you can be of service to them so that you can be of service in that relationship and help them be the best version of themselves, remove obstacles and things like that from their path. And in a marriage, you also have to be intentional about nurturing the connection that you have with your partner. That is essentially the exact same concept of employee engagement. You have to nurture that connection. That does not mean that you have to be best friends with your team. You can definitely be friendly and not be friends and when doing so it's mainly used telling and showing your employees that you recognize them as a person. And every person has an innate desire for human interaction and connection. And because you understand that they have a life outside of the workplace that ultimately affects how they show up and perform in the workplace. You connecting with them to just know and do simple things to nurture that connection, helps them feel connected to not just you, but the business that they're working for. And they'll want to show up every day, they'll want to do their best work, they'll share a little bit more about the people that they're servicing because they're working for someone who cares for them.


Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. What do you recommend people do if they find themselves in a toxic work environment and they have the desire to remain professional in said environment and they're not able to move on? How do you do that? How do you navigate that?


And just to clarify, are we speaking of toxic employee or or someone in leadership?


An employee who has no direct reports, who is someplace where developing a healthy work culture maybe isn't a priority, but they see themselves as a professional and they're trying to maintain that professionalism in a less than ideal environment.


Thank you for clarifying that. I wanted to make sure that I was answering it accurately, but that happens all the time. And I can speak for experience and that happens with me multiple times. And it can be difficult. talked about, you know, understanding the importance of emotional intelligence, and not Acting and reacting emotionally. But I think the bigger picture here is understanding one that you influence others, regardless of your job title. So how you're showing up every day in the midst of the chaos and the dysfunction, definitely show who you are as a professional and the values that you hold individually as a professional. So by all means, and at all costs, maintain that because that is your stakes to standing out in whatever role that you're in. I would also add to that, that it's very important to identify if your values align with the values of the company that you're working for. Just like we mentioned earlier with, you know, core values and how a lot of times that just they're just words that on paper that the company said they represent, but the culture, the unwritten norm is saying something different. If you are finding that it is pretty much dreadful and unbearable for you to remain working in that environment and you're trying to determine should you stay and you know, try and change yourself or promote change or go elsewhere, take a look at your values and literally get a sheet of paper and a pen and write down what your professional values are.  Is that operating out of integrity doing the right thing when no one is looking, your work ethic, punctuality, whatever you feel your professional values are for you make a list of that. Then start to now observe and be reflective of the values that are present in action within your company. If there is no alignment there, I highly, highly suggest that you begin the job search because what you don't want to do is stay in that type of environment that's going to essentially continue to bring you down and it will influence you to become resentful to become disengaged. And being part of that 60 plus percent of us employees that don't want to go the extra mile and do their best work, because you want to and that often, and what's important is making sure that no circumstance can influence you to basically discredit all of the hard work and expertise that you've developed along the way to be the professional that you are.


Yeah, that's a good point. And that's a tough decision to make. Sometimes, people may take a job because of its location or because the schedule really works for them. So sometimes, it's not so easy to find another option. I know in the past people used to say, and I'm sure people still say this, that you can lead from the bottom up as well. But after reading things like Good to Great, and other books on leadership, I really wonder how healthy an organization can be if there is some sort of dysfunction, higher up, what is your view?


That is a very good point. And a very interesting point at that because that is common, unfortunately, where you have people who aren't in an executive level position or a decision making position from the top, who understand the importance of company culture and employee engagement and leadership. But you have managers and leaders at the top who don't see that and it can be very strenuous. When you're in that position where you are trying to figure out, how can you impact or implement change. And honestly, if this is going to sound extremely simple, and I'm sure people have heard this before, but you can't control what others do. And we've all been taught this from young ages, we can't control what they do, but we can control how we influence them, and how we impact the environment that we're in. Honestly, I would look for ways to be a part of the solution. If you're noticing that there is a huge discrepancy and dysfunction and the company culture and you do want to take that initiative to prevent that case to upper level management. Don't do it from a place of complaining but be a part of the solution to that problem. Perhaps, they're not seeing the same view that you see because of the level in which they sit of their position. So if you're noticing some things that need to be changed, and, more importantly, how they are negatively impacting the business or the customer, the biggest piece of advice that I can give you is to identify the problem, come up with solutions, and also explain how it affects the business overall, when you can do that or and even if you don't see how it affects the business overall, show how and explain how it will affect your team, if that's the level in which you have visibility to or insight to or how it affects the customer. Come with a plan because many times managers don't have the time to focus on the problems that are happening and when you approach them. They should, don't get me wrong, they should make time for that, but many managers don't. And they don't know how to prioritize that. So if you're coming to them with this, you don't want to complain, because now you're looking like you're part of the problem. But when you have a plan, or even a draft of a plan and any type of solution that can show them, Hey, this is what I'm noticing, here's how we can still fix it, this is why we need to fix it. They will be more apt to listen to you and to work with you to take action.


That is so helpful. That's really great advice. I really appreciate you coming on. Is there one thing that you would like to make sure everybody walked away with today one little sound bite?


My sound bit for the episode, would honestly be to focus on how you show up and the influence that you have in whatever job level or position that you may be in, no matter what our titles are, we impact people's lives every day. And there will always be an opportunity for change, but it's about making the decision of whether or not you will be a part of that change and it will be a catalyst for it. If you are in a position where you see that there is a toxic nature in the company culture, and the engagement levels are low employees are upset and they are disgruntled. There is a way to get out of that and the process isn't as difficult as people perceive it to be. It's just about the initiative and conscious committed action that you take to make people a priority so that your profits will follow.


Thank you so much. Where can people find you online?


Absolutely. If you have any questions or any insights my email address is culture@businessadvocatespro.com If you are interested in the services that I do offer you can go to baproinc.com . And in addition to that, if you're interested in company culture information and learning how to be intentional about employee engagement, your leadership practices and rebuilding your culture, feel free to subscribe to Culture Building Like A Pro podcast that's available on Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. On Instagram, as well as Facebook, you can go to @baproinc and I will look forward to connecting with each of you. And I also want to make sure that I mentioned that if you do find that you are struggling with how to keep your employees engaged, and Google just isn't working as far as activities to choose from. I'm offering all listeners of the school nutrition dietitian podcast 15% off of the employee engagement plan packet, and I will read those links with Dalia as well so that you can grab that. And if you are ready to start the process of changing your company culture and you just need some guidance and you want to know what those first steps are. I would love to jump on and complimentary call with you as well. And we can start your process today.


Fantastic. I'm going to put all of those links in the show notes.


Great. Thank you so much.


I hope you got as much out of that episode as I did the way Dionna presents leadership makes it really clear that stepping into a leadership role is an opportunity for you to pursue self-development in a way that is rarely accessible in other roles, really making a dedicated effort to focus on removing your ego from situations, improving your communication skills, and focusing on the needs of others in the workplace. It really is an opportunity for a tremendous personal growth. I also appreciate the takeaways for people who aren't in decision making positions right now that you do affect the people around you. And no matter what your title and how many direct reports you have, we would all benefit from looking at how we present ourselves at work, and does it match what you're hoping to project and what changes can you make to get yourself in alignment with your personal values? No one wants to be remembered as the bad boss. That's absolutely true. If you got anything at all out of this episode, please review the show on iTunes. Share it with your friends, your coworkers, anyone that you think might benefit. If you have any topics that you think you would like to have covered, please contact me dalia@schoolnutrititiondietitian.com If there's anyone that you think has a lot to share. If you have a lot to share, please let me know. And let's get you on the books.

Calls to Action:

15% off Employee Engagement Planning Packet:


Use code: snd15

Complimentary Clarity Call - 30mins

Visit: http://bit.ly/cultureclaritycall

Website: baproinc.com

Email: culture@businessadvocatespro.com

Podcast: Culture Building like a PRO - available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play

Twitter: @baproinc

Emotional Intelligence Book Recommendation:

Ego vs. EQ: How Top Leaders Beat 8 Ego Traps With Emotional Intelligence