The thoughtful leader podcast

Why do we need braver leaders?

Elaine Cox and Mike McLaughlin are the co-authors of Braver Leaders in Action: Personal and Professional Development for Principled Leadership, which was short-listed in the leadership category at the Business Book Awards 2023.

In this episode, together with host Francesca Lombardo, Mike and Elaine discuss what braver leadership is and why it is fundamental for society, individuals and businesses alike. The guests also dive in an explanation of what motivated them to write this book, what is the existing connection between braver leadership and emotional intelligence, mental health and much more.


Speaker profile(s)

Dr Elaine Cox is an honorary research fellow within the International Centre for Coaching and Mentoring Studies at Oxford Brookes University. She is an experienced researcher, author and editor with a Ph.D. from Lancaster University. In addition to authoring books and research articles, Elaine is the founding editor of the International Journal of Evidence-Based Coaching and Mentoring.

Visit Elaine's LinkedIn and Twitter 


Mike McLaughlin has worked in various management roles within the NHS. He has also worked in education, and for the Department of Health. Additionally, he has worked as a consultant, coach and mentor, within FTSE 100s, SMEs, Charities, and the NHS. He specialises in Leadership Development, focusing on Emotional Intelligence, Resilience, and Psychological safety. He has contributed to the International Journal of Evidence based Coaching and Mentoring and has also co-authored the book Leadership Coaching: Developing Braver Leaders, and also Braver Leaders in Action: Personal and Professional development for Principled Leadership, both with Dr Elaine Cox.

Visit Mike's LinkedIn


In this episode:

  • What’s braver leadership?
  • Why do we need braver leaders?
  • How can you become a braver leader?
  • The necessity for emotional intelligence in leaders
  • The existing connection between leadership and mental health
  • The existing connection between leadership and climate change

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The thoughtful leader

Emerald podcast series research that makes a difference.

Francesca Lombardo (FL):
Hello, I'm Francesca Lombardo, marketing executive with Emerald Publishing and co-host of the Emerald publishing Podcast Series. In this episode, I'm joined by Mike McLaughlin and Elaine Cox, co authors of Braver Leaders in Action: personal and professional development for principled leadership. Today, we'll talk about what motivated them to write this book. Why do we need braver leaders in our organisations and much more.

Elaine Cox (EC): I’m Elaine Cox and honorary research fellow in the business school at Oxford Brookes University. I've got a PhD from Lancaster University. And in addition to writing books and articles, which I love doing, I'm the founding editor of the International Journal of evidence-based coaching and mentoring.

Mike McLaughlin (MM): My name is Mike McLaughlin. I'm a consultant, coach, mentor, working in the area of leadership development in the public, and also the private sectors.

FL: Wonderful, thank you both so much for being here. So what motivated you to write this book?

MM: Initially, it was firsthand experiences, it was, you know, my experiences and of course, ultimately Elaine’s as well, in terms of good and bad leadership, and how that could have a fairly debilitating effect on one's mental and physical health, but also how you could feel buoyant and engaged, vibrant, focused within a team within an organisation when you have a good leader. And I should point out right now that when we talk about leadership, this can be someone in a position of influence. It's not necessarily a leader in terms of the org chart. And I suspect that as we continue with this conversation, we will uncover the leaders and leadership. Well, that can apply to everyone, ultimately. And I think that's one of the things that we would want to make sure that people walked away from the podcast understanding. I also saw as a coach and executive coach, the effect on individuals, again, partly the leader, also it can be the environment it can, it can be the, the tone of the team or the organisation. But I could see that some people appear to have created what I would call collateral people damage. And what I mean by that is that the left a trail of destruction, some leaders, people who were stressed, anxious, burnt out, whatever it may be. And that may be a duty of care of the organisation had not been carried out to look at the track record of certain individuals before they were hired. They may have been hired for a skill but were they, competent in other areas, like, let's say emotional intelligence. And sometimes sadly, it dawned on me that some people in some businesses were kicking the can down the road, so to speak, they were getting rid of individuals who were their problem people and not really telling the other department or the or the other organisation, or whatever, what these individuals were actually like. And so this toxic package could be passed on. And so upfront, up close, I saw vicariously felt vicariously what could go wrong when you had the wrong people in positions of influence. Again, I shall call it that. Now, I also noticed, and I'm sure I speak for Elaine as well, you don't have to do too much reading and research to uncover that there's a lot of good information out there. And that's, that's also what led to the germ of the idea of the book was doing a lot of research was doing a lot of reading. And when you do that, and you do that in terms of development, psychological development, leadership development, you will find that there are things which just make sense, and they are quite inspirational. And then you begin to think to yourself, or I did, well hold on a second. We've got all this good information out there. What stops it showing up? Why doesn't it show up, day to day? And I think one of the reasons is that it may be a little bit too complex, complicated. Now, I don't think that everything should be distilled down into bite sized chunks. And I would encourage understanding through reading through personal research. But I have to say that if people are just getting going in a role that has some influence, then it can be difficult for them to take on board a lot of stuff. And so if something is too complicated initially, then what that can mean is that people either do not understand it properly, and then misapply it. Or, and or they just forget about it, because it just seems like too much work. So I think that may be in the mix. However, when Elaine and I looked at different leadership styles, I think we found that there was a common thread that you could run between all of them, and then ask the question, well, this leadership style looks good, it complements that one over there. But we don't see too much of this type of leadership either. Hold on a second, could it be that it's not these things are not being applied in the moment, not because they're complex, but because something is stopping people, having the courageous thought, the courageous ideation and then taking the braver decision making, taking the braver action. And, and that's where we sort of ended up which was the genesis, ultimately, of some of our earlier writings. And indeed, this book, because it seems to us to be the case that if you were in an organisation or or there was systemic issues, it could be really difficult to, to do that thing. And to do it, you had to have an element of bravery. And whilst that is, by far, of course, not the only thing that goes on in teams and businesses, it seemed to us to be one of those areas that we really needed to hone in on to make the courage or thought the bravery of decision and action, really important, highlight it and encourage it. And that's kind of where we started off.

FL: You know, having studied Business Management, and as an undergraduate I studied leadership and entrepreneurship. And the way that your book strikes me is that there's so much research about leadership, obviously, on organisations and business, but what's the actual research on braver or brave leadership? That's why I think it's such a brilliant idea. So I was wondering, how do you define braver leadership? What do you mean by brave leadership?

EC: So for me, braver leadership is about the leaders ability, and their motivation to take a stand for what's morally right. So not standing back and saying, I'll wait for something else to happen. Or I'll wait for someone else to do something. I don't know what you think, Mike, but that's what it means to me.

MM: But no, absolutely, Elaine. Absolutely. I think the term… well, in fact, actually what I can do, because I talked about it in that last answer is, I mentioned different leadership styles. And one way to think about it would be to overlay this braver idea against a couple of relatively well known styles of leadership. So people talk about authentic leadership, now to be authentic. And of course, there are, there are several definitions of authentic so let me keep to the sort of the basics, to be authentic, you're going to have to be transparent, you're going to have to be open, you're going to have to be honest. And if you are truly honest, and you are really transparent, on what you're doing and what you're thinking, and What You See Is What You Get type idea, this, this, this authenticity, then you are likely to be vulnerable, because there will be situations where you just got to say, Hey, this is me, and this is what I'm thinking that there is there is nothing about this, that is that is hidden, and therefore to open up to that level of honesty, transparency, can cause the leader to put themselves in potentially harm's way, you know, what are you thinking? Why do you think that? And the temptation, of course, can be just to hide and say, Well, let me just repeat what everyone else is saying. But it's so important in the mix in braver leaders and braver leadership that that we seek the truth and speak the truth. And so the leader can be vulnerable there. Another type of of leadership would be ethical leadership. Now there's lots and lots and lots written about ethics and and written about ethical leaders. What if you then think about any organisation, any leader who has behaved in a way which is less than ethical or not moral and/or not moral, then we can see that for them, they probably managed to get along for a while, whilst creating mayhem behind the scenes but maybe benefiting personally. And so to say, no, no, this is wrong. That that is this is not ethical, that is not a moral way to do things than once more, you are likely to be a lone voice, if the environment has become used to less than ethical behaviors less than ethical thinking. And to be the lone voice takes a lot of bravery to stick your head above the parapet, so to speak. And then a servant leader, if we if we think about servant leaders, a servant leader, should really be setting the tone for everyone to understand that the leader is there literally to serve, to help to support to allow people to be as good as they can be to get on the road to or perhaps even arrive at their full potential. But that means that the leader is not hiding behind all the trappings of power, they are again, stepping away from that and saying, I am me, I'm being authentic and being ethical and being moral. And I'm here to help you. And for some people, that can be a difficult transition because they’ve been used to hiding a little bit not being open not being transparent, and, and dictating to a degree based on the hierarchical structure. So for a leader to say, I'm going to just shoo all that stuff, and just be me can take a lot of bravery. I think for many people it does require a lot of bravery. So the braver leader will often need to swim against the current. The current thinking is what I mean by that, again, I've mentioned put the head above the parapet. And Elaine and I talked about I talked about still a lot doing the right thing. Most people have some understanding, we believe of right and wrong, good and bad and doing the right thing. But we added in some other caveats, if I could call them that in the mix. And it's not just to do the right thing, it's to do the right thing at the right time. So in a business where 1000 people have called out the environmental distress that's been that's been caused by this business, if you’re 1001, for you personally, yes, that may have taken a big effort. But ultimately, it's the people who are first who say, I think that's wrong, I am speaking up, then that level of bravery, I think in most situations is likely to be higher. So it's the right thing at the right time. And also for the right reason. Elaine and I would suggest that the people who are doing things that might look good, they might be there for the right reason on the surface. But the reason that they are done is for self advancement for self aggrandisement to, to perhaps further some Machiavellian aim, that is not brave. Again, that's, that's not ethical, it's not moral, it is ultimately toxic. And the last of our four R's is to do things in the right way. You know, let's take an example. Let's say there's a, there has to be something in the business, which is reduced closed down. Maybe this means people losing jobs, maybe it means that an area a factory, whatever it is, has to close, and there's no other way around it, people have looked at every possible option, but ultimately, the only way is to cut costs in that area. And hopefully, the transmission of what is going on behind the scenes has been honest and transparent. Come back to those two words again, however, there's a there is a a right way to do that. And that is by supporting people, keeping them informed along the way along that journey to that point, it is also supporting them after the event finding other roles, transferring them or indeed helping them find another job. So so we would say that in that that mix of braver leaders, is this 4-R idea, the right thing at the right time, for the right reason, and in the right way.

FL: Amazing. Thank you, Mike. I know when you were speaking it made me think you know how they say that leaders are born, and leaders are not made. Do you think that would apply for braver leaders as well?

EC: So, I was just going to say that, interestingly, I did my PhD on whether mentors are born or made, that was the title of my thesis. So with leaders, I think the answer is probably if you did the research, it would be the same answer that I got, which was a bit of both, you know, that something, something within in the leader that motivates them and drives them to want to be out there in front, doing things standing up above the parapet, like Mike said, but also, they need professional development like any other person in work. So it's a bit of both, I think.
MM: Yeah, I would agree with Elaine, I think it is a bit of both because some people are, you know, they just they just do not want to do it. It's not it's not how they're wired that their happiness and and sense of well being can be found in in different areas doing different things. Now, having said that, I'm always reminded about the movie Gladiator if you've if you've ever watched that with Russell Crowe and Richard Harris and of course, it's it's Maximus and Marcus Aurelius. And it there's, there's a part in the film where and I'm going to paraphrase. And I'm going to avoid doing the accents, although I'm very tempted, but no, I'm not going to do that. And Richard Harris, Marcus, really was of course, was a real character and a brilliant mind. And he says something to, to Maximus along the lines of, I want you to head up the Senate in Rome and give it back to the people. And Maximus, the Russell Crowe character says something like with all my heart, no. And Marcus Aurelius then says, but that's why you're the right person for the job, because you have not been tainted by the politics, the corruption, whatever it may be. And so the reason I mentioned that is because in the mix, I think that what we have to be careful of is that some people who push themselves forward who they Hey, I'm a leader, is that ego? Is that hubris? Is that narcissism? Is that why we have some issues and challenges quite a lot, in fact, and do we need to be mining so to speak, the the team, the business, the organisation for those people who are self effacing for those people who are quiet for those people who do not seek the limelight, but in actual fact, with the development that Elaine has alluded to, could be the most outstanding leaders. And of course, some of them will not want to be but some given a bit of encouragement, and, and quite a bit of development can be outstanding.

FL: I love the Gladiator. I think one of the greatest movies in history, such a great example to give. Do you have any other examples of braver leaders?

MM: Off the top of my head, I think people who have been brave, they are iconic, but hopefully that doesn't demean and diminish in the sense that we're so familiar with some of the names, that it's easy to forget exactly what they did. I mean, I think that, you know, Martin Luther King Jr. was, was an outstanding human and to, to really make himself vulnerable, ultimately, unfortunately, very vulnerable. And, and, and lead by walking around, and this person with an amazing ability for rhetoric and, and, and the language and his whole thing about, you know, judge someone, hopefully we will ultimately judge people by their character is still resonates still is so important. Still, it's so powerful. And he for me, it was one of the individuals who's the absolute epitome of of someone who is was a braver leader. And I think that I mean, another one and perhaps also a very obvious one, it was Ghandi, who you know, was someone else who led by literally literally walking around and and spread a message of resistance so to speak, but, but with with peace, and someone also who if we apply that idea of of being vulnerable was ultimately really vulnerable. And yet, he, he went out and did it.

FL: Yeah, that's great. So another another question that comes to mind in this scenario, not in this scenario, because these are great examples of people that made history. And of course, we know the challenges they were facing, they overcame. But what are the challenges in life and in business that a person faces to become a braver leader nowadays?

EC: Well, in the book, we emphasise the leaders need for constant self development and self care. So that's one of the challenges of fitting that in and being humble enough to acknowledge that they've got needs for those things. I think that's, that's most important as well. And also that there's issues, current issues. In particularly in this century, that demand leaders, we seem to be doing the right thing, as Mike has said, setting the example leading the zeitgeist if you like, as well as responding to it. So there's a number of challenges. I'm sure Mike's got some more.

MM: Yeah, I actually was going to go back to the segue that that Francesca came from, which was we were we're talking about people who are well known. And then when we talk about challenges, you know, to becoming a leader, or, and or a braver leader, it is important to, I think, flag at this point that, that most of what Elaine and I are ultimately talking about it are it relates to that population, who we probably would not know. And it is useful as an analog as a cipher as an example, to pick people who are well known to pick people who have a really inspiring story and made a big difference to a lot of folks. But our message is also that it's the day to day stuff, it is the day to day stuff that we are where we really need bravery to show up that doing the right thing. And these people, when they do it may not be, you know, renowned throughout the world, in their areas, they will, they will probably be known. But even if it is something that someone does, that is known only to the person beside them, then I think one way to consider that is that it puts a building block back into society, to the team to the business to the organisation, which contains ethics, morals, good, rightness, the virtues. And that is so important, because ultimately, there is a ripple effect, ultimately, that that does make a difference. And other other challenges, I would say from that. And again, so this is the quotidienne this is the this is a day-to-day stuff is that leaders who or someone who's thinking of becoming a leader, should begin to understand that they need to think for themselves. They they should research leadership, they should, you know, read books, they should do a lot of reading, because it is easy to fall for… Let's use that word in a different way that the the zeitgeist, or the Kool Aid of what is being spouted by some in terms of what leadership may look like. And it's easy to be seduced by people who have made it for example, and tell you here's how you lead. And they may say, Well, you follow that passion, and money will flow in well, that doesn't always happen. And often the people who say that made their money in a totally different sector. So we've got to be discerning about what is required. And so I would strongly encourage people who want to lead to want to influence to read research, and again, get as close to the truth as possible, because there's a lot of information out there. And some of it is propaganda, some of it is misdirection, some of it is misinformation. So seeking the truth, being open to different ideas and opinions, being aware of confirmation bias and, and continually reading and reflecting, I think is another one. I mentioned this already, but prepared to be a voice of one, but you've got to be ready for that to happen and that can be a lonely place. And I would also say that a leader should They should act in alignment with their values. And Elaine and I have written about this before that, that, that values, understanding what your values are, is really important. There's different ways that you can do that. But aligning with your values, align your behaviors, your actions with your values, and do that as soon as possible. Because if someone wants to be a leader, or is perhaps in a, in some sort of leadership role, and they let's say, they go into a new environment, whatever that may be, and to fit in the, they do not align with their values. And they say to themselves, well, you know, I'll do that next time that problem arises, or I'll act more ethically next month, and before we know it 12 months, five years have gone by? And then how difficult is it for that leader to have much credibility, or indeed, to notice that they've shifted, I don't know, inured to whatever the culture is, toxic, unethical, or whatever. So I would say from day one, where at all possible, align with those values act in that way, and stick to your guns.

FL: Yeah, this, this also reminds me that earlier on, you mentioned the necessity of emotional intelligence, do you want to expand more on that?

MM: Emotional intelligence, I would say, is something that one has got to be acutely aware of, if you're in a leadership position. And the reason that I mentioned that is because the the leader is, is ultimately IMAX. And what I mean by that is that if if we have a leader who is emotionally labile, let's see, who can one day, be happy and jolly, and then the next day, angry and aggressive, but for no reason, there's no pattern to this, there is no there is never an apparent trigger, nothing at all, then this can cause a leader to make people around them extremely fearful and anxious. And the reason that that can happen, we can all impact people that way, when, when our when our emotions are labile. And when we are demonstrating emotional lability, but particularly with the leader, because when I talk about IMAX, if you imagine an IMAX screen, a cinema screen, and then compare it to someone who was an actor on a stage, and on that stage, they are giving a performance to a big room, and it's the slanted seats and auditorium, there's no sound system, there is no a camera and projection system, all the actors have is their voice and their movement. And of course, particularly depending on the type of play, then the movements are exaggerated hugely and the voice is projected. Now, if that actor acted like that on screen, or you know to be shown on TV or on a cinema, it would look ridiculously over the top. So, many of the time that we see actors in the cinema and particularly IMAX Yes, there are a set action pieces, which can look spectacular, but the actor has got to do very little and should do very little to convey emotion its the raise of an eyebrow, you know, like The Rock or whatever, that that that little glance can convey so much, because because on that giant screen, the actor is 200 feet wide and 100 feet higher, whatever it may be. And the leader is like that, in the sense that the tribe, if I if I can call them that, that the people around the leader are looking to the tribes leader to figure out if they're happy, if they're anxious, if they are frightened, because the tribes survival, so to speak may depend on the leader being perhaps suitably anxious and not blase, or perhaps suitably confident and not looking worried even though they've been told the tribe that everything is okay. So in other words, the leader has been calibrated that the team the business, the organisation have looked closely at the cues and the clues and the micro expressions of this leader. And they know when something is going wrong sometimes at a subconscious level, that the leader walks out of a meeting with the shoulders slumped and give us a big sigh, then that could be for other reasons, but but people will wonder, because the leader casts a huge shadow. So for the leader to, to not be emotionally intelligent, I think it can be quite catastrophic. And, and again, to look back to emotional intelligence, it, it's essentially understanding others being socially aware. And that means that the leader, therefore has to be aware of others must not switch off has to be focused on the group, the people in front of them is listening, is actively listening. And it's also I would suggest practicing non judgmental listening. And I'll come back to that in a moment, I think the leader also has to make sure that they are resilient enough, they have enough emotional capacity to be emotionally intelligent. So one way to, for example, dial down some of that spurious emotional lability is to name emotions, it is a tried and tested idea that if we are experiencing emotion, if we’re emotionally literate, not illiterate, but literate, and we named the emotion we give it a label, and maybe we play around with it and see what else what else could I call this, then this, this tends to mean that the emotions lose their impact. And I think it's the the right ventral lateral prefrontal cortex, that that is activated. And that impacts the amygdala, the effect is mediated through the medial prefrontal cortex, I believe. So in other words, the the, the amygdala’s activation has died down or is dowsed down, I should say, we're not as reactive. And that right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex is active. So what that is doing is it is allowing the leader to access more of their logical thinking their critical thinking skills, or nuanced thinking rather than this, this right and wrong them and us binary thinking we can get into when we are in a highly charged emotional state. And so, so not only might the leader make mistakes, and not be nuanced, and not be thinking, which is quite crucial, I would suggest, they can also terrify, frighten, upset people because of this, the strangeness of mood, or for no reason. And some people have been asked, you know, would you rather work for a bad temper leader, permanently, or a leader who one day was all sweetness and light, and the next day was biting people, people's heads off for no reason. And people tend, no not everyone, but I'd rather work for the bad temper one, because at least it's consistent. And back to the point it was making about the leader, actively listening and attempting to be non judgmental. If you can imagine the power of a leader who's IMAX, when in a meeting, someone says something and they smile and nod. Thank you. Thank you very much, Janice. And now, Nigel. Well, you know, sigh eyeroll. Let's hear what you've got to say. Now the words themselves: well Nigel, let's see what you've got to say, this sounds great! But IMAX people, people hear the sigh, they notice the eyeroll communicate so much. And I think that yes, of course, we can all get exasperated, the leaders gonna have off days everybody does. But they've got to be aware of that. And that awareness is also part of emotional intelligence.

FL: I also have a question for Elaine. In the book, you mentioned the relation of brave leadership to climate and environment and also to mental health and well being. Would you like to talk more about that?

EC: Yes, thank you. Um, well, like Mike, my motivation for writing the book was also the need for improved leadership. But also, it was an opportunity to position leadership development in the context of current challenges. So I think the risks of the changing climate, for instance, and the decline of nature, are additional challenges for the leader. And many unpopular decisions may need to be taken. There is a lot to do out there. World leaders have demonstrated how hard this is. And there's many opposing voices getting in the way, even in the light of scientific evidence. One, there are people opposing that evidence, making things difficult for leaders all around the world to tackle and do different things to not only to cope with climate, changing climate, but also to try and reverse it. So there's a huge task here for braver leaders that was really, my, my key thought for being involved in the book was to try and make people braver so that they could tackle issues like that. I know, Mike has similar feelings for the mental health and well being field, which, which is also a challenge. Mike you probably want to say a few words about that?

MM: Oh, thank you, Elaine. The Yes, yeah, I think it is important to, to link that in as well. That the, the leader, apart from you know, being emotionally intelligent, really has got to think about creating an environment which is, is psychologically safe. Psychological safety first described and actually researched by Professor Amy Edmondson, is essentially, and I'm going to paraphrase here, greatly, quite a lot of research. But essentially, it's an environment where everyone feels safe to speak up, and to contribute to express concerns or opinions. And I think we can like some of the environmental stuff, organisations can tick a box that looks good, and the brochure looks good in terms of corporate social responsibility, but what is if you lift the bonnet up? What is actually happening underneath? Are they still ditching those chemicals? Or using some sort of circuitous route to get around it? And are they really caring for the people, the people who are in their care, in terms of mental health and well being, and I would probably run through what I think is a really lovely little model, but I'll do it really briefly, which is connected to psychological safety, it can, it can help us create that environment. And it's called the SCARF Model S, C, A, R, F, by Dr. David Rock, and just asking some of these questions off ourselves, if we're a leader, or if we are looking at a leader or if you're in a team, I think can be really beneficial. So, so status is the is the essence, the scarf model, essentially, am I appreciated for what I do. So if, if the, if the leader is appreciating people, if, if the team member feels appreciated, they will tend to be boosted not only physically but of course, psychologically. But the flip side of that can be if they're feeling underappreciated, if ego has crept in to the mix, perhaps it's the some form of narcissism or acquired situational narcissism, which is debatable, but I've seen whether it exists, but I've seen it and, and how, how crushed might that individual be, and the C and the scarf model is certainty. How confident Am I Are we of future? No, of course, we can't be certain of everything. And it is important to note that we do like novelty. But we generally generally prefer more more certainty than novelty. So let's imagine it is a period of change. And change is happening through throughout the business, then the leaders job in normal times as well. But I mentioned change, because I think this can exacerbate this, highlight it in a different way, there's a leaders job to create as much certainty as possible, because there were a lot of moving parts, and some of those moving parts may be moving because it is change, but they have an element of predictability about them. And it's important to highlight that. So let's say that for the next six months, we don't know we will not know the outcome. But if the leader can say, we will not know that outcome for the next six months. So until then, we can't make our prediction. What the leader is saying is that we are certain of the uncertainty during that six months. So there are ways to to help people be appraised or apprised depending on which side of the house you're on top of that of that situation. And imagine, imagine the flip side. So someone is they're not informed. The leader has decided to create a group to solve all the problems. That's an immediate end group. The people on the outside of that group are the outgroup. And they start to make up stories about what is happening in those high power meetings. That's why transparency, honesty, good communication are so important. And when people feel threatened because of that sort of behavior. nature abhors a vacuum, and so they make up stories normally that are less than positive due to that uncertainty. So people require certainty. The A in the scarf model is autonomy. How much control do people feel that they have? And I think that's really important. We know from all sorts of different areas of research that giving people control even in let's say, old people's homes, how much autonomy people have is so important to the physical and mental health. But if you take the flip side of that where someone is micromanaged, or the atmosphere means that they're scared to fail, because they won't take a risk. Now, this echoes back to our servant leader. So the servant leader would create an environment where it's okay to fail, because it's learning because it's a coaching environment. But the leader who gives no autonomy probably has people scared to take that risk. And then the R is relatedness in the model, do we feel connected, and most of us like to feel connected? And if someone feels again, or they're in that outgrew, or they don't belong, or they've been talked down to, then that disconnect can be extremely debilitating for them. And lastly, fairness. How fair do we think things are? You know, are these decisions being made transparently, honestly, and honestly? And do we feel that we understand and perhaps have an input to that decision making if at all possible, because things like cronyism favoritism, politics with a big and small p, but certainly the small p can cause people to feel that that that was unfair. And if something is unfair? Well, it would seem to be the case that according to some researchers, that when we experience something that we think was not fair, the feeling is akin to disgust. And if you can imagine then what is happening if the leader does not practice psychological safety? I've illustrated that by that scarf model, but it can be done in different ways, of course, but if you don't practice that, then what are they losing? They're losing out the creativity, the innovation that exists within that team within the organisation, and they may also be losing people to sickness, etc. So yeah, mental health and well being is so important. And and I, I can't help but emphasise that there is a duty of care. And like we said about the braver leader, it's in the daily habits. It's not necessarily the grand gestures, or grand gestures are fine, the printed word and the poster on the wall are all fine. But it's how people do it. It's like integrity. It's how it's done, when no one else is looking.

FL: Wonderful. Thank you so much for this great and interesting topic.

MM: I just want people take up that idea of braver leaders and being braver and remember that if you're looking for someone else to do it, well, you're the leader. And so if it's not happening, you're the leader. And we all are and we all have to do our bit.

FL: Thank you for listening to today's episode. You can find more information about our guests and the full transcription of the show on our website. I would like to thank Fiona Allison for her help in today's episode and the studio: This is distorted.