Flourishing at Work with Daryll Bryant

On a human level, we know that we all have struggles. But the definition of a good leader is not someone who leaves everything at home because they need to be seen as strong and impactful. In fact, vulnerability is a much more important trait of leadership. It’s just one component of helping teams flourish at work.

Organizations and leaders need to be more aware than ever about the changing workforce. New technology and new workers are allowing teams to work more efficiently and more autonomously. But when old school politics and practices get in the way, workers don’t feel supported or appreciated. Add to that the growing awareness of mental health and psychological safety and team members at all levels are reevaluating life and work and making big changes.

On this episode of the Mental Health for Leaders podcast, coach Daryll Bryant is sharing what organizations and leaders can do to support the mental health and safety of teams so both the organization and employees can flourish. He shares a personal example that helped reframe his own view of mental health awareness and conversations.

Everyone deserves to flourish. Are you giving your employees the ability to do just that?

Listen on your favourite podcast player


About Daryll Bryant

Daryll Bryant is a transformational leader with a distinguished career in manufacturing, providing outstanding results for several Fortune 100 companies.  He has a vast repository of high-level skill sets as a Lean manufacturing operations expert and change leader.

Daryll’s passion is in supporting operations efforts to increase productivity, reduce costs and grow profits using his ™ “The Winning With Excellence System’.  As a Coach, his approach is to guide leaders to leverage team engagement to unlock the collective genius of their people. Connect with Daryll on LinkedIn.

Mentioned In This Episode:




organization, leaders, people, flourishing, collective genius, mental health, ideas, connected, create, skills, talk, opportunity, soft skills, important, work, real, impact, thought, feel, life


Daryll Bryant, Lindsay Recknell

Lindsay Recknell  00:01

You are a people leader or an HR professional, working hard to create an amazing employee experience for your team and your organization. But between the operational tasks of your job managing emotions and politics both up and down the corporate ladder, and trying to find some semblance of work life integration in your own life, I suspect you are also overwhelmed and burnt out. If even the thought of navigating the complicated world of mental health at work probably seems like too much to handle.

Lindsay Recknell  00:30

Let this podcast be your not so secret weapon to help fix that. I’m your host Lindsay Recknell. And my mission is to help great leaders like you feel less awkward and more confident talking about mental health at work. So you can stress less, take more action and continue to make a valuable difference in your job as a leader positively impacting the lives of your I’ll be bringing you the experts insights and actions that will give you the skills you need to navigate mental health in the workplace and foster a workplace where everyone’s mental health can thrive.

Lindsay Recknell  01:03

This week’s guest is Daryll Bryant, a transformational leader with a distinguished career in manufacturing, where he’s provided outstanding results for several Fortune 100 companies. He has a vast repository of high level skill sets as a lean manufacturing operations expert and a change leader which is what he brings to all his client organizations. Darryl will also be a speaker at the SHRM conference coming up in New Orleans in June of 2022. And I’m so looking forward to being in the audience for his talk. As a coach Daryll, his passion is to guide leaders to leverage team engagement and support operational efforts to increase productivity, reduce costs and grow profits, which he does using his winning with excellence system. In this episode, we talked about why fostering a safe work environment is key to creating flourishing at work, the levers that leaders can utilize to promote flourishing in the workplace, and how leaders can unlock collective genius in their workforce. Daryll has so many great insights to share. So let’s get to his episode.

Lindsay Recknell  02:00

Before we get started, I want your time to be valuable here. So in order to get the most from this podcast, head to my website at https://mentalhealthforleaders.com. And download the  Guide to Influence & Impact at Work, which has the step by step action plan, you’ll need to embed a focus on mental health into the employee experience of your workplace, it’s totally free. And it’ll give you the start to your action plan steps to follow to create engagement to build a budget and a method to measure the value influence and impact that you are going to be making as you lead this transformational change in your organization. We haven’t been taught the mental health skills we need to truly lead our organizations into the future. So let this guide and this podcast be the advantage you need to elevate your career, your leadership skills and the positive impact you’ll bring to your organization, head to https://mentalhealthforleaders.com and download the free  Guide to Influence & Impact at Work now. The opportunity is yours, and I cannot wait to see what you’ll do.

Lindsay Recknell  02:57

All right. Now let’s get to our guest. Hello, Daryll. Welcome to the show.

Daryll Bryant  03:01

Hello, Lindsay. Thanks for having me.

Lindsay Recknell  03:04

I’m very excited for this conversation. I think you are a person with excellent insights. And I can’t wait for people to hear all about you. So maybe we’ll just jump right in. And you can share a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Daryll Bryant  03:16

All right. Well, I’m Daryll Bryant, and I am a change leader, operations, manufacturing operations expert. And my have spent over 25 years in industry, leading manufacturing operations for Fortune 100 companies. And during that time, I really found my niche as a leader. I’ve been through all levels of leadership, including executive levels of leadership. And that’s been really my passion for how to connect with people as a leader, and really get them to share their collective genius with you and the organization.

Lindsay Recknell  04:06

Collective genius. Now those are magic words. Let’s talk a definitely more about that. Especially as it relates to your upcoming talk at the SHRM conference. So you and I got connected because you are one of those fabulous speakers coming up in New Orleans in June. So could you share a little bit about your talk there and when it is and what we can expect to hear when we’re all attentive and focused in the audience?

Daryll Bryant  04:31

Yes, so the title of my talk will be reimagining the future of work. I’ll be discussing how leaders can promote flourishing and avoid burnout in their organizations. And the talk was inspired by a 60 minutes. news broadcasts I saw regarding what they call the Great resignation. And it was just talking about how employees since the pandemic are making different choices and leaving organizations. And as I’ve gone into organizations that are frequent like a Starbucks, I can see the impact of that great resignation, where they’re short staffed and don’t have people and have even had to close their dining room areas, and only have drive thru open. And so it made me thought think about the opportunity for organizations to really redesign and shape the way they do business. So it’s a place that people are inspired to be a part of, and, and are connected to, and want to work to make better for the good of everyone. And more importantly, the roles that leaders must play, to enable organizations that have that intention to be able to do that. And so in the talk, I want to give leaders tools for how to move their organizations out of out of failing, and through functioning into flourishing. And once you’re in a state of flourish, and it’s an environment where everybody benefits, and people want to be a part of something that they feel that they get a chance to create.

Lindsay Recknell  06:19

That language of flourishing feels so much like the work that I do with positive psychology, definitely a cornerstone of, of positive psychology. What does that word mean to you?

Daryll Bryant  06:32

Yeah, I think when I when I look at flourish, and it’s about being inspired, it’s about everyone feeling as though they are a critical component of the organization. And they’re able to share their ideas, and able to be a part of really reshaping what the future will look like. In organizations that are just functioning. People know their role. People do their job, people go home each day, and they get the benefit of working for the company within their paycheck. But they may leave feeling unfulfilled feeling like they did not get a chance to give all of themselves feeling like they did not get a chance to tap into their genius, and connected genius with the rest of the team in the organization. And when people feel unfulfilled in that way, they start looking around for other places, that may give them the chance to be more to do more and experience more.

Lindsay Recknell  07:39

Love it at the possibility and opportunity that your words, you know, inspire, in my mind feels feels really, really good. You mentioned their great resignation, which has kind of moved into the I don’t know, do we call it the re the great reprioritization? Or the reimagining? what can organizations do, tactically or strategically to prevent or retain their awesome people that are that are working for them that may have reprioritized some of the important things in their life, but how do we keep them still in our organizations and help them to flourish?

Daryll Bryant  08:22

Yeah, I think that’s a great question, Lindsay, I think the first thing is just like as an individual, the first thing you have to be self aware. And I think it’s important for organizations to recognize that you may be the fortune 100, multinational multi billion dollar organization that you think everybody wants to be a part of. But if you don’t, if organization, they need to be self aware of the type of culture that has been permeated throughout, and really take, take action on the information that they get a lot of organizations for years now, decades now have been doing engagement surveys and getting these results, but not as many have been taking consistent action to ensure that those that information creates sustainable change. And then I think the second thing is making sure that leadership understands how to their impact on culture. I think that’s important. And then leaders need to be armed with the tools to really design your organization in a way that people that work there, feel a part of shaping the new ideas for an example. I’ve had leaders of organization, I do coaching through my company OptimizeU and I had leaders talk to me about this new millennial workforce is uninterested in working 15 16 hours a day. And they feel like that’s what the job calls for. And so many of them are leaving. And they asked, What can we do? And I said, Well, maybe we need to approach the task a little different. Instead of giving them the task and the timeframe that it takes to do the tasks, give them the tasks, explain to them the reason and the need for that outcome, and give them the opportunity and the freedom to come up with ways to get that task done, where it meets all of the goals, but it can be done in a way where it’s Phil’s benefit beneficial for them as well. And I think that’s the gap that organizations who don’t flourish half, it’s almost this where the big blue, we’ve been doing this for so many years, we’ve had so much success, this is the only way to do it. And the right way to do it, and organizations that flourish, really value, the people that they spend the time recruiting, they trust their systems that they brought in the right talent with the right skill sets. And then they give that group of talented individuals the opportunity to shape the goal, and the vision that they have, in a way that the leaders might not have thought of before it was given to the team. And I think companies that do that will get people that are invested are connected, and want to continue to watch what they created, grow and flourish.

Lindsay Recknell  11:38

I think you bring up a really, really excellent point about sort of the generational impacts of our workplaces right now, in some workplaces. I suspect we have four generations working, you know, we’ve got the folks that are probably nearing retirement or wanting to be retired. And then we have the brand new grads that are coming in and there could be 60 years 50 or 60 years between those. Between those those that group of workers and the attitudes and the way we approach work would be really different in the span of 50 years. I mean, I think about I think about how quickly work has changed in the last two years, let alone the last 40 years. How can organizations address some of those maybe generational gaps when it comes to work ethic or job design? give any thoughts around that?

Daryll Bryant  12:35

Yes, I think that’s a great point. I think there, there needs to be recognition for what has worked well. And why it has worked well. I think in every arena, there’s value in the history of what we’ve done, what we’ve done. And in that history, you can see the things that cause failure. And you can see the things that cause success. And I think it’s always important for organizations to remain connected to those foundational principles that helped shape them, and help them thrive and survive to make it to where they are today. And then in addition to that, I think in order to continue to grow, we’ve all seen organizations, that at one point in time, they were thriving, ie blockbuster comes to mind. So that can tell you a little bit about my generation. And then you see those same organizations that resisted innovation. And in this way, innovation is new, an infusion of new ideas, new energy from saying that your millennial population, and that resistance of ideas can prevent transformational growth that can take the organization to the next level. So I think there needs to be a balance. And in that balance, there needs to be clarity. On here’s the mission. Here is the vision, here are our values. And within that you allow the team members that work in the organization to shape what the new reality will be by staying connected to those foundational principles. And it’s important for leaders to not only use the Budworth buzzwords but ensure that everybody has a voice. Everybody has a say and give people the freedom to allow their ideas to penetrate the organization. And those organizations that do it right they will extract the best ideas and mesh the future with the past to kind of shape the present

Lindsay Recknell  14:53

like that a lot. How do we create safe spaces so that people feel comfortable bringing bring their ideas to the table, which may be revolutionary for some of these folks that have been at the been at an organization for a long time or been at their career for a long time or the industry for a long time.

Daryll Bryant  15:11

Now, that’s a great question, Lindsay, and at the foundation of flourishing, I believe, is safety. I think both physical safety and emotional safety have to be foundational principles. If anybody’s ever worked in an organization, where colleagues gets hurt, you don’t have an inspiration for ideas, when you’re worried about the well being of a friend, someone that you’ve developed a relationship with. At the same time, anyone who works in an organization that gets criticized, because the idea that they surface might not be connected to popular opinion, you will see more people retract from bringing in ideas, because they don’t want to, they don’t want the finger pointed at them. And so it’s important for leaders, leaders have to ensure that these foundational principles like safety is in place, and leaders have to get the right training and the right coaching, to have the freedom to create and make sure that that they sustain those building blocks of safety. And that’s really the leaders role, right? If the leader, if the leader stays focused on the fundamentals and making sure that people feel safe, that people’s ideas and opinions are are utilized or asked for then people will pick up the mantle and help solve the difficult problems. As long as the leader keeps the environment around them, and flourishing.

Lindsay Recknell  17:04

And you mentioned, what I call what what we have is mental health skills training, which is I think, something that a lot of us haven’t actually been taught the skills required to address some of these concerns in the workplace. If in, in your opinion, what are the top two or three skills, mental health skills that leaders could really use these days?

Daryll Bryant  17:31

Yeah, I think, you know, Lindsay, I think probably the top skill that a leader could use is understanding that mental health is real. And it’s it’s important to understand that anybody could go through a mental health challenge. And it doesn’t make you weak. And it doesn’t make you unintelligent, and less effective. And I think that’s important, I’ll share a story. I think I probably was one of those leaders that thought you had to be tough, you had to be stronger than everybody else. And you couldn’t show any sign of weakness. And I thought mental health only happened to people that didn’t have a strong positive outlook. Until I went through some life challenges. I lost the brother unexpectedly. Well, first, my dad was struggling with cancer. I knew he was going to pass, but I didn’t understand the impact it would have on me once he passed. And then six weeks later, my brother unexpectedly passed, have a heart attack. And here I found myself for the first time in my career, over 25 year career crying at work. And I couldn’t stop and I didn’t know it like nothing happened to make me cry. It was just like, I would just start crying. And, and. And that was a really challenging time for me. And it, it taught me something that there’s no such thing as not being vulnerable. And that all of us at some point in time will go through challenges that life brings. And as a leader, I need to create an environment that people feel safe sharing when they’re going through something that may not even be connected to the work that they’re doing. And that they know they have a support team and system there to help them and I think the only way you build As a leader, is you truly have to create an environment of caring, and sharing. Right. And these are things that I think, as, as an industry, one of the things that I realized that, I guess, if I, if I had a chance to fight against this word we call soft skills, you know, they would always say, these are soft skills that you have to learn. And I think we need to really challenge even at saying, they’re not soft skills, they’re critical skills. And they’re critical for the survival of the people that work in the organization, and a critical for the organization as well. And I think because because they’ve been identified as soft skills so long, I think a lot of leaders could be more men, maybe I’m saying that because I’m a man and I went through it, but we think we’re not supposed to be solved. So I can’t tell Lindsay that I’m struggling, I’m hurting on the inside. Right. And I need support and help. And so I think that’s really the challenge, to get our leaders to really connect with people in a way where they let them know it’s okay. And I found that the best way to do that is to be authentic, and share what I’ve experienced,

Lindsay Recknell  21:28

thank you for sharing your story with us. It D model that behavior out loud. And I think the language of mental health, to your point, the language of mental health is so so important in helping to reduce the stigma we have around having these conversations in public at work as leaders, I think, knowing the words to say, and recognizing that these are not soft skills in the soft, fluffy, cosmic woowoo kind of way. They are skills like skills, that we get to learn the same way that we learned how to, you know, use a hammer and tie our shoes and be good leaders. They are just they are the skills that we get to learn as human beings in the workforce, and PS human beings in our lives. Because that whole work life integration is a is a cool opportunity that we have right now as well, when you are showing up as your authentic self, here on this podcast in front of your team at work. You are merging your old maybe the traditional, you know, work work, Daryll and life, Daryll, merging them into the real Daryll, who is the authentic person that showing up for their people. And I think that there’s huge value in in that language and understanding number reducing the stigma around that language.

Daryll Bryant  22:56

Yes, I would agree.

Lindsay Recknell  23:00

Well, I mean, I couldn’t agree with you more about the whole compassion and empathy. And if I think about, you know, had I been in the moment when you were, you’re going through all of this stuff with your family, for your colleagues that had the opportunity to hold space for you and to witness that? How did they handle it? And is there some thoughts you have for the HR professionals and the leaders that are listening to, to know how to respond in those situations?

Daryll Bryant  23:40

Yeah, I think I found different people within the organization to be at different levels of understanding. Some people were really skilled, and understood what I was going through, and that crying was a natural process in that journey, and they were willing to give me the space. to, to, to just deal with it. They shared stories of their own personal journey. And they also connected me to resources like employee assistance, resources. I found that many times oftentimes, those individuals were at higher levels within the organization. So I don’t know if that meant. They received more training and development and preparation but things like this. I found that people that may have been on my peer level or my direct reports had less kind of expectation or awareness around that this could happen and it was more of an expectation of you’re the leader How could Do be experiencing or going through something like this, like, you look weak, right. And so I think, again, that there’s an opportunity for leaders at all level, to really make mental health awareness, a part of the regular training that we do. So I guess what 1015 years ago, engagement was, was probably the key buzzword in organizations of how you build engagement. And some of the words and engagement are their compassion. But I think there’s an opportunity to make mental health a standalone pillar. So people recognize what it is, what it looks like when a friend or colleague is going through through it, and what what types of support could be available to help them everywhere from what you can do individually, to support that person next to you, and to what internal and external resources could be available. Because it’s something that nobody should feel like they have to go through alone. And they shouldn’t feel like going through it is detrimental to them being able to still do their job or maintain their job, right, because then people will hide it, and try to hold it in. And I think when they hold it in, that’s when more devastating things can happen.

Lindsay Recknell  26:42

You have teed me up so nicely for a shameless plug of the Mental Health skills training certificate program that we have on offer, because I keep hearing this message from thought leaders such as yourself who come on the show and say this is these are skills that we just haven’t been taught yet in any of our leadership training. It’s how to identify what it looks like when people are struggling, what to say, when you notice how to hold space, how to protect yourself, I mean, compassion, fatigue is a real thing, in in leadership as well, in HR especially. And then also what you can and cannot say according to, you know, legal and ethical and moral guidelines, because sometimes fear awkwardness uncomfortable lack of confidence gets in the way of saying anything at all, even when we do notice that our colleagues are struggling, because we don’t know what to say. And so this mental health skills training that we’ve developed that you’re talking about helps you to move, remove some of those barriers to really raise collective wellness and skills to have these kinds of conversations at work.

Daryll Bryant  27:50

Right. Yeah, and I think that’s important. I think it’s definitely important. And it needs to happen at every level of the organization, the same way safety training happens. Because the people that the people that work next to someone else, they will see it faster than anybody else, right. And if they if they are armed with tools that they can share, it could be very helpful.

Lindsay Recknell  28:20

How do we unlock the collective genius that you talked about? I mean, we’ve got these people that are working so closely together, they’re building relationships, how do we continue to unlock that collective genius and really take us into a positive workforce of the future?

Daryll Bryant  28:36

Yeah, I think the first step, again, comes back to being self aware. And as a leader, you know, I had to become aware of what I offer and could bring. And then I think the intention needs to be set on everyone else in the organization. And you need to accept that everyone is special and brings a genius into the organization and your real role is to engage them in a way where they will allow you to tap into their genius. And that then really becomes the work right? People will peep this, this people have room for a lot. And to get that day to day job done. They may only need to utilize 10 to 15% of their full capability. Right. But when when an organization is going through a crisis, and they really need to make a shift, you need people to go beyond that 10 to 15%. And their willingness to do that will depend on the type of organization that the leader has, has created. How has the leader connected with them? How has the leaders shown that compassion and that they care? How has the leader created an environment of multiple of of a more emotional safety and physical safety? And then do people have the space to share ideas and be wrong? Right? Do they get feedback on ideas that’s going to be acted upon and those that aren’t going to be acted upon. And I think in doing that, in a consistent way, people will limit genius, more often than not, and in many times, they will prevent a crisis from even becoming one, because they will see the opportunities before it becomes a major problem sometimes before the leader even sees it. And I think that’s what a flourishing environment fosters. It’s an environment that, that’s creating a space where you can unlock the collective genius of people and their study, pushing the envelope to be more, and to do more within the organization and organizations that tap into that can really navigate any type of economic change, and business change, right, the best organizations had already adopted remote learning and remote working before the pandemic became a thing. Right, people have brought those ideas forward. And those leaders had created space for them to leverage that. And so they had already known what works and what didn’t work, and it was just expanding it. And so that’s really, I believe, that’s how you do that by by connecting with people in a way where they feel a part of shaping the destiny and the outcome.

Lindsay Recknell  31:45

That is a flourishing organization I want to work for when when organizations want to know how to create these flourishing organizations and take some of the actions that you’ve talked about, is there a way they can get a hold of you?

Daryll Bryant  31:58

Yes, so my email address is dbryant@optimizeu.com and OptimizeU coaching organization. We’re partners that work with executive leadership and leaders that at all level, and then our website is OptimizeU.com. And we have several coaches, and we help design flourishing concepts into an organization. And then we also coach leaders to to put those principles into action.

Lindsay Recknell  32:45

Action, my favorite word, we will absolutely link to all of those places in the show notes so people have real easy access. Darryl, it has been a real pleasure. Thank you so much for sharing your insight. I can’t wait to meet you in real life at the conference. And to hear your to hear all of your insights at your talk. It has been a real pleasure to have you here. So thanks for joining us.

Daryll Bryant 33:05

What thanks, Lindsay for having me and giving me a chance to share my story.

Lindsay Recknell  33:11 

Thanks for joining me for another awesome episode of the mental health for leaders podcast. To make sure you don’t miss any future episodes, please go to https://mentalhealthforleaders.com and subscribe to have these episodes delivered right to your inbox each week. You’ll also find all the show notes, links and resources that my guest mentioned on the show and the link to the Guide to Influence and Impact at Work freebie I mentioned at the beginning of this episode.  You’re listening to this podcast because you know our people need us more than ever. But being a people leader and an HR professional is especially hard right now. If the thought of figuring out how to best support your people and yourself feels overwhelming and impossibly hard. Let’s talk. I don’t promise I can make it easy, but I can make it simple. So let’s do that together. Go to https://mentalhealthforleaders.com and download the Guide to Influence and Impact at Work now. Until next time, take good care. And as always, call me if you need me.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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