If you sense that change is on the horizon, begin focusing on preparing your team for it. Focus on building resilience, fostering flexibility, and maintaining open lines of communication.

In this episode

Do you know the difference between offering feedback and providing coaching?

Adrienne describes how coaching may be a better way to communicate with team members as it “focuses you on growth versus change.” 

She also explains how to discern between giving feedback and coaching your team. She shares lessons learned from implementing management training, and recommends her favourite resources for managers.

Adrienne Barnard has led and managed multiple key programs to enhance the employee lifecycle, from talent acquisition to retention and growth. She is passionate about questioning standard practices and embracing new ways of doing things in order to achieve better outcomes for organizations and their people. 

With over 18 years of experience in people and talent roles, at companies like Telaria, ASICS Digital, and now Mainstay, she has a proven track record of delivering results that align with business strategy and vision.

In episode #173, Adrienne Barnard breaks down how to successfully execute management training programs, give feedback to staff that fosters growth, lead teams through constant change, and put employee wellness first. 

Tune in to hear all about Adrienne’s leadership journey and the lessons learned along the way!

Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.


Knowing how to give feedback


Coaching versus feedback


Putting management training programs into practice


Who develops management training content?


Where to start with developing as a manager


Focusing on employee wellness

Resources mentioned in this episode:


Adrienne, welcome to the show. 

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  02:42

Awesome. So excited to be here. 

Aydin Mirzaee (  02:58

Yeah, very happy to have you. So I know you’ve had an extensive leadership career working at a number of different companies today, your SVP people ops and experience. That means say, so wanted to start talking about the very beginning. Do you remember when you first started to manage or lead a team? What were some of those early mistakes that you used to make?

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  03:12

Yes, man, it was a while ago, I’ll be honest, but I definitely remember. And I used to actually use this example when I was doing management training at like the midpoint of my career. So I remember I was so excited to manage someone. And I felt like I really had so much of their future like in my hands in some ways. And I almost over indexed on wanting to help and support them. And an early mistake I made was I just overwhelmed them with feedback. Instead of being thoughtful about how I can help coach and guide them in specific directions. I prepared all this feedback about every aspect of how they were working and what they were doing and sat them down in the biggest conference room in the office, which was probably a mistake as well sat them down in this conference room and just basically went them this whole thing that I had prepared for them. And her eyes glazed over. And she just had this look of kind of shock and confusion on her face. And I realized in that moment like oh my gosh, I just totally messed that up. She’s not that I have taken anything away from this conversation. And I think that really to me started me on this journey of really appreciating how to deliver feedback effectively. It’s not just about giving the feedback. It’s about how you’re engaging in that conversation.

Aydin Mirzaee (  04:39

Let’s talk about that. So one, maybe the volume of feedback or the way that you approach it. So yeah, what were the different things that you learned in that process? How do you approach giving feedback? 

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  04:51

That was probably like 2012. So many years since then, I think I’ve really changed and developed how I approach feedback in many ways, but I think for me, if I had to kind of sum up where I’ve come to, since that experience, it was you have to focus on the person in front of you, not just on the feedback you need to deliver, but the person that’s sitting across the table from you. And really understand, knowing what motivates them, knowing what some of their strengths and gifts are, and some of their areas of opportunity and growth. And knowing how they communicate as well, is really going to help you hone in on how to effectively give them feedback. So an example of that is probably about seven or so years later, I had a direct report, who was totally different than this prior person, right? They were high achieving, they had a healthy ego. They had huge goals and visions and aspirations for themselves in their career. And they’ve achieved them since then to this wasn’t just, you know, overinflated ego stuff. And they were failing, they were failing at the role that was in front of them. And it was almost like they wanted to skip steps to get to where they wanted to go. And they felt like they were already there, instead of needing to go through the process of growing and learning and developing yourself to get there, right. And I knew that they were very direct, I knew they came from a direct direct culture and background as well. And so I was really direct with him. When we sat in this much smaller conference room, I will say it was more intimate to showcase you know, I’m here, I’m President, I’m with you. We’re focused on this monitor stays together. And I’ll be honest, I told them, they were fucking up, because I knew that would wake them up. And I knew that that would inspire and motivate them. And it did. And so it really you got to focus on the person and how did they communicate? And how will they take in what you’re telling them?

Aydin Mirzaee (  06:50

How do you go about doing that? Like, what are the best ways to figure out how people will receive feedback? The best?

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  06:56

Yeah, well, you can ask them and I wouldn’t ask them specifically, how do you receive feedback, because they’re probably going to tell you what they think you want to hear. I would ask them things like, tell me about someone you’ve worked with recently that you felt was a great manager or someone in your career that you thought was a great manager, or, you know, tell me about a time you got feedback that really impacted you in a positive way? How about a time that it impacted you in a negative way, so asking them about their own experiences and stories, but also potentially asking them about outside of work, like some of their relationships, and just getting to know them as a person, you start to pick up on some of their personality traits, some of their communication styles, and watching them engage with peers or engaged with others as well is a really great way to figure out how do they communicate? How do they take information in? Because that’s really what it’s about. It’s not necessarily about how can I best give them feedback? It’s how can I communicate information to them?

Aydin Mirzaee (  07:55

This is a very good point, because I think one of the ways that people typically say is exactly what you said not to do, which is how do you like to receive feedback? And I think for the most part, people will say, Well, yeah, tell me soon. Or tell me in person.

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  08:10

That’s hard. Not everyone can handle direct feedback.

Aydin Mirzaee (  08:13

What a great approach to just say, what was the time that you have received feedback in the past that really helped you tell me about that. And I assume that when you talk about, you know, who’s a really great manager you’ve had in the past, you’re trying to get to effectively the same sort of thing. So you might ask some follow up questions that might then lead to the feedback part.

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  08:32

Yeah, exactly. Like when I’ve had new managers asked me about my own experience, I share with them the best manager, I had focused on being direct with me in a very kind way. And being very coaching oriented, versus just like, This is what you have to do. And here’s how you’re doing it wrong. It was more coaching focused. And so I share that with my managers now as well that I like to be coached. And coaching is different than just delivering feedback.

Aydin Mirzaee (  09:00

Sure. Tell us about that. How is coaching different than just receiving feedback? Yeah, well,

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  09:05

I would say that coaching, you’re going to focus more typically, with coaching, you’re focusing more on growing the strengths, then just closing the gaps of the areas of weakness, right. So if you think about when I think about coaching, I have kids, they’re athletic, I have a son who’s has played competitive sports, you know, most of his life and I think about his coaches, and I think about his basketball coaches and what they do, and they focus on the strength, and they focus on exploiting people’s strengths as well. And so I think about how coaching focuses you on growth versus change. And when you focused on growth, you want to build upon what’s already working, and that helps close the gaps and other areas as well.

Aydin Mirzaee (  09:52

The sports analogy is an interesting one. Is there a story or an example that you can give us on? What’s a way that you could focus on growth versus getting someone to change.

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  10:02

Yeah. So I had a contract recruiter who was on my team. And her gifts and strengths were her drive, her passion. And her directness, like that was how she developed relationships with candidates. So they trusted her. That was how she influenced and managed her hiring managers to trust her and to move quickly to close roles, right, because when you’re in a hiring process, you need to move quickly to close candidates and whatever market you’re in, even in our current wacky talent landscape right now. And I would get feedback from time to time that she was too much, right? Too aggressive, too assertive. And when you tell me a woman’s too assertive, I already get triggered, but too assertive. And she used to communicate differently with me. And I’d get feedback like that from some of our senior executive hiring managers specifically. And I never went to her and said, You need to change how you’re talking to so and so. Or you need to talk different speak differently with so and so hiring managers. What I did was I encouraged her for your passion is amazing, your drive and determination to get these candidates in front of these people, your knowledge, and your understanding of why they would make a great fit for this role, is what I want you to highlight and sometimes how you share that it can get lost, because they’re just hearing the strength of the passion of your voice versus really getting to understand the candidate. And so I coached her up to continue to focus on her passion and her knowledge of the role in the candidates versus telling her to change how she was talking to the hiring managers. 

Aydin Mirzaee (  11:46

Wow, that’s a really great way. That’s a great story and great coaching on display. I feel like yes, most people would have probably just said the first way, which is when you talk to so and so you need to focus on these things and not do that. But yeah, what a great way to put it.

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  12:01

I did because I didn’t want her to change who she was right who she was, was part of what was making her successful. If anything, the hiring manager should just gotten over it and learn how to work with her and more productively thing or this more senior member of the team anyway. But that was a different conversation.

Aydin Mirzaee (  12:17

That’s such a great example. You’re talking about me, you kind of hinted at it a little bit wacky hiring environment, there’s a lot more these days that’s wacky out there. So leading through changing times. I mean, this is something that is on everyone’s mind, and changes coming so rapidly, and so often in from all directions. And just wondering what kind of things that you’ve learned that, you know, you coach executives at your company on people that you work with? Like how can people more effectively lead through change during these times?

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  12:48

Yeah, so someone I love that I would recommend all managers to look up and I feel like you either lover or you hate her. Her name is Cy Wakeman. And she’s a drama researcher. And she’s built an amazing career over kind of sharing some of her best practices in terms of reducing drama in the workplace. And she works a lot in the healthcare industry specifically, but it’s applicable everywhere. And one of the things that she shares, which I think is such a fantastic perspective switch is it’s not the change, that’s hard. It’s the readiness for the change. And so something that managers can do is when you’re looking around you, and you’re recognizing that things are gonna change, and they’re gonna keep changing. And especially if you’re in an environment where you know, there’s likely business changes coming, whether it’s additional layoffs, or reorganizations, or mergers or acquisitions, whatever kind of change that you might feel is on the horizon. And, obviously do what you can to go and validate things. But you know, different information is shared at different levels of organizations. But if you have a sense that there’s going to be change coming, start focusing on how you can get your team ready for that. So focus on building resilience, focus on flexibility, focus on open lines of communication, really building that feedback loop with your team on making sure you know where they’re at, and you’re sharing in an appropriately vulnerable way where you’re at as well. And what I mean by that is, I’ve managed through a lot of change at mainstay and prior at ASICs, digital as well. And I never went to my team and said, I’m totally freaked out about what’s happening. And I have no idea what to do. And I’ve had no idea what’s coming, and I’m at a loss, right? But I did go to them and I said, I’m worried about what the future holds. I’m unsure about the direction the company’s going, and here’s what I’m doing to keep myself grounded. Here’s what I’m checking in on as soon as I have information. I’ll share it with you. So that’s being vulnerable, but it’s not freezing them out. Right. And that opens up then the comfort and connection for them to share back with you because then you’ll know where they’re at And you’ll know how to build change management plans for them.

Aydin Mirzaee (  15:03

That’s a great way to put it to when you say, here’s what I’m doing stay grounded, and so on and so forth. What kind of things? Are you telling them? Yeah, so

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  15:11

specifically with ASICs, digital ASICs is obviously fitness focused company. And so there was a lot of promotion of fitness and health and of mind and body. And so we would specifically talk about going for runs, and we would go for runs at the same This was during COVID, the early days of COVID, 2020. And so we would plan like, we’re all gonna go for a run at this time. And we would all go out and go for a run and then be able and share selfies with each other meditation practices and actually worked with the team to develop kind of a mental health wellness presentation that we then shared with the entire company. So it both have that double benefit of, it’s something that is helping us because we’re doing this research, and we’re practicing these things on our own. And we get to produce something for the organization as well.

Aydin Mirzaee (  15:56

Hey, everyone, just a quick pause on today’s episode to tell you about something that we’ve been working on that we’re super excited about. It’s no secret that, you know, meetings have been on the rise since the pandemic, there’s studies that showed that in some organizations, people are spending as much as 250% more time in meetings, and there hasn’t been a solution out there to really tackle this problem. At its heart, some companies are doing interesting things. Shopify, for example, is now incorporating a meeting cost calculator into all of the meetings that are booked. And so whenever someone’s trying to book a meeting, they get to see the cost of that meeting. And what we’ve decided to do at Fellow is take this idea of a meeting cost calculator, and make it available for everyone for free. And we’re calling it our meeting cost calculator, it integrates with your Google Calendar. So if you’re on a Google Calendar, what you can do is go to And what it’s going to do is it’s this extension, you install it super easy. And when you do, you’ll be able to see the cost of every meeting that you’re attending. And so what this does at an organizational level, and it’s very easy to install organization wide, your IT administrator can very easily do this. And when you do this, every person in your company, when they’re about to book a meeting, they’ll be able to see the cost of that particular meeting. And really, the intention here is to make it easy for people to really think carefully about the people that the invite to the meeting how large the meeting is going to be. And really the purpose and make sure that time that is organized through this meeting is actually going to be time well spent. And so we’re very excited to announce this, it’s easy to get, you can go to, get the extension and get it for your team, it’s free to use. And if you like what you see there, we have a series of other things that we built along these lines with that extension, we’re calling the meeting guidelines. And it’s a series of other things that helped change organizational behavior around meetings in your company. But start with a calculator. It’s really cool. And when you try it, let us know what you think. And with that said, let’s go back to the episode. I love the just that statement of change is not hard readiness for change is hard. And so that really, really paints a picture of how we should all think about it. Let’s also talk about you spent a lot of time in the context of management training. What have you learned about management training? There’s so many ways to do it. Obviously, it’s important. And I think the stat I forget is something like most people get their first management training when they’re 12 years into the role or some very odd stat like that. Tell us about like how you put into practice management training programs in the past?

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  18:55

Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve evolved a lot in this area as well. And I actually carved out a role for myself, specifically the ad tech company I was at in the 2000s to focus on specifically building management training for the company. And this was a scaling ad tech company. We were global at this point, we had a huge class of managers, directors, VPS, managers, etc. And there was no kind of clarity or standards in terms of what we expected of managers, right. And so I had a passion from early days at a company that had an entire training arm and they had a university system that they had developed for the organization. I saw that and I thought I want to do something like that one day, and this was my opportunity to do it. And I built out a curriculum and it was pretty heavy handed. I’ll be honest, it was an hour and a half sessions. There was pre work and homework that was rarely done. You know, this was probably 2015 Like this was a different time in terms of what we think about as training and development. And I saw an impact people left and they said I learned something I took some thing away, I’m changing, we saw an impact in our management scores and our engagement surveys. But if I looked back now, I wouldn’t do it that same way. Again, I tried to take this and replicate it at ASICs, digital when I joined there. And I pretty quickly recognized that, oh, this environment is totally different, this Manager class is totally different, I need to approach this differently. And from there, I’ve evolved it a couple times to make it much more interactive, because I think for me, one of the keys of management training is the peer relationships and learning from each other. And not a manager now, because I’m a team of one, but even when I am training as a manager, that’s a different persona than me being the trainer, or me being the SVP of people ops, right. And so when you take away the other personas, and you just speak as the manager, you can connect and learn from each other on a much just, it’s a much more productive learning environment. Because, you know, it’s like, hey, how do you hold your one on one? Well, this is what I do for mine. And this is what’s worked, and this is what hasn’t, and, oh, that’s something I want to try, or, Hey, I’ve got this situation. And you can share your situation with confidentiality in mind, because you’re all on the same culture and environment. So how I would handle it as the head of HR is different than how I might tell you to handle it as a manager. And so understanding that connection point for the managers facilitating that I think is really key. Because whoever you talk to about training or learning, one of the number one things you’re always going to take away is that people forget 75% of what they learn when they walk out of the room. So how do you help them retain and change behaviors, it’s all the enrollment stuff that happens afterwards. And having a peer group to talk to is really critical. But don’t ask me how I’ve done that successfully. Because I haven’t

Aydin Mirzaee (  21:46

shared the peer group aspect that has been harder to do. Yeah,

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  21:49

there’s definitely an aspect of it, that’s the virtual environment makes it more challenging and asking them to participate in another slack group, right? It’s not always enticing or exciting for them. And it’s really hard to compete with people’s day to day. That’s like the simplest way I would put it. And I think what I’ve learned is that I need to do more intentional bringing that group together. So that’s actually something I’m planning to do in q4. And then next year, do manage your monthly roundtables have a topic that I can present to a few slides, and then just open it up for conversation. And I think if I’m consistently showing up in that way, and bringing them into the room, there might be a little bit more of momentum to facilitate it for all of them to be a part of facilitating it afterwards, if that makes sense. Like in the slack group.

Aydin Mirzaee (  22:37

I mean, peer groups work. It’s one of the most effective ways to get people to learn practically from each other. And it’s really hard to take textbook information and apply it to real life. There’s always so many nuances. And that’s what makes this stuff hard. So yeah, I think the approach makes a lot of sense. I will ask you about the content of the management training, though. So who creates the content? So if someone wants to roll out a program like this at their company, or for their team, over their org? How did they go about doing that?

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  23:07

Yeah, so the way that I did it was, I did spend a number of months. I mean, again, this was the sole focus of my role. I mean, it wasn’t the sole focus, it was like 80% focus on my role. So I spent a ton of time doing a lot of research and development. I listen to podcasts, I read books, I did a lot of attending webinars and reading articles and looking online. So I developed all the content. And I’ve been able to inside Wakeman, one of the practitioners that I used a lot of her content as well. This is when I discovered her. And since then I’ve pretty much continued that, like I add to it, I shifted, I change it, but it’s all self sourced. And there are a ton of great resources out there for that. That’s not to say that I don’t think there’s a place for external resources being brought in as well. I think that that’s a good augmentation. And the way that I did that is I would share a video, and then we would talk about it. So like a video with an overview of radical candor. And then we discuss it that kind of thing.

Aydin Mirzaee (  24:04

Yeah, sure. What is your opinion about just bringing in external manager training companies, there are a lot of them. The advice can be generic, the material can be generic, but it can also be useful. And then people have varying levels of expertise to so someone being in the role for 20 years and the near managers, any thoughts on like, when it makes sense to bring in external management trainers into the company?

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  24:31

I think it really depends on your culture and your goals. Like I wish I could give you an easy answer that would make a great like tagline for the podcast, but it really depends on your organization. It depends on your budget also. And it depends on your goals like what are you trying to accomplish? So what I mean by that is, Listen, if you need to do sexual harassment training, you should probably even outside vendor for that right. I also think for things that are more focused on building skills related to diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging, I think external resources to start with and then partnering with a resource that you can then utilize on an ongoing basis internally, it’s really helpful there. I think with management training, specifically, I think it can be a blend, and I would find out what your team is looking for as well. You know, what are the goals of your managers? Or what are the goals of the employees that are being managed by them as well, there might be specific skills that they need support building that an external vendor is going to be really great at helping them with, or it might just be like, hey, it’s just the basics. This is a new company, we, you know, maybe are series A Series B startup. And most of your managers were early hires that were then promoted, and they don’t have a ton of management experience, they need the basics, you could probably pull that together internally to get them started. And then you figure out what do we need to keep talking to them about? Does that kind of answer your question?

Aydin Mirzaee (  25:57

Yeah, I do think the it depends part is a big part of that. And I’ve also seen some companies start with generic material, maybe starting from an external firm, maybe, you know, starting from like an external set of resources. And there’s a lot of really good stuff out there. We had Alex McCall once upon a time on the podcast, and he created this internal managers handbook that he opened source and a lot of other companies now use that as like a starting point. But yeah, what I have found is that over the course of time, as a company matures, there’s like a way of managing at Company X. And then it kind of blends into just like you can have values, you can have management values and ways of doing things that are a little bit more specific. But you probably don’t want to invent that stuff on day one. And it doesn’t need to be, unless there’s a really good reason for it, you probably want to start from a baseline and over the course of time, you know, make the modifications.

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  26:53

Yeah, I don’t disagree with you. And I think, another great resource in terms of training for any managers listening that maybe they don’t have HR, or maybe they just don’t have the budget to bring in training, or it’s not happening yet. But they have a hunger and a desire to train themselves. The Manager Tools podcast series is fantastic. And I got a ton from listening to a lot of their different series that I helped with my managers. It’s a little bit more structured, it’s a little bit more like hardcore management in some ways. But in terms of giving you very specific frameworks and actionable takeaways, that you can apply immediately in your day to day, chef’s kiss. And they’re focused. It’s for managers. It’s not for HR.

Aydin Mirzaee (  27:38

Yeah. And we’ve had more congressmen on the show as well. So yeah, Mark is great. And definitely he told us the story. It’s a very long standing podcast. It’s the I think they he was telling me that they started it before podcasts were a thing. So where you had to download an episode on the internet, and then loaded onto your device? So it definitely goes far back?

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  27:58

Yeah, yeah. Well, here’s another plus one for Manager Tools podcast.

Aydin Mirzaee (  28:03

Yeah. So we’ve talked about manager training, let’s talk about wellness as strategy. So about a year or so you wrote this post about wellness as a strategy, I’d love for you to just give us your thoughts around putting that piece together and what you were really trying to communicate.

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  28:19

Yeah. So you know, for me, this was kind of coming out of the COVID years, and just thinking about the impact on employees, the impact on morale, on sentiment on resilience. And just considering like, as people were considered thinking about their 2022 approach to HR, or people ops, or their benefits approach, right, considering wellness as being a huge area of focus, that could really have a huge impact, if prioritized losing how to say that in a more pithy way, but just like compound interest in some ways, right. So like, if you focus on wellness in a more strategic way, you’re not just gonna be able to give them a wellness program, there’s going to be that kind of compound interest in pact of like, not only is my company focused on wellness, which that makes me feel good that they care about that. But I’m also getting to improve my wellness. And that all mixed together, more focus, more productivity, higher engagement, which leads to better overall performance for everyone. And so one of the things that COVID really helped us focus on was the fact that the old ways of working weren’t working anymore, and the sentiment of like, you know, the people in the board room are the ones telling us when to work, how to work, what to work on and the hours we work that Kyle got shooken up and now we’re trying to get back to that the those people definitely want that power and control back. But I think there was really this opportunity for us to say, hey, look like The companies that took care of people, the companies that allowed for the space and the time and the care of the teams, they’re doing well. And the teams are engaged and the companies are performing and everyone’s feeling good, right? So how can we add that in as an ongoing area of focus and ensure that people feel like they have that integration, they have that ability to both have a life and have work. And the reality is we ask people to bring their whole selves to work, we have human beings doing work, we have to treat them as human beings. And that also means a little bit of care and feeding of like who they are, can we get to

Aydin Mirzaee (  30:39

some tactical examples of how we can do those things to really like focus on their wellness in a practical sense, because some of this stuff is also challenging? Because to what extent can the company really get involved in the personal lives? Yeah,

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  30:55

it’s a great point. And I struggle with that, honestly, because I was raised in a corporate America, that was very different. And I’ve had to unlearn some approaches, honestly, in terms of how I manage how and how I lead and just in terms of like, more authoritarian style. And so I don’t think that that means that the company is completely 100% responsible for each person and shouldn’t give them unlimited benefits and access to you know, whatever, right. But what I mean by that is, mental health days are a great example of something that I do think has an impact on the team, just that permission to all be off together. At the same time, it has an impact, it’s been studied in Europe, that mutual time off, actually has a measurable difference of an impact than letting people take you know, individual time off. Because when you think about it, individual time off, you come back and the works been continuing while you’re gone and you have to catch up, mutual time off, everyone’s off at the same time, you’re not missing anything. So you’ve come back to what you left behind. And you actually are able to come back and utilize like the renewed energy to get back to work on what you’re already working on. The other thing for me, that’s like a tactical thing, but still a little bit like esoteric is just talking about it, just talking about wellness, and opening up the conversation and talking about mental health at work, talking about racism at work, talking about world events at work, like people are out there living their lives, and that stuff impacts them. And when they come to work, they can’t just shut it off. And so just knowing that they can talk about it somewhere, or they can say to their manager, I’m having a hard day today, because of what’s happening in Israel right now. That, to me, that’s wellness at work. So it’s not saying that every company should have X number of time off days, or X number of paid leaves or fund medical allowances for whatever surgery somebody means or contribute to, you know, like GoFundMe, stuff like that. But it’s more about that appreciation and understanding that it’s humans doing the work. And humans are having real human experiences when they’re away from work as well. And how can we showcase that we care about that? And having that empathy doesn’t mean that we necessarily are going to take care of everything. But it’s having that empathy in the approach. Does that make sense?

Aydin Mirzaee (  33:20

Yeah, it makes sense. It’s really hard to just completely separate what goes on in the world in your personal lives, and there is going to be some boundary blurring is maybe one way to put it and just recognizing that that is the case and not make certain things taboo.

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  33:37

Yeah, absolutely. And I think one thing that I would caution is, it doesn’t mean that you’re not still running a business. And that’s hrs job to balance that. Like, that’s what I see as my role is how can I have a wellness strategy that I feel like impacts people and they feel cared for, and that we care about their wellness, and also ensure that people have clear expectations, they’re performing to those expectations, and we’re meeting company goals. That’s not the manager’s job, that’s hrs job, just to be clear.

Aydin Mirzaee (  34:10

Yeah. And like many other things in the world of management, also a very difficult thing to do, and not super clear cut and well defined. So, Adrian, this has been an awesome conversation. We’ve talked about a variety of different things. I really, really enjoyed your example on how you coached and you focused on growth versus change. That story was incredible. And, you know, I hope that everybody takes away how to be able to give feedback in that particular way. And of course, love the quote on change is not hard, but readiness for change is hard, and really treating our employees as humans at work. And so lots of great points. The question we always like to end on is for all the managers and leaders constantly looking to get better at their craft. Are there any final tips, tricks or words of wisdom you would leave them with?

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  34:56

I think for me, the biggest thing right now that I think It’s so important for managers is that they’re taking care of themselves. There’s a lot on management’s plate, especially in middle management. And you oftentimes we give ourselves away to our teams. And, you know, it’s just like motherhood, I gotta fill my cup first if I want to be able to take care of everyone else’s cups, and you got to fill your cup first. And so whatever that means for you and your role, make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

Aydin Mirzaee (  35:24

That’s great advice and a great place to end it. Adrian, thanks so much for doing this.

Adrienne Barnard (Mainstay)  35:28

Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Aydin Mirzaee (  35:30

And that’s it for today. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Supermanagers podcast. You can find in the show notes and transcript at If you liked the content, be sure to rate review and subscribe so you can get notified when we post the next episode. And please tell your friends and Fellow managers about it. It’d be awesome if you can help us spread the word about the show. See you next time.

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