E117: Nicole Raines Adds Light to Fun and Joy

Nicole Raines on Fun and Joy Increases Creativity and Productivity

Nicoles Raines Shares About Fun and Joy in Organizations

Do Not Be Afraid of Fun and Playfulness


Fun and joy in leadership and its impact on performance. 0:07

    • Nicole Raines shares her go-to song for picking herself up, "Golden" by Gil Scott-Heron.
    • According to Dr. Dave, incorporating fun and joy into leadership can improve creativity and performance.

Infusing fun and joy into workplace culture. 3:54

      • Nicole implemented various workplace initiatives to promote fun and joy, such as small icebreakers, a recognition committee, and weekly decompression sessions.
      • Nicole balanced fun and joy with responsibilities by incorporating them into team meetings and organizational structure, ensuring productivity was not compromised.
      • Infuse fun moments into team meetings, listen to feedback, and respect privacy.
      • Nicole advises picking something easy to share for joy metrics and avoiding big, grand things.

Measuring happiness and well-being in the workplace. 10:05

    • Leaders can measure team happiness by tracking connection and growth.
    • Nicole suggests looking inward to understand cultural perceptions of fun and foster a universally joyful environment.
    • Dave agrees, highlighting the importance of sensitivity to cultural perceptions while fostering a positive work environment.

Infusing fun and joy into leadership styles. 14:04

    • Nicole emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and cultural awareness when creating inclusive workplace events.
    • Dave agrees and highlights the need to listen to others' perspectives to develop culturally sensitive fun moments.
    • Nicole suggests leaders acknowledge new activities, start small, and share personal fun to infuse joy into teams.
    • Dave and Nicole discuss incorporating fun and joy in leadership styles, with Speaker 2 sharing personal practices like gratitude and enjoying small pleasures.

Infusing fun and playfulness in leadership and mental health practices. 20:53

    • Nicole shared a memorable anecdote about incorporating fun and creativity into a clinical practice session with a child who experienced trauma, using a poster board with flowers and a butterfly to demonstrate a trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy model.
    • Nicole used a bubble-breathing exercise and balloons to help the child relax and smile during the session, demonstrating the importance of incorporating fun and creativity into clinical practice.
    • Nicole shares an example of infusing fun and light into a complex topic, demonstrating that playfulness can be present in even the most serious situations.
    • Nicole encourages listeners to embrace levity in their work and personal lives, recognizing its importance for more than just making work bearable.

Episode 117 Show Notes

Kayana Singing  00:07

We all have something to share. KnolShare with Dr. Dave


Dr. Dave  00:12

Well, hello listeners and welcome to another engaging episode of the nostril redacted a podcast. Today we're diving into what makes work more than just a paycheck, fun and joy. So I want to let you know that incorporating fun and joy into your work and environment is not a luxury but a necessity. You know, we have studies that have showed teams with high morale are more engaged and creative. So I want you to think about the brands you love. And I bet you prioritize fun and joy as well. And today we have the wonderful, Nicole Raines who's joining us. And I'm so excited. So hello, Nicole, Hawaiian.


Nicole  00:57

Well, Dr. Dave, thank you for having me back.


Dr. Dave  01:00

Yeah, always, always. What music is rocking your spirit this morning. I know you love music. So I have to start there.


Nicole  01:09

That is so funny. Dr. Dave, the song that I actually use been on kind of repeat in my head right now is golden live in my life. Like it's golden by Gil Scott. Actually in got to enjoy some live music on Tuesday and went to see an artist by the name of lp. And then tomorrow going to see the Dave Matthews Band. So that should be so fun. Yes, yeah, I'm really looking forward to that. And yeah, but right now, it's golden. That's kind of my go to I'm happy. It's playing in my head this morning. Because it's my pick me up. So being able to have a little bit of Joe Scott today.


Dr. Dave  01:53

You know, that's a great place to start. But such a great artists. So let's just jump in and start having this conversation. So when we think many associate leadership but discipline, strategy and serious deliberation, how do you see fun and joy fitting into, you know, the lexicon of generative leadership?


Nicole  02:15

That's a great question, Dr. Dave. So being able to have your whole self and being able to have those elements of fun. And being able to know that being able to have fun is not actually the opposite. A discipline, sometimes we try to make these binary distinctions like it's either this or that. But being able to know that you can be all those things, and still incorporate fun, it brings to mind even the DISC profile, where I as in terms of a working style, are typically those who want to infuse some fun, and whatnot into the work style that they have. So it's not something that sits outside of our leadership skills is something that's really much a part of it and can generate creativity can generate, you know, being able to have more creative problem solving, all those different things that we think about when we think about leadership.


Dr. Dave  03:17

Oh, that's so true. That you know, all of the different elements that it brings out in human beings when they're having fun, and they have some joy. So it shares some unexperienced were incorporating, you know, fun and joy directly impacted your poor, your team's performance or your performance, or an organizational success


Nicole  03:39

store. So the thing that comes to mind is back when I worked for a nonprofit, and I actually became a director, and we were just going undergoing a lot of shifts and changes within the organization. And typically, my working style was really pretty much disciplined and organized. But seeing that the team needed more, it was been able to bring up more of the let's talk about what's going to work for you. Let's talk about fun. And I sat and assessed and taught meaning that I talked to each team member and asked them what, you know, brought them in what gave them you know, pleasure or value to their work and was able to incorporate some of those things. So in team meetings, being able to have something as simple as small icebreakers and also recognize that not everyone likes those, you need to be aware of that. So bringing in small icebreakers, like what's your theme song for the day is something that got incorporated, and then also being a part of even prior to being a director, being part of our committee, the recognition committee that actually recognized staff contributions, we had a what was called an I just want to say box where people would put in either anonymously or sometimes with their name Just think use or how someone helped them or how they admired someone on the team for their ability to connect with clients, or whatever it might be. So that was another avenue. And then the last one, the one that really comes to mind is having, we would have what was called a weekly decompression. And so that it was that for an hour, typically during lunchtime, where we would play a game or watch part of a movie, or do you know, just something that was different, to be able to have a break, and being able to infuse that in the organizational structure was important, because it gave people permission, that oh, okay, I can take these breaks on my own.


Dr. Dave  05:44

Yeah, that mean, that's great that you, you know, you had an opportunity for a pause. Yes. And still, too. So being able to focus on the, you know, the work itself. So, you know, when we think about challenges and balance, right, that we have to have, what fun and joy, you know, what, we're promoting fun and joy? You know, we know, it's beneficial? You know, we could there could be challenges to ensure that it doesn't like derail productivity. So how do you balance, ensuring joyfulness without compromise on responsibilities?


Nicole  06:20

Again, being able to look at how you can infuse it in the structure that already exist, instead of trying to make it set outside. And what I mean by that is, you can we, we talk about micro breaks, you can micro ties, these moments as well, where it's not something that is, is ongoing, and also listening to your team. So the small doses of this is actually more beneficial than just trying to I mentioned the decompression, if you're not already do that, doing that I would not advise like, okay, let's just throw an hour in there. Because there there might be some pushback. So it's being able to do these small moments in team meetings that are already established small moments, if you're having any kind of luncheon, something as simple as even recognizing birthdays can be something that that is helpful. And, and honoring, because, again, not everyone defines fun the same way. So you really want to listen as well, to the feedback that you receive. And also respecting, there's some people that are private, it's not secretive, but they're private, and they might not want to feel like they're being forced to share. So that's the other part of listening and seeing where your team is at and not trying to jump them into where you want them to be. But doing these small micro moments that can be infused and things that are already occurring.


Dr. Dave  07:45

Ya know, it's so important to create space for individuals to have a choice. Yes, right. Because a lot of times as leaders, we want to force things of people, we are doing this, yes.


Nicole  08:00

And unfortunately, sometimes, you know, in the name of team building, we might come together as leadership and decide on these things. But it really is listening to your team. And now that I sit outside of teams, and I'm not working for a nonprofit, but working for myself, it is being able to kind of inform, you know, leadership or, or whatnot, just being able to have that because that sense of autonomy is something that it probably gets pushed a little bit, if it's like, okay, tell us exactly what you did on your weekend, instead of, oh, hey, let's just have a moment of where we share like a moment of joy or something that brought you delight during the week. One thing, right, and, and I remember being private. So my advice to people that are, is you pick something that you you know, is not going to cause you any kind of stress, or feeling that you have to really be big when you share because that's the other thing that sometimes when we infuse fun, it gets mistaken that it has to be these really big grand things.


Dr. Dave  09:17

I completely agree. So let's talk about joy metrics. Joy metrics, I was thinking, you know, I was thinking, You know what, song? God, it just came to mind, but I'll come back to me. Yeah, no, I was thinking like, you know, joy and pain, sunshine and rain. Oh, yes.


Dr. Dave  09:37

Yes, yes. Yeah.


Dr. Dave  09:41

So in an era driven by data, but you know, how many, you know, how can organizations really measure the impact of fun and joy in their workplace? So, you know, can you think of any joy metrics or indicators that you would recommend to leaders, that they should pay attention into to make sure that, you know it's working or not working.


Nicole  10:05

The doctor day, that's kind of the harder part, right? Because joy and happiness and these, actually, when it comes to the metrics, they become synonymous, they get interchanged. But looking at is such a subjective thing. So it's really hard sometimes to quantify it, there are, there's a scale out there from 1985. That is the satisfaction with life skill. And that's something that people can utilize. There's also some skills that have come out in the latter part of the 90s, as well as the early 2000s, when there's been more research around like, okay, happiness, joy, what makes people happy? Is it even something that one should pursue? So the one and I have it written down here, so I wouldn't forget is there's the general happiness scale. And then there's the authentic happiness inventory, that's two, there's a few more out there. But what these are is their self reports. And that's where the, it's hard to really quantify, because it has to come from within. So there's many different things that are on there that measure those things, one thing that leaders can look at is, what is the connection that they're seeing within their teams. So, when looking at happiness, these two things can come out, as ones that are across the board, they saw in more people, which is connection, and growth. So being able to look at that most organizations already have growth metrics, it connection is something again, subjective, but that you can you can see and staff morale, you can see and how people are showing up or not showing up in team meetings, you can see and work product. So and subject to report, check in with your your members, let them share with you, you know how they're doing. But if you want to look at those skills, those are two or three that you can kind of check out but just remembering that they're self report. And because they're not anonymous, sometimes that's a little bit harder, because the whole, you could make them anonymous and tell the staff to not put their names on there. But being able to look at those kinds of things. But remembering that some of the things that you are gonna see aren't necessarily measurable in numbers.


Dr. Dave  12:31

Yeah, and that's true. You know, it's the famous concept of one size doesn't fit. All right. Yeah. Because we're, we all have our own sense of uniqueness. And how we approach life.


Nicole  12:46

Well, even attrition rates, that's something that people look at all the time, that's actually quite a good measure of people's well being in your workplace is what your attrition looks like. Yep.


Dr. Dave  12:58

Yep. That's for sure. You know, people are running out the door, especially in where we are today, in terms of, you know, bringing forcing people to come back to work. Or, you know, people who want to stay remote. You know, there's a balance there.


Nicole  13:16

Yes. Dr. Dave, and everyone's finding their rhythm. So just knowing that we might be in this space of trying to find our rhythm for a while, and that's okay.


Dr. Dave  13:24

Yeah, no, I agree. I totally agree. Sometimes, if we want to look at the end, you were kind of touching on this earlier in terms of people being different. But when we think about the generative leadership in itself spans across diverse cultures and global teams. So how can leaders be sensitive to cultural perceptions of fun, while fostering a universal use fostering a universally joyful environment?


Nicole  13:56

Again, Dr. Dave, great question. First thing that pops in my head whenever people ask me these questions is look inward first. So you want to be aware of and be able to acknowledge what you consider fun and being able to look at, okay, how do I know what I consider fun, and be able to put that on the side? Because then there might be so that you can see if any judgment comes in when you hear something that's different from from yours, or just even knowing that some, you know, even just generationally, there are some rules that we've created around the work environment where actually it isn't a place for fun. So being aware of many parts of identity, when it comes to culture, like race, ethnicity, also age and people's own family experiences. So if you look inward first, then you're able to know okay, am I putting what I think is fun onto others, or am I able To listen to where they're like, oh, absolutely fun for me is being able to just sit quietly, right and being able to be open to that. So looking inward and being open first, and then I go back to talking to your team so that you get a better understanding of what they might consider fun. And when you're talking to them being able to listen to understand instead of listening to respond, sometimes when people share, like my example of oh, I find it fun just to, you know, kind of sit quietly. And if you're, you know, in the case, if you feel like you're gonna say, Oh, well, that's not fun. What else do you do? This is why I want you to look inward first, so that you can check that and be able to say, Oh, I'm listening to understand. Okay. Oh, can you tell me more about that? Right? No,


Dr. Dave  15:52

no, no, it's great. This is great to to engage others and make sure that they're part of the solution, or part of the event that you're creating, and more stepping into CO create those moments of fun, you know, culturally, because you're right. I've had the experience of working with people from different cultures and things that someone who lives in the United States thought it was fun, someone else coming from different parts of the world did not enjoy him at all. What is that? You know? And so it was a bit, it was a struggle for some of those individuals


Nicole  16:33

being open to that, and you're gonna make mistakes, right? And being able to learn from those, sometimes we're so afraid of making that mistake that it ends up immobilizing us, but being able to be open to Okay, I'm going to make this mistake, and you'll be okay. How can you you learn from that? And if you're starting small, then that's another way to kind of help with that, and being open to cultural differences and how we define fun and even happiness. So being able to look at those two, because, again, they're subjective.


Dr. Dave  17:09

Yep, yep, yep. Yep. Gotta run the experiment. I say yes, Robin learn. So for leaders, leaders who are looking to infuse more fun and joy into their teams, let's say tomorrow, well, tomorrow, Saturday, let's say, Tomorrow, whenever it's more as a workday, you know, you know, what are three actionable steps or strategies you would recommend?


Nicole  17:36

So sure, the first one is just being able to acknowledge, like, if you aren't already doing it, say, Hey, this is something that we're going to try give people that, that heads up, deceive, you even get some some buy in. So that first one is acknowledging that we're going to try something different if it's new for you, or even acknowledging like, Hey, what did you think of the last activity, being able to just get that feedback there? The second one is doing something that is something like we just did at the very beginning, where it's small, it's simple, it takes a minute, what's your theme song? You know, What movie are you into right now let book, being able to just kind of ease into it. So that's number two, starting small, actionable step of using something that people might be participating in, and that doesn't feel too too personal to them. And then number three is maybe even having that. Just you share what, what's fun for you. And it doesn't have to be a disclosure, but that can be one of the things of how do we define fun of being able to make that an actionable step as well?


Dr. Dave  18:56

Yeah, you know, yeah,


Nicole  18:58

what, what people say or don't say, as well. That's


Dr. Dave  19:03

true. And so I just want to thank you for that personal theme song, because I got that from you. I just want and I want everyone to know that. I came on your podcast, and you know, you introduced that to me. Oh, wow, that was so cool. So and I asked your permission to steal it or use it. You said, right on.


Nicole  19:22

Dr. Day, yes. Because we're I mean, I always give credit to the adolescent group of young men and I was running up a time and where we would do mood check ins and asking them what their weather was was not 10 minutes. And so like, what's your theme song? And that has been just my go to ever since and, like I've mentioned, started doing it with my teams do it on my podcast. So I like to share, especially with leaders that they're looking at ways to infuse fun knowing that that's something that's really simple and really small.


Dr. Dave  20:00

Well, it has been profound for me. So I'm gonna continue to use it and give you credit.


Nicole  20:06

Thank you Dr. days.


Dr. Dave  20:08

So when we reflect on a personal leadership, on a personal note, you know, how do you incorporate fun and joy in your leadership style? We'll start there. And then I'll ask you to second question after that. Sure.


Nicole  20:20

Oh, well, now I'm a little bit different, because I work for myself. So just even starting my moments off, doing some gratitude in the morning. And this is that looking inward first that I recommend for people being able to know where I'm at before I interact with others is, is something and then just doing things that I find enjoyable, really small on, you know, show you my tea right here, that that's bringing me joy in the morning or even in the afternoon. And being able to work from there. When I was leading teams, it was having a just with the open door policy, there was lots of things in my office, I had a sandtray there were quotes, their books, just other things manipulatives that people could, could utilize. So those are some of the things that I incorporated. When I was doing leadership and just being visible, being present in this hybrid world, you still can be visible and present. It just looks a little different.


Dr. Dave  21:28

Yeah, and, you know, oftentimes, we think sometimes leadership is just about in an organization, but you have them in your community. And I think as solopreneurs people who run businesses, you know, you know, there's some leadership says that we have, right, so we have to get ourselves going and working with our partners, you know, whether they're part of our organization or not, those are other key things to keep in mind as well.


Nicole  21:59

Yes, definitely agree. Dr. days.


Dr. Dave  22:01

Yeah. So share a memorable anecdote where this approach made a significant difference in a challenging situation.


Nicole  22:15

That's so interesting. Dr. days, it makes me actually think about clinical practice. So what this approach and being able to infuse fun, even where people might not think it can exist, but as being able to, again, to be open to the spectrum that exists in our range of emotions. So I was working with a child who had experienced trauma. And I was going through the evidence based practice that I was doing at the time, it's called trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy. And when I was talking about how the model works, and whatnot, I would have different tools for doing that. But because this particular client, actually, you know, it was in to nature, I was like, You know what, this doesn't have to this is a heavy topic, but we can like, and it's not necessarily abusing fun, but it's being able to leave room for whatever emotions come up, which might also be some happiness and some relief. And so to demonstrate how we were going to go through the model, I created a poster board that had flowers on it that had each step of the model. And then I made a little butterfly, that would go to each flower each time, we made it to a different step. And just being able to use that was something that was, was great. And then when we got the relaxation part, and talking about deep breathing and whatnot, one of the things that I do when it comes to that is I talk about bubbles. And when we talk about bubbles, we kind of smile, but how you have to take a really deep exhale, to blow above bubble properly. And then with this particular client, we did the bubble. But then I realized, Okay, let's try something else. And we did balloons. And so the balloon ended up having a name. And the balloon stayed with that is actually throughout the entire process. And, and I share that example, Dr day because when you ask me, I'm like, oh, that's the first one that came to mind. And I wanted to share with your listeners that even when people hear the word trauma, it's just sounds like it's such a dark cloud. But we were able to infuse like fun and light into that. Because for me, when everyone has a light and when we can have even that kind of playfulness in it. It helps that light grow.


Dr. Dave  24:42

Wow, that is that is so good. You know, it really is as I was thinking of all of the different experimentations that you're going through in that journey to help that individual, you know, find light in what they're doing.


Nicole  25:00

Yes. So this is something to remember is that again, it just comes from our brain, wanting to classify and make things really simple. And making like the notion of work or things that do have maybe a more serious element to them, thinking that there can't be fun or playfulness in it when there actually can be. And it can be pretty powerful and helpful. Because in that case, playfulness and fun help with


Dr. Dave  25:28

course. So, you know, I always like to give our guests a final word that they want to leave, you know, something that someone is just catching the tail end of this podcast, you know, what do you want to leave the audience with today? Before we close?


Nicole  25:50

Do not be afraid of fun and playfulness and spaces that you might think that it does not belong.


Dr. Dave  25:57

Okay, I love that really simple and to the point. So, thank you for tuning into the knowledge share with Dr. Dave. I remember fun and joy aren't just about making work bearable. They make it memorable. So until next time, keep sharing, growing and enjoying the journey. Anything else? You know, I just love the light that you bring. You know, I can see it's coming through in the cameras, awesomeness. Thank


Nicole  26:28

you, Dr. Dave, just for people again, being able to look for those little moments of levity that that are out there and knowing that that doesn't take away from your focus or your discipline or even you you know, honoring any kind of heavy things that might be going on for you that levity is important for more than one thing


Dr. Dave  26:50

for sure it is


Kayana Singing  26:51

Let's talk about it. Talk, talk, talk! Let's go deep.  We all have something to share. KnolShare with Dr. Dave