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104. A New Perspective on Emotional Intelligence with Farah Harris

In an effort to help her clients at work, Farah Harris discovers the masking and code switching that black women do to survive in predominantly white workplaces takes a toll on their personal relationships.

Farah Harris is the author of The Color of Emotional Intelligence and the founder of WorkingWell Daily, a wellness and mental health company. She is a certified EQ practitioner and a mental health therapist.

This episode is about the different ways that EQ is used by marginalized groups. Farah Harris learned about the different ways that EQ is used by marginalized groups when she was asked to speak to a group of Black employees about emotional intelligence. She realized that there was a need for more conversation around this topic, and that led her to writing her book, "The Color of Emotional Intelligence." In the book, she discusses how marginalized groups use emotional intelligence differently than the majority culture, and how this can lead to some challenges in personal relationships.

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. How do marginalized groups use emotional intelligence differently than those in the majority?

2. What are the stressors that come with trying to mask one's authentic self in predominantly white spaces?

3. How can emotional intelligence be used to improve communication and relationships in personal and professional settings?

4. How can leaders who care about creating compassionate and just workplaces get started using emotional intelligence effectively?

Resources shared:


While it's not perfect, we offer this transcription by Descript for those who prefer to read or who are hearing impaired.


Farah Harris: I was recognizing that the clients that came in, That were historically and systemically marginalized in, in our society would have this level of EQ to allow themselves to survive and, and, and predominantly, you know, white spaces or white male spaces, but then would suffer in their personal relationships and was like, it's interesting how you were able to be empathetic and effectively communicate with your colleague, but then you can't do the same with, you know, your partner or with your children. And I could recognize that the weight, the emotional tax of trying to keep it together,

let's just say in those predominant spaces.

You get home and you know, and, and to all of your listeners that are parents, you can probably relate to this, that our kids can sometimes bring the worst of themselves to us because we are their safest place.


[00:01:14] Teri Schmidt: Happy new year and welcome back to Strong Leaders Serve. I'm your host and leadership mentor, Teri Schmidt. I'm dedicated to supporting you in your efforts to create more just and compassionate workplaces and communities through your leadership.

As you've heard in the intro, we've got a very important episode today. And I'm honored to introduce you to Farah Harris. The author of the upcoming book, The Color of Emotional Intelligence.

This conversation had its origin and an experience that opened my eyes a few months ago.

I was listening to dr. Jacqueline Kerr's podcast, Overcoming Working Mom Burnout. I selected the episode that Farah was on because it had to do with emotional intelligence. A skillset that I believe is incredibly important to effective leadership.

But even though articles, podcasts, and books about EI and EQ are all over the place. I had never been exposed to the perspective and insights that were shared by Farah on that podcast: how individuals from marginalized groups may use EQ differently, and the negative impact that it can have on their wellbeing.

I'm confident that you will benefit as much as I did from Farah's experience and expertise.

Farah Harris is a psychotherapist and the founder of WorkingWell Daily, a company that approaches workplace belonging and wellbeing from a clinical and emotionally intelligent lens.

Farah has helped individuals and fortune 500 companies develop healthier workplaces

where employees want to stay and thrive because their leaders and teams have grown in empathy, self-awareness, social awareness, and cultural awareness. As a mental health practitioner and consultant, Farah understands the intersectionality between wellbeing, equity and inclusion. She is a sought after expert on mental wellness, psychological safety workplace culture, and emotional intelligence.

She is a contributing writer for Fast Company. Her work has been featured in media and podcast platforms, such as Forbes Business Insider, Harvard Business Review, Good Morning America. Essence, Huffington Post. Inside Edition, Thrive Global, and Therapy for Black Girls.

This is the first of two episodes we're going to do with Farah. In today's episode, you'll hear about her story, her work, the origin of the book, and what you can start doing now to use EQ to intentionally attempt to create safe spaces in your workplace.

In our next conversation after the book is out. We'll dig deeper into its contents to provide you with additional strategies to create a more compassionate and just workplace. Let's get to it.


[00:04:10] Teri Schmidt: Welcome Farah. It's great to have you here today. I would love to just start with hearing a little bit about your story, how you're leading in your life today, and kind of how you got there.

[00:04:20] Farah Harris: , well thank you for having me. My background is, is a lot of different moving parts. So I often say that we are the sum of our parts and that God is the chief recycler, that there's nothing that we've experienced that goes unused even when we don't understand , like why we went through it or experienced it.

So, you know, my background started off with me thinking I initially wanted to be a corporate attorney and was in school for finance. And I quickly learned that is not what I wanted to do, but I ended up graduating with an economics degree and nine 11 happened. So I was unable to [00:05:00] really find a job during, you know, that job market.

And I decided to try out something else because I had a creative background. I loved to draw and I was into fashion, so I was like, let's go into fashion design, why not? And.

[00:05:17] Teri Schmidt: Seems logical.

[00:05:18] Farah Harris: It seems logical, you know? And my parents are like, go get your master's. And I'm like, but to master what? Like, I just didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to be, quote unquote a master in.

And so I said, you know, let's, let's try fashion design. Did that and realized I didn't want to do that either. That the creative part was there, but there's, my left brain was still craving

something else. And so in the same program, they had a marketing and merchandising degree, and that's what I graduated with.

And I felt like it was more in aligned with my personality and, and where I was in my life. And then had my first corporate job was great until it wasn't. . And [00:06:00] when I was let go, my husband had said, you know, instead of looking for a new job, why don't you just take a moment and like, really take a break and assess like what it is that you really want to do because we don't want you to get into another job and go through the same thing.

And it took about a year and I felt led to go into a graduate program and become a master of mental. And the minute that I started my program, I was like, oh, this is where I'm supposed to be, this wellness space. I don't know if I necessarily needs a therapy part. You know, the one-on-one, I, I enjoy doing it, but there's something more here and that's something more I've kind of been chasing for the last decade. And that eventually brought me to starting my business a few years ago, working well daily where I am talking about wellbeing and mental health, but in the workplace and, and creating that work life alignment.

And you asked about also [00:07:00] about like how I lead, and I joke that I'm a reluctant leader.

I don't necessarily like to lead by choice. Often I lead by necessity. All of my leadership roles have been because I was sought out. So either I was elected or something or I just got impatient because no one else stepped in and, you know, so whether it was like a group project or you know, something else that was going on and I was like, so no one, no one's going to, okay, I don't wanna fail.

So, I guess I need to step up. I guess I'll jump in. So, I, I, from what I've been told, I'm a natural leader. But I, I do think that I lead by serving. So I've, I'm reluctant in being in the forefront. I've become more comfortable with it, but I like to just be the one to support others and let them be in their zone of genius and be great.

And if I have to, then I will step in.

[00:07:56] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Well that leading by supporting others in their [00:08:00] zone of genius is what Stronger to Serve is all about. And Strong Leaders Serve, the podcast is all about as well. So I love that. I'm curious before we move on, in that year time you took to kind of reassess, you know, how. How was that process for you and how did you end up picking the graduate P program You did?

[00:08:20] Farah Harris: Yeah, because it, there's definitely, you know, there's like, wait, you were here then you were here. How did, how did you get here? For those who know me, they are aware that my, my faith is a very big part of who I am. So that journey. Cause my husband does not remember this conversation. He's like, I told you to what?

You know, and at that time he was, you know, more, more anxious around finances. Like, oh, you only have one income and it's gonna be all on me. And for him to say that in that moment, I really do feel like it was quote unquote God led. I had made the personal decision. There is a scripture in, in my faith that says, you know seek first the kingdom and all these will be [00:09:00] added to you.

And so it's like, okay, well I'm just going to focus on the one that created me. And he obviously knows what is supposed to happen. I don't. So I will just focus on. My own spiritual walk and just hope that it will direct me to where I'm supposed to go. And nothing was happening for months , but I was at peace and I was like, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm at peace. I'm okay. And I had an interesting conversation with a college classmate who was a therapist. And I knew at that time, a lot of, you know, we were still very, fairly young in our. And we also had peers who had been coming, you know, were becoming married. And I was like, wow, we really don't have a lot of support.

You know, In and out of the church for married couples, healthy, thriving, married couples, you know, and everybody's bringing their issues, into a marriage. And I'm like, I know why y'all are having conflict. Like, you've not dealt with this. And she was a [00:10:00] marriage counselor. So in communicating with her, she's like, why You could totally do this.

I started to feel like, you know, this feeling, quote unquote of, oh, I, I think that's what I'm supposed to do, because people come to me for quote unquote, Sound advice and wisdom and all this thing, all those things. And I said, okay, I think this is, this is the direction. And I, and I kind of felt that leading.

And sometimes you have to go with the leading, even if it's misinformed So here I was thinking, oh, I'm being led to being a marriage and family

[00:10:36] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:10:37] Farah Harris: And it was like, no, you are being led into the wellness. And mental health space. But if you wanna think that, that's fine as long as you're

[00:10:45] Teri Schmidt: It gets you there.

[00:10:46] Farah Harris: and It gets you there. And so sometimes we think that we're, we're, we're saying yes to one thing, but we're actually saying yes to another. But just to trust yourself in that, in that process. And so I just had this very strong feeling by the. End of the year, I wanna [00:11:00] say was December. I filled out my application and got my recommendations all within like five days.

Sent it out and they're like, you can start in the in, in the spring. So like literally that January and a close friend of mine was like, why don't you just wait till the fall? I'm like, I've been waiting my whole life to feel this. I'm not waiting another nine months to start in the fall. We're going to start this program.

And like I said, day one, I was like, this is where I'm meant to be.

[00:11:26] Teri Schmidt: Well, that's wonderful. Yeah. I, I just wanna kind of double down on what you've said a couple of times and that you aren't sure exactly what the path forward is, but you take a step forward in the direction that you feel and then, you know, God will do with it what he needs to do.

[00:11:49] Farah Harris: Yeah, and, and I learned at a very early age, there are some people where they can see the big picture. They're like, that's exactly where I need to go. I don't get none of that [00:12:00] I don't, I don't get the vision. I don't get a big picture. I don't get any of that. I literally get the next step, and I've had to trust that that is just how my faith relationship works, that I just have to have.

For the next step and trusting that it's going to lead me to whatever bigger picture that I, I just can't see.

[00:12:21] Teri Schmidt: Yeah. That's beautiful. Well, speaking of next steps I'm excited that we're gonna get the opportunity to do two episodes because you are working. On a book, the Color of Emotional Intelligence, and I wanted to talk to you before the book came out, but then I also definitely wanna have another conversation to really dig into the book once it is out. So tell me about that as a next step. What inspired you to write that book?

[00:12:49] Farah Harris: Wow. To be quite frank, it was, it was a presentation before it was a book. You know, sometimes the book becomes a course, you know, down the line, [00:13:00] but it was A conversation that I had in 2020 with let's just say a Fortune 500 company that, you know, we are in the midst of early covid and social unrest.

nd it was, you know, just a few months after George Floyd's murder. And it's so weird that that's kind of like, you know, these. Pinpoints of time that we can reflect back on. And they wanted me to come speak to like their black employees. And I said, okay, I understand, but like, what are we really doing here?

And in that company in particular they were known for doing a lot of live events and, you know, we weren't doing live events at the time because we were all, you know, practicing, you know, physical distance and, and, and many of us being quarantined. And I said, you know, your company is losing money.

You're doing some, some [00:14:00] furloughs and, and, and you're, you're, you're letting people go. , how's the emotional intelligence, you know, within your organization? You know, are you teaching or have there been anyone you know that has come to speak to your team about like how to manage transitions and how to be emotionally agile when, when change happens?

Like there's a lot of change happening, you know, within the company and in the world right now. And she's like, oh, no one's really talked about the EQ piece cuz they wanted me to, you know, kind of do like a, a healing session , you know, and I was like, No, I don't necessarily wanna do that. I, I, I think what I do bring some type of healing, you know,

you, they, they allow people to feel seen and heard, but I, I want to also to equip them with something.

And then I said, I would actually want this to be done with your non-black employees. You know, because they're going to be experiencing things aggressions. And I don't wanna just teach them how to [00:15:00] manage their emotions when there's other people who are constantly probably re-triggering them. Maybe aware, maybe unaware. I, I think they need to be in the room. And, you know, my contact there was like, no, I, I think we're just gonna do it for the black employees. I said, that's fine. I said, well, how about I had created a program or a training that we will. what EQ is, but I wanna highlight specifically for your black employees, how they use it in a unique way due to their experience as a black individual.

And she's like, oh, that sounds great. You know? And I was like, all right. You know, I, I, I done said it, now I have to do it right, So I'm like, oh, far, let's, let's, let's put this training together. And I did. And interestingly enough, many of the comments in the chat was like, I really wish our white coworkers were. And I was like, I, you know, but I was like, Hmm, alright.

[00:15:56] Teri Schmidt: I'm gonna download this chat and send it off.

[00:15:59] Farah Harris: I was like, [00:16:00] you could slide this over, you know. And it became one of my most sought after speaking sessions, and I washed how I stretched it. Pun intended, added more color to it, like, you know, so I, you know, I would do it for Black History Month and definitely highlighting the experience of, of Black and African American employees.

But then I, something kept telling me, like, address others because there are others who, who, it may not be the exact same way, but there is this uniqueness To, to the experience of, of marginalized people. And as the months would progress, I would, I would stretch it

into it, you know, addressing those who are neuro divergent or you know, those who are part of the LGBTQ plus community, you know, those who are disabled, whatever the

case. they're going to be using their eq, their emotional intelligence differently. And then I was like, I guess there's a book [00:17:00] here, if they're liking it and I'm enjoying doing it, and they're, you know, and it's often request, let me flush this out a little bit more. And that's how I started writing the book.

[00:17:12] Teri Schmidt: I love that story because it's another example of just kind of the, the next step and seeing what goes with it. And I also I mean, I, I think why you've had such success with it is because it's not something that's talked about. And you know, so many people talk about emotional intelligence and EQ, but until I heard you on Dr. Kerr's podcast, I had never even thought about the different ways that marginalized individuals and marginalized groups may be using that. So I'd, I'd love to hear a little bit more about that, and even to the point of when does it become unsafe.

[00:17:52] Farah Harris: Yeah. Yeah. I, I just watching, you know, as a clinician I think [00:18:00] before I even became a clinician, I've always been a people watcher. You know, just kind of always wondering like, why do, why, why do they do that? You know, what, what was the reason that they showed up this way? And then thinking about the stress that was coming into my office from clients who in the workplace. And part of the, the clinical work that I was doing was using the, the skill of emotional intelligence. Cause I think it is a strong skill and not a soft skill that everyone needs in life. It's not just for professional development and to be a great leader, even though I don't think you can lead without EQ.

[00:18:33] Teri Schmidt: Agreed.

[00:18:35] Farah Harris: there was more to it and I was recognizing that the clients that came in, That were historically and systemically marginalized in, in our society would have this level of EQ to allow themselves to survive and, and, and predominantly, you know, white spaces or white male spaces, but [00:19:00] then would suffer.

In their personal relationships and was like, it's interesting how you were able to be empathetic and effectively communicate with your colleague, but then you can't do the same with, you know, your partner or with your children. And I could recognize that the weight, the emotional tax of trying to keep it together,

let's just say in those predominant spaces.

You get home and you know, and, and to all of your listeners that are parents, you can probably relate to this, that our kids can sometimes bring the worst of themselves to us because we are their safest

place. So them having a tantrum, they probably would not do at school, but they will do with you. Well, mommy loves me.

She, I, I don't think she'll actually harm me, ,but I don't know what this teacher would do, or I don't know what this other person would do. And so I think we, we sometimes give the worst of ourselves to the best in our lives because [00:20:00] we feel safe. And I was recognizing this with adults, that I think we were giving the best of ourselves to the workplace and not giving the best of ourselves to those who loved us because of fear.

You know, maybe losing a job,

[00:20:15] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:20:15] Farah Harris: You know, some type of repercussion. And so definitely yes, if you, you know, I'm a black woman, so I can definitely speak from a black woman's experience, but I can't speak for all black

women. But I, I can relate. But then also there's a thing called, you know, mask.

[00:20:35] Teri Schmidt: Mm.

[00:20:36] Farah Harris: that in our clinical space usually is related to those who are autistic or neuro divergent.

And it's being able to hide things that you would normally do that's authentic to you, to help you regulate your feelings and regulate your your body sometimes. And, and it's called like stemming. So, you know, it could be tapping, it could be clicking. It could be, you know, Just anything.

There's so different ways, so many different [00:21:00] ways that people stem and you hide that, and that can be very stressful. There's a young man that I follow on Instagram who has Tourettes, and so for him to try to manage, to not have, like his tics be very expressive, actually makes the tics worse. And so there's a term within the black community called code switching, but in reality, and I addressed this in the.

It's not really code switching, which is a linguistic, you know term, meaning that you've moved from one language to another. But when it comes to changing your tone, changing how you dress, changing, how you show up in the workplace in a way that is more palatable, quote unquote, for the majority, you know, white and white male culture, it's more masking.

It's like I am, I am hiding parts of.

[00:21:50] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:21:50] Farah Harris: protect myself because my authentic self is not deemed acceptable. An example is we have to put into [00:22:00] law to not have discrimination against hair and natural hair in particular. Right? So as a black woman, you can see me, your audience can't , but I. What in our community is natural hair.

It's not relaxed, it's not straightened. And many people who would want to wear the hair in this way choose not to in certain workplaces because they feel that it would negatively impact their career progression because they would be seen or they would be deemed as unprofessional or aggressive just by the.

Of their hair and how it grows now. Right. And then I'll give the example of like, you know, all the different ways that we have privilege. . And it even being the hand that we write, you know, if you're a right-handed individual, you're not paying attention to all the things that are made for you that left-handed individuals don't, don't have, or they have to intentionally look [00:23:00] for scissors, , you know, the, when I grew up, you know, we had the desks attached to the chair, and so majority of the desks in the room were, were right-handed individual.

Those, those moments of, of being part of the majority because of your privilege, based on the hand that you write, the color of your skin, your gender your level of disability puts us in a position where we may feel like to not rock the boat,

[00:23:30] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm.

[00:23:32] Farah Harris: I will be more quote unquote, socially aware, which is an EQ compet.

Where I'm going to empathize with the other person. And the problem is that in that process, you may unintentionally decrease your self-awareness, meaning naming the emotion. So if you are angry or frustrated or disappointed because you've been aggressed because of ageism or ableism or sexism [00:24:00] or whatever, you, you'll push down that emotion.

Which is like self sabotage, right? You're self-harming just so that you don't cause discomfort in the other person. And and that's how we show up differently. Like it's the same skill, but we're using different levels of those competencies within the emotional intelligence skills differently because of our background, you know, free supposition.

our class, our, our race, our gender, all of that. And I don't see us talking about it. I just see us going, Hey, this is a great skill to have as a leader. You know, be empathetic, effectively communicate, motivate one another, you know, regulate. And it's like, mm, if we're only limiting it to that, we don't really understand the, the depth and the breadth of this amazing

skillset and.

how it is nuanced by those who use it. [00:25:00] And that's really, you know what this, this book is about.

[00:25:03] Teri Schmidt: Yeah. Well, I am so excited to read it and I, I think it's just fascinating because like you said, the self-awareness and the others' awareness are, are two skills and the emotional intelligence skillset, and I never thought about how important it is that those are balanced.

[00:25:23] Farah Harris: I love that you just said that.

Yes. Yes, exactly. And, and how they play off each other. You know, cuz when you have let, let's say you are the aggressor, whether it's intentionally or unintentionally, there is lower self-awareness in that moment because you're not really regulating yourself to ask yourself and do that self. On, why am I saying what I'm saying? Or why am I doing what I'm doing and getting to the root cause of it? You know, is it cuz of fear? Is it, you know pride, [00:26:00] entitlement, whatever that is. You just know that you've just said something that was extremely offensive and you didn't read the room, you didn't pay attention and you didn't care how it landed on the other person.

And, you know, At the same time, if you were the person who's aggressed, you also, you know, like I just said, lower your, your self-awareness by it's not healthy emotional regulation by just saying, I'm gonna just numb the pain.

[00:26:29] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:26:30] Farah Harris: You know? Yes, it's a level of quote unquote self-control. But if you don't process that elsewhere, if you don't take the time to feel the feelings acknowledged, like that was hurtful,


What was said about me is not about me. If we don't take that space and time, it can, it just wears on our spirit. It just wears on our, on our heart. And so within the book, I also have a whole chapter [00:27:00] just dedicated to. Having that emotionally intelligent self-care for those who are marginalized. Like here's actually what you can do to practice self-care when you are on the receiving end of, you know, day to day.

Cause it's sadly for most, a daily experience of, of being aggressed. So yeah, the book allows you to, to, to kind of gradually lean into this understanding. Mm-hmm. . So like the first part is what I call EQ and black and. You've never understood, heard of, picked up a book about emotional intelligence, you will not feel lost.

I am going to walk you through those pillars. We're going to get an understanding of it. There's gonna be some, some work that I'm gonna have you do, and I walk you through it. And so then once we understand the basic, you know, skillset, Now let me walk you through what you know, you and I Terry are talking about right now.

The color piece, what happens when we add our, our [00:28:00] differences to the skillset? And then we, we hopefully journey together to go. Now that I have the self-awareness and the social awareness, how can I show up better

For my and for others?

[00:28:10] Teri Schmidt: Yeah. Well, I cannot wait for it to come out, like I

said, and have another conversation about it. But I don't wanna, I mean, I, I wanna give our audience something that they don't have to wait for. But I also don't. Like quick tips or, you know, I know there's not one action they can take that's gonna solve everything.

But do you have anything if, if we have leaders listening who really do care about using emotional intelligence effectively about, you know, our leaders care about creating compassionate and just workplaces, so. What would you give them? What you know, where, where can they start?

[00:28:57] Farah Harris: They need to start at [00:29:00] the bedrock of eq, which is self-awareness, and so it's in two parts. What I would encourage leaders to do is

Well, let me give the analogy first so then you would understand . Okay. So and this is, I wanna say like chapter three in the book which is Walking the dog. I want them to learn how to walk the dog for. Any of you who are dog owners, you will definitely get this, this analogy. And for those of us who don't own dogs, cuz I don't it, it still makes sense cuz you've seen someone walk a dog

So I was watching the reality show, the dog Whisperer, and he was saying that when you train a dog to walk, you don't want the dog to be in front of you. Cause that means the dog is in control. You don't want the dog behind you, but you want the dog lock and step with. and I'm just a very visual person and I was like, ah, that is the perfect picture of what emotional intelligence is.

You don't want your emotions to be ahead of you, cuz that means that they're in control and that you probably are going from zero to a hundred and you [00:30:00] know, 0.2 seconds. You also don't want them to be behind you because you can't see what's coming and that can show up as very passive or passive aggressive behavior.

What you want is your emotions to be with you so you can see them in real time. You can manage them, you can engage with them. Nothing's surprising you. And. And you do that by, you know, practicing the three ass of, of being aware, you know, how's the feeling in your body? You know, are you clenching your finger or your, your fists?

Are your, is your jaw getting tight? You know lumping your throats, your stomach, getting queasy, like your body sometimes can let you know what your emotion is. And then once you name it, you can assess it. But brought on this emotion. Some people need a morning coffee to, to, to get themselves together.

Maybe you're in a, in a conversation that is making you feel dismissed and it's reminding of you of another time when you felt that way. So assessing where you know, this feeling [00:31:00] came from so that you can now, after you've kind of like practiced the pause, addressing the situation in a calm and collected manner.

In that self-awareness bedrock of eq, learning how to walk your dog as a leader is so crucial. Being able to practice that emotional awareness, you know, for some it's hard because, you know, just cuz you're a great leader or you are aspiring to be a great leader doesn't mean that you have a hold of your emotions and that you're comfortable with the emotions within.

And comfortable with the emotions that you see show up from others based off of another chapter in the book, your emotional narratives. How did you learn about feelings? , how did you learn about

conflict? Did you grow up where, where things were swept under the rug and so you're maybe more conflict, conflict, avoidant leader?

Maybe emotions were very expressive, but it was violent and, and, and explosive. You may find yourself to [00:32:00] be that way or you might be more anxious. You know, when you see something like that happening in your team and someone is showing very strong emotions, you. React, you know, match their emotion or maybe you might pull away depending on your, you know, flight, freeze, fight response.

So really understanding not only can I name the feelings, but am I familiar with being comfortable in my emotions regardless of the, the spectrum, right? And not naming them as good or bad, they're just natural feelings. And the second tip that I would. That's also rooted in in self-awareness is feedback.

As a leader, you cannot truly have absolute quote unquote, self-awareness.

If you do not have feedback, it's like looking in a mirror and walking away and forgetting what you look like. Like you need to be able to stand there and have someone tell you.

Is how you're landing on [00:33:00] me, or this is how you're landing on the team.

The more you can ask your loved ones your children, you know, I ask my kids sometimes, how's mommy doing? How's mommy? You know? And they'll let me know like, how you've been great. I, I think you could, you know, and, and I have to take it because I want to show up as, as the best mom that I can.

And the same thing I asked my husband, like, how am I showing. You know, for you as, as your partner as a leader, not waiting until the end of the year or quarterly, just, but within conversation, just, you know, how, how am I, how am I showing up? You know, do, did you think that what I said was a little too harsh?

You know, is there an area where I may need to be more patient? It's not comfortable.

[00:33:43] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:33:44] Farah Harris: is why so many people don't ask for feedback because it's like, no, just phrase me and give me words of affirmation. And it's like, oh, okay. There's things that, there's some growth edges, there's some ways that I need to work.

You know, a simple question could be like, do you think I'm a good listener?

You [00:34:00] know cuz the more you are aware of how you feel, how it shows up in your body, and then getting that feedback from your team. Also lets you know how you are showing up for them. You know, so when something happens in an intense conversation and a meeting occurs, and if you're popping off and you're not getting feedback, like, Hey, you know, earlier in the meeting, I, I, you slammed her fist on, on the table, that that was a little unsettling.

If no one tells you that you will just continue these behaviors thinking that everything is okay. So I really think that great leaders. Work on practicing continuously their self-awareness by, you know, checking in and doing that self-audit, but also getting that feedback because then that does lead into that social awareness because now I'm like, oh, now I'm recognizing how I'm landing on my on you.

This will hopefully expand my lens to become more empathetic and understanding and [00:35:00] adjust my behavior according.

[00:35:01] Teri Schmidt: If you do have those on your team who are from a marginalized group, the broader understanding of, I mean, first you have yourself understanding of, of how things land on you and, and your emotions, but then also just that awareness that people are coming from different perspectives, different circumstances, and being able to then take that learning you.

On yourself and, and think about how those additional factors might play in, I think is really helpful.

[00:35:34] Farah Harris: Because when we sit and we recognize and really do that honest self-audit, we can go, well, why am I okay? Quote unquote, my self-awareness. Why am I emotionally at peace or calm or happy to engage with these team members? But anytime I'm talking to these other team members, these other emotions come up, right?

So you [00:36:00] may find that as a man you , prefer having communication in one-on-one with the other men. In your group, you may find your. Affirming them more often, you know, doing that self-awareness like, wow, I really give positive feedback to all the guys, but I'm really hard on, you know, and I didn't realize that cuz that was not my intention.

Again, bringing that self-awareness is to become more intentional as a leader to go, oh yeah, I, I am probably making it more difficult for, for the women. You know, I'm, I'm asking them more questions. I'm, I'm you know, they present and, you know, I, I'm finding every single mistake. But then, you know, Josh present, you know, presents and it's like, great, great job, Josh.

Good, you know, moving on to the next thing. So, you know, really practicing that self-awareness to even ask yourself, who, who bristles me?

[00:36:51] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:36:52] Farah Harris: You know, who do I feel comfortable with? And.

You know, does this person remind you of, of, of, of you know your parent

You know, [00:37:00] does this person, you know are you, are you falling into stereotypes that the society has said that made you think that this person's unsafe?

You know, really doing that self-audit is so key and important. And oftentimes we don't want to do that because that's work. And it may also highlight something that we are uncomfortable with because we like to have the perception of being. And if we have a thought that contradicts that, then we may operate in this cognitive dissonance, which is completely low emotional intelligence, cuz you're not practicing self-awareness in that moment.

[00:37:35] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Very true. Well, with the book coming out, I'd love to hear from you, just so you know, in, in one or two sentences, what, what is the impact that you're really hoping that it will have when it comes out?

[00:37:48] Farah Harris: My impact is that people would walk away from the book feeling

that they have now received tools to become more self. And socially [00:38:00] aware. I want them to definitely think more deeply, be more curious about themselves and, and others and to ideally just really grow empathy and understanding and action to, to intentionally attempt, cuz I can't say that you're going to make safe spaces for everyone, but that you intentionally attempt to create safe spaces


[00:38:27] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm. .Well, that's great. Well, I'm, I'm confident, just based on our conversation, that you will realize that impact and like I said, really excited for it to come out. Do you have a, a general timeframe on when you're expected to

[00:38:42] Farah Harris: Yes. So the hope is that it is going to be out second quarter, 2023. I am working with the publishing team now. We actually had a meeting yesterday. And so for, for those who are my pre-launch list, and I'll, I'll, I'll send I'll share the link for those to sign up. Cause I, I, I, Walk you through , [00:39:00] this whole publishing process.

And so I'm working on my, my revisions right now. But you know, in a couple of weeks we'll be working on a cover and I would love for those who are on my pre-launch list to help vote,

you know, for a cover. So you'll be in the process with me. So. The way I feel like we are collectively birthing this book together.

You will all be my midwives to, to help me with this book launching. So yeah, but definitely, you know, second quarter, 2023.

[00:39:29] Teri Schmidt: Excellent. Excellent. Well, you mentioned the pre-launch list and my, you know, next and final question to you was gonna be, if people wanna learn more and, and connect with you, where is the best place for them to go?

[00:39:40] Farah Harris: Yeah. So if you, if you wanna know how to get on the pre-launch list you can go to working well If you wanna learn about the work that I do speaking, coaching, consulting just visit working well and you can peruse the site you know, get resources through my blogs and, and, you know, certain [00:40:00] press release and articles that I've done.

And if you are interested in following me, I share a lot of, I believe, really good content and

helpful content on LinkedIn at Farah Harris LCPC, and I'm on Twitter too, so you can find me there if you still want to get on that Bird app.

[00:40:18] Teri Schmidt: The Bird app. I love that. Well, we'll definitely of course, make sure that all gets linked in the show notes, so it's easy for our listeners to find. But just again, thank you for your time today. I, I know you're very busy and have a lot going on, so I appreciate you taking the time for this conversation and I really look forward to our next one.

[00:40:37] Farah Harris: Yes, this has been a pleasure

[00:40:43] Teri Schmidt: Okay, well, you heard it from Farah. The first step we can take is to work on our self-awareness. So I have two challenges for you this week. First. Ask one person

that could be a colleague, a family member, or a friend. [00:41:00] For one piece of feedback. It's good to get specific with your question. One question that I love. Is what is one thing I can do to make your days easier?

Try that out and see what you learn.

And my second challenge for you. Is go sign up for Farah's book pre-launch list.

Learning the skills she's teaching through this book is an important step in creating a more just and compassionate workplaces.

And until next time lead with this quote from Robin Sharma in mind: "The best leaders blend courage with compassion." [00:42:00]


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