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123. Leading with EQ to Address Inequities & Become True Allies with Farah Harris

In this powerful discussion with repeat guest, Farah Harris, we delve into the realms of emotional intelligence, leadership, and privilege.

Join us as we explore how emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role in helping with unchecked bias, confronting the pervasive issue of racism, and harnessing privilege to become true allies in today's diverse and interconnected world.

Farah is the author of The Color of Emotional Intelligence: Elevating Our Self and Social Awareness to Address Inequities. She is a psychotherapist and expert on workplace belonging and well-being, dedicated to disrupting unhealthy work environments. Farah is the founder and CEO of WorkingWell Daily. In this episode, you will learn:

  • The fundamentals of emotional intelligence (EQ) and Farah's three A's for practicing it to create more inclusive workplaces

  • How we as leaders can elevate our emotional intelligence to prevent underrepresented team members from feeling the need to mask

  • What it means to be a true ally/steward and how EQ can help

  • The difference between unconscious bias and unchecked bias

  • Why privilege isn't something to feel guilty about, but instead is a resource that can be used for the greater good


About Farah:

Farah Harris
Farah Harris

Farah Harris is a psychotherapist and expert on workplace belonging and well-being dedicated to disrupting unhealthy work environments. She is the founder and CEO of WorkingWell Daily, a company that approaches workplace belonging and well-being from a psycho-social and emotional intelligence lens. As a speaker, consultant, and now author, she has helped individuals and Fortune 500 companies develop healthier workplaces where leaders and teams have grown in their empathy, self-awareness, and sociocultural awareness. She resides in the Chicagoland area with her husband and three children.


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

00:00:00 - Teri Schmidt Farah, welcome back to the Strong Leaders Serve podcast. I'm thrilled to have you on today, especially at this exciting time for you.

00:00:09 - Farah Harris Yes, I am so excited to be back. It's always a pleasure to see your lovely face.

00:00:15 - Teri Schmidt Well, thank you. And for those who haven't had an opportunity to listen to our first episode, which again was episode 104, definitely, maybe I should just encourage everyone to stop and go back and listen. But for those who haven't yet, if you could just introduce yourself quickly, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

00:00:33 - Farah Harris Sure. So I'm Farah Harris. I am a psychotherapist and a workplace well being and belonging expert. And I'm also the author of my debut book called The Color of Emotional Intelligence. And as the founder and CEO of Working Well Daily, I am working with organizations and individuals on disrupting unhealthy work environments and addressing the issues that happen in the workplace from a psychosocial and emotional intelligence lens. And I've been doing this for several years now. I've been a therapist for about 13 years, and I'm a mama of three and married to a hubby that we will be celebrating 18 years of marriage on June 5.

00:01:19 - Teri Schmidt Congrats.

00:01:20 - Farah Harris Thank you.

00:01:21 - Teri Schmidt I will try not to gush too much about your book during this episode, but I just loved it. It was so impactful. And as I said to you, it really took emotional intelligence from kind of buzzword overused status to something really meaningful that impacts how we operate day to day, particularly in our diverse workforces. And I know we talked a lot during the first episode about emotional intelligence and really how historically marginalized groups, individuals from those groups, tend to use it in different ways and how it can almost become harmful in some situations. But I wanted to focus today then on how can leaders who may not be from historically marginalized groups really address some of the issues that come up using emotional intelligence. So before we get too far, because it is kind of a buzzword or buzz phrase, I would love for you. For anyone who's not familiar, can you tell us what your definition of emotional intelligence is and talk a little bit about the four domains as well?

00:02:36 - Farah Harris Yeah, so I simply define it as the ability to be in tune with yourself and to be able to read the room. Just very simple. Know yourself and are you aware of others around you and how you impact them with your behavior. And so the typical four domains of emotional intelligence, two have to do with the self. So it's your self awareness that's being able to identify the emotions that you are experiencing and to name them, but also to be aware of how they even show up in your body. So when you're nervous, do you get a bubbly belly? You're angry, do you clench your jaws or fur your brows? But our bodies can sometimes tell us how we are feeling before we even can name the emotion. And then there's the self regulation that can also be seen as self management or self control. I joke and say in the book that it's the check yourself before you wreck yourself part of functional intelligence.

00:03:46 - Teri Schmidt Love that.

00:03:48 - Farah Harris That's how we're regulating ourselves. That's how we practice the pause before we send out that email, before you quickly react. It's helping us to better respond from a place that is more calm, controlled and regulated. And we can do that in various ways, right? We can go sit in nature, we can go listen to music, we can call a friend and go like hey Teri, this happened to me, let me process this with you. Or you can process with a therapist. There's different ways that we can helpfully regulate ourselves when we are experiencing some type of big emotion and then the other two domains have to do with everybody else. So there's the social awareness. This is where we're empathizing, this is where we're reading the room. We're paying attention to people's body language, the tone of voice, what they're saying, how they're possibly experiencing us. And then there's the relationship management, which is where we're motivating other people. This is great for leaders. We're inspiring, we're effectively communicating. So that means that we're actively listening to our peers, our colleagues, our neighbors, our friends, family members, et cetera, and that we are being influential in a way without being manipulative, right? We are trying to genuinely find a win win situation and then we are also good at minimizing conflict. So when think of emotional intelligence, you thinking about yourself. So with the self awareness and the self management piece and then we're thinking about others with our social awareness and our relationship management.

00:05:26 - Teri Schmidt One of the things I loved about your book, because I've read other books on emotional intelligence but even just that explanation I think makes it so simple and clear and easy to think about as you go through your day and your day to day interactions. So thank you for that. But now is the time that as you said, we're going to go real deep. I had to apologize to Far a little bit because as we were talking about what I wanted to talk about in this episode after reading her book, the questions are a bit deep and really make you think. But that's what your book did. And so I think it should be on par with the thinking that I did as I was reading your book and the thinking that is so important to do. This isn't something that you address at a surface level. So we'll just hop right in and get started.

00:06:21 - Farah Harris My swimsuit now. Ready to dive deep.

00:06:25 - Teri Schmidt Exactly. So I wanted to start you mentioned in the book how our brain experiences our workplace first as a social system and how we have a natural desire to be connected. But that can lead people to mask their true selves because they want to belong, and they might compartmentalize or fragment themselves. We kind of talked a little bit about that the last time you were on, but that can affect their mental health and well being and most importantly, kind of deprive all of us and them of their potential for greatness. So again, thinking about from a leader perspective, how can we elevate our emotional intelligence to prevent underrepresented people from feeling the need to mask? And how can we avoid, as you say in your book, being those idle hands or hands clothed in self righteousness that clumsily create more problems? I love that quote.

00:07:24 - Farah Harris Yeah, it's a mouthful. Okay, let me try to unpack this. So whether you are a leader who identifies themselves as being part of a marginalized or multiple marginalized groups because of intersectionality or you are not are in a position of being a people leader, it all is rooted in self awareness. Like, self awareness is so important because it is I say it's like the cornerstone or the bedrock of EQ. The more you're able to recognize not just who you are, but how you feel about so many different things and how when you hear something, when you see something, you experience something, and you're able to go, I feel this way because and to regulate yourself in a way so that you are not intentionally or unintentionally bleeding those dysregulated emotions onto other people. And we may see in the workplace where we have leaders who can't receive feedback, well, they become defensive or dismissive. And that's bleeding your Dysregulated emotion onto your employees because now they may go, I can't tell Bob this, I can't tell John this, I can't tell Mary this, because she dismisses me or she belittles me and she creates this unpsychologically safe space that I'm just going to shut down and I'm going to be quiet. So to elevate your EQ as a leader, you have to start with yourself. You have to start with educating yourself about other lived experiences. You have to be able to do the work. And that could be simple as following different social media accounts of people who different lived experiences. Google is also free. You can Google and go, hey, and for your team members, ask questions, but again, to ask in a way that they will know you're not going to use it to be manipulative or to use it against them when they're sharing stuff about maybe their chronic illness or their mental illness or as a culture. I come from this culture and we don't do things this way and that you're not using it to tease them, belittle them, because that's not high EQ, that's low emotional intelligence, right? When we, in a way, bully or harass others. So it's educating yourself to grow an awareness of different lived experiences and cultural backgrounds and identities. And you want to understand them broadly, but then you also want to understand them in their unique ways that they impact this individual employee. Because we don't want to go, oh, I know about the Chinese culture. Okay, you may have a general knowledge about this Chinese culture, but do you know specifically how it shows up in this one employee who happens to have Chinese heritage?

00:10:48 - Teri Schmidt Right.

00:10:49 - Farah Harris There are probably cultural norms that they don't participate or that don't align with them personally. So we have to be careful that we don't end up stereotyping in cultural awareness, but that we are, again, just being curious and educating. I talked about not creating an unpsychologically safe space or psychologically unsafe space. I think that's my bad. We'll take either unsafe space. We want to foster that sense where people feel like they are comfortable expressing their genuine selves. We talk about authenticity. Now that's like a word in the workplace. And it's like, well, what does that really mean? Because everyone doesn't necessarily deserve your authentic self. And so I think another way to understand it is, yeah, we have boundaries. The things that I show my husband aren't necessarily the things I show my children, things that I may express with one friend, I may not share with a colleague. But am I genuine and true to who I am in all those instances? And so we want as leaders is to make sure our colleagues, our peers, our direct reports are showing up in a genuine way that they aren't masking themselves or whatever. So when they're talking about their culture, checking yourself before you wreck yourself, making sure you don't have a facial expression that looks like, oh, you guys do that.

00:12:17 - Teri Schmidt Wish you could see far right now.

00:12:20 - Farah Harris I'm trying to describe how my face necessarily discussed, but a look of judgment, even be aware of how our nonverbal cues can impact our employee. And so I know that sometimes my resting face not always be I don't want to say it's not approachable, but I don't know it's the other person receiving it. So I have to be aware like, oh, I'm just really thinking about what you're saying. So I'm making sure back to relationship management, I'm effectively communicating and I'm making sure that I'm managing the narrative to minimize any miscommunication or interpretation. So if I'm talking to my employee and they're saying something and I'm raising an eyebrow, I want to go like, oh, I'm raising because that makes me think of something else. Can you tell me more about that? So that not thinking that again, you're looking at them with judgment or disdain, that kind of stuff. Also, I would encourage employee leaders to encourage self expression. Again, this brings a sense of safety where an individuals can feel that they can genuinely show up as who they are. We are aware, maybe we're not, of the Crown Act where there's a law that states that you cannot discriminate individuals due to how they naturally wear their hair, specifically black men and black. So if their way of self expression is to have hair that is in its natural state or are long locks or whatever, that you're not going, hey, can you straighten your hair? Can you do something different because you are rare, like, hey, this may be related to their culture. Same someone's wearing a hijab or some type of head covering and leading by example, we model what it is that we want to see in the workplace. And so modeling high emotional intelligence with the way that we're empathetic, the way that we're practicing the pause, asking questions, being personable, we would want to see the same thing from our employees with each other and definitely as they communicate.

00:14:41 - Teri Schmidt With us so much, we could unpack there. I think it just is testament to leadership being an ongoing journey. And yes, you might be listening to FARA talk and being like, oh, okay, I give up. There's no way I can be perfect at all of that. But I think none of us yeah, exactly, none of us are perfect at anything. And it is such a I want to even call it a sacred calling to be a leader, and it's so worth the investment, but it is an investment in growing and continued growth and being willing to fail at times to get better. But if I could tease out just a few things you talked about knowing yourself first, knowing how you react to things. I think sometimes even unobvious things, thinking about as someone approaches you, does it matter in your body what they look like as they're coming to you? I know in your mind you want to say it doesn't matter, but can you sense in your body it matters? So being aware of things like that and then the piece about having awareness of other cultures, but then also focusing in on the uniqueness of that particular individual. And I just want to say your section on microaggressions things that I hadn't even considered gave me some new knowledge about different cultures and different ways that privilege can play out, for example. So I would again encourage everyone to buy your book and learn more about that because we won't go into all of it today. But I think just that idea of, yes, use Google, use any resource you have. There are so many great books about so many different lived experiences out there that you can educate yourself, but then also take the time to be curious with that specific individual as well because.

00:16:53 - Farah Harris There'S so many different nuances even within our own culture, right? We're going to say the American culture, okay, American, South American, Midwest, East Coast, just even the region that we're in, there are differences there's. The Midwest, where we're going to be very nice, may not necessarily be kind, but we put all this appearance of being nice and what does that look like, be very passive aggressive at times. So if you are working with someone who's from the south and they have this slower pace of doing things, and we are now on the East Coast or in some big city, don't assume that they're slow or that they're dumb or they're not equipped. Just the pacing of how they're used to moving and to have conversation of, okay, well, if we have a deadline, what can I do to support you to make sure that we're communicating and it's clear what I need from you when I need it, et cetera, instead of going, you know what? This is just not a good fit. You don't know what you're doing. So, again, if we're even taking out a racial piece or a piece, we just all are uniquely different, and if not, taking a moment to go, okay, I know that you come from this region. I know that you come from this generation, right, because we even have stereotypes, gen X and Gen Z and Millennials and Boomers. But who are you? What is it about your generation that you do identify with? And what is it that you go, well, actually more identify with this other generation more than my own when it comes to this thought or this value. So I think we say, I'm glad that you said this earlier. We're not looking for perfection in leadership, but we are looking for growth and for there to be this desire to continue to grow, not just as a leader, but as an individual. And by doing so, it's growing to know more and more about yourself as you about others. You know, what you said earlier is still sticking with me about how it shows up in your body when someone is coming to you that actually has me sitting and thinking, I'm like, oh, I may have to write something. Yeah. As a leader, when someone knocks on your door, what are you telling them without even saying anything?

00:19:29 - Teri Schmidt Exactly.

00:19:30 - Farah Harris In a meeting, when they are getting ready to share some thoughts or whatever, what are you telling them without talking that your body is doing? And I think we need to do more work around that self awareness piece to go, okay, how am I landing on this individual just based off of me tightening up or me opening up with my posture? Thank you.

00:19:58 - Teri Schmidt So if we jump right into talking about racism, because I love how you called out, like, there are so many different things that we could look at in terms of culture and that the through line is that we need to be curious with the specific individual. But if we talk particularly about racism, you bring up that there's a lack of self awareness and self management to regulate the feelings of fear and inadequacy related to engaging with other races and ethnicities, and that can lead to othering or feelings of superiority. Now, I think and this is a hypothesis, but I think most people, when they think about how EI relates to racism, they would talk about the lack of empathy or perspective taken. You're not able to put yourself in other people's shoes, but I think you bring up a much more impactful and probably more pervasive, especially in today's society. Problem of fear. Do you have any stories of how that's played out and or people that have been able to recognize that within themselves and make a positive change?

00:21:10 - Farah Harris Yeah, when you sent me that question, I was like, oh, I did say that. It's always interesting to see your words and the interpretation of it. Please forgive me, listeners. I know that there will be some I'm not intentionally conflating two things. I'm just going to share with my with your listeners that I have ADHD. With my ADHD, everything is interconnected. And you may see that as you read my book. I'm like, wow, how I'm able to bring things that you may not see connection. There's connection. So when we have this fear, usually it's fear around not necessarily change, but it's around loss. I'm thinking about my friend Farah and how she says this often. And so when we have a system that we live in a society where there are some who have and there are some who don't, some who have more and some who have less. And when we're thinking about affirmative action and all these things that are supposed to help create equity, there's this unchecked or subconscious or unconscious belief that if there's equity, there's actually a deficit. Right. If I'm giving you something that used to be in abundance for me, then I am now having less. And there's this fear of loss that happens. There that it's a perceived fear, but it's not an actual in reality, you're not losing anything. But then there is also, I guess you do lose something. It's that ideology of being superior. So then you're grieving that right. That false sense of grander or sense of being better then. And so when we think about racism and EQ, it's like, are we getting yes, empathy is needed. But I have seen individuals who, because of their view of that one group was less than their identified group, that when they saw excellence coming from that other group, it made them question themselves. Right. When I'm talking about the check yourself before you wreck yourself and regulation. And so, yes, I'm aware of the racism piece, but as I'm talking to my readers, I really want you to think about this in your whole the whole landscape of life. When you're with your partner and they say something that you did and you don't like it because it makes you now view yourself as different than you have. I thought I was kind. I thought that I was patient. I thought that I was respecting you. And they're like, no, you're not a good listener or no, you speak to me in a very condescending way. We have this ego that gets in our way, and we fight against it because we want to be perceived as good or want to be perceived as better. So when we have to sit and regulate ourselves and be honest and go, I don't like that this makes me feel less than, or I like that this is making me feel shame or guilt or whatever that is, that is personal work that we need to do. Because it's not the other person's fault that you're feeling shame, guilt, insecurity, et cetera. They're just highlighting to you your behavior and how you're and so a personal story is when I was pregnant with our first, I was the only black woman in a very small, I guess you can say, practice consulting, firm type of business, and I could not verbally participate in the sessions. I was able to observe, ask questions after the fact. And young women that I would sit in on her sessions one day took an approach that I was like, I'm concerned, but I'm also curious as to why she did what she did and why she said this to the client. So after the session, I had asked her, and she dismissed me quickly, and I have a very high sense of discernment. And so I had already picked up that she was insecure, and she was unsure if what she did was actually the right thing to do. And by me asking her questions, it just heightened her insecurity. And so I was no longer welcome to sit in on her sessions. I was moved to sit in with another woman. And when it was time for me to have my evaluation, my supervisor was like, I loved having you here. You were so great. You asked great questions, however. And then he was just like, Your confidence. And I was like, I'm getting penalized for my confidence when I said it out loud. Yeah, that kind of doesn't make sense. But he he was empathizing with this young white woman and realized that it was not fair that I was being penalized for her insecurity, but at the same time did not address her and still gave me a lower review because of that one encounter. And so I was like and all she had to do was regulate her emotions and have an honest conversation with me and to say, hey, Far, when you asked me this question, to be honest, I wasn't even sure within myself and used you as a threat, and I just wanted to remove the threat. But it didn't change her behavior, right? It wasn't this awareness of like, hey, this was a learning opportunity for me. And I remember that to this day because in a way, I was in the most vulnerable position. I carry big pregnant self sitting there. I'm like, I'm probably the most vulnerable person in this room, but yet I was still a threat in her mind with my presence. So I think of moments like that, and there was, like, a TikTok video, and I wish I could remember the handle who did it, but it was this white woman who shares her revelation or her theory about that there are white women that it's not necessarily fear, it's jealousy. And it's an interesting one, and if I can find it, put it in your show notes if I can find the video. But it's just this process of this when you observe a different group or a different person, do things that you kind of wished you had instead of going from a place of, wow, how can I learn from that? We will flip the coin and go, well, I'm going to just say something else is wrong with them and make myself feel better and raise my sense of grander and that's low emotional intelligence, because processing in a healthy way, it's not regulating your emotions, and it's not really being truthful. Right. You're creating a reality that makes you feel comfortable, but you're not living in truth.

00:28:57 - Teri Schmidt Exactly. And think of the power that could have been realized if she had responded in the way that you talked about. I wasn't even sure what I was doing. I'm sure she was sure what she was doing, but she wasn't sure if what she was doing was right. And she realized that she saw your comment almost as a threat. The power for learning and growth on both sides is just so sad. I think sometimes when that's missed, because we want that instant quick fix of feeling better about ourselves, it's like taking the junk food instead of food that we know is going to nourish and help us to thrive in the long run.

00:29:43 - Farah Harris Yeah, because I wanted to know, did I miss something? I wouldn't have done what she did. I didn't know. With her being in this role longer than me, I'm like, Did I miss something?

00:29:57 - Teri Schmidt Right.

00:29:58 - Farah Harris So that there could have been an opportunity to go like, oh, well, Far, when the client said this, you may not have understood that that meant something else. Like, so I'm like, I missed an opportunity for growth, and she missed an opportunity for growth because she was uncertain. And there's nothing wrong with being uncertain, but don't penalize somebody else because you haven't been able to regulate that discomfort that you feel because of that uncertainty.

00:30:27 - Teri Schmidt Well, another thing you were talking about in the book was unconscious bias, and you said it's not actually unconscious bias, it's unchecked bias, and that it's caused when we operate from low emotional intelligence and we failed to practice what you call the three A's. Will you talk a little bit more about that? Because we hear so much about unconscious bias, and I thought you had an interesting perspective on it.

00:30:52 - Farah Harris Yeah. No disrespect to those who do, those unconscious and implicit bias trainings. I think that there's some value there. My concern is that it can leave the individual feeling as if they don't have accountability. My brain just was doing its own thing and therefore this is why I was judging this person in this way. And so it's just so happenstance and out of my control and that's not true. Our brains create patterns. And so the minute you have awareness, you should be able to now start seeing the pattern. It's kind of like when you get your car and I'm thinking about my first car and it's like oh, is this black Honda Civic? And then everywhere I went there was a black Honda Civic, paid attention to it until I was paying attention to it. So the three A's that I talk about in that framework is a awareness, right? So it is starting off with being able to recognize the emotion, the name, the emotion, as I was saying earlier, even how it shows up in your body, to your point of like do you recognize how you are presenting when someone comes to you? And then the second is assessment or taking an opportunity to practice the pause to recognize what has triggered this emotion, what brought this feeling to come to pass. And examples that I give is you got cut off on your way to work and someone flipped you to Bird and I didn't deserve that. And I'm now angry. Or you get some sudden bad news, or you're in a conversation, in a meeting and it seems like everybody's talking over you. So now it's triggering the thought of another time where you felt dismissed or ignored. And so taking that moment to practice the pause to name the feeling and then to know why you have that feeling. And then you go to the third A which is address or action. And so now you respond, not react, but you respond in a way that is controlled, that is calculated, that is done in a way that your emotion isn't leading you, but that you are honoring your feeling, but reacting or responding from a place of processed emotion. And we don't do enough of that when it comes to that bias. We'll have this immediate reaction and not practice the awareness. And we just react and not respond. And so, as I said, our brain creates these patterns. It's not implicit anymore, it's not unconscious anymore, it's unchecked. You're choosing not to go to that regulations part of you and go, hey, whenever I see this group of kids that look like this, if I see a group of white kids with hoodies, I'm probably not thinking anything. But if I see Hispanic kids or black hoods with hoodies, I'm thinking of another thing. And that doesn't matter if you are black, Hispanic or white, we all can create our own. Either unchecked racial bias that could be internalized racism or it could be because you are part of. The majority culture, and you've made this assumption. And so if we can do more of practicing the three A's, of going like, oh, yeah, as a lawyer or as a clinician or as a leader, I've realized that there's certain people that have a voice in our meetings, and there's others that I don't really let speak. There's others that I'm more quick to support, and there's others that I don't. You need to check that. You need who's safe around me and who could potentially not feel safe. And HR usually can give you the answers because we've done a million and one assessments right. Still wondering. I don't know what we need to do. The data is there. It will show who feels safe, who doesn't feel safe, who gets promoted, who doesn't get promoted, who gets promoted quicker than another group. The numbers tell us stories, and we choose to, again, not check the feedback that we're receiving from this data, and we're not checking the feedback that our bodies are telling us because our data yeah.

00:35:33 - Teri Schmidt And that is our responsibility as leaders to go through those three A's. And that last A becomes about expressing the fact that, you know, that something did go wrong and that even if that wasn't your intent, there was an impact, and you're responsible for addressing that impact.

00:35:57 - Farah Harris Yes. That's so good.

00:35:58 - Teri Schmidt Yes. Well, that gets us to privilege sometimes is a little bit of a dirty word, but you say that privilege isn't something to feel guilty about. It's a resource that can be used for the greater good. I'd love to hear more about that.

00:36:14 - Farah Harris Yeah. It has become this almost like a cuss word when you say privilege. And I'm aware and I mentioned this in the book of the narrative that we've created around the word and what we've added to the word. So we often hear, like, white privilege. And when we hear that, we have the strong reaction. So we just talked about the three A. So in you as a listener, hearing white privilege, like, what's coming up for you right now? Can you name the feeling? Can you recognize where it is in your body? Take some breaths, breathe through it. But we assume that privilege is negative, and that view has made things more challenging to how can I say it? It has made things more challenging for us to be better at allyship or what I call stewardship, just being there for one another. And it's not been helpful. So it's become synonymous with guilt or shame. I don't have privilege because if I had privilege, well, what does that mean for all these other struggles that I've experienced? And privilege doesn't mean that you're denied any type of trauma or hardship. But some simple examples that I give is, like, say, height privilege. I'm at a store, and I can't reach for that box of cereal on the top. Someone with height that's taller than me can grab that for me. Using their privilege to serve. Aka helped me and then my same body that couldn't reach to that top shelf. If I don't have any type of physical disability, I can now help someone who is elderly that can't bend over or someone who has some physical disability to get something at the bottom shelf. So I really want us to understand that privilege is just another opportunity to serve others. It's what do you have that another person doesn't, that here to support them? That's just it. And the thing is that privilege isn't always static, right? So if I can have money today, I could be broke tomorrow. We living in these pandemic times, and so you can be healthy today and have COVID tomorrow. You can be well today and have cancer tomorrow. These things aren't always set. So I feel like when you say that someone has privileged immediately, it becomes an attack on their personhood. You're saying something about me and it's like, no, I'm saying something about not even a characteristic. It's about your access. It's something that's actually an extension of you. And then there are some things that are your personhood if it is related to race, right? So it's like understand that either the color of your skin gives you some type of access. So when we talk about colorism, so that's within more melanated communities or the lighter your complexion, the more privilege you have in terms of access, or if you're viewed as attractive, et cetera. And then it comes into the caste system in some cultures. But all I'm asking people to think about is what do you have or what can you do that someone else can't or that someone doesn't have. Even though I do feel like sometimes our allyship does require a sacrifice. Sometimes it's not even a sacrifice. Holding the door open for someone, is it really a sacrifice? You grabbing that thing from the top shelf. Is that really a sacrifice? Plus, if you are getting something there anyway, right? I was about to get this box of cornflakes. You want a box of cornflakes? But we struggle within ourselves because we really have attached this narrative that you are bad or that you are selfish or that you should have some type of guilt because of the skin that you were born in or the wealth that you were born in or any of those things. And I want to go back to Webster's Dictionary. I like to say facts and let's not add a feeling to a word. Let's just define it for what it is. And it's just an opportunity that you have that someone doesn't. And you can use that to serve.

00:40:54 - Teri Schmidt Right? And I love your question about what do you have or what can you do? I mean, it's the name of this podcast, right? It's strong leaders serve. How can you do that? And it's not that people are calling you lazy or that you didn't work for what you accomplished, it's that you may have had some advantages that you can then use to help others.

00:41:22 - Farah Harris Yeah. As a leader, what opportunities did you get? What education did you receive? What mentorship did you have? Who else sponsored you to get into the role that you're in? And now that you have this knowledge, this expertise, this awareness, how do you share that with your junior leaders? How do you share that with your employees? We don't need to gatekeep. For what? Unless, again, you have this lack mindset where it's like, oh. Which now makes me think of a story of a young attorney who had a great attorney that she would work with, but whenever she would bring up questions about his role, he was like, well, why would I share that with you if you would just want to take my job? And she's like, I'm trying to grow. So he didn't practice his three eight. So just as a leader, what is it that you have? What knowledge do you have? What rooms do you have access to? What understanding do you have that this newer person that's coming in does not have? And all you're doing is sharing it. All you're doing is providing for them either. If you didn't receive it, don't be so crotchety that you go, well, no one did that for me, so they're going to have to go through it the hard way. You didn't like that, so why are you doing that for somebody else? Go process that in therapy. But if someone did, bless you to sponsor and to mentor and to encourage you and to guide you to things. If you do yourself work and you read a book that you find is fascinating or you listen to a podcast that you think is helpful, why can't you share that? That's a privilege of knowledge. Share that so that other people can be better.

00:43:19 - Teri Schmidt Yeah. And I think it gets back to, like you said, kind of the scarcity mindset and people fearing loss. If I give this to you, what could I potentially lose? Failing to see that when one person rises, it's back to the quote, we rise by lifting others.

00:43:40 - Farah Harris Yes, 100%.

00:43:42 - Teri Schmidt Definitely. Well, I have one last question before we get to the news about how people can get your book, because I know you have something very exciting coming up for that, and this has some longer quotes from your book. So if you don't mind if I read yourself to you, I'll bear with it. But this gets to something you mentioned before, and that's Allyship and I know that a lot of our listeners would want to be considered allies in many different ways, and you dedicate a good portion of the book to a conversation about Allyship. So there are a couple of excerpts that I just wanted to read. One, you say, Allyship, rooted in our ego will cause us to be ineffective, inconsistent and disingenuous. Assessing our values and using our emotional intelligence will help us to remain steadfast, agile and open to correction. The more that we understand that allyship requires patience, persistence, and grace to and for one another, it allows us to be teachable and genuinely support each other. Love that. And you also say this one's shorter. We aren't allying for one cause or one race. We are allies to the human race. We could just drop the mic there. But I would love to have you talk a little bit about EQ and our EQ as leaders and how that helps us to be true allies or as you say, stewards. And any stories that you have that you've witnessed of that happening.

00:45:19 - Farah Harris Yeah, it's really humbling to hear you say my words. So for your listeners, I'm going to give them some behind the scenes little info. So the book is written in three parts. The part that you read is from part three of the book and that was actually the first part that I wrote. I did not write the book from beginning to end. I started with the end in mind, worked backwards.

00:45:51 - Teri Schmidt Love that.

00:45:52 - Farah Harris And so part three was the first part that I wrote. And so it's the part that I wrote long, long ago. So to hear it, it's like coming back to a place that I haven't been to in a while. But our allyship, it's interesting. I feel like it's become something that's aspirational, right? But I want to warn people to be careful that it doesn't become self centered, like self centered and masking as altruism. Right. Folks want to be known as a good ally. They want to be called an ally. And it could really come from this place of ego, of being to be seen as good. I want to implore listeners to go just be good. Don't aspire to be good. Don't aspire to be seen as good. Just be good and move in life. In a way that what your good deeds, your good works are is just aligned with who you are, aligned with your values. Right. I say that. It's like saying the word I love you. You can hear that a million times, but it's hollow if it's not backed up by any deed. So there is to be fruit of your allyship. Don't say I'm an ally, but there's no fruit of it. And not manufactured fruit, like genuine fruit that doesn't require a gold star or some type of fanfare. I've seen this show up in how individuals can lead well and be allies in multiple ways. So one story I think of is when this doesn't and I'm speaking about just being a good leader and allying for your regardless of race, gender, disability, et cetera, there was a newer hire. This leader recognized that this hire was struggling because they were not fully masking or hiding per se, but were struggling to kind of fit into this box of what the banking field stated that this role was supposed to look like. And this leaders really actively listened, had a conversation, really inquired about what did this hire want, like, what was their strengths, what were their interests, et cetera. And created the space where this employee was able to be honest. And sometimes you're honest going like, I don't know if this is safe, but I'm going to say it. This leader was smart enough or wise enough to go. I don't want him to think it was just lip service. So after their meeting, he actually went and looked up job descriptions that aligned with all of the qualities this employee mentioned and went back to the employees that, hey, I looked up these jobs in these different companies, not even the company that they work for in these different companies. Because if you want to work here, I want to figure out a way to either find an opportunity to create a role for you that aligns with the things that you want, or I would hate to lose you. But if this is where you are better suited in someplace else because it actually speaks to your heart and your passions, then do that. Not many leaders would do that because there's like, wait a minute, I'm going to lose an employee. That's not what I'm here for. No, but you want the best out of your employee and so you want to show up as an emotionally intelligent leader that can sit there and go, I see you and that's what employees want. I respect you and that's what employees want. And I hear you and that's what employees want. And so when they're feeling seen, heard, respected, they're going to show up better. And it goes like, well, I feel like I have support here. And this leader is like, I don't know if we can do it, but we can at least try. But then I think that there's other ways where you can show up as an ally by just advocating. Especially if you're a man and you recognize that they're not paying attention to the women in your company, on your board, in your team, whatever. How just your voice can make a difference. How your voice can help promote someone that we get in resistance from other team members or can get resistance from HR. And I share a story in particular in the book about that. So the thing is, when people are showing up for you in that way, especially if you're leading in this way, I encourage anyone who's listening, who has a leader who's shown up well for them and has been a mentor or sponsor, an ally, an advocate, you tell them. Make sure that you let them know you saying this or you doing that. I appreciate because it helped me to fill in the blank. Because in our role of allyship, just like I was using the term I love you. In a relationship, there needs to be this back and forth, this reciprocity and this confirming and affirming one another so that both partners are showing up. Well, like, babe, I really love when you hold my hand, or I love say thank you for these things, even though it's stuff that I naturally do for you all the time. I really respect that because then you are just wanting them to continue to do that. This is the same thing for doing our Allyship work. When we're on the receiving end of it, we really want to make sure that we're letting other people know not to give a gold star, not but we want that type of behavior to be replicated and not just for them to continue to do that, but that others can see that Allyship and them do it themselves.

00:52:25 - Teri Schmidt Right, yeah, that's such a good point. And you cannot be that ally like you were talking about. You couldn't do what that leader did unless you knew yourself and you had the self awareness and everything we've been talking about up to this point. So that's a great story. Thank you for sharing that. And I love the don't say you're good, just be good.

00:52:49 - Farah Harris And then when you're not good, that's okay right from it. So you can do good next time.

00:52:55 - Teri Schmidt Yeah. And we learn through it, through those conversations.

00:52:58 - Farah Harris Yeah. And sometimes even the hard, difficult and what we may think is a bad conversation, there will be good that will come from it. Choose to do the work.

00:53:11 - Teri Schmidt Yeah, exactly. Well, I have thoroughly enjoyed this conversation, and I know our listeners are going to benefit so much from it, but they're going to benefit even more if they go out and get your book. So tell us about how they can do that. And I think there is a special coming up for the launch date, so I'd love for you to share about that.

00:53:34 - Farah Harris Yes. Oh, my gosh. The time has come, ladies and gentlemen.

00:53:38 - Teri Schmidt I need an applause track.

00:53:41 - Farah Harris So the call of emotional intelligence. The official launch date is May 30, 2023. It's the Tuesday after Memorial Day. So after you've enjoyed eating your barbecue and hanging out with friends and family, the next day as you log into work, need to go by far as book and there will be a special promotion. So we are doing my publisher and I are doing a Kindle bestseller strategy. So for $0.99, right, just ninety nine cents, you can get the Kindle for a limited time. So on launch day, we may extend it to the day after you'll be able to grab the Kindle version. The book is also going to be available on paperback soon, hardcover. And once I've recovered from all of the amazingness of launching this book, there will be an audible available in due time later on this year, but wait until the 30th, grab the Kindle for ninety nine cents. And if you're single Far, I don't listen or I don't use a Kindle. Can you just bless me with that 90?

00:54:47 - Teri Schmidt You can't get anything for $0.99. I'm sure you can find someone to.

00:54:50 - Farah Harris Give Dollar Tree me that day and just do $0.99 just so that we can have a successful launch and get the word out there and get the book into as many hands as possible so that we can all elevate our EQ together.

00:55:08 - Teri Schmidt Yeah, this book needs to be in as many hands as possible. I love that Dollar Tree you that day easy to remember. So where else if people want to just learn about you and follow your work with Workingwell daily, where's the best place to go?

00:55:27 - Farah Harris Yeah. So if you want to learn more about my company, you can visit If you want to really follow my work, a lot of my content is on my site on my blogs, but definitely if you follow me on LinkedIn. So I'm at Farah Harris LCPC and on social media such as Instagram. I don't always check Twitter as much, but it's the same. It's at Farah Harris LCPC and work at working well daily on instagram too. So I'll share content there as well.

00:55:58 - Teri Schmidt Excellent. Well, I love following you on LinkedIn. You always provide something of value, so encourage people to go there. Definitely.

00:56:05 - Farah Harris I hope you're following Teri. Better be following Teri because she is so insightful and so thoughtful. So please follow her work as well.

00:56:14 - Teri Schmidt Well, thank you you. Thank you. And thank you again for the conversation today. It was such an honor to have you on both times and I can't wait to see the impact that this book is going to make on so many lives.

00:56:27 - Farah Harris Thank you. Thank you for having me. It was again a pleasure.


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