Future Work

Empathy and Efficiency: Ashley Herd's Viral Management Tips

Discover how Ashley Herd’s viral tips, with 5M monthly TikTok views, blend empathy and efficiency to transform leadership and create happier workplaces.
Last updated on
June 18, 2024 5:00 PM
15
min read
empathy-efficiency-ashley-herds-viral-management-tips
Daan van Rossum
Daan van Rossum
Founder & CEO, FlexOS
I founded FlexOS because I believe in a happier future of work. I write and host "Future Work," I'm a 2024 LinkedIn Top Voice, and was featured in the NYT, HBR, Economist, CNBC, Insider, and FastCo.

🎧 Listen Now:

In today’s episode, I welcome Ashley Herd, a lawyer turned management trainer whose TikToks and YouTube videos reach over 5 million views a month.

This reach gives Ashley an amazing insight into the real sentiment of employees and managers, which she combines with data from doing corporate leadership training at scale.

We'll discuss the importance of respect in the workplace, managers' untapped potential, and AI's evolving role in leadership. 

A great episode if you deal with remote teams, navigate hybrid work environments, or want to improve your managers.

Key Insights from Ashley Herd

Here are the actionable key takeaways from the conversation:

1. Respect and Humanity in the Workplace

Ashley sees a lot of unfiltered feedback on the world of work in her video comments.
Combined with corporate training, it’s taught her that when employees feel valued and respected, morale and productivity are significantly boosted.
Ensure you foster an environment where respect and empathy are central. Regularly check in with your team to understand their needs and concerns, and make people feel they matter in things like being able to take time off and getting credit for their work.

2. The Ripple Effect of Good Management

Effective management goes beyond getting the work done well; it's about positively influencing and inspiring teams.
But it goes further: As Ashley said: "Managers have a potential for ripple impact on their teams and often don't know how to harness it."
So, invest in manager training programs that focus on empathy, communication, and leadership skills. Give them the autonomy to manage well and not have to run to HR every time.

3. Driving Performance with Empathy

Performance is important, but don’t forget empathy to create a balanced and effective management style.
Focus on understanding your team's needs and aligning them with organizational goals for optimal performance.

4. Balancing Remote and Hybrid Work

Remote work requires a shift in management style, focusing more on outcomes than hours worked.
As Ashley said, "Managers often worry about what their remote teams are doing, but it's about setting clear expectations and trust."
Set clear goals and expectations for your remote teams. Use regular check-ins to maintain engagement and address any concerns.

🔔 Available on:

Transcript:

Daan van Rossum: It's so great to have you here. I wanted to kick off with a question because our mission here is to create a happier future of work because, for most of us, work can be quite miserable, and I just listened to the HR Besties episode about green flags in the workplace. 

I know that work can also be really great from time to time, but you now get over 5 million views, I think, on social media. With both your role play and the fact that you're talking to the camera about all these issues that are happening in the workplace.

Maybe if you want to understand how we create a happier future of work, what are you hearing from your community? What content do you see resonate about some of the things that are very challenging about work? 

Ashley Herd: When I think about common threads, some of them are really basic: people feeling like they matter and that they're respected. Their lives and their work, and a lot of that could be happiness, and that can play out in different ways from compensation.

A lot of the comments you'll see say, Just pay me. But if I were to say to someone, Okay, if I were to give you X amount more money or you can, work 40 more hours a week and have a boss that yells at you or never a response to your communication," people, I don't want that.

So a lot of it is just these threads of feeling like you matter, that you're treated like a fellow human being, and that you have that level of respect and the happiness aspect. I think it comes from when you have that, because when you feel like you're respected, then you may feel like you can open up and share things you're comfortable with on that personal level.

That's where I've certainly felt that on a personal level, and I've seen that from other people, but it really starts with that aspect of making people feel valued and respected at work.

Daan van Rossum: What's the flip side of that? What's the content where you're doing a role play with look, and it's about a certain topic that, like, everyone will jump into the comments and say, that’s exactly right?

That's what's wrong with work. And what are some of those topics that are just a continuous bane for people at work? 

Ashley Herd: I haven't done this in a while. This is the video that really went viral for me; it got a couple million, a few million views, and I didn't have anything like that—a video on pumping at work for women, breast milk, pumping, whatever.

In what vein were people like, Oh my God, I've had this experience? From pumping in like a storage closet or the bathroom or the jokes and comments. And so in 59 seconds, I tried to encapsulate all of that at once at that level. And it really stems from the fact that the manager in this situation, Lucas, is male. So he did not understand what this was like, but he really had no idea what that experience was like or how dehumanising and frustrating it could be.

So through that video, I talk a lot about having. Policies that limit someone to 15 minutes, like there's no one size fits all, In the comment section on that, I was never anticipating it, but it was so many people's experience.

I'd certainly had similar experiences personally. So I was validated, yet horrified that it's such a shared experience. But it's that vein where people just don't know or take time to understand what it's like for others.

Daan van Rossum: Still going back to that same theme of people just wanting to be treated as humans, and they want to be treated probably as grownups.

Ashley Herd: Yes, exactly right. People don't generally want to be treated worse than someone else, even their own children. And it's a pretty base-level expectation, and nobody's perfect. Fair enough. But the managers do that consistently.

Daan van Rossum: Definitely. What are some other topics that you see popping up when you post something? What are some other topics that you see that people really, yeah, again, have that lived experience? They're like, yep, that's my life. 

Ashley Herd: In terms of time off, like right now in the northern hemisphere, a lot of people may be getting ready for summer vacation. And so there's this issue of people who feel like they can't take their time off because there's so much work to do. That might be a little bit more of a uniquely American perspective, but across the board, the managers will like to reach out to you when you're on vacation or after hours, not having any sense of personal boundaries, and other things like credit. Someone works so hard and never even gets any sort of credit.

And by credit, I might even mean thank you or acknowledgement that someone did something. And so a lot of it, I really think, is this disconnect that there are managers and also colleagues; they're getting what they need, and they're moving on with life. And they're not thinking about that impact or how frustrating it can be to not get credit. Also, how validating it can be when you do get it.

Daan van Rossum: Absolutely. We got to talk about managers, I think. As the founder of the manager method, we get to talk about managers. Now you're ready? 

Ashley Herd: I liked it. I'm ready. I'm always ready. You can ask my kids. We're like going down the street; I'm like, Oh, are you thinking about that? What does that have to do with work? I'm like, yeah. I won't tell you. I'll tell you later.

Daan van Rossum: I heard in an interview you did last year that you originally chose employment law because someone said that there would always be work in employment law. And then eventually you ended up founding the manager method, which was really focused on helping managers become better managers. You even mentioned at an interview that a lot of the best managers you saw were not really in these corporate settings, but they were in maybe fast food restaurants or hospitality.

So what drove you to really be so invested in this idea of good management, and what are some of the lessons that you got from now doing that content for quite a while? 

Ashley Herd: I love your research. You're so good, Daan. You put in such a level of care, and this little researcher's heart is happy. But it's true.

I went into it based on suggestions. And I worked for two years between college and law school. It was corporate sales, but it was consulting research sales, so I had to marginally know what I was talking about, and I'm a nerd, so I really got into it.

In that year, it was employee engagement research, and I loved it. I'd never seen anything like it before. I'd never taken an HR organisational development class. Nothing like that. I really gravitated. And so hearing this idea that you'll never be out of work resonated with me because I was paying my way through law school and paid for it for years after with student loans.

But I am an extrovert. I love people. I love to research human things. Certainly, a reason I went into it. I found it much more interesting than any corporate finance law that I had to deal with. But really, it is one of the things I think I was surprised about.

Experiences that I had and not even in: I was an outside lawyer, like a law firm lawyer for KMart, for example, but I also worked at KMart in the electronics department when I was a teenager and worked at subway, and lessons I learned then stuck with me more than things I learned in corporate.

I worked on the support side. So at KFC, I was on the legal team, and I was on this legal HR dual growth path. We would go into restaurants and work alongside them. I feel sorry for the restaurant teams. I'm trying to work the drive through and close my eyes to listen, and it was really a skill set.

But I saw managers there. They would have these conversations, and they would be managing. They would literally be managing so many things at once. They would also be talking to their teens. Oh, they knew things were going on in their team's lives. Oh, how'd the ball game go last night? Or have you guys voted yet? Make sure you take time off to go vote. Then wow, getting things done, and it was really like wizardry.

So it was those skills that I've seen—the ability to get work done and drive performance in an empathetic way—that can be done in any type of environment.

When I started the manager method, it was because I'd worked in those environments. I've also worked in boardrooms and at some of the top organisations in the world. But at the end of the day, a lot of managers just have the potential for a ripple impact on their teams, and they don't know how to do it. That's what really drove me with some of those common experiences.

Daan van Rossum: So maybe share a bit about the manager method, and what are some of the fundamental basic blocks that you teach every manager? I'm also very curious about how you work with companies, because I'm assuming that most of the time a company will be the one to bring you in, and we don't really have manager training.

So, can you do it for us? Hopefully in a more fun way, and some of the people actually retain more knowledge than with typical corporate training, what does that side of the business look like? Again, what do you teach there?

Ashley Herd: So manager method, it really is about what you said. It's about helping managers become better leaders and feel confident, and really, it's that idea of driving performance with empathy and knowing what you need to know. I have been a lawyer. I've been in HR. I'm not trying to turn managers into junior lawyers in HR, but it's to give people more autonomy.

So they're not running to HR to solve every issue that comes up in their team because they don't know what to do or say. That's not good for the manager, and that's not really good for their team member who doesn't want to hear from HR. I know that.

But so what I teach is the whole skill set from thinking about hiring, like, before you hire, when you're interviewing people, do you have a head count? Do you know what that means? Do you have the authority to hire? Are you going to set unrealistic expectations? What are some things you should know at the outset? All the way through onboarding, whether it's remote, whether it's in an on-foot environment or a corporate environment. How do I run one-on-one team meetings? How do you give performance feedback between those one-on-one meetings?

All the way through, if someone's not performing, what do you do? So you're not then, again, running to HR and saying, I need to get rid of this person. Okay. Well, that's probably not going to work well for anybody up through even termination of employment. If your best employee quits, what do you do, and why does that matter to the whole rest of the team and yourself as a leader?

It's a lot about opening people's eyes and then giving them practical tips. So the way I work with organisations is that I've done live and virtual trainings, and I definitely enjoy those, but one thing I say is that training can be like Mario Kart.

Sometimes that resonates with people, sometimes it doesn't. But think of your favourite video game or things like that, and so I say Mario Kart because you can pick a player. That's as slow as molasses, but it's going to hit every curve. It's your pluses and minuses, or you have a mushroom that is speedy but may fly off the tracks. And so you've got to pick; there's rarely a perfect character except for Princess, who is a very perfect character in Mario Kart.

But when you think about training, like a lot of people say, live training," okay, why do you want that? We know people are going to pay attention, and they're actually going to do it, and they're going to be there. Okay, cool. Got it.

So you're telling me you want people to pay attention, but what happens when they're super engaged? They're all enjoying that training; maybe they're taking notes, maybe not. And then they move on with life, and they forget about anything that they've learned or what happens if someone who really needs to hear the training is out sick.

Okay, so they're going to watch a replay of it when the person's not looking at them, like they're probably going to be pretty disengaged? And so, what I do with organisations is video-based, demand-based training. And so I have this whole course, but it's indigestible, digestible modules. It's trackable.

Now, organisations can even load it into their own LMS. We have a license for that, or we have it on our platform, and our client success team sends tracking updates and all of that, but for organizations, it’s on demand. I have a whole schedule for communication, so people know how you announce it and how you talk about it.

Here's reminders. But to thread the needle, I have a resource guide that goes along with it that has things like tips and talking points, and it's all tracked to the module. So you don't have to take notes. You can leverage it, but also for managers to have a live component. I often say people watch the training now because I've added a whole module on managing remote teams, like an optional module. People may have heard from me now for about six and a half hours again.

I have a four- to five-month schedule, so it breaks up. People have heard from me, but for organisations in part, it can be a really strong thing for HR to build your internal credibility and show yourselves as a partner.

I've given them to run follow-up cohort sessions. So they have sessions, and I have everything, like a PowerPoint deck and talking points, so they can run these sessions. I have videos. I have had conversations from junior HR coordinators to senior chief people officers who are all terrified to leave these sessions.

So I work to get you comfortable doing that. And the number one feedback I have is that people think this went so great. People were engaged, especially those managers. I recently actually led one of the first sessions of that for an organisation, and a manager who'd been there for a long time had said, I'll be honest, I was not looking forward to this training, but I liked the videos, and I really liked today.

Maybe that's not appropriate. And I said, No, that's the best feedback I could have. So, it's really to thread the needle, to have the materials on demand, to have the written materials they can cite through, and then these sessions, but to do those internally and with help, some organisations will customise those materials themselves; others, I take some heavy lifting and work on.

So that is manager 101, which is the name of it and what I do, but it really is again to upscale those teams.

Daan van Rossum: But that's incredible because then you're also off-scaling the HR team in the process, and it becomes a conversation internally versus just, I've sent people to the training; they've done the training. Now you should be a good manager because it is actually when you dive deeper and contextualise it to your company that you actually start to have the real conversations about, okay, that's the theory, and that sounds really great, but why are we not applying it?

While in our company, we have a lack of this, or we don't have these resources, or I don't have the time to do that. You need to free me up to have time to manage things like that. So that sounds like a really good connection point. 

I think also overall, because you also do LinkedIn learning and obviously TikTok, and you do these things like corporate training and video training, you're learning a lot too about what actually works.

Because most people don't want to sit in long training sessions, I still remember when I was at Ogilvy and I had these compliance trainings where you had to click through all the screens. And it's just horrible. 

So do you also see now that because people are getting more used to short-form contents, the training needs to be more like that, where it's shorter pieces of information, and then what do you do with that? And then have that internal discussion. Is learning and development changing in that way as well?

Ashley Herd: I definitely think there's some attention span that people have; they don't want to sit for hours on end and have this same discussion, which is why it can be helpful to have it. Okay, you can divide it up, but a lot of it is in one thing I have with my training. When I did my LinkedIn learning course, I flew out to California. I've done a couple of them, and I watched that, and I was like, Oh my God, I'm so embarrassed. My manager 101 course.

It's here, and my set is sitting at my desk, and it's just talking conversationally like that. I remember thinking, Oh my God, it's a set. So many people have worked on it. It's glossed over.

And I talked to a couple organisations, and I said, Okay, what about from the quality aspect? And people said it felt like a conversation, and so even I've had the same experience with this manager 101 course. I've had numerous. Tech is probably the number one of them; there are a number of kinds of global tech companies that have used it, like health care, manufacturing, nonprofits, restaurants, and retail, and I was cognizant of this.

So in it, I do talk about, okay, here's how to have a team meeting. If you have a couple of minutes of pre-shift huddle, here's how to do it: If you have 60 minutes, sit in a conference room once a week, once a month, or whatever.

And so talking to those, I'd spoken to this restaurant group, a large franchisee of a known brand, and it said, Give me feedback. So we ended up. He's like, keep all of the material in it. Because even when I talk about general corporate things, our team loves to hear that because it makes them think, What if we wanted to work on the support centre?

But organisations can customise those sessions. That's where people can customise the toolkit and the talking points. This is what we have. It has evolved, and I have had so much fun. I spend the vast majority of my time working on tweaking those, adding, and recording additional modules.

I do think having a conversational, engaging style makes a difference. I think about some of the trainings I helped to lead when I was a junior law firm associate, and God bless them. But like some of these senior partners, it's like the same conversation about walking.

It's like walking you through these laws, and there's just no practical application. Managers don't care. They really don't. Nor should they. But if you put it in terms of whether you feel like managers have to have a certain persona, that's the first slide that starts after.

Do you feel like you have to shape it? And do you feel like you need to change? And so to get some of those conversations going, that can be helpful to show that this isn't regular manager training. It's cool. Manager training.

Daan van Rossum: I'm not a regular mom. I'm a cool mom. Come on.  

Ashley Herd: Totally. I have a shirt that says exactly that.

Daan van Rossum: That makes a lot of sense to me. I think it's super interesting to think about things like how formats are changing and what the right balance is between what people are used to from online contestants and then what I wouldn't counter in a corporate setting, which is night and day usually, and I think this probably bridges it quite well.

As you said, because you don't have to go do some sets that are super polished and where 20 people are working on them, you can actually add modules just by sitting back at your same desk and doing that extra content. So, you've already mentioned remote work. So, this sounds like another module that you have now added with some tips.

I want to hear what some tips are for a remote work site, and I obviously also want to hear them because I saw you now do a Nano course about AI, like leading in the age of AI. What are some things managers need to know about that? Let's start with remote work because that's something you spend a lot of time on.

What is different about managing a remote team or a hybrid team versus managing an in-office team? 

Ashley Herd: Some of the concerns that managers frequently have about remote and hybrid teams are: What is my team doing? How can I measure productivity? And they worry about that because they're hearing that from CEOs who go on news channels and say that people aren't productive. And making these sweeping statements.

The beauty that I have comes from having very scientific studies of comments on TikTok, but I see these common themes among people, and I know it from a shared experience of how I've worked. I work my ass off when I work at home frequently. Right now it's 9 o'clock p.m. my time, and this is a delightful conversation.

I've had plenty of nights doing remote work where I'm doing that, and, oh my God, because I feel obligated to in ways that I wouldn't have when I was in the office and felt like I could disconnect.

Some of this is really taking the spin on that and saying to managers, if you have these concerns, what about talking to your teams about them? That is insane. If I had to justify the productivity levels, I know you all are working, but how can I show that? And how can we measure those things, talk about them, and give real talking points for them?

So some of it's thinking about that. Others are having conversations about boundaries about how you do shut that laptop, turn off your phone, and having those conversations. Frequently, managers assume that their team members know what to do and that if they're working long hours, that's their choice.

And they're not thinking about the long-term ramifications or having conversations. And so it really takes that idea of driving performance with empathy into some of the unique ways of remote work, including some self-care for managers in thinking about those topics. And so that was really our most-requested additional module.

And so, getting that out now, I have a whole toolkit and PowerPoint for that. And so I have a bonus section because I do not introduce that module for solely in-person workplaces. That's like, normally, we don't. We don't customise the content of that, but I'm cognizant that there may be some in-person workplaces that do not want to sit around watching 45 minutes of remote work. So I have that as a bonus section in the library for managers. So, I try to be very sensitive to that.

Daan van Rossum: What's the feedback on it? When people hear these really important discussions, I think your team is working hard—probably too hard—and are you keeping a tab on that side of it?

This is the tough part. Like Emily Fields work from McKinsey on the importance of the middle manager, but also the plight of the middle manager being squeezed in between the work you have to do yourself, the pressure from above you, and the pressure from below you. What's the response when people hear that?

Ashley Herd: It has been very strong because it is like people go; people need to hear this and they don't have any ideas, and the resource guide for that has gotten a lot of good feedback because it has, again, questions to ask your team and also questions to ask IT, for example, about what we have from a technological standpoint and also for trainings. How can people use it, as well as one thing that's really emerged in the US? I'm curious globally, but accessibility for candidates who have the ability to do remote work has massively helped some candidates, team members, and employees with unique needs who have mobility issues that make it hard for them to get to the office.

On the flip side, you've seen an increase in the US of hiring managers assuming, Oh, if someone's deaf or hard of hearing, Oh, they can't, we're a remote first environment, you can't, and not understanding that. And so that's been on the rise in the US from a claims perspective. And so in it, some of what I have is talking about that.

Also, bringing this idea to the managers is saying, Okay, think about the people behind all of these things and how intimidating it can be to come into this workplace. And they may have had 20 companies that they tried to work with that shut them down. You can be that manager who, with very basic steps, shows them, Okay, support. You don't have to be the expert, but this is how you have that conversation, and then you go ask HR.

Then your organisation can tell you what your capabilities are. And so it's just bringing this confidence to be able to give those levels of respect that people may not have thought there were any options.

Daan van Rossum: Yeah, that makes so much sense. There's probably a lot of stuff that's simmering below the service, and someone just has to come out and say it, and then you're that person. It is very beneficial to the company, to the manager, and to the employees as well.

The same question is about AI. Generative AI obviously has changed quite a bit in how we work. We've seen some recent studies from Microsoft, for example, that say that even if managers or leadership are not thinking about AI, creating AI frameworks, or bringing the technology to the teams, people are just bringing their own AI tools, and they're putting all their confidential company information into their own personal ChatGPT. What is leadership like? Because I'm sure some principles will be the same: you have to be a good human, and you have to be caring for people. You have to be empathetic.

I'm sure some of that is the same, but there probably also have to be some differences in how you manage a team in the age of AI. For example, are people telling you that they use AI, or are they keeping it a secret because they don't want to risk getting more work because you're now more efficient? What are you hearing in the market? What are some of the materials you're developing on that topic?

Ashley Herd: That's a very good one. I think having those conversations is so important, and a lot of those are ways for the top leadership of the organisation, like you, to be realistic, try to embrace what you can, and know that you have a whole mix of feelings in the workplace.

You have some people who are excited. They're excited. They're embracing that; like you said, they're using it. They're making it more efficient, and those people are afraid of bringing it up because they do think they're just going to get piled on. But by showing ways that you can champion people's efficiency and not just punish your most efficient performers by expecting them to all of a sudden do more, you may also again have colleagues and team members that have a lot of fears.

One is, how do I actually use this embarrassment to fear job loss? Like, how is this going to impact you? And so really trying to strategically think about how people can integrate, asking questions, and rewarding people for that.

But for leadership and for team members, what I've done through LinkedIn now is something that leaders can use. Really, I focused on ChatGPT to keep it easy. And also, it's hard to venture into a lot of different technologies because, as I may say now, in an hour's time, the name will change.

If you want, hopefully everybody will watch the LinkedIn learning course on becoming an AI-powered manager. In it, I talk about logging in to ChatGPT.

Now you can just go to ChatGPT.com. You don't have to log in. Okay, that was just in February; record that.

Daan van Rossum: I'm running an AI training programme for executives. And I had to change the material as the course was running. The next day, I had to change something because ChatGPT 4.0 came around. Suddenly, my whole story about, Oh, GPTs, you can only use them on the paid plan. Suddenly, it was out of the window. So I had to update the material in real time right before it went out. So yeah, it's hard to keep it up-to-date. It's true. 

Ashley Herd: It's super hard. And so it's worth thinking about, and some of those lessons are things that seem basic, but like I say, ChatGPT is not your diary. So you're not using confidential information, and it's not your encyclopedia. So don't rely on it. It's definitely getting a lot smarter, and I find myself using it. I definitely trust, but I verify. I prompt, but verify what I'd say with it.

But a lot of it is the. In talking about ways you can do it, the manager course I have talks about ways you're really using ChatGPT as a personal coach again. I'd say if you are doing a paid plan, not logging in with your work email, doing it through your personal email, simple.

But I was just thinking about that. Some of these basic things, one example of which I have in a course that's coming out and another one with LinkedIn learning about AI, are: let's say you have a team meeting. Oh, my God, I totally forgot. I had this or this team meeting. They've been so stale typing in. I have this type of team. I have seven people with 30 minutes, and I want to do an activity on conflict management because we just had a lot of things on change management. We have two new managers.

And it will generate literally an activity, and you can do all the tweaks. No one wants to sit in a room and have a computer lead you through the activity. They want you, as a manager, a real human, to talk through it, but it can absolutely supercharge and just give you new ways of drafting things or sending communications.

So I am a huge fan of AI to become more efficient and just use it in what seems to be super basic ways.

Daan van Rossum: But sometimes the basic ways are the best ways to apply it and get immediate value from it. And like you said, there's so much to be gained. You have an issue, you go to ChatGPT, and you get some kind of solution, right? Way beyond what Google would ever do for you.

Ashley Herd: It is 99.99%. I will never engage with trolls in my comments. And that is one of the things I've really had to stick in my skin and learn the power of ignoring and forgetting things. I've done a couple of videos on ChatGPT, and people say it's just a glorified Google.

It is not. Literally, like I used the other day, some of this I think is really important, and I have a new one that just came out this week on LinkedIn Learning Nano. So, it's 9.5 minutes. You can learn 10 tips for work. You can master work-life balance in less than 10 minutes, but it includes some of these tips.

One thing that I think I allude to in one of these videos is that it's similar. Like the other day we went, my son was sick. I took him to urgent care, and I just had so much going on that we're sitting there, and there's nothing to read. I'm like, I don't want to sit on my phone.

I'm like, I'd love to think of a story. I do not have a brain cell right now. And so I went to ChatGPT and asked him, Can you write? And I said, I told him, because I said, Oh, we have this new course. I'm like, let's do this. I'm like, I'll show you what you can do.

And so I was like, Write a story about a 10-year-old boy; his name is this; this is what his favourite stuffed animal name is. And the Atlanta Braves are where we're from. And it wrote this with grit. And we were cracking up. I'm like, Can you make it 3.5 minutes long? That's how long we bet it would be before the healthcare provider came in, and it's little things like that.

But hearing that in ways, like, I love being creative, I'm not going to rely on ChatGPT for all of those things, but in a pinch, it was exactly what I needed. And we were totally cracking out. So anyway, that's a good one, so try that one. Anyone who's looking for some source of entertainment.

Daan van Rossum: Definitely. So it sounds like there is a lot to look forward to. Maybe work is still pretty tough for some, but there is hope, and hopefully, with the coming of more flexibility in when you work and also in how you work with AI, the world of work will be better. I'm sure your training will still be needed in the foreseeable future. 

Ashley Herd: I hope so. At least not before I retire.

Daan van Rossum: Exactly. Yeah, I'm sure that'll be the case. 

What's one wish that you have for the future of work? What do you hope to see? 

Ashley Herd: I really think this may sound corny, but it's like a level of just basic humanity. And I say that because in the AI context, a lot of people don't just copy and paste anything AI; they tweak it and add their own voice and style to it.

Or just looking at the people around you and thinking, every interaction you have with someone will have ripple effects on whether it's last for someone's lifetime or just last on who that person is in the next thing they move on to who, if they go to their next, you go and drive in traffic. If you're being a decent person, if they're so stressed based on the conversation, or if you just took it out on them.

And so all of those aspects of being human and just thinking more about people and trying to think of others at work in the way that you would want to be treated. And bringing those levels of humanity, I think, can bring the base levels of that respect that we talked about, but ultimately the actual joy and happiness at work.

Daan van Rossum: We've gone full circle. Perfect. Thank you so much, Ashley, for being on today. 

Ashley Herd: Thank you so much. I so appreciate you having me.

🎧 Listen Now:

In today’s episode, I welcome Ashley Herd, a lawyer turned management trainer whose TikToks and YouTube videos reach over 5 million views a month.

This reach gives Ashley an amazing insight into the real sentiment of employees and managers, which she combines with data from doing corporate leadership training at scale.

We'll discuss the importance of respect in the workplace, managers' untapped potential, and AI's evolving role in leadership. 

A great episode if you deal with remote teams, navigate hybrid work environments, or want to improve your managers.

Key Insights from Ashley Herd

Here are the actionable key takeaways from the conversation:

1. Respect and Humanity in the Workplace

Ashley sees a lot of unfiltered feedback on the world of work in her video comments.
Combined with corporate training, it’s taught her that when employees feel valued and respected, morale and productivity are significantly boosted.
Ensure you foster an environment where respect and empathy are central. Regularly check in with your team to understand their needs and concerns, and make people feel they matter in things like being able to take time off and getting credit for their work.

2. The Ripple Effect of Good Management

Effective management goes beyond getting the work done well; it's about positively influencing and inspiring teams.
But it goes further: As Ashley said: "Managers have a potential for ripple impact on their teams and often don't know how to harness it."
So, invest in manager training programs that focus on empathy, communication, and leadership skills. Give them the autonomy to manage well and not have to run to HR every time.

3. Driving Performance with Empathy

Performance is important, but don’t forget empathy to create a balanced and effective management style.
Focus on understanding your team's needs and aligning them with organizational goals for optimal performance.

4. Balancing Remote and Hybrid Work

Remote work requires a shift in management style, focusing more on outcomes than hours worked.
As Ashley said, "Managers often worry about what their remote teams are doing, but it's about setting clear expectations and trust."
Set clear goals and expectations for your remote teams. Use regular check-ins to maintain engagement and address any concerns.

🔔 Available on:

Transcript:

Daan van Rossum: It's so great to have you here. I wanted to kick off with a question because our mission here is to create a happier future of work because, for most of us, work can be quite miserable, and I just listened to the HR Besties episode about green flags in the workplace. 

I know that work can also be really great from time to time, but you now get over 5 million views, I think, on social media. With both your role play and the fact that you're talking to the camera about all these issues that are happening in the workplace.

Maybe if you want to understand how we create a happier future of work, what are you hearing from your community? What content do you see resonate about some of the things that are very challenging about work? 

Ashley Herd: When I think about common threads, some of them are really basic: people feeling like they matter and that they're respected. Their lives and their work, and a lot of that could be happiness, and that can play out in different ways from compensation.

A lot of the comments you'll see say, Just pay me. But if I were to say to someone, Okay, if I were to give you X amount more money or you can, work 40 more hours a week and have a boss that yells at you or never a response to your communication," people, I don't want that.

So a lot of it is just these threads of feeling like you matter, that you're treated like a fellow human being, and that you have that level of respect and the happiness aspect. I think it comes from when you have that, because when you feel like you're respected, then you may feel like you can open up and share things you're comfortable with on that personal level.

That's where I've certainly felt that on a personal level, and I've seen that from other people, but it really starts with that aspect of making people feel valued and respected at work.

Daan van Rossum: What's the flip side of that? What's the content where you're doing a role play with look, and it's about a certain topic that, like, everyone will jump into the comments and say, that’s exactly right?

That's what's wrong with work. And what are some of those topics that are just a continuous bane for people at work? 

Ashley Herd: I haven't done this in a while. This is the video that really went viral for me; it got a couple million, a few million views, and I didn't have anything like that—a video on pumping at work for women, breast milk, pumping, whatever.

In what vein were people like, Oh my God, I've had this experience? From pumping in like a storage closet or the bathroom or the jokes and comments. And so in 59 seconds, I tried to encapsulate all of that at once at that level. And it really stems from the fact that the manager in this situation, Lucas, is male. So he did not understand what this was like, but he really had no idea what that experience was like or how dehumanising and frustrating it could be.

So through that video, I talk a lot about having. Policies that limit someone to 15 minutes, like there's no one size fits all, In the comment section on that, I was never anticipating it, but it was so many people's experience.

I'd certainly had similar experiences personally. So I was validated, yet horrified that it's such a shared experience. But it's that vein where people just don't know or take time to understand what it's like for others.

Daan van Rossum: Still going back to that same theme of people just wanting to be treated as humans, and they want to be treated probably as grownups.

Ashley Herd: Yes, exactly right. People don't generally want to be treated worse than someone else, even their own children. And it's a pretty base-level expectation, and nobody's perfect. Fair enough. But the managers do that consistently.

Daan van Rossum: Definitely. What are some other topics that you see popping up when you post something? What are some other topics that you see that people really, yeah, again, have that lived experience? They're like, yep, that's my life. 

Ashley Herd: In terms of time off, like right now in the northern hemisphere, a lot of people may be getting ready for summer vacation. And so there's this issue of people who feel like they can't take their time off because there's so much work to do. That might be a little bit more of a uniquely American perspective, but across the board, the managers will like to reach out to you when you're on vacation or after hours, not having any sense of personal boundaries, and other things like credit. Someone works so hard and never even gets any sort of credit.

And by credit, I might even mean thank you or acknowledgement that someone did something. And so a lot of it, I really think, is this disconnect that there are managers and also colleagues; they're getting what they need, and they're moving on with life. And they're not thinking about that impact or how frustrating it can be to not get credit. Also, how validating it can be when you do get it.

Daan van Rossum: Absolutely. We got to talk about managers, I think. As the founder of the manager method, we get to talk about managers. Now you're ready? 

Ashley Herd: I liked it. I'm ready. I'm always ready. You can ask my kids. We're like going down the street; I'm like, Oh, are you thinking about that? What does that have to do with work? I'm like, yeah. I won't tell you. I'll tell you later.

Daan van Rossum: I heard in an interview you did last year that you originally chose employment law because someone said that there would always be work in employment law. And then eventually you ended up founding the manager method, which was really focused on helping managers become better managers. You even mentioned at an interview that a lot of the best managers you saw were not really in these corporate settings, but they were in maybe fast food restaurants or hospitality.

So what drove you to really be so invested in this idea of good management, and what are some of the lessons that you got from now doing that content for quite a while? 

Ashley Herd: I love your research. You're so good, Daan. You put in such a level of care, and this little researcher's heart is happy. But it's true.

I went into it based on suggestions. And I worked for two years between college and law school. It was corporate sales, but it was consulting research sales, so I had to marginally know what I was talking about, and I'm a nerd, so I really got into it.

In that year, it was employee engagement research, and I loved it. I'd never seen anything like it before. I'd never taken an HR organisational development class. Nothing like that. I really gravitated. And so hearing this idea that you'll never be out of work resonated with me because I was paying my way through law school and paid for it for years after with student loans.

But I am an extrovert. I love people. I love to research human things. Certainly, a reason I went into it. I found it much more interesting than any corporate finance law that I had to deal with. But really, it is one of the things I think I was surprised about.

Experiences that I had and not even in: I was an outside lawyer, like a law firm lawyer for KMart, for example, but I also worked at KMart in the electronics department when I was a teenager and worked at subway, and lessons I learned then stuck with me more than things I learned in corporate.

I worked on the support side. So at KFC, I was on the legal team, and I was on this legal HR dual growth path. We would go into restaurants and work alongside them. I feel sorry for the restaurant teams. I'm trying to work the drive through and close my eyes to listen, and it was really a skill set.

But I saw managers there. They would have these conversations, and they would be managing. They would literally be managing so many things at once. They would also be talking to their teens. Oh, they knew things were going on in their team's lives. Oh, how'd the ball game go last night? Or have you guys voted yet? Make sure you take time off to go vote. Then wow, getting things done, and it was really like wizardry.

So it was those skills that I've seen—the ability to get work done and drive performance in an empathetic way—that can be done in any type of environment.

When I started the manager method, it was because I'd worked in those environments. I've also worked in boardrooms and at some of the top organisations in the world. But at the end of the day, a lot of managers just have the potential for a ripple impact on their teams, and they don't know how to do it. That's what really drove me with some of those common experiences.

Daan van Rossum: So maybe share a bit about the manager method, and what are some of the fundamental basic blocks that you teach every manager? I'm also very curious about how you work with companies, because I'm assuming that most of the time a company will be the one to bring you in, and we don't really have manager training.

So, can you do it for us? Hopefully in a more fun way, and some of the people actually retain more knowledge than with typical corporate training, what does that side of the business look like? Again, what do you teach there?

Ashley Herd: So manager method, it really is about what you said. It's about helping managers become better leaders and feel confident, and really, it's that idea of driving performance with empathy and knowing what you need to know. I have been a lawyer. I've been in HR. I'm not trying to turn managers into junior lawyers in HR, but it's to give people more autonomy.

So they're not running to HR to solve every issue that comes up in their team because they don't know what to do or say. That's not good for the manager, and that's not really good for their team member who doesn't want to hear from HR. I know that.

But so what I teach is the whole skill set from thinking about hiring, like, before you hire, when you're interviewing people, do you have a head count? Do you know what that means? Do you have the authority to hire? Are you going to set unrealistic expectations? What are some things you should know at the outset? All the way through onboarding, whether it's remote, whether it's in an on-foot environment or a corporate environment. How do I run one-on-one team meetings? How do you give performance feedback between those one-on-one meetings?

All the way through, if someone's not performing, what do you do? So you're not then, again, running to HR and saying, I need to get rid of this person. Okay. Well, that's probably not going to work well for anybody up through even termination of employment. If your best employee quits, what do you do, and why does that matter to the whole rest of the team and yourself as a leader?

It's a lot about opening people's eyes and then giving them practical tips. So the way I work with organisations is that I've done live and virtual trainings, and I definitely enjoy those, but one thing I say is that training can be like Mario Kart.

Sometimes that resonates with people, sometimes it doesn't. But think of your favourite video game or things like that, and so I say Mario Kart because you can pick a player. That's as slow as molasses, but it's going to hit every curve. It's your pluses and minuses, or you have a mushroom that is speedy but may fly off the tracks. And so you've got to pick; there's rarely a perfect character except for Princess, who is a very perfect character in Mario Kart.

But when you think about training, like a lot of people say, live training," okay, why do you want that? We know people are going to pay attention, and they're actually going to do it, and they're going to be there. Okay, cool. Got it.

So you're telling me you want people to pay attention, but what happens when they're super engaged? They're all enjoying that training; maybe they're taking notes, maybe not. And then they move on with life, and they forget about anything that they've learned or what happens if someone who really needs to hear the training is out sick.

Okay, so they're going to watch a replay of it when the person's not looking at them, like they're probably going to be pretty disengaged? And so, what I do with organisations is video-based, demand-based training. And so I have this whole course, but it's indigestible, digestible modules. It's trackable.

Now, organisations can even load it into their own LMS. We have a license for that, or we have it on our platform, and our client success team sends tracking updates and all of that, but for organizations, it’s on demand. I have a whole schedule for communication, so people know how you announce it and how you talk about it.

Here's reminders. But to thread the needle, I have a resource guide that goes along with it that has things like tips and talking points, and it's all tracked to the module. So you don't have to take notes. You can leverage it, but also for managers to have a live component. I often say people watch the training now because I've added a whole module on managing remote teams, like an optional module. People may have heard from me now for about six and a half hours again.

I have a four- to five-month schedule, so it breaks up. People have heard from me, but for organisations in part, it can be a really strong thing for HR to build your internal credibility and show yourselves as a partner.

I've given them to run follow-up cohort sessions. So they have sessions, and I have everything, like a PowerPoint deck and talking points, so they can run these sessions. I have videos. I have had conversations from junior HR coordinators to senior chief people officers who are all terrified to leave these sessions.

So I work to get you comfortable doing that. And the number one feedback I have is that people think this went so great. People were engaged, especially those managers. I recently actually led one of the first sessions of that for an organisation, and a manager who'd been there for a long time had said, I'll be honest, I was not looking forward to this training, but I liked the videos, and I really liked today.

Maybe that's not appropriate. And I said, No, that's the best feedback I could have. So, it's really to thread the needle, to have the materials on demand, to have the written materials they can cite through, and then these sessions, but to do those internally and with help, some organisations will customise those materials themselves; others, I take some heavy lifting and work on.

So that is manager 101, which is the name of it and what I do, but it really is again to upscale those teams.

Daan van Rossum: But that's incredible because then you're also off-scaling the HR team in the process, and it becomes a conversation internally versus just, I've sent people to the training; they've done the training. Now you should be a good manager because it is actually when you dive deeper and contextualise it to your company that you actually start to have the real conversations about, okay, that's the theory, and that sounds really great, but why are we not applying it?

While in our company, we have a lack of this, or we don't have these resources, or I don't have the time to do that. You need to free me up to have time to manage things like that. So that sounds like a really good connection point. 

I think also overall, because you also do LinkedIn learning and obviously TikTok, and you do these things like corporate training and video training, you're learning a lot too about what actually works.

Because most people don't want to sit in long training sessions, I still remember when I was at Ogilvy and I had these compliance trainings where you had to click through all the screens. And it's just horrible. 

So do you also see now that because people are getting more used to short-form contents, the training needs to be more like that, where it's shorter pieces of information, and then what do you do with that? And then have that internal discussion. Is learning and development changing in that way as well?

Ashley Herd: I definitely think there's some attention span that people have; they don't want to sit for hours on end and have this same discussion, which is why it can be helpful to have it. Okay, you can divide it up, but a lot of it is in one thing I have with my training. When I did my LinkedIn learning course, I flew out to California. I've done a couple of them, and I watched that, and I was like, Oh my God, I'm so embarrassed. My manager 101 course.

It's here, and my set is sitting at my desk, and it's just talking conversationally like that. I remember thinking, Oh my God, it's a set. So many people have worked on it. It's glossed over.

And I talked to a couple organisations, and I said, Okay, what about from the quality aspect? And people said it felt like a conversation, and so even I've had the same experience with this manager 101 course. I've had numerous. Tech is probably the number one of them; there are a number of kinds of global tech companies that have used it, like health care, manufacturing, nonprofits, restaurants, and retail, and I was cognizant of this.

So in it, I do talk about, okay, here's how to have a team meeting. If you have a couple of minutes of pre-shift huddle, here's how to do it: If you have 60 minutes, sit in a conference room once a week, once a month, or whatever.

And so talking to those, I'd spoken to this restaurant group, a large franchisee of a known brand, and it said, Give me feedback. So we ended up. He's like, keep all of the material in it. Because even when I talk about general corporate things, our team loves to hear that because it makes them think, What if we wanted to work on the support centre?

But organisations can customise those sessions. That's where people can customise the toolkit and the talking points. This is what we have. It has evolved, and I have had so much fun. I spend the vast majority of my time working on tweaking those, adding, and recording additional modules.

I do think having a conversational, engaging style makes a difference. I think about some of the trainings I helped to lead when I was a junior law firm associate, and God bless them. But like some of these senior partners, it's like the same conversation about walking.

It's like walking you through these laws, and there's just no practical application. Managers don't care. They really don't. Nor should they. But if you put it in terms of whether you feel like managers have to have a certain persona, that's the first slide that starts after.

Do you feel like you have to shape it? And do you feel like you need to change? And so to get some of those conversations going, that can be helpful to show that this isn't regular manager training. It's cool. Manager training.

Daan van Rossum: I'm not a regular mom. I'm a cool mom. Come on.  

Ashley Herd: Totally. I have a shirt that says exactly that.

Daan van Rossum: That makes a lot of sense to me. I think it's super interesting to think about things like how formats are changing and what the right balance is between what people are used to from online contestants and then what I wouldn't counter in a corporate setting, which is night and day usually, and I think this probably bridges it quite well.

As you said, because you don't have to go do some sets that are super polished and where 20 people are working on them, you can actually add modules just by sitting back at your same desk and doing that extra content. So, you've already mentioned remote work. So, this sounds like another module that you have now added with some tips.

I want to hear what some tips are for a remote work site, and I obviously also want to hear them because I saw you now do a Nano course about AI, like leading in the age of AI. What are some things managers need to know about that? Let's start with remote work because that's something you spend a lot of time on.

What is different about managing a remote team or a hybrid team versus managing an in-office team? 

Ashley Herd: Some of the concerns that managers frequently have about remote and hybrid teams are: What is my team doing? How can I measure productivity? And they worry about that because they're hearing that from CEOs who go on news channels and say that people aren't productive. And making these sweeping statements.

The beauty that I have comes from having very scientific studies of comments on TikTok, but I see these common themes among people, and I know it from a shared experience of how I've worked. I work my ass off when I work at home frequently. Right now it's 9 o'clock p.m. my time, and this is a delightful conversation.

I've had plenty of nights doing remote work where I'm doing that, and, oh my God, because I feel obligated to in ways that I wouldn't have when I was in the office and felt like I could disconnect.

Some of this is really taking the spin on that and saying to managers, if you have these concerns, what about talking to your teams about them? That is insane. If I had to justify the productivity levels, I know you all are working, but how can I show that? And how can we measure those things, talk about them, and give real talking points for them?

So some of it's thinking about that. Others are having conversations about boundaries about how you do shut that laptop, turn off your phone, and having those conversations. Frequently, managers assume that their team members know what to do and that if they're working long hours, that's their choice.

And they're not thinking about the long-term ramifications or having conversations. And so it really takes that idea of driving performance with empathy into some of the unique ways of remote work, including some self-care for managers in thinking about those topics. And so that was really our most-requested additional module.

And so, getting that out now, I have a whole toolkit and PowerPoint for that. And so I have a bonus section because I do not introduce that module for solely in-person workplaces. That's like, normally, we don't. We don't customise the content of that, but I'm cognizant that there may be some in-person workplaces that do not want to sit around watching 45 minutes of remote work. So I have that as a bonus section in the library for managers. So, I try to be very sensitive to that.

Daan van Rossum: What's the feedback on it? When people hear these really important discussions, I think your team is working hard—probably too hard—and are you keeping a tab on that side of it?

This is the tough part. Like Emily Fields work from McKinsey on the importance of the middle manager, but also the plight of the middle manager being squeezed in between the work you have to do yourself, the pressure from above you, and the pressure from below you. What's the response when people hear that?

Ashley Herd: It has been very strong because it is like people go; people need to hear this and they don't have any ideas, and the resource guide for that has gotten a lot of good feedback because it has, again, questions to ask your team and also questions to ask IT, for example, about what we have from a technological standpoint and also for trainings. How can people use it, as well as one thing that's really emerged in the US? I'm curious globally, but accessibility for candidates who have the ability to do remote work has massively helped some candidates, team members, and employees with unique needs who have mobility issues that make it hard for them to get to the office.

On the flip side, you've seen an increase in the US of hiring managers assuming, Oh, if someone's deaf or hard of hearing, Oh, they can't, we're a remote first environment, you can't, and not understanding that. And so that's been on the rise in the US from a claims perspective. And so in it, some of what I have is talking about that.

Also, bringing this idea to the managers is saying, Okay, think about the people behind all of these things and how intimidating it can be to come into this workplace. And they may have had 20 companies that they tried to work with that shut them down. You can be that manager who, with very basic steps, shows them, Okay, support. You don't have to be the expert, but this is how you have that conversation, and then you go ask HR.

Then your organisation can tell you what your capabilities are. And so it's just bringing this confidence to be able to give those levels of respect that people may not have thought there were any options.

Daan van Rossum: Yeah, that makes so much sense. There's probably a lot of stuff that's simmering below the service, and someone just has to come out and say it, and then you're that person. It is very beneficial to the company, to the manager, and to the employees as well.

The same question is about AI. Generative AI obviously has changed quite a bit in how we work. We've seen some recent studies from Microsoft, for example, that say that even if managers or leadership are not thinking about AI, creating AI frameworks, or bringing the technology to the teams, people are just bringing their own AI tools, and they're putting all their confidential company information into their own personal ChatGPT. What is leadership like? Because I'm sure some principles will be the same: you have to be a good human, and you have to be caring for people. You have to be empathetic.

I'm sure some of that is the same, but there probably also have to be some differences in how you manage a team in the age of AI. For example, are people telling you that they use AI, or are they keeping it a secret because they don't want to risk getting more work because you're now more efficient? What are you hearing in the market? What are some of the materials you're developing on that topic?

Ashley Herd: That's a very good one. I think having those conversations is so important, and a lot of those are ways for the top leadership of the organisation, like you, to be realistic, try to embrace what you can, and know that you have a whole mix of feelings in the workplace.

You have some people who are excited. They're excited. They're embracing that; like you said, they're using it. They're making it more efficient, and those people are afraid of bringing it up because they do think they're just going to get piled on. But by showing ways that you can champion people's efficiency and not just punish your most efficient performers by expecting them to all of a sudden do more, you may also again have colleagues and team members that have a lot of fears.

One is, how do I actually use this embarrassment to fear job loss? Like, how is this going to impact you? And so really trying to strategically think about how people can integrate, asking questions, and rewarding people for that.

But for leadership and for team members, what I've done through LinkedIn now is something that leaders can use. Really, I focused on ChatGPT to keep it easy. And also, it's hard to venture into a lot of different technologies because, as I may say now, in an hour's time, the name will change.

If you want, hopefully everybody will watch the LinkedIn learning course on becoming an AI-powered manager. In it, I talk about logging in to ChatGPT.

Now you can just go to ChatGPT.com. You don't have to log in. Okay, that was just in February; record that.

Daan van Rossum: I'm running an AI training programme for executives. And I had to change the material as the course was running. The next day, I had to change something because ChatGPT 4.0 came around. Suddenly, my whole story about, Oh, GPTs, you can only use them on the paid plan. Suddenly, it was out of the window. So I had to update the material in real time right before it went out. So yeah, it's hard to keep it up-to-date. It's true. 

Ashley Herd: It's super hard. And so it's worth thinking about, and some of those lessons are things that seem basic, but like I say, ChatGPT is not your diary. So you're not using confidential information, and it's not your encyclopedia. So don't rely on it. It's definitely getting a lot smarter, and I find myself using it. I definitely trust, but I verify. I prompt, but verify what I'd say with it.

But a lot of it is the. In talking about ways you can do it, the manager course I have talks about ways you're really using ChatGPT as a personal coach again. I'd say if you are doing a paid plan, not logging in with your work email, doing it through your personal email, simple.

But I was just thinking about that. Some of these basic things, one example of which I have in a course that's coming out and another one with LinkedIn learning about AI, are: let's say you have a team meeting. Oh, my God, I totally forgot. I had this or this team meeting. They've been so stale typing in. I have this type of team. I have seven people with 30 minutes, and I want to do an activity on conflict management because we just had a lot of things on change management. We have two new managers.

And it will generate literally an activity, and you can do all the tweaks. No one wants to sit in a room and have a computer lead you through the activity. They want you, as a manager, a real human, to talk through it, but it can absolutely supercharge and just give you new ways of drafting things or sending communications.

So I am a huge fan of AI to become more efficient and just use it in what seems to be super basic ways.

Daan van Rossum: But sometimes the basic ways are the best ways to apply it and get immediate value from it. And like you said, there's so much to be gained. You have an issue, you go to ChatGPT, and you get some kind of solution, right? Way beyond what Google would ever do for you.

Ashley Herd: It is 99.99%. I will never engage with trolls in my comments. And that is one of the things I've really had to stick in my skin and learn the power of ignoring and forgetting things. I've done a couple of videos on ChatGPT, and people say it's just a glorified Google.

It is not. Literally, like I used the other day, some of this I think is really important, and I have a new one that just came out this week on LinkedIn Learning Nano. So, it's 9.5 minutes. You can learn 10 tips for work. You can master work-life balance in less than 10 minutes, but it includes some of these tips.

One thing that I think I allude to in one of these videos is that it's similar. Like the other day we went, my son was sick. I took him to urgent care, and I just had so much going on that we're sitting there, and there's nothing to read. I'm like, I don't want to sit on my phone.

I'm like, I'd love to think of a story. I do not have a brain cell right now. And so I went to ChatGPT and asked him, Can you write? And I said, I told him, because I said, Oh, we have this new course. I'm like, let's do this. I'm like, I'll show you what you can do.

And so I was like, Write a story about a 10-year-old boy; his name is this; this is what his favourite stuffed animal name is. And the Atlanta Braves are where we're from. And it wrote this with grit. And we were cracking up. I'm like, Can you make it 3.5 minutes long? That's how long we bet it would be before the healthcare provider came in, and it's little things like that.

But hearing that in ways, like, I love being creative, I'm not going to rely on ChatGPT for all of those things, but in a pinch, it was exactly what I needed. And we were totally cracking out. So anyway, that's a good one, so try that one. Anyone who's looking for some source of entertainment.

Daan van Rossum: Definitely. So it sounds like there is a lot to look forward to. Maybe work is still pretty tough for some, but there is hope, and hopefully, with the coming of more flexibility in when you work and also in how you work with AI, the world of work will be better. I'm sure your training will still be needed in the foreseeable future. 

Ashley Herd: I hope so. At least not before I retire.

Daan van Rossum: Exactly. Yeah, I'm sure that'll be the case. 

What's one wish that you have for the future of work? What do you hope to see? 

Ashley Herd: I really think this may sound corny, but it's like a level of just basic humanity. And I say that because in the AI context, a lot of people don't just copy and paste anything AI; they tweak it and add their own voice and style to it.

Or just looking at the people around you and thinking, every interaction you have with someone will have ripple effects on whether it's last for someone's lifetime or just last on who that person is in the next thing they move on to who, if they go to their next, you go and drive in traffic. If you're being a decent person, if they're so stressed based on the conversation, or if you just took it out on them.

And so all of those aspects of being human and just thinking more about people and trying to think of others at work in the way that you would want to be treated. And bringing those levels of humanity, I think, can bring the base levels of that respect that we talked about, but ultimately the actual joy and happiness at work.

Daan van Rossum: We've gone full circle. Perfect. Thank you so much, Ashley, for being on today. 

Ashley Herd: Thank you so much. I so appreciate you having me.

FlexOS | Future Work

Weekly Insights about the Future of Work

The world of work is changing faster than the time we have to understand it.
Sign up for my weekly newsletter for an easy-to-digest breakdown of the biggest stories.

Join over 42,000 people-centric, future-forward senior leaders at companies like Apple, Amazon, Gallup, HBR, Atlassian, Microsoft, Google, and more.

Unsubscribe anytime. No spam guaranteed.
FlexOS - Stay Ahead - Logo SVG

Stay Ahead in the Future of Work

Get AI-powered tips and tools in your inbox to work smarter, not harder.

Get the insider scoop to increase productivity, streamline workflows, and stay ahead of trends shaping the future of work.

Join over 42,000 people-centric, future-forward senior leaders at companies like Apple, Amazon, Gallup, HBR, Atlassian, Microsoft, Google, and more.

Unsubscribe anytime. No spam guaranteed.
All articles about

Future Work

A weekly column and podcast on the remote, hybrid, and AI-driven future of work. By FlexOS founder Daan van Rossum.