Bonnie Low-Kramen on Real Stories from Staff, Psychological Safety, and the Ultimate Workplace

Today, Adam joins Hallie for a powerful conversation with author, Bonnie Low-Kramen. For twenty-five years, Bonnie Low-Kramen worked as the personal assistant to Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis and Louis Zorich. From there, she became a sought-after author and speaker on workplace issues. Her new book, Staff Matters: People-Focused Solutions for the Ultimate New Workplace, is a revolutionary and thoughtful approach to bridging the gaps between all staff in the post-pandemic world.

We had a great time talking with Bonnie about how the pandemic has changed work, the importance of psychological safety, and building the ultimate workplace. She also shared some awesome examples of real staff stories and some of the research in her book, Staff Matters.


References and Resources

Staff Matters: People-Focused Solutions for the Ultimate New Workplace by Bonnie Low-Kramen



[2:35] Bonnie’s book, Staff Matters: People-Focused Solutions for the Ultimate New Workplace, releases February 28, 2023. She shares how the book has been in the works for at least 7 years as she became aware of how much goes unsaid within the workplace.

[5:52] These disconnects that are happening in the workplace are universal. Bonnie has witnessed these things in every country she’s visited.

[7:14] The catalyst for Bonnie’s exploration into these workplace struggles was a conversation she had with a CEO at a conference. He told her, “If no one is telling me there’s a problem, I think there is none.” Leaders need to listen to the silence.

[9:24] Is anyone on your staff carrying around a “Rock of Insignificance”? Is psychological safety a value at your company?

[14:47] The first step to creating a healthy work environment is to clearly communicate with the key members of your organization. Let them know that they are the eyes and ears of the organization and that they have an open line of communication with you.

[16:52] Leaders don’t have to have all the answers or be right all the time. They just have to communicate with their people and make sure their motive is to do what’s best for the organization.

[20:48] People want to know that what they’re doing matters. Making your staff feel respected and utilized will work better than just throwing more money at them.

[25:02] Handling layoffs is never easy, especially when the decision has to be discreet, but if you genuinely try to handle them in a humane way, everything will work out for the best for everyone involved.

[31:15] Most leaders don’t receive formal leadership training until almost 20 years into their career.

[35:01] When making organizational adjustments, take a look at your current staff first and see where someone may be able to fill in the gaps. You may be able to revise someone’s job description rather than hire a completely new person

[35:58] Hybrid and remote work is here to stay, but “proximity bias” may become an issue.

[42:58] People skills are becoming much more valuable for leaders moving into CEO roles, as opposed to when we used to see CFOs or other technical roles make this move.

[44:29] The ultimate workplace is one where the staff feels respected for their unique contributions, are paid fairly and transparently, and feel supported by their leadership to keep growing and learning, clear expectations

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