Linda Tucci, Global Sr. Director of the Technical Solutions Center at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, talks with Sarah about why – particularly this year – it is critical to make mental health a priority in service leadership and how she’s done so, for herself and her team.

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Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today, we’re going to be tackling a topic that is near and dear to my heart, which is the topic of mental health. We’re going to be talking about why making mental health is so important of a focus in service leadership. I’m excited to welcome to the podcast today, Linda Tucci, senior global director for the Technical Solutions Center at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. Linda, welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast.

Linda Tucci: Great to be here with you today.

Sarah Nicastro: I’m excited to have you. Linda and I have talked quite a bit about this topic, and I’m thrilled that she’s here, because she’s willing to be very open and very honest about a topic that sometimes can be a little personal, a little uncomfortable for people to speak freely about. But I think it’s very important that we do, so thank you, Linda, for being willing to get personal with us and share with us. Before we start our conversation and dig into the topic, why don’t you just tell our listeners a bit about yourself, a bit about Ortho, and your role there?

Linda Tucci: Sure thing. Well, I started my career as a medical technologist and worked in multiple hospitals in Boston, New York City. Basically, when you go to the doctor and give blood, I was one of the med techs that processed the blood samples to generate the diagnostic results. And I really enjoyed being a med tech, and I see them as unsung heroes within our medical system. Later, I moved to the medical device industry, working for the manufacturers of those analyzers, and had various roles, I would say, over the past 20-plus years now, primarily in service management, whether in field service or in a contact center environment providing technical support.

Linda Tucci: My role here at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, I’ve been here now for five years. I’m the global director for the Technical Solutions Center. At Ortho, we manufacture products and equipment for blood testing that include both diagnostic analysis and also blood transfusion compatibility. My team provides technical phone support to the operators of the analyzers, medical technologists in hospital and reference labs. And we also provide escalation support to our field personnel. I’ve enjoyed being in service roles. That’s basically what I do, and I serve our customers best by taking great care of the people that I serve at Ortho.

Sarah Nicastro: Absolutely. I think that this topic is one that has been more important than the attention it gets for quite a long time, but I think particularly this year, the topic of mental health is just critical. It’s been a heavy year for just about everyone in some way, but especially for you. Tell us about that, and then we will get into how that matters and what that means when you are in a service leadership role.

Linda Tucci: Sure. Well, I would say my story is my mom passed back in March, just shy of her 96th birthday. She had increasing challenges in the last year of her life, but had a rapid decline, and passed away just as COVID was blowing up. We had the wake and the funeral just as social distancing mandates were being enforced.

Linda Tucci: And when I came back to work, I found myself in a very fragile, and I would even say hypersensitive, state. And on my first day back, I had the following thought, and that was that I really needed compassion shown to me, and I needed to have the courage to tell people what I needed, and to do so with clarity. And being an introspective person by nature, I really thought more about the topic of those three words: compassion, courage, and clarity.

Linda Tucci: With compassion, I clearly knew that I needed compassion shown to me, but I asked myself if I was really demonstrating compassion to others. In the midst of the past few months, with people working remote and having all of the pressure, in light of the environment of COVID, it was vital. And especially, you’re at home, dog’s barking, caring for children, aging parents. I really asked myself, was I truly being compassionate in an impactful way? Was I encouraging people to have the conversations that really were important? Especially for people that it doesn’t come easy or natural, was I creating that environment? Especially, was I being very clear? Not wishy-washy, but being very direct.

Linda Tucci: I questioned, as someone who aspires to be experienced as a leader, was I making space for the conversations that were important? And in reality, the response wasn’t what I exactly would’ve wanted to have told myself. And it wasn’t that I wasn’t doing it, but I questioned if I was doing it consistently, and that’s something I really am trying to model now. Does that make sense?

Sarah Nicastro: That does make sense. And I think that it’s… There’s a lot of layers to this, right? You had this major, major loss, and I’m so sorry for that.

Linda Tucci: Thank you.

Sarah Nicastro: And then that’s combined with the start of this global pandemic, which is something that… In March, I know, myself, I could’ve never imagined what we’ve been up for this year and how it would impact my own mental health. I think, for me, I have really quite significant anxiety, and I’ve battled with depression off and on, and so I’m aware of those things and I work to manage them and take care of myself.

Sarah Nicastro: And I think when this all first started, I actually went into this crisis response, which I do quite well in a crisis. I’m like, “Oh, this is fine. Everything’s fine. We’re going to isolate, the kids are going to be home, but it’ll be totally fine. We’ve got this.” And then, around May or so, it just all of a sudden came… It hit me like a ton of bricks, because it’s like, “Okay, wait. This was supposed to be this short thing that we had to deal with, and I thought it was going to be fine, but I can’t do this forever.” It has been a tumultuous year, and I think it’s so important to figure out how to find your best balance between staying as mentally healthy as you can and continuing to show up in your role and be there, for you, for your people.

Sarah Nicastro: I want to talk about specifically some of the traits that you had to look internally on and say, “Okay, this is something that I need to ask for and exhibit.” The first is vulnerability, and that’s something that is not easy. But I think that, as a leader, if you can lead by example in being vulnerable, that is a huge gift, particularly this year, for people to know that it’s okay if they’re not okay. Tell us a little bit about your experience with knowing you needed to be vulnerable and how you’ve done that in a way that empowers your team to do the same.

Linda Tucci: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, I would say, when I talk about compassion, it’s clear that it’s equally important to demonstrate compassion for others and also have self-compassion, and that’s been a major lesson for me. If we don’t stop to refuel and recharge ourselves, then we’ve got nothing to give the other, whether at work or within our families.

Linda Tucci: For me personally, taking time for me, which always isn’t in the forefront of my mind, was something I made myself do, because I recognized how important it was. On top of everything else, I had an emergency appendectomy in July, just another gift of 2020. And then, over August and September, moved to a new home. I would say 2020 has just been a blur. Making time for me, just to relax. Walk the dogs, more prep time for work so that I felt ready to be present at work. But most important that I was focusing on what mattered most, and a lesson for me is to also to know what to let go, to do my best to be present in each moment and not get overwhelmed with all the other things that needed to get done, not get overwhelmed with all the external noise due to the state of the world.

Linda Tucci: And for my team, I felt it very important that I shared my story, my struggles, and how I responded to it. When I did my midyear global updates, a series of town halls, as a check-in, I shared openly how I’d used our employee assistance program at work and how beneficial I found that experience. And I invited everyone, if they were struggling in any way, to find someone to talk to, it didn’t need to be their manager, to know of the great tools that we have here at Ortho for them.

Linda Tucci: I received heartfelt responses from individuals around the world, and a few even told me that it gave them the courage to open up to have conversations that they were struggling. And I’ve encouraged my managers to do the same with their teams, to make sure that they’re caring for their people in the context of their present state. It was important for me that I modeled that behavior.

Sarah Nicastro: Tell me what you mean by that, the context of their present state.

Linda Tucci: Well, I believe that we have to meet people where they are, based on their emotional state, their needs, their concerns. For me, it’s really important to foster connection, collaboration, and alignment. We have to personalize how we respond to people. Some people love direct feedback, some people want a two-by-four. They don’t want the sugar coating. Some people need to hear feedback in a more sensitive way, and it’s important that we react to where the other person is. I believe seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Linda Tucci: And maybe what had worked historically in a past relationship… Like my story. I came back to work. The work was there, it was coming, guns a-blazing. Do you know what I mean? And yes, of course, people had known that my mom had passed and were sensitive to that, but unless I spoke about it, they would not know that I really felt fragile, that I needed something more.

Sarah Nicastro: And something different.

Linda Tucci: Yes.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I think that’s a really good point, and I think that there can be this stigma around being vulnerable at work, and particularly as a leader. And I think that stigma is only really going to be minimized or erased by folks like you leading by example, being comfortable talking about your current reality. And also, showing that, despite what was going on in your life and despite the state you were in mentally and how you might have needed to interact and engage differently, you were still showing up. You were still showing up, you still found ways to contribute and to be effective and impactful. It just looked different than it had before. How would you summarize why vulnerability is so important in leadership, particularly this year?

Linda Tucci: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, you’ve touched upon it already. Just look around. All the data says that depression, suicide, anxiety rates are up. And it’s unfortunate, even with my own team, there’s been family members who have committed suicide. People are suffering. 2020 is throwing the kitchen sink at us, between the lockdowns, job loss, wildfires, hurricanes, stress, polarization. I would say that we have to ask ourselves, how do we manage, how do we lead in these times? If we want to be experienced as leaders, we have to demonstrate both empathy and compassion. People connect with people.

Linda Tucci: And being vulnerable is not a weakness; it’s an act of courage. There’s evidence that leaders who are prepared to show their vulnerability more easily gain the trust of others and are believed to be more effective leaders, and I believe in that statement. Brené Brown says, endearing greatly, that, “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of human experience.” And I believe in that.

Linda Tucci: A couple months back, I shared a quote with my management team attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, and that’s, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in their leader. A great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” And I hope to exemplify that and enable others to do so as well.

Sarah Nicastro: Absolutely. I love that. And one of the things that I’ve had a few conversations around this year that is particularly challenging in our virtual world, is picking up on cues that are easier to pick up on in person. When someone doesn’t feel empowered to speak up, or they’re uncomfortable sharing in an office environment or in an in-person environment, you might be able to just notice they’re a little bit withdrawn or notice that something’s wrong, and decide how to handle that. Maybe you address it directly, maybe you just subtly let them know, “Hey, I’m here if you need to talk,” or, “Is everything okay?” Whatever that is.

Sarah Nicastro: And in this virtual world, I think one of the reasons we’re seeing increases in depression and anxiety and all of those things is, it is easy to disconnect. It’s not the same as it is in person. Your employee can be going through something significant and not share. I think that creating a safe place and showing that… Not saying, “Hey, it’s okay,” but showing that by being the one that is saying, “Hey, I’m not okay, and here’s how I need you to help me.” I mean, there’s no more powerful gift in letting them know that they can do the same. I just think that’s a really, really important point.

Sarah Nicastro: The other aspect of this, though, beyond getting comfortable being vulnerable. Some people are naturally okay with it, and others are not at all. This is going to be a real test for some folks. But besides getting comfortable being vulnerable, you need to be able to have courageous, and sometimes really hard, conversations. What is your advice on being able to do that well, both as it relates to yourself and as it relates to the folks that you’re leading?

Linda Tucci: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, I would say introspection is key. Self-awareness is so important. I’m someone who wears my heart on the sleeve. If you ask me how I’m doing, I’m going to tell you. But everyone’s not wired that way. And to your point, moving virtual and not having these face-to-face interactions or doing it over webcams, we have to give space for those safe conversations.

Linda Tucci: I have found that, when I share my experience, and I don’t mean coming from a place to make it about me, but to make connection. And when I ask the question of saying, “Hey, I’m really struggling with this,” whatever the this is. “How are you managing it?” Really demonstrating active listening, but asking those open-ended questions. Leave it for the other, whether they want to respond or not. But if you have a reporting relationship or any working relationship with the other, you’ll notice those cues. You’ll notice if the behavior is different. But you need to keep it safe for the other.

Linda Tucci: I said already, come from the space of seek first to understand, then to be understood. But if it’s not your strength, and especially being in a role as a leader, you have an obligation to get help from your HR department or others, because the people that we serve deserve to get the feedback that’s required, deserve to have a leader who is sensitive to their needs. To hold back on not giving feedback or shying away from the tough conversation is not living up to our obligation.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. And we had Mita Mallick on a few months ago, and we had a… She was with Unilever at the time and has since changed into a different role, but we had a great conversation around how to have hard conversations around race. And it was, I thought, a really great conversation. But one of the things that we talked about, and I think it’s also very relevant here, is you might not do this right every time. I mean, you may falter, you may say the wrong thing, you may overstep, you may under-share. But I think that if you are being authentic, if you are coming from a place of genuinely caring about those that you’re leading, and genuinely communicating your needs because it’s important to you, I think that’s okay. And I think that this fear of saying or doing the wrong thing often paralyzes people from saying or doing anything. I think it’s okay to mess up if we’re coming from a good place. That authenticity shines through. Good.

Sarah Nicastro: All right. Another thing I wanted to talk about is resilience and making the choice to lead and to show up, even when we might not want to. How did you do this?

Linda Tucci: And I will also add to your comments. Vulnerability is key. This all goes back to being open to being vulnerable, because let me tell you, I don’t get it right a lot of the time. I would just add that.

Sarah Nicastro: In practice. I mean, if it’s something… Like you said, you’re an open book. So am I. I identify 100%. I mean, someone says, “How are you, Sarah?” And then 30 minutes later, they know every ridiculous detail of what’s going on. I’m definitely an over-sharer. But if you’re not, that’s okay, but it’s an important muscle to flex and practice working. Yeah.

Linda Tucci: Agreed. I’ve been saying this year that now’s the time we truly choose to lead. The world continues to change at an increasingly rapid pace, and we all know the human condition when it comes to change. But we’ve got an obligation to make sure that we don’t lose sight of the big picture. For me, the resilience, I still have a job to do. I have a role, I need to fulfill that commitment. And over the past few months here at Ortho, we’ve had some reorganization. I have a new boss. For me, very practically speaking, to make sure that we’re aligned and understanding priorities, what’s most important for the business, being open with her about my need to demonstrate self-compassion.

Linda Tucci: But I would even say to myself that I needed to give myself the grace of knowing that I may not be able to get everything done to the level that I would like to, and be okay with it, that as long as I was aligned with my boss, that it was okay. That, to me, also helped with my resilience, that, “Hey, here’s the level I’m working at. Let me communicate it to you,” and really continue to engage in that dialogue. I have found that the more effective I am at communicating at work that it makes it easier to bounce back, because others know where I’m coming from. And that’s worked for me. Now’s not the time to clam up, from my perspective, especially if you find yourself struggling. I have found that I just focus on the day. It’s just today. What am I doing today? Do you know what I mean?

Sarah Nicastro: I do.

Linda Tucci: That has helped me with my resilience. And if that’s overwhelming, I would say focus on the hour, focus on the moment. When I find the anxiety bubbling, I’ll just take a couple of minutes, take a few deep breaths, refocus, say a quick prayer. That’s helped me just to stay on top. I’m not worried about all the stuff that’s coming down the pike, the more I can be present in the moment. Right now, it’s all about me and you, having this conversation. I don’t need to worry about everything else. When I focus and feel centered in the moment, and to slow down enough to make connection in that moment, that’s when I feel most resilient.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely. And I think, again, people react differently. I know that there are some folks that, in turbulent times, work is how they cope. You may just pour yourself into it. And that can be unhealthy, too. To your earlier point, needing to prioritize self-care. You may find some comfort in just obsessing and over-focusing, but eventually, that will catch up with you. You have to make sure that you are… I work from home, and I worked from pre-COVID, but it’s a totally different ballgame, because I can’t go sit at a coffee shop and work now like I could then, and I don’t get out of the house as much, and my kids are home. It does feel suffocating. And sometimes, you have to schedule, “Okay, I’m going to take a walk at lunchtime today,” because if you don’t, I find myself sitting at this desk from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM.

Linda Tucci: That’s easy.

Sarah Nicastro: It is. But on the flip side, I think your point is a very good point. There’s exceptions, but I think most people are good people, and I think most employers that have good employees are very, very likely to want to meet their needs. And I think if you can simply articulate, “Hey, I have this going on, here’s how I’m feeling, here’s what I need from you.” If you can have the courage to be vulnerable and communicate those needs, I think if you have a good employer, they’re going to probably be pretty thankful for that open communication and pretty willing to say, “Okay. Here’s what we still need to get done, but do what you need to do.” I think getting comfortable making those asks is a really good point.

Sarah Nicastro: And I was nodding and smiling when you were talking about one day, one hour, one minute at a time, because that is my life’s motto. And I think probably for a lot of folks that suffer with anxiety, that anxiety creeps in when you look too far, too big. I’m really big on daily to-do lists. I have daily to-do lists, both work and personal, and they’re set up in terms of order of importance. Eat that frog, get to the most important thing first, and then just keep on trucking. It really helps, like you said, to just stay present and stay focused on what needs to happen right now.

Sarah Nicastro: Along those lines, you’ve had these significant challenges this year, and you’ve had to prioritize your mental health, but you’ve also been really busy at work. It’s not like you’ve had the luxury to sit back and kick your feet up and focus solely on yourself. You’ve had multiple projects happening, and you’ve had to deal with COVID and how that’s impacted operations, and be agile. How have you struck the right balance between prioritizing yourself and your mental health, and also wanting to prioritize the mental health of those you lead, and also continuing to drive performance and results?

Linda Tucci: Well, it’s a journey, and we’re learning all the time. For me, resilience and agility are critical this year. When I have the opportunities to connect with the frontline teams, and actually, I’m speaking to myself that I’m overdue for the next go-around, it’s equally important to convey the state of the business and also what to expect moving forward. I think people are stressed out enough. They don’t need any additional surprises. I think the clearer that we’ve been, because we have gotten some curve balls this year, which only creates more anxiety, which is antithetical to what we want to do, and you’re cracked.

Linda Tucci: We’ve had a few critical projects in play, and it’s important that the frontline teams, especially, know what’s coming down the pike, what’s in front of them. And does this impact any expectations in their performance? In light of this world of COVID, we’ve had lots of changes, and so we’ve tried to be very clear about how we serve the business at Ortho. And in some of our projects, we’ve had some areas of conflict with some of the high-profile projects. They have resulted in very dynamic discussions that ultimately have led us to modify some expectations moving forward that I believe will lead to a better outcome.

Linda Tucci: And this doesn’t happen if you have a culture that’s conflict-avoidant. But I would say, because we have a culture of customer focus and also connection with the other, it’s much easier to hash things out. For me, it’s also what type of culture am I building within my organization? Are we making it easy? And goes back to creating the space for those safe conversations. And as I talk to our managers, we are very focused, and we say we take care of the people who take care of our customers, are we really helping them, whether…

Linda Tucci: I’ll give you an example. I mentioned earlier that one of our team members had a suicide within their family, and coming back to work, and that’s because this is our culture, and she was like, “I want to come back. I need to come back, I need to do something, but I don’t know if I can handle everything.” It’s working with that individual, and that’s a gift. “I want to come back, this is what I can do, this is the state I’m in,” and as a business, responding to that. And that is an act of compassion. Everyone wants to feel valued, so coming back to work to make it safe for them so that they can also feel the bounce-back and coming back in a way that’s safe and best for the other. I’m not even sure… Did I answer your question?

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, I think so. The question is just around striking that balance of promoting mental health and continuing to drive performance and results. And I think that it’s a question because, and what we’re going to get to next is, again, for some folks that incline toward this, I think it happens fairly intuitively. I think for someone like yourself, and I don’t mean to say that in the sense that it doesn’t take practice or intention, but is it in line with who you are as a human being. Those muscles might be a little bit easier for you to exercise than some folks that this is very uncomfortable for.

Sarah Nicastro: But I think, for you, you’re focused on both your people as people, and your people in terms of how the team is performing. And those things are not mutually exclusive; they’re very much aligned. When you have these connection points with your team, you’re focusing both on, “Here’s what’s going on in the business, here’s what that means for you and your role and us and our team, and how are you?” It’s a natural fit for you. I think that makes sense.

Sarah Nicastro: What I want to talk about next, though, is… I think you and I are on the same page, but I am respectful of the fact that there are probably people listening to this podcast that are like, “Okay, this feels really uncomfortable,” or, “This very woo-woo,” or, “I don’t know about talking about mental health,” or what have you. What I’d like to do is ask you… Let’s start with three reasons that normalizing this and having a focus on mental health within leadership is important.

Linda Tucci: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, I’d echo what we stated already, and the first reason is that research indicates that the situation we find ourselves right now is leading to increased depression, suicide, and anxiety, and that in itself should tell us that we need to respond to that, because it’s a fact.

Linda Tucci: Secondly, it’s proven that high levels of employee engagement are clearly linked to business results. And yes, we’re running a business, and we have an obligation to drive results, so it’s important that we focus on employee engagement, and that means focusing on people’s mental health. And third, we’ve said that people connect with people on a human level for me. If we want to be experienced as leaders, then we want to help people be their best selves at work, at home. And if we give others ourselves, then we help people in their own lives.

Linda Tucci: I’ve seen many times the impact of shadow of a leader. What behaviors, practices are you displaying in your workplace? If people see you as a leader, they will follow your behavior, so I think it’s time that we’re very sensitive to how we’re leading the way.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative), absolutely. I remember reading an article a few months ago about the idea that, pre-COVID, particularly for women in leadership, but I think everyone, kindness could be seen as weakness. And now, it’s the ultimate strength, and I think that’s so true of this year. I think that we do see this humanity, this human connection being prioritized from person to person, from leader to employee, from company to customer, and it’s heartening to see how we can all come together. And I think, to your point, there is this big need for leaders to recognize their responsibility to step up and serve differently. And I think if we can do that by force right now, it’ll be a good thing for going forward.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. Those were three reasons why this is important. Let’s talk about… Could you provide three practical actions for making this focus a reality in practice for someone that maybe doesn’t naturally incline to this?

Linda Tucci: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think, first, and this really is sparked from my own experience, I would say, starting at making the assumption that everyone is looking at their employee assistance program. I’m assuming that they are because of everything that’s happening. And are you communicating to your frontline? What services are available?

Linda Tucci: I will tell you, in my own experience by taking advantage of our EAP program at Ortho, I found out even more services that I wasn’t even aware of, and then I could then communicate to others. I would say, know what’s available within your own organization, ask yourselves if you’re doing enough. And if you don’t have a program, how can you fill that gap? I think that is, to me, the number one critical action.

Linda Tucci: Secondly, for me, it goes back to the communication. How are you communicating with your direct reports, the broader team, making yourself available? Ensure effective feedback loops, different avenues of how people can provide feedback. Whether or not they use it, it’s up to them, but make sure that people have mechanisms to relay concerns, questions, and that it’s really bidirectional. It goes back to making sure that your team knows what’s coming down the pike next. Don’t allow surprises to hit them from a business perspective. To be candid, and it’s okay if you don’t know all the answers, but communicate what you do know.

Linda Tucci: And then third for me is around tools, and I would say two different aspects, tools that you’re providing because we’ve moved to this virtual world. For our frontline teams, we’re looking at what tools support the virtual connection across our organization, both internally and with our customers. Make it easy for your people as they function remote.

Linda Tucci: But I would say, specifically, for our management team, my team, the majority of our team had been on-site at locations. The minority of our staff were remote pre-COVID. Our management team was used to going into the office, having face-to-face connections with the people. We’ve had a series of sessions specifically with the management team and key leaders in the organization, that we call Leading the Ortho Way, that focus on tools for them to help them be comfortable to have these conversations, for them to understand the importance of mental health in our world today, and to really make sure that the management team have the skills and tools to navigate our virtual world so that they can properly serve their teams. It’s really just part of our culture.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Those are really good points. And the only thing I would add is just, particularly for someone that this sounds a little awkward to, is practice flexing that vulnerability muscle. I think about a one-on-one, and if you’re the type of leader that you get on a video chat and say, “Hey, how’s it going? Good? Good. Okay, anyway.” Just asking, “How are you,” probably is not enough to elicit an honest response.

Sarah Nicastro: As you said earlier, it’s leading by example. I’m not saying make things up, but I’m saying practice flexing that muscle by being honest about your own journey. “Hey, how’s it going? Good. Yeah, I’ve been struggling with X,” or, “I’ve found myself feeling a little bit down this week,” or, “I need to make sure that I’m doing a better job of taking a breather in the middle of the day.” Just share a little bit so that you’re teaching your employees it’s okay to do the same, because they may be very hesitant of doing that if you’re not doing that. And I know you made that point earlier. I’s just an important one to come back to, because I think you can’t expect vulnerability and transparency and clear communication and courageous conversations from employees that you are not willing and actively giving that to. Yeah.

Linda Tucci: Yeah, and I would add, and I think you said before, authenticity is key. It can’t be forced. If it’s hard for you, say, “Hey, this is hard for me, but I really want to make sure that you’re okay. Is everything going okay for you? I know that I usually don’t engage in this type of conversation, but I really want to know.” As long as you’re making it authentic.

Linda Tucci: I had a manager once who had a quick personality change. It was overnight. I was like, “Who are you? I don’t trust this.” Do you know what I mean? It can’t be choppy, it needs to be natural. And I believe if people are sincere and come from the heart, then people experience it that way.

Sarah Nicastro: Absolutely. Oh, Linda. I could talk to you for days. Yes. Okay, so that being said, I’ve reached the end of my questions, although I could come up with so many more. But I really, really do thank you for joining and for sharing, because this is a different topic, but it’s such an important one, and it’s something that’s relevant, really, across industry, across business, across role function. This is just something that we all need to get more comfortable discussing and being open about, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to do that with you.

Linda Tucci: Thank you.

Sarah Nicastro: Any final thoughts or comments in closing for our folks today?

Linda Tucci: I would add, 2020 for me is a personal experience, and I’ve said already that we all have our own story. But when we’re on a plane, in the case of an emergency, put on your oxygen mask before you put on the other, and I think that’s really wise counsel for us in life right now. I would just say self-care, it’s really critically important. Make sure that you’re caring.

Linda Tucci: We could even say that a lot of this is common sense. But my perspective is, we have to take the time, and I feel that time is increasingly precious. And if we truly want to be experienced as leaders, then I think we have to ask ourselves, and I would consider it a personal question, what do I need to do differently to meet people where they are, and then we have to act on that insight.

Linda Tucci: My last comment would be referencing Patrick Lencioni. I’m a huge Lencioni fan, my favorite book being The Advantage. But he states that, “The strongest people in life are the ones that are comfortable saying, ‘I don’t know,'” that vulnerability is not at all soft. It’s the key to building great teams, and I would just end, isn’t that what we want to do?

Sarah Nicastro: Absolutely. Yeah. I’m a mom of two young kids, and they are mostly home, and I am working here. The idea of self-care can be challenging, and it can feel like a burden on its own. You really do have to figure out how to make it a realistic priority for you. For me, I get up early in the morning before anyone else is up and I work out, because that might be my only alone time for the whole day, and I need that. I am in a better mood, and I am more clear and focused and positive if I have that time to myself early on. That looks different for everyone, but it is absolutely right. You can’t just give and give and give and not fill up your own cup. You have to figure out, even if it seems impossible, and it can right now, how to make it happen.

Sarah Nicastro: Well, Linda, thank you again. I really appreciate it. I would love to have you back sometime. This was a great chat, and I appreciate you being so open and honest with us.

Linda Tucci: Well, I thank you for your time. It’s always a privilege to talk to you, Sarah. I appreciate it.

Sarah Nicastro: Thank you. You can find more by visiting us at futureoffieldservice.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn and Twitter @theFutureofFS. The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more about IFS Service Management by visiting www.ifs.com. As always, thank you for listening.