After the Webinar: Organizational Stress from the Front Line Perspective. Q&A with Brenda Dietzman

Webinar presenter Brenda Dietzman answered a number of your questions after her webinar, Organizational Stress from the Front Line Perspective. Here are just a few of her responses.


Audience Question: Can you share the details about the January 2023 study regarding the shift and employee expectations that you were referencing?

Brenda Dietzman: Yeah, this is exciting. So, a lot of times, we tend to put Millennials and Gen Z into the same category. But, again, they’re so different. And if you go to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, what motivates people a little bit differently, how they were raised, also. Millennials were raised by baby boomers. Gen Z was raised by my generation, which is Gen X. And, and they’re just different folks. So, Gen Z is really focused on security, financial security, especially. We, my generation, very cynical about social security is not going to be there, the government’s not going to be there to take care of us, and we have to be self-reliant. There are so few of us, we have a tendency to be a bit bitter. And so, we’ve raised our kids to be that way, as well. So, Gen Z, coming into the workforce, again, ages 26 to 11, really focused on financial security. Really focus in on maybe a different kind of work ethic, where they’re willing to stay at an organization bit longer. And I think coming out of this pandemic hangover where we lack connection, and we lacked a lot of things that build resiliency, and we all kind of got into our own selves as opposed to the community, not only physically but mentally as well, that’s changing. And so, I thought that this is where we were going ahead, especially post-pandemic and with Gen Z, but I’m glad to see that my thoughts of how this was going to work out actually are working out. So, there’s a long explanation in the well a lengthier explanation about this and my recruiting and retention class. But you can also go back. I did a webinar, I think, point 3, 4 years ago now on Generations that you can go back and listen to what, as well, on the Justice Clearinghouse website that starts to explain, maybe the shift, that’s coming up with Gen Z.


Audience Question: How do you deal with the buddy system between colleagues and top management where it seems like the colleagues get away with everything dishonest? And you’re doing the best you know how to do. But you’re kind of seen as the villain. 

Brenda Dietzman: Yeah, that familiarity is a huge leg up for so many reasons. Even in a healthy environment with a good leader, the more that they know about you, the better off you’re going to be. So, my suggestion, the whole buddy-buddy thing, no, but get in their field of view. Make sure that you network. The interesting thing women have a tendency to be like, “I’m going to get noticed for the work that I do.” And we tend to get noticed for that. But, that familiarity of just being buddy-buddy with somebody, if they go golfing together, they hang out together. That even tends to trump really hard work. So, make sure whoever you are – male or female –that you are getting promoted, getting special assignments, and getting opportunities within your organization. If that is your goal, make sure that you are getting in their field of view, asking them questions, getting guidance from them, and asking them about should you do this or should you do that? Their philosophy of leadership, all of this other stuff. Because then they get to know you better. And it’s not necessarily that you have to go fishing with them, right? It’s just getting them to know you, that is important. Now, if it is a toxic place, if it is somebody who is not a good supervisor, then they’re just going to not give out discipline fairly. Kind of like that 1990 study, which I reference right at the beginning of the presentation. And all of those things are going to go by the wayside. So, if it’s a good leader, get in their path. Get them to know you. If it’s a toxic leader, understand that something that you don’t control, and then just keep doing the work. Keep growing, keep learning. Keep promoting as much as what you can. So, you can change the culture within your organization.


Audience Question:  Brenda, you talked about how so many people are working so much overtime. How do we talk to our supervisors about needing a break, when we’re all burnout and we’re all working overtime? How do we advocate for ourselves in these situations? 

Brenda Dietzman: I remember sitting at my desk as the under Sheriff. I had like 300 plus positions that were under my staffing position. The pain that I felt in the amount of overtime I was making people work, and again, it kind of goes back to that monopoly thing. There’s not another jail, there’s not another probation parole office in our community, all of those things, there’s not another dispatch center, so we have to staff those positions. So, the thing of it is that I would encourage you to start to come up with some solutions to that staffing issue because there’s no easy answer to that. I would love to give you a break. I would love to provide different opportunities for you, like different scheduling options. Maybe it’s a part-time position. Maybe it’s a flexible schedule. There are a whole bunch of different opportunities. But become part of that solution because I bet if you went up to your supervisors today, here’s what they would say, our number-one issue is recruiting and retention within the organization. So, what solutions can you bring to them and work with them to create an environment where y’all don’t have to work so much? Because the only way that we’re going to be able to cut down in a lot of our places, on the amount of mandatory overtime that we work is to solve that problem. And if we can do that, we’re going to have a healthier work environment. So, you know what, not to blow my own horn here, Chris. You know that in the Recruiting and Retention online course,  you’re going to have 300 different ideas to bring to your supervisor. So, I suggest that, as I said, it’s three hours of overtime. If you can hire just one person or retain just one person from that course it more than pays for itself in the first week for most of our organizations. So, bring solutions to your supervisors, when you hear about them.


Audience Question: Speaking of Maslow, how “safe” is it for staff to raise some of the questions that you’ve talked about with their supervisors when we are living in an unhealthy or toxic organization? 

Brenda Dietzman: Great question. It’s doubtful that every single supervisor within your organization is toxic and unhealthy. It might be that situation. But we all know the people who really care about us, who really care about taking care of us that whole physically, mentally, and legally safe, those leaders that are doing that approach those people. Don’t approach a toxic, bad supervisor with these questions because it’s going to go nowhere. And that’s why I asked you to really take a look at those things that I’ve suggested. Is that possible with your supervisor, or any supervisor within your organization? If it’s not, it’s a toxic environment. And you don’t control how they’re going to supervise, how they’re going to not grow as a person or as a leader. So, maybe at that point, as I said, if it’s an unhealthy and toxic environment, then then then then maybe it’s time to leave and go find somewhere else. But if you need to stay or want to stay, then become part of the solution, and start to move up through the ranks, so you can have more influence. So, like I said I wish that there was a silver bullet. I wish that I could give you something that you could, take to those toxic supervisors within your organization, and go. “Hey, listen to this 15-minute podcast, and you’ll be a whole new person.” I really wish I could do that for you because I feel the pain and maybe even the hopelessness in that question. But it all goes back to what do you control and what do you not control.



Click Here to Watch a Recording of Organizational Stress from the Front Line Perspective



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