Teresa Wornstaff: “Who you speak so loudly I can’t hear your words”

I inspire transformation in others by seeing their greatest potential and then reflecting back in a way they can boldly and bravely embody it. As a part of our series about “How business leaders can create a fantastic work environment”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Teresa Wornstaff. Our first responsibility as a human on earth […]

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I inspire transformation in others by seeing their greatest potential and then reflecting back in a way they can boldly and bravely embody it.

As a part of our series about “How business leaders can create a fantastic work environment”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Teresa Wornstaff.

Our first responsibility as a human on earth is to be the absolute best version of ourselves. This belief and an intuitive natural curiosity sent Teresa on a lifelong study of human nature, and self-awareness. People and their behaviors fascinated her, especially in the corporate arena. The command control mindset of leaders diminished the value of the individuals they managed, and when it became unbearable, Teresa decided to find another way. She spent over 20 years learning how to be a culture change agent and now advises corporations on how to create healthy, high-performance cultures. Teresa’s deepest desire, her soul’s calling, is to change how business is done throughout the world. Her successful e-book on creating performance teams virtually has been downloaded at a rapid pace through the global pandemic as leaders try to create loyalty while workers are remote.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

In 2002, my husband announced he wanted a divorce. My two daughters and I lost our home, I lost my part-time business. We left with clothes, a car and not much else. I had to get a job, find a place to live and start all over from nothing.

In the next decade or so I worked in some really horrible jobs and for some not so nice people. I could remember driving home in tears because the promotion I worked so hard for only netted me another 6000 dollars a year and we were not making ends meet. This would not make a big enough dent in our budget to help. Finances were so tight I would have barely 5 dollars after paying bills, buying bare minimum food and getting gas.

Instead of staying stuck, I worked my way up the corporate ladder. As I did, I learned how to manage with compassion, kindness and empower my teams. I attended every course, class and studied every resource to learn how to be a great leader. I also worked hard at developing my intuition and working through all my personal issues. Leadership begins with self-leadership. This is my big WHY I empower leadership to create conscious companies.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Without question, the most interesting thing that has happened is Covid-19. It requires us all to rethink what we are doing, who we occur as and what is important. I transitioned from a full-time position to full-time entrepreneur in January 2020. While I have consulted for almost 20 years, I was finally ready to make it my full-time focus. In response to the rapid transition corporations made to a work from home environment, I released an e-book that shared the top 10 strategies for managers to successfully support their WFH team. I included 10 strategies to get organized at home so that individuals were supported laterally and from their management teams. This created transparency on what should/could be expected from both leadership and staff. Today the outcomes are a requirement for leaders to create compassionate, kinder cultures. Leaders are being asking to lead in new ways.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Right now, I am working on video tips that will help people develop skills in key leadership attributes. These tips are simple steps that can be applied quickly, efficiently without a lot of effort. I love inspiring transformation that empowers individuals to grow and thrive.

I am also working on a video series to define what a conscious business is and why it’s vital to continued success. The old paradigm of command control is no longer acceptable.

Ok, lets jump to the main part of our interview. According to this study cited in Forbes, more than half of the US workforce is unhappy. Why do you think that number is so high?

Here are my thoughts:

They are working outside their zone of genius. They are working for a paycheck.

Companies do not engage the individual employee where they thrive and grow, but instead, just see them as a series of tasks that need to be completed. Rarely do leaders connect individual contribution to overall company success.

Corporate environments and cultures are toxic with behaviors that empower; gossip, inauthenticity, hidden agendas, lack of transparency, lack of mentor/coaching support and are purely driven from a profit/ROI space.

Corporations do not take the time to know their people and understand what is going on in their people’s lives.

Corporations are stuck in the command control of the ’50s.

Based on your experience or research, how do you think an unhappy workforce will impact a) company productivity b) company profitability c) and employee health and wellbeing?

  1. Productivity is diminished and lacks innovation when the workforce is unhappy.
  2. Profits will be impacted and, in many cases, business fails to grow according to market norms. Typically, companies will fail to meet projections YOY and it will result in diminished profit sharing and bonuses which will further disincentivize staff.
  3. An unhappy workforce experiences more sick days, more health issues, less engagement in work life and low retention.

Can you share 5 things that managers and executives should be doing to improve their company work culture? Can you give a personal story or example for each?

  1. Learn to communicate effectively. Video tip #2; 5 steps, be present, actively listen, reflect back, confirm next steps, execute.
  2. Self-development; life doesn’t happen to you; it reflects your inner world.
  3. Mentor and coach everyone in their company. Everyone.
  4. Focus on goals, not activities
  5. Find their zone of genius and hire around it.

It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but it seems like we have to “change the culture regarding work culture”. What can we do as a society to make a broader change in the US workforce’s work culture?

First and foremost, acknowledge it’s broken.

Start with small manageable changes such as identify 3 values that are considered immutable laws and uphold them.

All leaders should have coaches or mentors to guide them in their personal development. 
People lead, MBA’s manage; know the difference.

Stop compromising by staying in jobs that you hate or that are toxic to your wellbeing.

How would you describe your leadership or management style? Can you give us a few examples?

Very present with my people; this was reflected back to me this weekend by a very adept coach. She considers it one of my superpowers.

I am objective, fair, kind and collaborative. I lean into my intuitive abilities for confirmation. We can fool our head, but we can’t fool our soul. I am not attached to your greatness, but I will inspire your transformation if you are willing to step into it.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My dad. He was the CEO of a multi-national corporation that brought a specific technology to China in the early 80’s, presented to PMI worldwide and collaborated with NASA on projects. I was able to join him on several of these projects and he never failed to see the whole human being and empower everyone to achieve their greatest desires even if it meant working for someone else. He started with barely a high school education and worked his way up by being curious, open minded, adventurous and daring.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I inspire transformation in others by seeing their greatest potential and then reflecting back in a way they can boldly and bravely embody it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Who you speak so loudly I can’t hear your words.” Emerson

Being an intuitive and empath, I had to learn that even though someone’s words were pretty, sometimes their intent was not. By the time I was 15 I was molested 5 times. I watched adults, who were supposed to be our role models, be and do things that weren’t good or right. My moral compass is very set, and this was very confusing for me growing up. I have spent my life tuning my intuition so that I confidently know. I rely on this skill and tool to always guide me in my interactions. Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. The key is, I look at the mistake, find the belief that influenced it, so I can learn and grow.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My deepest desire is to reflect everyone’s greatness so they can see the ultimate possibility for themselves, embrace it and then step into it. I want to speak so that my words and energy can envelop people in this belief. I want to change how we see ourselves.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you continued success!

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