On the Best Kind of Support Person
Jen: The highest impact people have on my development and on my career have been the people who have given me very direct advice or feedback that is incredibly challenging. I had a friend say to me once, “Hey, you're about to start a new job. FYI. You always like to think about the facts and make sure the strategy is right. But make sure everybody's on board and really likes you too.” Or, “Hey, don't make a decision too quickly. Listen to people for a good 60 to 90 days before you say anything.” Really blunt advice where they know me so well, and they’re like, “that's a little thing that you could do a little better on and I'm just gonna remind her.” And those have made me much better along the way.
On Learning to Lead with Empathy
Jen: Graduating from college and living in the New York gay subculture to valley neo-libertarians—I've got a wide range of people in my life that I feel like I can get along with and negotiate. And I think that's really good actually. I have a pretty deep empathy for a lot of different kinds of people. Also, as I've grown older, I've become less judgmental too. I can see the arc of this person's narrative and story. And I get it. So, I'll say a couple things. I always assume good intent. I believe most people are good. And I believe they want diverse and inclusive workplaces. So, I come from that place when I talk to people and that I think helps me manage and realize that people have different priorities in their lives. I try to be really real about my experience and I'm not afraid to present a pretty different point of view sometimes. So just say, okay, I'm gonna be vulnerable here. I'm gonna put something on the table. Maybe it’s a little or very orthogonal to what you think, and let's just see what happens.
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