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Smartsheet Inc.

Strive To Be the Right Kind of “Extra”

Making Empathy A Top Priority

Below is an article originally written by Mark Mader, President and CEO of Smartsheet, a PowerToFly Partner. Go Smartsheet's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.


"Empathy means being concerned about the human being and not just about their output." Simon Sinek

My teenage daughters tell me that being referred to as "extra" is decidedly not a good thing. In their world, it means showing off, or being a little too dramatic, or laughing a little too hard at someone's not-so-funny joke. However - especially in light of the current situation - I'm striving to be a different kind of "extra" in ways I believe will benefit my team and others around me.

Aside from trying to be extra available and extra connected as Smartsheet works to navigate through the challenges that nearly all businesses face today, as a leader of people and teams, I'm focusing much of my energy on being extra empathetic. Do I always get it right? Not by a long shot. But for something this important, I'm in search of progress, not perfection.

It goes without saying that none of us ever really knows what those around us are facing, even under the best of circumstances. But in this new world of at-home schooling, worry for loved ones, economic pressures, and the stream of fear and uncertainty in the media, empathy has risen to the top of my leadership priorities.

Now, I recognize that there's no shortage of academic research and other information available on the importance of empathy in leadership and in the workplace. My goal is not to rehash or summarize that. My goal IS to emphasize that empathy is not some esoteric concept. It is a leadership tool that, like a muscle, can be strengthened and put to use for the benefit of those around you.

Empathy Can be Strengthened

But it takes some work. It means becoming a more active, present listener; it means taking the time to be deeply connected to your team; it means demonstrating an active concern for the lives, feelings, and fears of others. There is no one "right" way to be empathetic, but I've found that taking just a few extra minutes with a person, and showing genuine concern about their situation, can be a great first step.

For leaders trained to manage mostly to bottom-lines, exhibiting true empathetic concern can be daunting. But, aside from simply being the right thing to do, empathetic leadership helps people feel secure in uncertain times; it motivates people to action when they may feel like holding back; and it helps your team acknowledge and address workplace stresses - all of which are critical to leading through a crisis. Your teams, in turn, will likely become more empathetic themselves and be more attuned to your customers' wants, create higher levels of customer satisfaction, and be more innovative.

This is a challenging time. There's no denying that. But I encourage you to find the energy, the focus, and the attention that's required and try to be "extra" empathetic in your own way. Your team, your family, and all those around you need it now, more than ever.

Zapier Inc

How Zapier Director of Compensation Jocelyne Wright-McLemore Is Tackling Imposter Syndrome as a Black Woman in HR

Jocelyne Wright-McLemore has a sticky note that she looks at every day: "I'm overqualified and I can do this."

Zapier's Director of Compensation put that sticky note up shortly after she rolled out a big new project at the online automation company and received some critical feedback on it. Though the criticism came from a tiny portion of her audience and the project was a success overall, hearing it brought back some of the self-doubt and imposter syndrome that she faced earlier in her career.

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Webinars

Meet PowerToFly's 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Award Honorees

This past February, PowerToFly was very proud to wrap up the panel portion of our recent Diversity Reboot 2021: The 100 Day Kickoff virtual summit by presenting our very first Diversity & Inclusion Award Show, honoring some true D&I champions across multiple industries

Back in 2020, we launched a submission process to honor select individuals who just don't talk the talk but truly walk the walk when it comes to making their companies and the world a more diverse and inclusive place. From the many submissions that we received, we chose six champions to honor.

You can watch the acceptance speeches for our honorees below or click here to watch the 45-minute awards show which included a roundtable discussion with our six DEI champions.

Want to nominated a friend or colleague for a future D&I Award? Submit their info here.


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How These 30 Companies are Celebrating Women's History Month in 2021

Women have always had a lot on their plates, juggling their professional goals with societal expectations and responsibilities to their families, partners, and communities.

But women have never had a year like 2020.

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Career Advice

How Hopin’s CCO Knew a Startup Environment Was Right For Her—and Two Questions to See If It’s Right for You

If there's a thread that connects all the different facets of Rosie Roca's life, it's the power of bringing people together.

From how she was raised, to how she got her first job, to the decision to leave enterprise software to take on her current role as the Chief Customer Officer at fast-growing events technology platform Hopin, a focus on community has helped to guide Rosie's decisions.

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