Monday, November 1, 2021

Looking at Leadership through a Lens of Balance and Potential

Over the last 12 years, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing marketing, leadership, and customer experience experts. One of these experts is Jennifer Tsang from San Jose, California. We recently had a discussion about marketing and leadership, and highlights follow below Jennifer’s bio.

Jennifer Tsang is an ICF-Certified Leadership Coach who works with motivated individuals, leaders, and executives as they seek to discover and define their purpose. She strongly believes that conversations can transform lives. Jennifer loves working with leaders who are eager to develop more mindfulness to be able to engage teams, empower themselves and others to discover and define their purpose. She serves her clients by combining her two years of professional coaching experience, 20 years working with leaders at a fortune 500 tech company, and over 15 years of experiential work in therapy. Her website is; connect on Twitter @jenntsang; on LinkedIn at; and on her YouTube channel, InTheLead:

QUESTION: On your website, you wrote, "Leadership isn’t only reserved for C-Level executives at large corporate companies. Instead, it can be used as a powerful tool for everyday people to reach higher success, personally and professionally, helping you discover and define your purpose." How do you recommend people who aren’t in a leadership position, or don’t have a fancy leadership title, make a difference?

JENNIFER TSANG: A great leader is someone who can nudge you in such a way that it throws you off balance. The only way to grow and transform is to continually put yourself in situations to stretch forward. Anyone can do this if they have the courage and commitment to being fully present with another.

Some of the best leaders I have worked with were individuals, who didn’t manage teams, but had a way of connecting and building rapport with others to complete projects or just empower them to bring out the highest potential. Great leaders have this ability and can challenge and shift something or removes a roadblock for you to define and discover your purpose.

The ultimate gift we can bring to those around us is to be fully present so that we can listen, reflect and then act in a way that makes someone’s day better.

TWEET THIS: A great leader is someone who can nudge you in such a way that it throws you off balance. -@JennTsang #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #EmployerBranding #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020, how has it impacted the role of leadership?
JENNIFER TSANG: The pandemic was a great reminder of how fragile life can be. Suddenly, we’re living at work, kids are at home, lockdowns, and uncertainty. 2020 was a great reminder that nothing is certain, and we have very little control over our own experience. Over the last year, I’ve noticed that many find it difficult to process the gravity of the suffering and, in that, there have been many opportunities for leadership to impact lives. We’ve seen this across many companies, announcing paid mental health time off, flexible work schedules and more support for individuals and teams. In my opinion, the pandemic has served as a doorway to a new way of leadership, which is centered around courage, empathy, compassion, and people.

I think we have seen many leaders really lean into the uncertainty with Covid-19 by adjusting their policies and creating more space for the conversations that are important to the well-being of the entire organization. I am a part of an organization that responded well to the pandemic, implementing new policies of mental health days off, facilitated conversations around important topics and revising work from home policies.

I think it’s remarkable the shift we have seen across many industries over the last 12-18 months that has been more inclusive, supportive, and empowering for employees. It has taken tremendous courage and leadership to have the difficult conversations and to make moves which put people ahead of profits.

TWEET THIS: The pandemic has served as a doorway to a new way of leadership, which is centered around courage, empathy, compassion, and people. -@JennTsang #Leadership #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: How can a President/CEO become an organization's number one brand ambassador?
JENNIFER TSANG: The CEO of an organization can become the number one brand ambassador by living and supporting the brand in everything that they do. To define the value of the brand and ensure people connect to it. This also includes the people who work for the brand. I see many executives that like to talk about what we all should be doing, but aren’t truly embodying those values. Being a brand ambassador means representing the whole, not just the part you want people to see.

A standout example of leadership I’ve seen recently is the remote work policy released by General Motors led by Mary Barra. When I read the new policy, I thought to myself, this is actually what workers need – the flexibility to ‘Work Appropriately.’

Why this is so important is because it acknowledges that we’re not all in the same boat. Some workers are able to thrive in a remote environment, and if their position doesn’t require them to be in the office, it makes sense for them to be remote. There have been many great examples of tremendous leadership over the course of the pandemic. The real stand out examples of leadership will be seen over the next year as we transition back to a pre-pandemic work environment. Stand-out examples of leadership do not end once the pandemic is over, but will define leadership for years to come.

QUESTION: What is your least favorite leadership buzzword, and why?
JENNIFER TSANG: Empathy. I feel like this word has been high jacked in many different spheres and we’ve gotten away from the true meaning of it. Empathy is not something that we do, it is something that we are. Even though it is my least favorite buzzword, I do feel the true essence of empathy is the most valuable leadership skill that leaders can possess. It’s not necessarily something that you can teach or force yourself into doing because “you have to,” rather it’s the ability to develop a deep rapport with someone, which is vital to a more meaningful life.

QUESTION: One of my favorite leadership quotes is from author and consultant Mark Herbert (@NewParadigmer on Twitter): "Leadership doesn't require you to be the smartest person in the room. It requires you to block and tackle for others." What does that mean to you?
JENNIFER TSANG: What this means to me is that leadership isn’t about being the expert or having all the answers, instead having the courage to help clear the path for another to realize their full potential. It feels like an act of service because the assumption is that the person is whole, capable, resourceful.

TWEET THIS: Leadership isn’t about being the expert or having all the answers, instead clear the path for another to realize their full potential. -@JennTsang #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My thanks to Jennifer for sharing her insights and for appearing here on my Blog.

For more regarding Jennifer's response to question #3, read "GM's New Remote Work Plan for Emmployees Is Ambiguous, Yet Surprisingly Simple: Work Appropriately"

Image Credit: Eddie Kopp via Unsplash.

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