Why Chasing a Title Was My Most Valuable Career Mistake

Sponsored by Equinix

Tiffany Osias

Image courtesy of Equinix.

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June 19, 2024 at 10:33AM UTC

“At Equinix, we are encouraged to bring our whole selves to work,” says Tiffany Osias, the VP of Global Partner and Americas Regional Marketing. “My wife and I have been together for almost 18 years, and we have two wonderful children. I’ve worked for some places where that isn’t something I would discuss, and some places where it’s okay. At Equinix, it is encouraged to openly share and get involved in our local communities, as well as our Equinix employee communities.”

Osias has served in her current role for nearly two years, though her career spans more than 25 years in operations, technical sales, commercial solutions, general management, M&A, sales leadership, compensation and more. She feels grateful for the opportunities Equinix —  the world's digital infrastructure company — has given her, for all the leaders who have taken a chance on her throughout the years and for everything that she has learned about leadership throughout this time.

“All of those roles taught me the things I needed for the next opportunity to serve the business in even more ways,” she tells Fairygodboss.

We caught up with Osias to learn more about what else she loves about her current role at Equinix — and her top lessons as a leader who wants to make sure everyone else feels as safe and empowered as she does.

How has your day-to-day work changed since you went into leadership at Equinix? What about your overall approach to work?

I have had the privilege of leading teams for most of my career. The role I am in now allows me to lead people in more than 10 countries.

There are so many considerations to make when leading a team: heritage, operating norms, motivation elements, business outcome expectations, optimal work conditions. My overall approach to work is to prioritize the needs of the team to allow them to bring their best selves to work — all with the goal to deliver positive outcomes for each other, our customers, our partners and communities.

What’s one strategy you’ve used when managing an individual or team that you think has been particularly effective? 

A wonderful tip that I learned many years ago is to ask people how they like to work. I enable them to set expectations with me on what they want from a leader and provide my input on what I expect of them. Some people have the answer ready; many spend time pondering. Either way, it is a helpful reflection and expectation setting experience for both of us.

What is your No. 1 piece of advice for other women who are moving into or want to move into leadership?

For any role, leadership or individual contributor, spend time understanding the expectations for the role. Know what the expected business and people outcomes are and have a plan to achieve them. Talk to a lot of people to gain a well-rounded perspective so you really know what you are getting into. Once you are there, stay curious! 

How would you describe your leadership style? 

I just had someone on my team interview me for his MBA program. Here is the question he asked: What would you say is your leadership style out of the following options, and why? 

  1. Directive leadership

  2. Transformational leadership

  3. Servant leadership

  4. Participative leadership

  5. Authoritative leadership

My answer was that there are circumstances and situations that require me to flex into all of those leadership styles. Sometimes we have to be directive or authoritative, sometimes transformational — always serving others and participating as needed. Adaptability is a key leadership tenet. We flex into the needs of the team and the business.

What’s the No. 1 thing you hope your direct reports are getting out of working with you?

Empowerment. Empowered to learn and grow. Empowered to speak up. Empowered to make decisions. Empowered to take risks. Empowered to better themselves and the business.

How do you think about making sure your direct report(s) feel well-supported in their lives both in and out of the office?

Having a genuine interest in them as humans first, professionals second. Fortunately, at Equinix, we are encouraged to bring our whole selves to work. We have a culture where every employee can confidently say: ‘I’m safe, I belong, I matter.’ I really take that to heart and strive to create that atmosphere within my team.

While at Equinix, you’ve built a team that you’re now leading. How did you approach this? 

This has been such an amazing opportunity! Over the last 18 months, I have hired five leaders and they have hired 15+ marketers into their teams. Fortunately, we have an excellent talent-acquisition team around the world. They aided in finding candidates, building a diverse interview panel and structuring the interviews to decrease bias. 

When candidates hear about how focused we are on our customers and partners, how much we care for each other as individuals and all of the ways we support our people, they are thrilled and eager to join. 

What do you believe is the No. 1 thing managers must do when onboarding new employees?

Set them up for success right away. For me this consists of establishing a team of mentors, providing exposure to multiple people within the organization and reminding them that they are here to teach as much as learn.

While building your team, what did you learn that surprised you most? 

I learned how much fantastic talent there is around the world and how many people are willing to take a career risk during a global pandemic. There were so many extremely qualified candidates, which makes each hiring decision very difficult. The wonderful part of those difficult decisions is, when we do select someone, they are joining a team of other people that had to beat out multiple candidates to secure their role. This creates a team of highly capable people that are here to deliver for each other, our customers and our partners.

One leader I interviewed told me that joining Equinix isn’t a matter of if; it’s a matter of when. He would be patient, and he was definitely going to find a role here. I love that spirit!

What’s been your most valuable career mistake? 

This one still stings. My most valuable career mistake was chasing a title. Years ago, I thought career progression was title-based. There was a role a level up that I went after and was given. Shortly after taking the assignment, I realized I didn’t love the work I was doing. It was a great growth period for me as I had to find small things that I could learn to love about the role. There were a lot of people depending on me, so I had to find ways to enjoy the work so I could deliver for the team and the business. 

How do you prioritize and deal with your to-do list each day?

I try to structure my time to have space to think, create and collaborate. Periodically, I look at my calendar to make sure that I am not spending time in areas that I am not needed so I can prioritize areas where I am needed and make the biggest impact.

One area I always make time for is joining other leaders’ interview panels. Putting the right people in the right roles is a strong passion of mine. When we have the right people in the right roles, we unlock our full potential.


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