As of late, I've been reading a lot of stories of women being mistreated, overlooked, and discriminated against for simply being who they are. In this spirit, I'd like to share some of my own experiences.
Let me start out by saying that being an empath and introvert in corporate America isn't easy. Being originally from Germany doesn't help either, since I tend to be quite candid (not obnoxious, mean or harsh!) and still quite literal, meaning I say things the way I mean them and I don't always read between the lines when people are not as direct.
I could tell you many sad experiences, but instead, I'd like to share some advice and things I've learned over the span of my career.
1. It is important to lead with compassion
People need three things to remain motivated: autonomy, mastery and purpose! People managers who cannot relate to their employees and lack empathy might be able to motivate with fear, but will never inspire others to go above and beyond. Inspiration is one of the biggest motivators out there!
2. Don't compromise on your values
Money, titles and roles can be negotiated, but your values should never be up for negotiation. No matter how great a job or company sound, if you compromise who you are, you'll end up regretting it in the long run. It's important to look at yourself in the mirror.
3. Lead with candor
There is a difference between candor and just spewing whatever comes to mind or insulting people. I suggest for anyone to read the book "Radical Candor" by Kim Scott. She explains the differences in communication well. Candor is important because everyone deserves consistent and honest feedback. Don't be one of those managers that reserve feedback for the yearly/quarterly reviews or 1 on 1s.
4. Find your kind
This is one of the best advice I've ever received. There will always be people and companies that fail to see you for all your potential and strengths, so your job is to find the ones who do. Find people and companies that recognize your uniqueness and want to celebrate it. Find people that want to build with and for you and stay clear of anyone who weaponizes your strengths by punishing you for them, throwing you under the bus for them, or holding them against you.
Life is too short to spend it with the wrong people and companies.
For introverts, this book is amazing and helped me a lot:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking