Tutti and Irene; FloMo roommates, Stanford; 1994

For many of the busy professionals I work with, it’s easy to fall into the trap of transactional leadership. We focus on the work that needs to be done—the performance reviews to be written this week, the decisions that need to be made in this meeting, or the deadlines that must be hit to meet our quarterly goals. The days are split into 30 or 60 minute meeting chunks, leaving little space for connection in between all the tasks that must be done.

One secret to mitigating this transactional leadership is to work with your best friends. You may not…


Photo by Toben Dilworth

My journey to leadership as an Asian female has had a long and meandering path to this present time when I am 44.

I grew up with a tiger mom who I believe is an undiagnosed manic-depressive. She loved me deeply. She gave up her career to follow my father’s job with Thai Airways, taking on the role of home holder to move our family every 3–4 years to a different country. She gave up her own aspirations and fiercely passed them on to my sister and I in the form of sky-high expectations.

I was a good girl. Culturally…


Hand holding a card that says “Let your intuition guide you. You are what you’ve been looking for.”
Hand holding a card that says “Let your intuition guide you. You are what you’ve been looking for.”
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

I am a life-long skeptic. My typical pattern is to listen and value my intellect and reason above all else. For decades, I would dismiss anything that didn’t follow rational thinking as being too “woo-woo.” But I was in a conundrum. Because, as a designer, I also know the value of my gut. There’s sometimes decisions or designs that I can’t rationally explain why and yet I intuitively know will work. I’ve written about how to follow your curiosity and express intuition at work. Deep down, I’ve always known that there was a subconscious mind that helps with creativity. It’s…


Low guardrails on the edge of a windy road with a scene of trees, mountains and sky on the other side of the drop
Low guardrails on the edge of a windy road with a scene of trees, mountains and sky on the other side of the drop
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Adventure and freedom are two of my core values. Yet I’ve learned that I can most honor those values when I come from a place of feeling safe and secure. The paradox is that safety provides the space for adventure. Safety is the low guardrails on a windy mountain road that provides the security to let you drive faster and accelerate out of the tight curves in a car that hugs the road.

If this resonates and you’re feeling the adventure, take stock of what’s safe and supportive in your life that’s allowing the risk to happen. And if you’re…


Celebration scene with pink donu, confetti and party blowers
Celebration scene with pink donu, confetti and party blowers
Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

I have a tendency to look for what’s wrong, to play devil’s advocate, and to contingency plan all the possible ways things can go wrong. Sometimes this can be a good trait for a planner, and it’s fantastic in a crisis-management situation. However, as a leader, only looking for what’s wrong can be hugely deflating to your teams.

Through most of my career, when I heard someone else’s idea, my first instinct was to put on the skeptical hat and ask many detailed questions. I sought to understand, and perhaps also to shoot it down and find out why the…


Photo by Artur Łuczka on Unsplash

This week I’ve had the pleasure of supporting three female leaders, two of them women of color, through the final hurdle of their interview process—the dreaded offer negotiation.

I spent many of my formative years in Asia where bartering—either at the market for cute bangles or with the police officer to let you off with a warning and a small ”tip”—was simply a fact of life. I took these skills into the corporate world, and embodying an authoritative, masculine style of leadership, have always negotiated my job offers. I’ve been lucky enough to work in technology; I fully recognize that…


Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Do you remember the last time you interviewed for a job? Most people put this off as long as possible. It takes a lot of work to put together a resume, start looking around for opportunities, and then going through the actual process. Most people wait until it’s absolutely necessary. When the situation means that you MUST now start looking for and move into a new job. Perhaps you got passed over for that promotion or raise. Perhaps you’ve moving to a different location. Perhaps your boss has broken your trust one too many times. Perhaps you’ve just been given…


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In tech companies and startups, we’ve heard about and practice modern leadership with radical candor, transparency, and vulnerability. We want to bring our whole selves to work and be an authentic leader. We want to do this while delivering on impact and performance to the company.

But does being transparent and vulnerable work all the time? How much is too much? What if the company isn’t set up with the right performance incentives to enable authenticity? What if the company has set up a system of cross-org competition that rewards aggressive behavior? …


Torn poster on a green wall saying: Change is coming. whether your like it or not!
Torn poster on a green wall saying: Change is coming. whether your like it or not!
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

So you think you want a change. There’s something you want to be different in your life. Perhaps your CEO friend got her own executive coach. Perhaps you’ve been wondering if there’s something you can do to work on some of your growth feedback. Perhaps you’d like to be a better leader and figure out the secrets that everyone else seems to know.

Most of my clients have never worked with a coach before. They’re typically in the technology and/or creative fields given my design background. People seek out coaching because they want something to be different in their lives…


Woman in mid-air jumping between two cliffs
Woman in mid-air jumping between two cliffs
Photo by Sammie Chaffin on Unsplash

What causes you fear?

For many people in a professional setting, there’s a fear of public speaking and expressing your opinion. It can be on a large stage, perhaps TEDx in front of tens of thousands of people, fully mic-ed and camera-ready. It can be in a leadership meeting where you feel like you don’t quite belong, yet you have something to say. You see that something isn’t right in the work being presented, or the consensus of sameness in the room and you want to speak up and voice your opinion. …

Tutti Taygerly

Leadership coach & champion of difficult people; designer of human experiences; ex-Facebook; surfer, traveller, mom; tuttitaygerly.com

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