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You talk too much and you never shut up

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter where we share the latest tips, tools and insights to help you stay informed about the modern tech office. Today: What makes an effective leader, asynchronous work, and the rising rates of bullying in the workplace.

—Amber Burton, Reporter (twitter | email)

Sometimes you just need to stop talking

There's a common misconception that to be an effective leader, you need to have a commanding presence, a big personality and be white, Swiftly CFO and COO Lucy Liu told Protocol.

"Especially in tech, there were few Asian women, or women in general, as role models for me to look up to, and that's what I thought I needed to be in order to be successful," she said.

Liu landed her first leadership position at Google-owned Waze in 2015. That's where she was first able to apply her own brand of leadership, which involves vulnerability and self-acceptance.

  • "It's OK to be different," she said. "It's OK that I don't fit the mold of what I thought leaders should be."

It's also important for direct reports to feel like they can challenge their managers and have open conversations with them, Liu said.

  • "It's so important to have healthy debates and conflicts," she said. "I don't know everything. And I need to tell them that I don't know everything."
  • "Sometimes it's better [as a leader] to just not say anything," she said. "Other people will fill the silence with better ideas."
  • "When I'm having a one-on-one with someone who is known not to be a big talker, I try to count to three, slowly" before she starts talking again, Liu said. "Sometimes they just need more time to process and it's not that they don't have a thought, but they need more room to be able to express it."

One of Liu's favorite books is "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni. It highlights the importance of trust and open communication on a team.

  • "There's a pyramid and at the bottom is trust," she said. "Without trust, we are not going to have [productive] conflict because we are not open to sharing. And without conflict, you're not going to have commitment. Without commitment, there's no accountability because they never committed to us. If they don't feel accountable, there are no results. So companies need to realize in order to get results, there are five more steps that you have to do as a team."

— Megan Rose Dickey (twitter | email)

The new benefits package

In-office work perks don't appear to be coming back anytime soon. Gone are the days when employees were encouraged to get their teeth cleaned, go to the gym and eat from a free buffet at lunch in the office. So what kind of perks can you offer to employees who now work across multiple locations? Protocol speaks with a panel of HR experts, investors and execs on Oct. 21 at 10 a.m. PT to discuss the most engaging benefits to hire and retain talent in today's work world.

RSVP here.


What are the strategies and tools that CEOs need to consider as they plan for what comes next with their workforce? A Forrester report on CEO responsibility and the adaptive workforce. Check out The CEO's Guide to the Future of Work.

Learn more

The async revolution is here

What's it like to work at an asynchronous-first startup? Think solo corporate retreats and the absence of live meetings. More companies are considering asynchronous work structures following the pandemic. And for leaders that had already embraced an async work life, they boast that it has spurred higher retention rates and happier, more productive employees. Several tech founders and executives shared their tips with Protocol for making unconventional work schedules work for them. Here's a hint: Hire strong writers and independent thinkers.

Read the full story here.

Today's Tips and Tools

More people working on their own time means more of a need for intentional-only communication. Tech startups have followed the demand with more async-friendly communication tools popping up everywhere. Here are a couple that have become popular in the async space and how they work for untraditional employees.

  • Twist is a messaging platform built specifically for teams. The platform appeals to async workers who work better when they're not constantly bombarded by notifications and obsessed with indicators of who's online. It also mimics the thread structure of email to keep conversations more focused. According to Twist, the goal of the platform is to encourage more deep work and less constant checking of messages.
  • Threads is another async-friendly messaging platform. It's meant specifically for sharing proposals, updates and decisions rather than for casual conversation. Think of it more as a forum where people can see and respond to announcements in their own time without discussions getting lost in unrelated conversations.


What are the strategies and tools that CEOs need to consider as they plan for what comes next with their workforce? A Forrester report on CEO responsibility and the adaptive workforce. Check out The CEO's Guide to the Future of Work.

Learn more

Bullying at the virtual water cooler

Bullying in the workplace is still reality even with more people working from home. In fact, more people are at risk of being bullied at work while working from home. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, bullying at work consists of any "repeated mistreatment" and/or "abusive conduct." The organization's most recent Workplace Bullying Survey of over 1,200 workers found that 30% of people have directly experienced bullying, an increase of 57% since 2017.

  • Bullying while remote often happens during virtual meetings rather than written communication like email. The bullying rate for remote workers is about 43%, according to the survey.
  • Non-managers are more likely than managers to be bullied at work. And men were said to make up the majority of workplace bullies (67%).
  • Hispanics experienced a higher rate of bullying than other races at 35%.
  • According to WBI, most bullying does not stop until a person gets fired, downsized, quits or is transferred to another area in a company.

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Office usage is creeping higher, but the numbers are still small compared to the expectations last spring.

Will high-skilled workers actually follow Big Tech companies to states like Florida and Texas?

Facebook is looking to hire 10,000 workers in the EU to build the metaverse.

Tech companies still have a long way to go when it comes to gaining the trust of its Black employees.

Your company's next investment to get you back to the office could be a $17,000 Zoom pod. Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like.

One last thing: Protocol wants to hear from you!

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