40: Leaders With Heart Know That Providing Growth For The Team Is No Tiny Matter


In this episode, Heather speaks with David Niu , Founder and CEO of TINYhr, creator of TINYpulse,  an employee engagement technology platform. David shares an eye-opening story of a time when he was not the best leader he could be and what he does to stay in the best place he can be. David talks about his leadership and entrepreneurial journey and why helping people learn and grow is his priority.

Key takeaways:

  • Everyone has their own version of the truth.
  • Transparent leadership builds trust.
  • Journaling is a great way to stay centered as a leader.
  • Sometimes it is necessary to slow down in order to speed up.


This is a great one for entrepreneurs. Make sure you take in every learning you get!

David Niu’s Full BIO

David is the Founder and CEO of TINYhr. He is also the author of Careercation (Career+Vacation) and shared how he sold everything he owned, stuffed the rest of his belongings in storage, and bought one-way tickets to travel around the world with his wife and 10-month old daughter. It was this Careercation that inspired him to start TINYpulse to help organizations like HubSpot, GlaxoSmithKline, and Living Social get a pulse on how happy, frustrated, and burnt out their people are before retention sinks and issues fester.

The Pain Point

During that Careercation, I interviewed over 35 CEOs, and at the end of every interview, I asked them one question: What’s one pain point you have when it comes to managing your people, that when taken away, you’ll gladly pay for it? And different leaders would tell me different reasons. 

But at the end of the day, when I got sufficiently far away from Seattle, both time and distance, I kind of sift through those answers to see if there was a theme. And there was.


Despite where they were located, despite how big their company was, despite what industry they’re in, that regardless, one of the most haunting feelings for any of these leaders is when their key employee says, “Heather, here’s my two-week notice” out of the blue.

People share all the time about metrics, their pain points, challenges and opportunities. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet If we cannot take care of ourselves, how can we take care of others in an effective manner? #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Everyone Must Grow

What can I do to get better?

I get driven if I benefit from continual learning.

I get really passionate when I ask people in every interview, a question: What are some of your short term and long term goals? If we were to meet again, in five years being short term, and ten years being long term, what will you be proud of from what you’ve accomplished? Because if I don’t know, I cannot help you as a manager, if we were to work together, get to that goal faster.

That’s is one area when I see, and I understand that I see tremendous growth in the people.

As for me, when I meditate, I get to slow things down in my mind a little bit better than when I’m out in the open field and be energized or stressed out.  When people are getting lost and when I feel like I am floating, I like to journal. There’s a lot of great journals out there, about the things I am grateful for in the morning, the things I want to tackle today. Everyone can come up with their own. But, I think, just the art of slowing down to speed up and not typing an email especially in the morning is really important.

Accessibility and Transparency

We have this program called TINYcoffee where I schedule 30-minute coffee sessions with people. I just literally find random people and I don’t have preset agenda when I am talking to them. It’s how I understand how they are doing, if there’s anything I should know about, that I don’t know about. And I just keep it pretty free fluid.

It’s a great way especially with new folks to understand where they are and also, for them to understand that I am accessible. Even though I am travelling, or my title is different, it doesn’t mean that I am any less accessible.

As a leader, the hard stuff is the soft stuff when it comes to dealing with people. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

People share all the time about metrics, about their pain points, their challenges and opportunities, and I get to be a part of those conversations.

The employees that rate themselves the happiest are also the ones that rate the perception of how transparent they think the management is. And becoming more and more important is how open and transparent could they think the management is.

As I acknowledge their version of how they saw the truth, I had my version too, but everyone else has their version as well. I want to make sure that to the extent possible that we’re as transparent as possible.

Take care of the mind and the body. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet
We want to make other people's goals come true. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


Connect with David on LinkedIn

Visit TINYpulse

Subscribe, rate and review the podcast on iTunes!

Listen to the podcast on Spotify

Leave a Comment


Leadership With Heart With Heather R Younger

“Heather’s courage and vulnerability to share her authentic self are truly inspiring. She shares the most cutting-edge leadership strategies on topics like emotional intelligence and employee experience. If you’re looking to sharpen your leadership skills, this podcast is for you.”

Heather is a Workplace Culture Expert

She's the...

CEO of Employee Fanatix

A leading workplace culture and employee engagement consulting & training firm.

A highly sought-after keynote speaker

Bringing the best insights from over 25,000 employee stories to the stage.

A diversity, equity, & inclusion strategist

An expert in creating safe spaces for these vital conversations.

A contributor to leading news outlets

A trusted expert for stories on culture, workplace engagement, and employee retention.


The Cycle of Active Listening

Create a listening culture that elevates the workplace experience for everyone.

Through this guide, uncover how to ensure those in your care at work feel heard and valued, resulting in increased loyalty and satisfaction.

  • Understand why listening is the key to improved engagement
  • Learn how the Cycle of Active Listening contributes to strong workplace relationships
  • Get a practical framework for creating a listening culture that is bidirectional, responsive, and supportive
Get the Guide
Are you interested in hiring Heather to present at an organization you are associated with?
Are you interested in hiring Heather for consulting services or workshops?

Contact Heather Today!


I'm really interested in...

(select all that apply)*

I can be reached at...

Additional Comments