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Women at Work

Women face gender discrimination throughout our careers. It doesn't have to derail our ambitions — but how do we prepare to deal with it? There's no workplace orientation session about narrowing the wage gap, standing up to interrupting male colleagues, or taking on many other issues we encounter at work. So HBR staffers Amy Bernstein, Amy Gallo, and Emily Caulfield are untangling some of the knottiest problems. They interview experts on gender, tell stories about their own experiences, and give lots of practical advice to help you succeed in spite of the obstacles.

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Make Yourself Heard

Have you ever been in a meeting and shared an idea, only to have it ignored? Then, 10 minutes later, a guy shares the same idea, and your boss says “Great idea!” (Grrr.) Or maybe you’ve been told you apologize too much, don’t speak up enough, or that you need more “confidence” or “leadership presence.” (Ugh.)In this episode, we tackle three aspects of communication: first, how and why women’s speech patterns differ from men’s; second, how women can be more assertive in meetings; and third, how women can deal with interrupters (since the science shows women get interrupted more often than men do).Guests: Deborah Tannen is a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University.  She is best known as the author of the bestseller “You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation.” Jill Flynn is a founding partner at Flynn Heath Holt Leadership. Amy Gallo is an HBR contributing editor and author of the “HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict.”Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.For links to the articles mentioned in this episode, as well as other information about the show, visit hbr.org/podcasts/women-at-work.

44mins

24 Jan 2018

Rank #1

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Let’s Talk About Money

One of the primary reasons we work is to earn money, but many of us feel uncomfortable telling others how much we make. This fear may be working against women, because research has shown that salary transparency can help narrow the gender pay gap. With the help of experts, we explore the complexities of talking about our salaries. First, an economist walks through the pros and cons of disclosing your pay. Then, the host of a personal finance podcast explains why she encourages people to speak openly about salaries. Finally, an HR executive gives advice on how to deal with the gut punch of learning that a peer makes more than you do. Our HBR reading list: “The Motivating (and Demotivating) Effects of Learning Others’ Salaries,” by Zoë B. Cullen and Ricardo Perez-Truglia “Research: Gender Pay Gaps Shrink When Companies Are Required to Disclose Them,” by Morten Bennedsen et al. “Your Coworkers Should Know Your Salary,” HBR IdeaCast interview with David Burkus “Why Companies’ Attempts to Close the Gender Pay Gap Often Fail,” by David Anderson et al. “Closing the Gender Wealth Gap,” by Nicole Torres Sign up to get the Women at Work monthly newsletter. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

1hr 9mins

14 Oct 2019

Rank #2

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The Advice We Get and Give

Don’t negotiate against yourself. It’s OK to drop the ball. Sleep. We get wisdom from women who are experts on how we work — and who have advice on how to ask for more money, achieve more by doing less, and avoid burning out. We talk with Duke University management professor Ashleigh Shelby Rosette about negotiating, Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington about sleep, Levo Chief Leadership Officer Tiffany Dufu about dropping the ball, and New Yorker writer Susan Orlean about confidence. Then HBR senior editor Alison Beard teams up with Amy to answer a few of your questions about work. Our HBR reading list: “Nice Girls Don’t Ask” by Linda Babcock, Sara Laschever, Michele Gelfand, Deborah Small “Can an Agentic Black Woman Get Ahead? The Impact of Race and Interpersonal Dominance on Perceptions of Female Leaders” by Robert W. Livingston, Ashleigh Shelby Rosette, and Ella F. Washington HBR Guide to Negotiating by Jeff Weiss “How to Keep Email from Ruining Your Vacation” by Arianna Huffington “Connect, Then Lead” by Amy J.C. Cuddy, Matthew Kohut, and John Neffinger “Women, Find Your Voice” by Kathryn Heath, Jill Flynn, and Mary Davis Holt Please fill out our listener survey at hbr.org/podcastsurvey — tell us what you think of the show! Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

1hr 6mins

8 Mar 2018

Rank #3

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Making Great Decisions

There’s a lot that goes into making a good decision at work: figuring out priorities, coming up with options, analyzing those — and several steps later, planning for what to do if you’re wrong. If you’re a woman, you are also factoring in how your colleagues expect you to ask for their opinions so you can create consensus. And if you do, they’re still likely to see you as indecisive and lacking vision. We talk with Therese Huston, author of the book How Women Decide, about our strengths as decision makers and how to work around double standards when we’re making decisions and communicating them to our team. Our HBR reading list: “Research: We Are Way Harder on Female Leaders Who Make Bad Calls,” by Therese Huston “Women and the Vision Thing,” by Herminia Ibarra and Otilia Obodaru “Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?” by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic “Get Excited: Reappraising Pre-Performance Anxiety as Excitement,” by Alison Wood Brooks Get the discussion guide for this episode on our website: hbr.org/podcasts/women-at-work Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

38mins

1 Oct 2018

Rank #4

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Advice for Less Than Optimal Circumstances

With half my department furloughed, how can I keep from burning out and losing ground in my career? How can I best lead a large team that’s half remote? We respond to these questions and others from listeners looking for advice on their common workplace quandaries. These are problems and solutions we can all learn from. Our HBR reading list: “How Working Parents Can Support One Another,” by Stewart D. Friedman and Alyssa F. Westring “Global Teams That Work,” by Tsedal Neeley “If There’s Only One Woman in Your Candidate Pool, There’s Statistically No Chance She’ll Be Hired,” by Stefanie K. Johnson et al. “Women and Minorities Are Penalized for Promoting Diversity,” by Stefanie K. Johnson and David R. Hekman “Ideal Worker or Perfect Mom?” by Alison Beard “The Pandemic Has Exposed the Fallacy of the ‘Ideal Worker,’” by Joan C. Williams Sign up to get the Women at Work monthly newsletter. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

40mins

18 May 2020

Rank #5

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Managing Burnout

Working long hours won’t necessarily burn us out, but getting too little sleep or feeling unappreciated might. Women commonly face extra stressors, like office chores or doing a “second shift” at home, that can leave us exhausted. And once we’re burned out, it usually takes more than a few yoga classes or going on vacation to feel like ourselves again. Mandy O’Neill, an expert on workplace well-being, explains the causes, symptoms, and repercussions of burnout. She suggests several antidotes (including laughing with your colleagues) and ways to protect ourselves from experiencing it in the first place. Our HBR reading list: “Beating Burnout,” by Monique Valcour “How to Help Your Team with Burnout When You’re Burned Out Yourself,” by Rebecca Knight “Employees Who Feel Love Perform Better,” by Sigal Barsade and Olivia A. O’Neill “Turn the Job You Have into the Job You Want,” by Amy Wrzesniewski, Justin M. Berg, and Jane E. Dutton “Women Need Mindfulness Even More than Men Do,” by Beth Cabrera

43mins

15 Apr 2019

Rank #6

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Working Through Menopause (at Work)

In most workplaces, menopause is a taboo topic. Every woman’s transition is different, but it’s a shared experience worth talking about. But how do you tell your boss that your mood swings and brain fog are related to perimenopause? What do you say to colleagues when you break into a sweat—or tears—during a meeting? These and other menopause symptoms can cause many women to feel less confident and competent, but being able to talk about your symptoms with colleagues and asking for the support you need can ease that anxiety. Dr. Heather Hirsch describes common concerns she hears from women she treats at the menopause clinic she leads. Then Jeneva Patterson makes the case for discussing menopause more openly among colleagues. Finally, Tina Opie joins the Amys to share their experiences with managing symptoms at work. Our HBR reading list: “It’s Time to Start Talking About Menopause at Work,” by Jeneva Patterson “Is Menopause a Taboo in Your Organization?” by Megan Reitz et al. “Aging Up, Not Out,” by Women at Work Sign up to get the Women at Work monthly newsletter. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

37mins

25 May 2020

Rank #7

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So Many Feelings

Many women feel pressure to hide their feelings in order to be seen as professional. But now, in the midst of this crisis, it may not be feasible — or even preferable — to force ourselves to keep it together or to expect other people to do so. What’s the right level of emotional disclosure these days, and what’s the next best step to take when emotions spill over? We speak with organizational consultants Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy about the good that can come from being vulnerable with colleagues. Then Maureen Hoch, the editor of HBR.org, joins us to talk about the emotional labor it takes to control our feelings and how that comes with the territory of being the boss. Our HBR reading list: “How Leaders Can Open Up to Their Teams Without Oversharing,” by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy “Anxiety Is Contagious. Here’s How to Contain It.” by Judson Brewer “Handling Negative Emotions in a Way That’s Good for Your Team,” by Emma Seppälä and Christina Bradley “How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation,” by Amy Gallo “New Managers Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Express Their Emotions,” by Kristi Hedges Sign up to get the Women at Work monthly newsletter. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

49mins

27 Apr 2020

Rank #8

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The Art of Claiming Credit

Have you ever offered up an idea in a meeting and been ignored — but then, 10 minutes later, a man repeated the idea and everyone called it brilliant? Or have you ever worked hard on a team project and been left off the thank-you email? If we aren’t thoughtful about how we present our ideas at work, we risk not being heard or, worse, missing out on the credit we’re due. Research shows that women get less credit when we work in groups with men. So, it’s important for us to be strategic with our suggestions and insights. We talk with two experts on workplace dynamics and difficult conversations. First, Amy Jen Su covers how to artfully share your contributions. Next, Amy Gallo tells us how to call out credit stealers. Our HBR reading list: “Research: Men Get Credit for Voicing Ideas, but Not Problems. Women Don’t Get Credit for Either,” by Sean Martin “Proof That Women Get Less Credit for Teamwork,” by Nicole Torres “Research: Junior Female Scientists Aren’t Getting the Credit They Deserve,” by Marc J. Lerchenmueller and Olav Sorenson “How to Respond When Someone Takes Credit for Your Work,” by Amy Gallo Get the discussion guide for this episode on our website: hbr.org/podcasts/women-at-work Fill out our survey about workplace experiences. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

38mins

22 Oct 2018

Rank #9

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How We Take Care of Ourselves

Despite what we see on Instagram, self-care isn’t just about face masks and massages (although those are nice). It’s about spending your time, including your workday, in ways that prioritize the things and people you care about. Studies show that this kind of self-care makes us happier and more focused in our jobs. But it can be a challenge to take care of ourselves when we’re on deadline, traveling too much, or reporting to a boss who emails at all hours. We speak with researcher Ashley Whillans about how managers can model healthy habits and how employees can make time to practice them. Ashley shares a personal experience about what happens when we don’t prioritize self-care, while Amy G. gets a firsthand lesson in an airport. Our HBR reading list: “Time for Happiness,” by Ashley Whillans “6 Ways to Weave Self-Care into Your Workday,” by Amy Jen Su “Use Your Money to Buy Happier Time,” HBR IdeaCast interview with Ashley Whillans “What One Company Learned from Forcing Employees to Use Their Vacation Time,” by Neil Pasricha and Shashank Nigam “How Self-Care Became So Much Work,” by Charlotte Lieberman Sign up to get the Women at Work monthly newsletter. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

36mins

11 Nov 2019

Rank #10

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Perfect Is the Enemy

If you’ve worked your way up in a competitive field — or are anxious by nature — you may have perfectionist tendencies. Maybe you’re a hard-driving, obsessive worker who thinks a task is never quite done. Or maybe you’re avoidant, struggling to start a project because you want it to be done just right. We all know society holds women to a higher standard than men and rewards us for not making mistakes. But internalizing other people’s expectations — or what we think they expect — will only burn us out. To keep rising in our careers, we need to get in tune with our own standards for what’s a good, or good enough, job. It is possible to keep our perfectionist tendencies under control. We talk through tactics with Alice Boyes, a former clinical psychologist turned writer and author. Our HBR reading list: “How Perfectionists Can Get Out of Their Own Way,” by Alice Boyes “How to Focus on What’s Important, Not Just What’s Urgent,” by Alice Boyes “How to Collaborate with a Perfectionist,” by Alice Boyes “Perfectionism Is Increasing, and That’s Not Good News,” by Thomas Curran and Andrew P. Hill Get the discussion guide for this episode on our website: hbr.org/podcasts/women-at-work Fill out our survey about workplace experiences. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

36mins

15 Oct 2018

Rank #11

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Step into the Spotlight

There are lots of ways to get visibility at work: give a presentation, speak up in a meeting, have lunch with a senior leader. When done well, in front of people with influence, these actions can lead to a promotion, a raise, or more resources for your team. But research shows there are sound reasons women sometimes decide to not be more visible and instead quietly push forward projects or stay behind the scenes. In this live episode, recorded at Sixth & I in Washington, DC, we get advice from Muriel Maignan Wilkins on navigating the spotlight, offer managers tips on making visibility easier for women, and take questions from the audience. Our HBR reading list: Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence, by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins “Why Women Stay Out of the Spotlight at Work,” by Priya Fielding-Singh, Devon Magliozzi, and Swethaa Ballakrishnen “To Succeed in Tech, Women Need More Visibility,” by Shelley Correll and Lori Mackenzie “The Problem of Visibility for Women in Engineering, and How They Manage It,” by Dulini Fernando, Laurie Cohen, and Joanne Duberley Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

41mins

22 Apr 2019

Rank #12

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Aging Up, Not Out

Starting sometime around our mid-50s, work presents us with a new set of biases. Coworkers assume that older people are tired and uninterested in professional development. Eventually they start asking when you’re going to retire. But experience and maturity can give women an advantage in the workplace. Amy B. and Amy G. interview aging expert Nancy Morrow-Howell about putting in the effort to stay current, how to assert yourself when you feel overlooked, and what to say when people ask that annoying retirement question. Then, HBR.org editor Maureen Hoch joins the Amys to talk about what growing older has been like for them. They also give advice on leaving a secure job for new opportunities and managing the combined stress of parenting, a demanding career, and menopause. Our HBR reading list: “When No One Retires,” by Paul Irving “The Case for Hiring Older Workers,” by Josh Bersin and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic “Four Ways to Adapt to an Aging Workforce,” by Michael North and Hal Hershfield “Generational Differences At Work Are Small. Thinking They’re Big Affects Our Behavior,” by Eden King et al. Sign up to get the Women at Work monthly newsletter. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

53mins

2 Dec 2019

Rank #13

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Sorry Not Sorry

Lots of us have heard the advice that we should stop apologizing so much, especially at work. But do women really say “sorry” too often? And will it actually help our careers if we stop? We turn to two experts for insight. Karina Schumann, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, summarizes the findings from her study “Why Women Apologize More Than Men.” Then we talk with Sally Helgesen, an executive coach and a coauthor of the book How Women Rise. She explains that saying “sorry” is only one form of the minimizing language women use at the office and shares advice on how to break the habit. Our HBR reading list: “Why Women Apologize More Than Men: Gender Differences in Thresholds for Perceiving Offensive Behavior,” by Karina Schumann and Michael Rosee “The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why,” by Deborah Tannen How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job, by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

40mins

13 May 2019

Rank #14

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When You Work in a Male-Dominated Industry

Being treated like an outsider. Feeling like you have to prove yourself. Struggling to make your voice heard. Whether it’s overt discrimination or more subtle forms of bias, male-dominated industries like engineering can pose challenges for women. Research shows that even well-meaning mentors direct female engineers into less technical, less valued roles. It’s no wonder so many women end up leaving the industry. We talk to a professor and two students at Olin College of Engineering about their experiences working among mostly men, what it means to “play nice,” and how male colleagues can help (listen!). Then we talk to an expert about how to evaluate a company’s gender culture before you accept a job and how to stay true to your career goals when other people think they know what’s best for you. Our HBR reading list: “The Subtle Stressors Making Women Want to Leave Engineering,” by M. Teresa Cardador and Brianna Barker Caza “The Problem of Visibility for Women in Engineering, and How They Manage It,” by Dulini Fernando et al. “How the Imagined ‘Rationality’ of Engineering Is Hurting Diversity — and Engineering,” by Joan C. Williams and Marina Multhaup “Why Do So Many Women Who Study Engineering Leave the Field?” by Susan S. Silbey “What Managers Can Do to Keep Women in Engineering,” by Dulini Fernando et al. Sign up to get the Women at Work monthly newsletter. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

56mins

9 Dec 2019

Rank #15

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Networking Doesn’t Have to Be a Drag

If you hate networking events, it may be comforting to hear that experts don’t think they’re a great way to build strong relationships anyway. There are more natural, less transactional ways to connect with people, especially inside your company. Getting to know colleagues in different units and at different levels gives us perspective on our work and helps us get more done across the organization. We talk with Inga Carboni about the characteristics of a strong network, common challenges for women building theirs, and how the senior-level women she studied managed those challenges. Next, we tell you how we cope when we find ourselves at a networking event and suggest some ways to start a conversation — or get out of one. Our HBR reading list: “Learn to Love Networking,” by Tiziana Casciaro et al. “5 Misconceptions About Networking,” by Herminia Ibarra “When You Agree to a Networking Meeting But Don’t Know What You’re Going to Talk About,” by Dorie Clark “How to Get the Most Out of a Conference,” by Rebecca Knight Sign up to get the Women at Work monthly newsletter. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Join us for a live episode in Boston on Tuesday, Nov. 12. The event is free, but you need to register to get in. Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

40mins

21 Oct 2019

Rank #16

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Sisterhood Is Power

It takes time and care to develop trusting relationships with the women we work with, particularly women who are different from us in some way. But the effort of understanding each other’s experiences is worth it, personally and professionally: We’ll feel less alone in our individual struggles and better able to push for equity. We talk with professors Tina Opie and Verónica Rabelo about the power of workplace sisterhood. We discuss steps, as well as common snags, to forming deep and lasting connections with our female colleagues. Our HBR reading list: “Survey: Tell Us About Your Workplace Relationships,” by Tina R. Opie and Beth A. Livingston “Women: Let’s Stop Allowing Race and Age to Divide Us,” by Ancella Livers and Trudy Bourgeois “How Managers Can Promote Healthy Discussions About Race,” by Kira Hudson Banks “How Managers Can Make Casual Networking Events More Inclusive,” by Ruchika Tulshyan Get the discussion guide for this episode on our website: hbr.org/podcasts/women-at-work Sign up for the Women at Work newsletter: hbr.org/email-newsletters Fill out our survey about workplace experiences. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

51mins

19 Nov 2018

Rank #17

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Sponsorship: Defining the Relationship

Having a sponsor — someone who can use their influence to push your career forward — is invaluable. But how exactly they do this, and what your role is in making it happen, isn’t always clear-cut. Who should we be seeking to sponsor us? Should sponsors be candid with their proteges about what they’re doing on their behalf? We pose these questions and others to Rosalind Chow, a researcher who studies sponsorship. She clarifies some of the ambiguity and talks about what should be transparent and what should stay unspoken. Then we hear how one of these relationships works between two lawyers, as well as between Nicole and Amy B. Our HBR reading list: “Sponsors Need to Stop Acting Like Mentors,” by Julia Taylor Kennedy and Pooja Jain-Link “A Lack of Sponsorship Is Keeping Women from Advancing into Leadership,” by Herminia Ibarra “What Men Can Do to Be Better Mentors and Sponsors to Women,” by Rania H. Anderson and David G. Smith “Want to Be a Better Manager? Get a Protégé,” by Sylvia Ann Hewlett Sign up to get the Women at Work monthly newsletter. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Join us for a live episode taping in Boston on Tuesday, Nov. 12. The event is free, but you need to register to get in. Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

1hr 5mins

29 Oct 2019

Rank #18

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We Deserve Better Than “Attagirl”

Hearing your manager say you’re doing a great job is, of course, lovely. But without examples of your greatness in action, or suggestions for how to be even better, you don’t have the information you need to keep improving. Studies have found that women tend to get feedback that’s vague or tied to their personalities, which doesn’t boost our performance ratings. Meanwhile, men get feedback that’s specific and tied to business outcomes, which sets them up to develop and be promoted. First, we talk with Harvard Business School professor Robin Ely about the research on women and feedback. Next, we talk with Tuck School of Business professor Ella Bell Smith about how to draw out actionable, useful feedback from our managers, and how to respond when we’re not getting what we need to succeed. Our HBR reading list: “What Most People Get Wrong About Men and Women,” by Catherine H. Tinsley and Robin J. Ely “The Gender Gap in Feedback and Self-Perception,” by Margarita Mayo “How Gender Bias Corrupts Performance Reviews, and What to Do About It,” by Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio “Research: Vague Feedback Is Holding Women Back,” by Shelley Correll and Caroline Simard Get the discussion guide for this episode on our website: hbr.org/podcasts/women-at-work Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

38mins

9 Oct 2018

Rank #19

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Seeing Ourselves as Leaders

The shift from being part of a team to leading one isn’t like flipping a switch; it’s a process, and often an awkward one. Not only do you have to convince other people that you can and should lead, but sometimes you have to convince yourself. That’s not always easy for women, given that leadership has long been defined by how men act. Finding a style that’s authentic and resonates with others requires reflection and patience. We talk to two leadership coaches about what distinguishes a leader, how to know if you’re ready to be one, and how to best make the transition. Then our hosts discuss their own leadership journeys, and the Amys share tips with Nicole that they’ve learned along the way. Our HBR reading list: “Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?” by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic “How Women Manage the Gendered Norms of Leadership,” by Wei Zheng et al. “To Be Authentic, Look Beyond Yourself,” by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins “Ego Is the Enemy of Good Leadership,” by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter “Improve Your Leadership Presence,” HBR Video with Muriel Maignan Wilkins Sign up to get the Women at Work monthly newsletter. Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

57mins

16 Dec 2019

Rank #20