Building Better Managers Podcast Episode #40: How Women Rise In the Workplace with Sally Helgesen
Join us for a discussion with Sally Helgesen, best-selling author, speaker, leadership coach, and preeminent expert on women's leadership, focused on the disease to please, embracing your ambition, and the behaviors and habits that may be hindering your career growth.
In this episode:
- Sally Helgesen is cited in Forbes as the world’s premier expert on women’s leadership. She's an internationally best-selling author, speaker and leadership coach, has been named by Thinker’s 50 as one of the world’s top 20 coaches, and ranks number 6 among the world’s thought leaders by Global Gurus.
- Sally’s most recent book, How Women Rise, co-authored with Marshall Goldsmith, became a best-seller within a week of publication and has been translated into 19 languages.
- Previous books include The Female Advantage, hailed as a classic and continuously in print since 1990, and The Female Vision, which explores how women’s strategic insights can strengthen their careers.
The Habits that May Be Holding You Back
- Self promotion is very important. If we don't get recognized for what we're contributing for the work we're doing, then over time that will make us feel undervalued. And as a result, we will disengage, it's hard to remain committed to an enthusiastic about a job where we feel undervalued.
- One thing that may help is to treat what you're doing not as bragging, but as information that could be helpful to other people. If they knew what you were doing, that's data that could be helpful to someone else - certainly helpful to your boss, certainly helpful to your colleagues certainly helpful to your team. It so it's not bragging it's information.
- Another thing that's helpful is using the language of contribution rather than achievement. So it's not, "I did this and I was able to accomplish that and I met this benchmark," women are often not comfortable with that. Instead try, "I was able to contribute this." One other thing that can hold women back on this is that we work in teams, this is a team effort, and I'll be taking away from the team if I talk about myself.
- And that's not true! Using the language of contribution, you can integrate your individual contributions with the overall team effort.
- Leveraging your their network in an effective way. Research has shown that senior men's networks tended to be more effective than senior women's networks.
- This is because men were very active at leveraging one another. They were able to ask for tactical, job related, or strategic career-related help, and then offering that help in return. When each of you helps the other, there's a sense of mutuality where you both rise together.
- Women have tended to get more more intrinsic rewards from just the fact of building relationships. Research has shown that that's one of the great factors why women tend to be more resilient over time than men - it's because of the quality of the relationships they build.
- So there are elements of being tactical and transactional in our relationships, but we don't want to feel that makes us a bad person. When I ask women about leveraging, some say, "Well, I don't want people to think I'm a user," or, "I want people to know that I value them for who they are."
- Asking someone for help, as long as you're also available to help them, is not the definition of being a 'user'. So don't be over-sensitive about that.
How Men Can Be Allies In the Workplace
- One of the things that women can also do with men, we don't need to get offended, we can just say, "Look, you know, I'm not sure you recognize this is not helping you. This is not cementing the relationships." Getting rid of some of the enormous sensitivities that have cropped up around some of these gender issues, so people don't have to feel like they are walking on eggshells.
- There's a lot of work to be done in terms of creating inclusive cultures and organizations through inclusive behaviors, teaching inclusive behaviors, helping people understand what an inclusive behavior is, how you give feedback, how you do performance reviews, how you put somebody on the list for succession, all of those kinds of practices. There are inclusive ways to do that.
- It is important for organizations to spend time going over unconscious biases. Raising self-awareness is important, but people want real advice on how to act.
Downloads & Resources
Follow Sally on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and at SallyHelgesen.com.
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Check out our blog articles on Leadership here.
(1) Who Is Driving the Great Resignation? HBR.org, Sept. 15, 2021.
About Sally Helgesen
Sally Helgesen, cited in Forbes as the world’s premier expert on women’s leadership, is an internationally best-selling author, speaker and leadership coach. She has been named by Thinker’s 50 as one of the world’s top 20 coaches and ranks number 6 among the world’s thought leaders by Global Gurus.
Sally’s most recent book, How Women Rise, co-authored with Marshall Goldsmith, became a best-seller within a week of publication and has been translated into 19 languages. Previous books include The Female Advantage, hailed as a classic and continuously in print since 1990, and The Female Vision, which explores how women’s strategic insights can strengthen their careers.
About Siham ElFakir
Siham ElFakir designs and facilitates many of our Women’s Leadership and DE&I programs is with us today. Sally’s book. “How Women Rise” is part of BetterManagers’ Women’s Leadership Group Coaching Program.
Siham is a certified coach from the Co-active Training Institute and is trained as a relationship system (ORSC) & intercultural coach. She holds an MBA degree in International Human Resources, brings a unique blend of 18 years of international experience in marketing, communication, and talent management cross-industries. Based in Paris, Siham speaks French, Arabic, and English fluently and can argue with a taxi driver in Turkish.