Drink Like a Lady Podcast

How Women Rise: The 12 Habits That Are Holding You Back With Sally Helgesen

October 06, 2022 Joya Dass/Sally Helgesen
Drink Like a Lady Podcast
How Women Rise: The 12 Habits That Are Holding You Back With Sally Helgesen
Show Notes Transcript

Joya is currently enrolling members for international (Europe) and domestic (NYC) strategy days. She also leads a year-long intensive mastermind of C-Suite level women, which is accepting applications for 2024.



[00:00:00.070] - Sally

Also subcontinent, and it's the UK edition there, of course, but it was a very receptive audience, and the women were just rearing to go, I have to say. So it was an exciting experience.

[00:00:12.930] - Joya

What is it about the book? Before I launched into the four tips that I've sort of called out from the twelve, what do you think resonated so much for them?

[00:00:21.140] - Sally

I think this book has been as successful as it is, and we've sold it in 15 languages because it's so practical and action oriented. It's not theoretical, it's not analyzing a situation. It's saying, here are some things that women that hold women back. And here are some concrete ways you can address those if you identify with those, you can hear some actions you can take. So I think one of the things that made it as successful and as impactful, really, as it has been.

[00:01:04.060] - Joya

And how did you arrive at the book? What was your research process as you got these twelve points together?

[00:01:09.890] - Sally

Well, I had been delivering women's leadership workshops, like half day workshops since 2010. I've been in the field of women's leadership since 1990. But I put together a very popular workshop on women's vision. How women see things and how they describe the big picture of what they see. I put that together in 2010, and it was through those workshops that I saw the extent to which the habits and behaviors most likely to get in women's ways were not in. What got you here won't get you there. So I actually approached Marshall, who had been a friend and colleague for at that point about 25 years, and said, "look, I think that it's time we collaborate on a book that takes this fundamental insight you have that the same behaviors that got you to this level won't get you to that level, but look at how that applies to women. Let's do that together." He loved the idea. He had heard feedback from women like, some of these habits aren't really things that bother us. Learn to apologize and stop always talking about how great you are. Really, those aren't big problems for women. He agreed to that and what happened.

[00:02:29.570] - Sally

We work together maybe once or twice a month, and we talked through the habits and behaviors and share stories. And he had some great stories, but what I had was an incredible resource, which was the notes I had kept on all the workshops I've done for the last at that six or eight years. And all the panels that I moderated all around the world. This is so I had all these stories and I kind of knew where they fit. So researching this book, we had a couple of real research breakthroughs. Like the data research we got on the fact that organizations tend to reward women for being precise and correct. Whereas they reward men for being perceived of as big picture thinkers and having a lot of visibility and the right connections and how that plays into perfectionism. So there were things like that, but generally the resource here was my own at that point, 28 years of work in women's leadership, right?

[00:03:46.320] - Joya

So I'm going to get into the very first one. The first one is, and I'm guilty of this, women tend to put their head down and work. And they're like, well, surely my boss, my colleagues, the person's boss's boss is going to notice how fantastic I am. That is a big fat lie.

[00:04:01.430] - Sally

Yes.  And it's going to be more challenging in the virtual environment that we'll all be working in. But yes, first of all, men don't tend to be broad spectrum noticers, that is, they're not noticing a lot of what's going on with other people. This is a generalization, but it tends to be true, whereas women are often reading the room broadly, how is that person reacting? She seems disengaged. Oh, he seems to like this idea. We have that capacity to notice a lot of things going on. Men tend to be quite focused on what they're trying to achieve. So it's fruitless to expect that they're going to really notice, if they're in a position of power what you're doing. And often they don't have the resources to see it anyway. They're not monitoring your emails, they don't quite understand. So we have a real responsibility to ourselves and I would say to other women as an ancillary to be able to step up or articulate not just what we've achieved, but articulate where we want to go. It's very common.

[00:05:14.730] - Joya

Yeah, I intimately know everybody on this call and for those who are may be reticent to do that, what's a graceful way to say to you, a boss, a direct report, somebody that you want to connect with? Some of us are small business owners. How do you sort of sing your praises from the rafters without sounding obnoxious?

[00:05:32.350] - Sally

I think the most important way to think about it is that you are sharing information. You're not bragging. You're not talking about yourself. You are sharing information about what you're doing. About how that's working and where there may be some pitfalls in it that is essential for your boss. Your boss's boss. Whoever is in charge of your team, unit, division, whatever that is that can be essential for them to know. That you really if you treat what you do as information that's important to the smooth functioning of the organization. Then it makes it more neutral. It's not just me bragging about what I did. But there's one other thing that I want to bring up and that has to do with the fact that what I have noticed. And this really isn't in the book. It's something I've seen since. Women tend to invest more energy in trying to manage what other people might think of them. Then in being clear about what they're contributing. How can I do this and make sure nobody thinks I'm obnoxious? How can I do this and make sure that nobody thinks I'm self serving or too ambitious? Whatever that means. And that's not really the question. The question is how can I most effectively share this information about what I'm doing in order to provide information that's needed and position myself to achieve my full potential? Which is in my interest, my team's interest and my organization's interest.

[00:07:16.560] - Joya

I like the paradigm shift.

[00:07:18.490] - Sally

Yeah, it's a total paradigm shift. Other people will think what they think and they may come around.

[00:07:24.560] - Joya

And how other people feel is not your responsibility.

[00:07:27.710] - Sally

That's exactly right. So what we're doing is rather than managing something we can control, which is how we choose to articulate what we're doing or what we're trying to achieve or contribute, we end up trying to manage something we can't control. Which is other people's perceptions, which may be shaped by their unconscious biases, past experiences, et cetera.

[00:07:52.290] - Joya

All right, the next point is building winwin relationships. Women will walk into a cocktail party or they'll walk into a situation and they're like, "oh no, I just want to be friends with them. I don't want to actually tap them for a relationship or this or that or the other." I'm not saying that's all women, but that's certainly the case with some men on the other hand, will always go on to the golf course and be like all right, we're going to play this round. But how can this be a win win relationship at the end of the day? And what is your answer to that?

[00:08:17.020] - Sally

Well, first of all, I think that women are often not accustomed to it because they're not accustomed necessarily to thinking of themselves as players. That is, resources for other people, that other people would be very lucky to have, that other people would be lucky to know them. Other people would be lucky to have them as a potential resource for favors, support or help going forward. So the essence of a win win relationship is that it's reciprocal. So if you're hesitant about what you have to offer in return, then you may be hesitant or unable to see it as a potential win win. Another thing that's very important is that women tend to build strong relationships through bonding, through sharing more intimate information and to turn people into friends. That is wonderful. It is one of the reasons that we are more resilient than men because we have these emotional relationships with other people that we can rely on. It is important because it's a resource that enables us to feel, to express vulnerability when that's what we feel and get help. It is a wonderful thing that women are as skilled as they are at building relationships.

[00:09:42.550] - Sally

But we need that flexibility so we can build relationships. But we also have some comfort in leveraging relationships that is, making requests of people we're in relationship with or building or trying to build a relationship with that help us achieve either tactical job related or strategic career related objective. And that's where we often hang back, even at senior level.

[00:10:14.840] - Joya

And there's one that's akin to this, is building allies from day one. I remember hearing Carla Harris, who's somebody who does a lot of public speaking at Morgan Stanley about the fact that when you come into a job or you come into a position, you should be thinking about the seat, not only the seat that you occupy, but the seat that you're going to occupy. So you should think about your career, not necessarily your job.

[00:10:38.170] - Sally

Those are two things exactly. Women often tend to put their job before their career. Just what you said at the beginning. I'm going to keep my head down. I've got a skill set to master. I've got to get really good at this. And then once I do that, I can look up and start building our lives. That's not the time you want to do it. From day one, the most successful people, men and women, Carla Harris I can guarantee it, walk into a situation and the first question they ask is, "who do I need to connect with in order to make sure this is a success?" So they're enlisting and engaging allies from day one, rather than thinking, "Fine, I'll do that, but I first don't really want to get comfortable with my skills and not look like a fool or not risk anybody questioning that I should be in this job because I'm so good at it that I make that apparent."

[00:11:38.950] - Joya

The next one is my favorite, and I can't remember how many times I've talked about this, and I'm actually surprised that I'm starting to see young millennial men do this. But is apologize, apologize, apologize. I'm so sorry. Apologies for being late. Just want to take a minute of your time, actually. Like, they're constantly diminishing and making the space they occupy smaller.

[00:11:58.520] - Sally

Yes, and I have noticed that, too, with millennial men, certainly with millennial women. But with all of us, I mean, Marshall has this practice that whenever anybody who's working with or not working with it's just in conversation with does something, that's a behavior that doesn't serve them, he finds them. And I was in a situation in Boston recently well, not too recently, when I still traveled. And very senior woman was head of the group that I was speaking to. She pulled it together. She was fantastic. The 9th time she apologized to me for something that wasn't her fault. The room might have been a little warm. Somebody somewhere made a noise. Was the coffee good? I said to her, you know, I think I'm going to do what Marshall does. The next time you apologize, I am going to find you and take that money and give it to a good cause. So this is something that women historically do, and that, yes, I agree. I noticed in millennial culture, with the very sort of up top tone of voice that's common, like, I'm going to go over there and you know what I'm talking about. That it sort of lends itself to apologizing and diminishing and that apologizing and minimizing ways of speaking, oh, this will only take 1 minute of your valuable time.

[00:13:30.310] - Sally

They don't serve you. They don't serve you in positioning you as a leader. They actually sort of undermine the trust other people might have in you because you look so hesitant about asking for normal things or even your right to be in a room or to speak up. That it doesn't necessarily position you as potential ally. So there are all kinds of reasons to avoid that minimizing, and there are ways you can do it. Not instead of oh, I'm sorry I'm late. Thank you for waiting. It's more gracious. Thank you for your information. Yeah, exactly.

[00:14:13.390] - Joya

There was a story I read about. It was an experiment that somebody did where women and men were sitting at a conference and all of a sudden they let a bunch of late comers in and the women immediately picked up their bags, put their legs together and made themselves smaller to make room for the newcomers. The men just sat back with their bags in the aisles and continued on the day. It's funny how even physically, they make themselves smaller to accommodate others. And it probably comes from our nurturing somewhere in our nurturing capabilities.

[00:14:42.220] - Sally

I think it does, actually. That was in the book. That was a situation I'd been at a board meeting in New Orleans. And people came in late and all the women were, like, doing everything they could to signal, there's room for you, there's room for you, include you. I'll get up and stand in the back of the room. I'll stand just so you, as a late comer, won't have to suffer. And men like this, not advocating that we man spread or put our stuff all over a table that doesn't have enough room. But no need to act as if everybody else has a greater right to be there than we do.

[00:15:20.570] - Joya

All right, this is the last point I want to bring up, and then I'm going to open up to questions. The disease to please. And I feel like I know where this comes from. Right. Because before women entered the workforce, the only sort of arrow they had in their quiver was likability. Right? You had to be likable. Now we've entered the workforce, you know, I don't know how many decades have passed, but, like, the disease to please has not gone away.

[00:15:46.270] - Sally

Exactly. And I look at it like what I said earlier about managing perceptions, or will somebody think I'm too ambitious? Whatever. The disease, to please is basically putting being perceived of as a wonderful, likable, often read that nonthreatening person by everyone. Putting that ahead of standing behind what it is you want to contribute and get done in this job. And the thing about the disease to please, like the perfection trap. Those two are both difficult to root out because they're very deep. It's not like over apologizing. You get ten people to say, Find me when I apologize, and a week or two later you stopped apologizing. These things are deep and hard to root out, but they are in my experience of 30 years, the most toxic habits at higher levels. Because with the disease to please, you end up doing other people's jobs for them in order to protect them. You have an impossible time asserting boundaries, which are really important when you're in a big job. Because someone somewhere might not like you or might say something bad about you, and you feel that to be intolerable. The other thing is this. What I have witnessed, again, over my many decades in this field, is that most women who have the disease to please at work have it at home. And they end up having a very hard time setting boundaries for their children, being clear about what their expectations are.

[00:17:39.330] - Sally

And again, environment where more of us are working virtually and will be working virtually, this can be highly problematic.

[00:17:50.170] - Joya

I was having a conversation with one of the ladies in this group, and we were talking about something that happened. And she was like, "You know what? My husband would not care if he wasn't liked." She goes, "I, on the other hand, care about being liked." And so it's funny how there's that dichotomy between men and women right now.

[00:18:06.430] - Sally

Just on that, I want to share this. Marshall and I were giving a talk together. Yeah. I don't remember where it was. It was in New York City, and we got up on stage, and his intro was he said, "You know, I'm here to talk about women and Sally and she'll answer most of the questions." He said, "But one thing I wanted to share, I was reading a piece of research recently that out of eleven leadership behaviors. Women were perceived to be as better at exhibiting them on nine and men at two." He said, "So the good news for women is you're better leaders. The good news for men is we don't care. That it sums that up, right?

[00:18:50.800] - Joya

That's such a great follow up to that. I'm going to start by introducing everybody here. I'm going to remind everyone to please be succinct in asking your question, because there's at least 20 of us on this call today, and I want to make sure I get around to everybody. So Navina Chabria is a graphic design artist. She's an illustrator. She's in Butler, New Jersey. Navina, what is your question?

[00:19:09.430] - Navina

Hi, Sally. Thank you for this.

[00:19:11.520] - Navina

My question to you is you mentioned that we need to articulate what we've achieved and where we want to go.

[00:19:17.820] - Navina

And I think as women, sometimes we struggle with the language. And I haven't read your book, and I'm going to get to it right after this call. But is there something like that in the book?

[00:19:28.610] - Sally

Oh, yes, there are lots of ways to do that because we can. And I think that it's really our mindset or some of our conceptions that articulating it is going to step on somebody else, or what about this, what about that? Really, our only job is to be clear. So we need to start with ourselves and be sure that we are clear about what it is that we intend to contribute in our job, in our company, in our life, in the world. But we want to be clear about what we intend to contribute. And when we can work on that and really have that honed and authentic and concise, then it's going to be easier to share. So, yes, there's plenty about that in the book, but that's my biggest advice, and that's what I work on when I do workshops, getting people to articulate what that is.

[00:20:31.440] - Joya

And Sally, I do a lot of one on one coaching with women on public speaking, and I often encourage them to write it down. Write it down so that it's clear on paper, and then it's going to be even clearer when it's coming out of your mouth. I skipped Puja Corona last time, so I want to make sure that I introduced her. Puja Corona is a general dentist. She is in West Orange or South Orange, New Jersey. Puja, what is your question? Okay, she's not paying attention. All right. Hina Patel is at Memorial Herman.

[00:21:01.260] - Puja

I was muted Joya.

[00:21:02.420] - Joya

Oh, sorry. How are you?

[00:21:04.000] - Puja

Good, how are you?

[00:21:06.370] - Joya

By the way.

[00:21:09.810] - Puja

Just as long as you can hear me, I just unmuted it. So thank you for this great talk. I wanted to find out when you are sharing information to leverage your career opportunities and you get hit with rejections or multiple rejections, how do you not internalize that, given that as what we were alluding to before, as women were building relationships really based on like an emotional foundation as well?

[00:21:39.150] - Sally

I think that this is really important question. I know how most men deal with it. Next. That didn't work. Try him. Okay. They're playing the law of averages almost. And I think it's good to develop that sort of approach. Okay, this is what I am going to try to I'm going to try to put this request out here. If I can get one out of ten, then I'm doing pretty well. So that right away takes the sort of personal, the rejection element out of it. You're just trying to get one out of ten. You're not trying to, oh, this person is so important. If they reject me, I've got to feel bad. So I think that that's the most important thing you can do is to start thinking of it a little bit like that. That's one thing I'm not a big advocate of women should be like men and this, that or the other, never have been. But that's one thing I think we can really learn from them is that they get used to rejection. They get used to rejection in high school, they have to ask girls out and girls say no and next, right?

[00:22:52.510] - Sally

So I think that's a skill we need to think of. And if we think of it in terms of playing the averages, it will help.

[00:23:02.530] - Puja

Great.  Thank you.

[00:23:03.640] - Joya

Hina Patel is with Memorial Herman in Houston. She's a senior recruitment consultant there. Hina, what is your question? Remember to unmute yourself.

[00:23:18.210] - Hina

Hi Sally. Thank you so much. I love your book, by the way. My question to you is of all the things that you've talked about, now that we are working remotely, how do we get recognized? Obviously for me, when I got kudos for my clients, so on and so forth. I'm not shy about sharing it with leadership, with my leaders, I will just to let them know. Especially because we're not in the office anymore and people are in all different directions. But how do you get more of that, right? Performance reviews are coming up, promotions are coming up. How do I get recognized by being at home? We're all working remotely. We're going to be working remotely till probably the end of the year. And sometimes you feel a little bit disengaged. We have tons of meetings all day long. We have tons of zoom meetings, but it's not one on one. Right. It's very different from being in the office. So what would you say to that?

[00:24:23.050] - Sally

Well, two things. I think that when you're on a live call and you've had some win or some achievement that you feel it's important to share, it's good to just bring it up, but without too much information. Say, one of the things that I wanted to share is we managed to blah, blah, blah. And if any of you are interested in how we got to it or what some of the outcomes are, please get in touch with me because I think it's a good template that many of us could use going forward. So you get them kind of intrigued, you just give them a little taste. The other thing I think that is very helpful in this environment is really getting active in terms of using email to follow up in any kind of conference or event we're in. Here's a link to something you might enjoy. Here's why I think that you've heard that our team did this, that or the other. I'd like to share three great outcomes from it that I felt wasn't really appropriate in that meeting because it's information that's important for you. So I think that this is a time of staying connected where it's more important than ever.

[00:25:42.230] - Sally

So every tool we have, an email is one of the great tools or it can be text, however slack, if you've got that system, whatever it is. Getting active and really sharing just these nuggets in a very concise way. People are busy. No multiparagraph emails, just bullet it. Here are three points I think would be helpful for you to know.

[00:26:10.830] - Hina

Thank you.  That's really useful.

[00:26:12.640] - Sally


[00:26:13.650] - Joya

Pang Her is a federal compliance attorney in Washington, DC. Pang has just gone out on her own, so she is learning how to flex that self advocate muscle. Pang, please remember to unmute yourself when you ask your question.

[00:26:26.910] - Pang

Thank you, Joya. Hi, Sally. Thank you so much for this session. Very, very helpful. In my career, one of the things I have heard is being like or like a bull does help because people, if they like you, they're more willing to work with you. And I love what you're saying. I would love to hear more about that, please.

[00:26:56.990] - Sally

Here's my observation again, been in this 30 years. Likability serves women extremely well up to a certain point. It is often responsible for promotions, for acceptance, for receiving assignments. People like to work with people who are likable. Yes, but when you get up to a more senior level, likability becomes less, it's not that it's less important. It's assumed. An unlikable, especially woman, plenty of unlikable men who are in senior positions. But an unlikable woman usually doesn't get up to a level where she's being considered for something that she has serious responsibility that she's handling. So likability has served her. But going forward, the desire to be liked or the impulse to put likability and pleasing people and making sure they like you first will undermine you as a leader. It will not be seen as a behavior that assures people you can make tough decisions. Or behavior that assures people that you can think strategically. The big picture, because you're also concerned in managing other people's feelings about you. It certainly is not something that indicates you will be able to set appropriate boundaries and hold other people to account for acting responsibly on what they're supposed to be doing.

[00:28:45.300] - Sally

So it does serve you very well to a certain level. It's probably, for many women, essential to getting to a certain level. But if you aspire to go higher, then you need an awareness that it may be time to shift and to realize, I've established this likability. I am a likable person. Doesn't mean everybody will like me. There's always someone who's not going to like you for whatever reason. You look like your mother and they didn't like their mother. There's nothing you can do about that. But it's time to demonstrate that you have that core, that where you're comfortable making tough decisions.

[00:29:30.430] - Joya

Teflon skin.

[00:29:32.290] - Sally

Yeah, exactly.

[00:29:33.850] - Joya

Speaking of teflon skin, Zarna Garg is a comedian. She is a screenplay writer, she's a mother of three. And Zerna is here in New York City. Zarna, what's your question? Remember to unmute yourself.

[00:29:47.590] - Zarna

Yes. Hi.  Thank you so much for this. So I've been connecting with people over the Internet and Zoom and all kinds of online networking things. Sometimes you get ghosted by people even though you feel like there was a connect, and your hunch is that they're just busy or you've fallen off the radar for some reason. What would you say is a reasonable amount of time to allow pass before you do a follow up? And at some point, do you just let it go? I'm in that space with one or two people and I felt a strong connect when we first talked, but I'm afraid that I'm lost in the inbox and I'm not sure at what point I let it go.

[00:30:31.150] - Sally

I would say it always depends. I was giving this advice to my husband last night. It depends on how busy people are. It really does. Because I get hundreds of emails every day, and when I have a busy day or I'm on deadline, I just go through and star things that I intend to respond to respond to. And then my good intention, because my heart is good, is to at some point where I've got an hour or two, go back through the stars and bring that up and make a response. And then sometimes it gets too out of hand and I just think, you know what, I'll wait and if I hear from them again, then that's good, and if I don't, I'm going to let it go. So I would say that the first question you need to ask yourself is, how busy is this person? If this person is somebody who's genuinely busy, then they're going to rank. This is important for me to get back to. This may not be so vital, or maybe I thought there was something here, but it's not going to necessarily serve me. So I would say when that happens, follow up with the person after a week, not so long after a week, follow up and say, we've been having this conversation.

[00:31:57.580] - Sally

Kind of lost the thread. Is it something you're still interested in pursuing or discussing? And if you don't hear back, then really let it go. It's another thing of next.

[00:32:11.570] - Joya

I like that language that you use as well. Are you open to discussing?

[00:32:15.750] - Sally


[00:32:17.810] - Joya

Michelle Oldham is in Washington, DC. As well. She has a digital marketing consultancy. Michelle, what is your question?

[00:32:26.870] - Michelle

Hi, Sally. I'm a huge fan. First and foremost, I have the book. One of my former coaches actually got this for me, someone that I admire very much.

[00:32:36.250] - Michelle

So I love this.

[00:32:38.150] - Michelle

My question to you is, you talked earlier about not being obnoxious and just sharing information versus bragging or what have you. What is some of the language that you can use around that you don't come across as being obnoxious and always talking about yourself or promoting yourself?

[00:32:58.970] - Sally

Well, first of all, again, you don't want to make that your first objective is, I am determined never to come across as being obnoxious or self promoting, because guess what? Someone somewhere is going to think you are, so that's not your problem. But in general, I would say the best language to use is, I wanted to share this because I think it could be helpful for you to know it. Or this might be helpful to you in recognizing what this team is accomplishing and where we are and then share that. So I think that's probably the most helpful language and the least likely to stir that person's horror. But one thing really important, people also change their mind. And I had an experience when I was young that really was helpful in terms of this. I had spoken up in a meeting. I was the youngest person there. I was the only woman. I had an idea I thought was good. Nobody particularly picked up on it, but I felt kind of good about myself that I spoke up with these big guys. And as I was walking out of the room, my boss's boss came up to me, and he said, "wow, you sure aren't shy about sharing your opinion, are you?"

[00:34:17.390] - Sally

It was so condescending and so nasty, and I thought, okay, I'm done here. And about a month later, I was in an office, and he was in another office with a colleague. And I heard him. He didn't know I was there. He said, you know what I like about Sally? She's not afraid to share her opinion. In other words, after a month, he got used to the idea, so we don't need to zoom in and try to micromanage what that person might think of us. I think that what worked there, is when he said that to me, I was so shocked. I just said "no, I'm not." I didn't say, "I have every right to share." And I didn't say, "Oh, my God, did I offend Your Highness?" No. I just said "No, I'm not." And so he came to give me some respect. So, again, don't put that first. But the language, I think, is this could be helpful to you. I think this is useful.

[00:35:14.690] - Michelle

Awesome.  Thank you.

[00:35:16.580] - Joya

Elizabeth Matthew is head of capital markets at a company called Securitize, which is a blockchain fintech company. Elizabeth, good to see you again.

[00:35:26.630] - Elizabeth

Thank you for raising this. I'm so glad. Sally, thank you. Everything you said resonates so much with what's going on. Hopefully this is a tactical question. So now a lot of our conversations are on zoom, and sometimes I find it, and I'm working in a company that hasn't found product market fit, so a lot of discussions are unstructured and exploratory. And in the middle of these conversations, sometimes you see the person you're addressing has lost interest and is looking away because of this one dimensional channel. How do you respond so that you get that person's attention back? And I tried a various kinds of ways. Sometimes I just stopped talking. It's like something else important. Let them tend to that. I don't want them to miss the message. But is there a smart way to go about that?

[00:36:27.990] - Sally

Well, I think it often depends on the totality of the situation. How comfortable would you say feel saying, "Kumar, is there something I can do to address some concern you might have?" So you're bringing them back in. You're kind of signaling to them that you recognize they have lost some interest, but you're not saying it's a signal and they can choose to pick up on it or not. And I think that it helps to really distinguish am I saying something that is of great importance right now? And then if you are because again, a lot of people are doing five things at once and it may not be because they're specifically not interested, but just something came up, ping them on their phone and they feel, oh, I've got to send a quick text to respond to that. And that's the moment when you're happening to see them so they look disengaged where they're really just doing something else. So I think one thing that's very helpful is thinking in advance what here that I'm going to contribute is really essential for people to know. And then signaling that. Say, "I'm going to jump in here.

[00:37:47.520] - Sally

There's been a lot that's happened that's very interesting, but I have one point to make that I really hope people will think about because I think this has big implications going forward and that is." and then again really concise in your articulation and that's probably the most effective way you're kind of signaling this is important, listen up. Whatever the language is that's comfortable using in that setting. I think that that's going to be helpful to you. And then the most important thing is never to take personally the fact someone looks distracted. I learned this early. I've been a public speaker for 35 years. And early on when someone they don't look interested, "oh my God, am I bombing? Am I being boring? Did I go on too much?" And then I would get totally distracted by the person who didn't look like they were responding. And it really undermined and destabilized me. And what I learned to do early and this is harder virtually depending on the display screens is to once that happens, just try to find somebody who looks totally engaged and focus on them. Because that gives me the sort of firm foundation I need to keep going rather than trying to, and I tell myself a story.

[00:39:14.750] - Sally

That person looks bored as hell. Probably had a terrible fight with his wife this morning and he's reliving it. Whatever. Kids got picked up for drugs, I can't do anything about it. Whatever it is. I tell myself a story about what they're thinking and then I drop it and move on.

[00:39:31.450] - Zarna

And what if it's on a one on one conversation.

[00:39:34.830] - Sally

It's one on one. I think then it's always helpful. Again, depending, say, "this may be a bad time for you. I think that I've got two or three things here that are really key. If you'd like to schedule us for another time where we can very short, but we can have a sort of uninterrupted dialogue, that would be great. I'm open to that."

[00:39:54.940] - Joya

I love that. Lakhaa Jayaseelan is senior product manager at PayPal. Lakhaa, what is your question?

[00:40:04.270] - Lakhaa

I really want to say that one of the reasons why I'm here in New York, I moved from California is I put my carrier in front of my job. After reading your book to my organization and I'm here. I'm so thankful for the book and I cannot express how much I am thankful.

[00:40:21.370] - Sally

Were you there when I was at PayPal? I did the program at PayPal last year. Wonderful. Yes.

[00:40:27.600] - Pang

I couldn't watch it, but I have watched the recording and I read the book too.

[00:40:31.510] - Sally

Okay, good.

[00:40:33.250] - Lakhaa

Yeah.  And my question is I'm in a position where I'm a senior and getting to executive, and one of the feedback that I've received from my boss is not about I trust you, it's more about how people perceive you for your promotion. How do I manage perceptions? That's my question to you.

[00:40:54.010] - Sally

What specific feedback have you gotten?

[00:40:57.670] - Lakhaa

I've got feedback around being a change agent, being a customer champion, and people developer, all those things. But though I'm doing all the things that are table stakes, but people might not see it or people might not, I might be invisible for many people. And I'm also into new organizations where people have prejudices with people who are already in the organization. And I'm new to the organization and I have to also create that visibility and manage perceptions on how people see me. I wanted to get some tips on that.

[00:41:35.900] - Sally

Well, again, I would put less emphasis on managing perceptions than on creating opportunities for visibility. And I think that's where you want to put your energy. What are the opportunities? Either virtually through quick emails I send or through having other people who are in my network and who have worked with me and supported me, mentioned something I'm doing. That's something we can do and use and work with and is really important in this environment to form those kinds of even reciprocal relationships. Hey, it's hard, it's easy to get lost in this virtual environment when we're in meetings, could we sort of represent what somebody else does? That is so powerful. I'm part of a call that Marshall's network has every Monday morning and 100 core people. And what I noticed is that Marshall always calls me out. He always says, "Well, Sally is an example of someone who could or Sally tell them about that time." And what that does is it gives me unbelievable credibility with that group of people. And much more than if I were going, well, I need to tell you that I this, and he just does that unbidden. But I think forming relationships with people or engaging other people, let's see if we can boost our visibility a little bit by mentioning what the other is contributing in this, that or the other context, that can go a long way.

[00:43:12.090] - Joya

And other people will start to role model you right. Like, you might think that you're small potatoes, but if you're like, "oh, I knew that Pang had a really great idea that I wanted to share with the group." Pang might pay that forward and do that in her next meeting.

[00:43:24.090] - Sally

Yes, that's exactly right. Beautiful. Yeah. Thank you.

[00:43:28.230] - Joya

Ami Patel is senior product development manager at Big Yon Pharmaceuticals. You have such a long title, Ami. I never get it right, but I think that that's an approximation of what you do.

[00:43:39.010] - Ami

Yes. I'll keep it short so everybody can get time. I have a very specific question.  First of all, thank you Joanne, for the reminder for this workshop. I really needed it, and I'm glad I didn't miss it. How do I circumvent being perceived as a threat by higher ups in order to get to the next level of role or responsibility or exposure and not be held back purposefully because they perceive me as a threat?

[00:44:09.190] - Sally

You know, it depends on the person. There are people in the workplace who perceive anybody with a certain degree of talent, a certain record for showing up and having success as a threat to them. There is nothing you can do with this. I coached a woman who was provost to Be University. She didn't want to be the head of the university. The president of the university saw her as an unmitigated threat and did every single thing he could to undercut her authority, keeping her out of meetings, et cetera. There is nothing you can do about that. You can't say to that person, I'm no threat to you, because it's in their nature to perceive other people as a threat. So I think the important thing is to make a distinction about who these different individuals are. Who is a person who just basically perceives other people who are having success as a threat, and who is the person who just may be sort of clueless about recognizing what you're doing so you know what you're dealing with.

[00:45:25.260] - Sally

And you can kind of isolate out people who perceive everybody as a threat. Those people exist, and they're real, and there's often very little you can do about that. You want to try to address your attention to those who are not in that camp. And I think one of the best ways of doing that is indirectly through using your network and connections. So somebody who is close to this person X who seems to be that way, who you know and who you trust, you can say to them, "I feel like I'm having some issues representing what I've done to so and so. I'm not sure whether what it is." It's your perception he views you as a threat. Maybe it's something different. "I'm not sure whether he views me as a threat or whether I'm stumbling in talking about what I think I have contributed here. But do you have any thoughts for me as somebody who knows him, who's worked with him, who's reported to him, to whom he has reported, whatever that is? Do you have any thoughts for me? Is there some way that I can be more direct about, you know, sharing this with him and, you know, disarming any threat that he might perceive." That's not necessarily you don't want to say reality based because then you're calling them delusional.

[00:47:02.670] - Sally

But you see what I'm saying? I think it's good to kind of go around and solicit people's thoughts about that.

[00:47:13.930] - Joya

Menko Tamjandani is a business analytics person. Menko, what is your question?

[00:47:19.810] - Menko

Hi, Sally. Thank you. This has been great. My question is in the context of a corporate team. A team of men and women, and what tips would you have on balancing building a culture of a happy team, which includes the likability factor, where they drop whatever is needed. When you need something done, they go above and beyond, always with balancing it. Here you need to meet these goals and objectives and pushing them sometimes into decisions that they don't always feel comfortable with.

[00:47:56.650] - Sally

In my experience, happy teams, it's less about likability than people saying, "wow, here is an opportunity for me to really stretch myself to do things that I think I can do, that I will get support for doing so that I can grow. Here's an opportunity for me to sort of step outside some of the confines of my usual role and have bigger successes in a way that helps me develop my skills and become more successful in positioning myself for what lies ahead." So this is an opportunity for me to do that, and it's an opportunity for me to do that. That's a creative kind of endeavor without being immediately punished because I don't succeed at something. So here's a situation where I'm being encouraged to develop my talents, to take a couple measured risks, where I will be supported by people who recognize what I'm doing. In my experience, that is the environment of every happy team that I've seen work with or been part of. More than the likability thing. So I think a happy team removes the roadblocks that people generally feel in their jobs.

[00:49:33.350] - Joya

Ritu Khandelwal has her own consultancy as well. She used to be in business analytics, but she's moving on from that. Ritu, what is your question?

[00:49:40.640] - Ritu

Hi, Sally. This is really helpful. So my question is, what do you suggest when men or colleagues behave like father figures? I work in technology, and I work with a lot of Asian men. And I have seen that they come from patriarchal society, but they behave like as if either they'll behave in a bossy way or the father figure, or they know something better and women doesn't know. What is your suggestion for that?

[00:50:10.850] - Sally

It's very hard to move around those kinds of big cultural presumptions. And I think that the people I've seen who have the women I've seen who've really been able to flourish in those situations tend to.

[00:50:33.110] - Sally

I don't know how to say it. First of all, not take that patriarchalism personally, to recognize that that's something that this guy has been groomed for from childhood, so it's not personal. And then be very clear about what you think you're contributing and engage other allies that he respects to speak on your behalf. This is something I did a lot early in my career. Speaking about women's leadership was sort of a dicey proposition back in the 90's, and a lot of the male HR people I was going to is like, oh, you're nice. That's fine. Okay. Women's leadership. Yeah, a little bit. And what I tried to do with them was I tried to give examples of what some people had said about my work who were in very much big boy sectors, like who are in the military or who were in aircraft manufacturing or whatever. So I really tried to do that. And where I had good relationships from those situations, I would get sort of quotes from those people and say, "this may put your mind at ease about what I have to contribute here." And sometimes it works and sometimes it didn't. But I think that sort of playing up the relationships and bonefides that you have from people that they respect is the best path forward.

[00:52:25.810] - Ritu

And what was the response of men in India when you shared your book?

[00:52:31.810] - Sally

Well, it was all over the place. But I will tell you what was really interesting was how many of them talked about how.. First of all, many of them said, "I identify with some of these behaviors.  In our culture I identify with some of these behaviors." I've heard that more than I hear it in the US, except for among African American or Latino men. They shared some of it. But then the ones who were very responsive, what they said was, "This really is going to help me understand how to bring women along, because I have a better understanding of why they don't speak up, why they have a reluctance to talk about this. I will be less judgmental because I know what's happening.

[00:53:26.130] - Ritu

Thank you.

[00:53:26.690] - Joya

All right, we have one person left.

[00:53:28.710] - Sally


[00:53:29.930] - Joya

Divya Tandon is a real estate investor in Buffalo, New York. She started with ten units. She now has 300 units, and she's growing her empire as we speak. Divya, what is your question?

[00:53:39.670] - Divya

My question was already asked, but I have another question.

[00:53:43.240] - Sally


[00:53:45.730] - Divya

I lead a group of a few females, and all of them are in their 20s. Is there any advice you have for me as a leader, sort of like do's and don'ts? It's an open ended question.

[00:54:03.530] - Sally

I think that providing very clear guidance and of what you expect from them will help them develop and help them serve you better. I think that noting early when you feel that something is manifesting that may not serve them moving forward. Sharing that with them early in a way that you make absolutely clear that what you're trying to do is to help them develop, because you see enormous potential in them to be successful in this. But not holding back and feeling I mean. You don't want to do it all the time. You don't want to micromanage, but when you see something that could potentially be problematic, you want to address it very directly, but framing it very much, and that you're trying to support what they're trying to do. And then I think thirdly is looking at some of the habits and behaviors that you see manifesting among that group that could be problematic for them going forward. Whether they're communication behaviors, whether they're too invested in likability to be able to make certain decisions, et cetera. And I think being able to speak clearly about them and offering them feedback and information, maybe sharing the book would be a very helpful approach to them going forward.

[00:55:38.780] - Sally

You want to position yourself as someone who's there to help them develop as leaders.

[00:55:45.520] - Divya


[00:55:46.010] - Joya

I think sometimes also sharing what are the levers that drive this business, and how they play a part in that is a big thing. Because if they don't understand the part they play in driving your business, then they're less motivated to want to contribute in a meaningful way.

[00:56:01.080] - Sally

Joya that's a really important point, and I see that a lot in smaller businesses. Actually in large businesses too, where people don't have a sense of how their contribution necessarily feeds or support the whole.

[00:56:13.980] - Joya


[00:56:14.290] - Joya

And being clear about that, I think, can do wonders. Sally, we're at 12:58, and I like to honor our time. Any last thoughts you want to share with this group?

[00:56:22.360] - Sally

Just really a joy and a pleasure to be asked to talk with you. And I think what we talked about today about not overly investing in managing people's perceptions. There are people who just are, it's not that they're not going to like you, but they're not ever going to be that engaged by you. And I think the sooner I've been around a long, long time, if I had been able to accept that a little earlier in my career and not take it personally, I think it would have been very helpful. You don't know what's going on in a person's head. You don't know what the experiences are that have shaped them or her, and you want to let your desire to manage or please them go and focus on what is it? What is that one precious thing that I most want to contribute in this situation.

[00:57:25.590] - Joya

Sally. If anyone wants to take your workshop, where's the best way to get that follow up information?

[00:57:30.510] - Sally

Well, mostly now I'm doing this big shift in my work. So mostly now I'm doing virtual workshops for companies. So any advocacy and PayPal or whatever to bring me in for Virtual would be fantastic. And that would be very good. I am working with a team in Dubai. A team of women in Dubai who are developing a training session for delivering internally in companies on how women rise. So people can get licensed and certified to do that. And we were on track. We were doing the launch in Dubai in May, but of course that's all different. So they're going to be doing it virtually, and the launch is in October, so anybody who might be interested in that, put your name on the list.

[00:58:24.280] - Joya

They can go to Sallyhelgesen.com to sign up for that.

[00:58:27.990] - Sally

Not yet, but we will. Yeah, if that will probably put the sign up in September. But you can just email me, Sally@sallyhelgesen.com and say, "Oh, put me on the list and I'll pass it on."

[00:58:45.900] - Joya

Amazing. Sally. Thank you for your time today.

[00:58:48.260] - Sally

Thank you.

[00:58:49.530] - Joya

And we hope to see you soon.

[00:58:53.010] - Sally

Thank you, Joy. I really enjoyed this.

[00:58:55.400] - Joya

Take care, everyone.

[00:58:56.600] - Sally

Bye. Bye, Everybody. Bye.