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Four ‘musts’ for women managers

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Common wisdom says you’re a leader because you’re good at leading. But research suggests that you’re a leader because you’re good at claiming the authority to lead.

That’s a necessary lesson for women managers, say Harvard professors Hannah Riley Bowles and Kathleen McGinn. They advise women to view leadership as a negotiation for resources.

So how can women lay claim to leadership?
  1. Don’t look at negotiating as a power grab for yourself, but as a way you can win resources for your people.

  2. Don’t shy away from negotiating—even on compensation—by saying, “I don’t want people to think I’m too aggressive.” Flip that around and ask yourself, “How am I going to look if I don’t negotiate?” If you won’t bargain for your salary, your boss will walk away happy to pay you less but wondering why he hired you.

  3. Stay alert to “gender triggers.” Resist writing yourself out of scenarios in which, traditionally, the leader is a guy. Watch out for phrases like, “This isn’t a situation where you should push” or “Why don’t you let Harry take this one?”

  4. Don’t compare yourself with other women, especially when it comes to hours and pay. That’s because, on average, women do more of the same work, for less compensation, than men do. Instead, find benchmarks for what men at your rank or experience level are paid. Include male colleagues in your social network so you can hear the word on jobs, pay and perks.
— Adapted from “What Women Can Learn About Negotiation,” Martha Legace, HBS Working Knowledge.

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