Episode 148: So Many Incompetent Leaders

The argument I made was, instead of blaming women for not leaning in, how about we stop falling for people, usually men, who lean in when they don’t have the talents to back it up?
— Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Photo by FreedomMaster/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by FreedomMaster/iStock / Getty Images

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Most leaders in business and politics are male, and most of us rate our leaders poorly.

Would that change if more leaders were women?

In this show I sit down with psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, author of Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? We discuss confidence versus competence, learning to distrust our instincts about who is leadership material, and how bad leadership can drive a lot of us out of a job. Voluntarily.

You can also read a transcript of the show.

Further reading:

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic originally wrote about male and female leadership in a 2013 Harvard Business Review article with the same title as his book.

Episode 147: Forced Out (re-boot)

Don’t stay in a toxic situation. Don’t let a boss bully you. Stand up for yourself.
— Marion Kane
The boss called me in and she said, ‘I’m sorry to tell you we’re not renewing your contract. We think you’re too big a personality to work here.’
— Heather McGregor

Most of us have a bad breakup with work at some point. You don't have to be fired for things to end on a sour note. Maybe you were bullied, you couldn't get on with a manager, or the job they advertised was completely different from the one you ended up doing. But however the end comes, leaving a job under duress is one of the hardest experiences to go through.

In this show we meet two women who know this first hand.  Marion Kane was a longtime food writer at some of Canada's top newspapers. She loved her work - but not her editor. She chose to leave, but still fantasizes about giving that boss a piece of her mind.

Heather McGregor, now executive dean of the Edinburgh Business School, for years wrote extensively about women’s careers in the Financial Times and elsewhere. She's been fired a few times and has plenty to say about that, and about how to to pick yourself up and move on after the most painful of job losses.

You can also read a transcript of the show.


Further reading:

Marion Kane's podcast is called Sittin' in the Kitchen. She’s @MKaneFoodSleuth on Twitter and Facebook.

Heather McGregor is the author of Mrs. Moneypenny's Career Advice for Ambitious Women and Mrs. Moneypenny's Financial Advice for Independent Women.

Episode 146: Ageism, or Prejudice Against Our Future Selves

In the beginning we may have discriminated against women because of their potential to be mothers...[later] we’re discriminating against them because they’re perceived as not as qualified or less likely to be flexible.
— Terri Boyer
Photo by PeopleImages/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by PeopleImages/iStock / Getty Images

Most of it is in our head, because ageism starts between our ears. We can re-frame our own narrative about aging.
— Rachel Lankester

This is the second of two shows on what happens as women in the workforce get older. And a lot of it isn't good. Women can experience a double whammy of prejudice that men don't, and it's affecting our bank accounts apart from anything else.

Kate Wiseman and her dog jack

Kate Wiseman and her dog jack

In this episode we meet Villanova University women's leadership professor Terri Boyer, and founder of Magnificent Midlife Rachel Lankester. Each discusses age discrimination (which is perpetrated by both men and women) and suggests ways we can tackle it, beginning with women not buying into the narratives we've been fed over the years. OK, centuries. And we meet late-in-life lawyer Kate Wiseman, who's having a positive experience of being an 'older woman' at the office.

You can also read a transcript of the show.


Further reading:

Rachel Lankester started The Mutton Club after going through the menopause earlier than most. She wanted to create the kind of (positive) content she couldn’t find on being a midlife woman.

Older Women are Being Forced Out of the Workforce from the Harvard Business Review.

Why Are So Many Older Australian Women Becoming Homeless? from Pro Bono.

Episode 145: Working through Menopause

Sometimes we hear, ‘the guys don’t understand what’s going on,’ meaning the male line managers. But it’s the female line managers who have just as little information about it too.
— Julie Dennis
Photo by seb_ra/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by seb_ra/iStock / Getty Images

We play at being superhuman all the time. And I think if more of us can have these honest conversations then there’s less chance of us being discriminated against.
— Rebekah Bostan

You're commuting to work and you start overheating; you're suddenly feeling more anxious about everything; you can't sleep properly, and your colleagues and family are driving you nuts.

Julie Dennis

Julie Dennis

Many women in their forties start feeling these signs of peri-menopause. And in the UK, some employers are actually moving to support their female staff as they go through this transition. But menopause still remains largely under-discussed, particularly in the youth-obsessed US (why would you admit you're menopausal when the workplace is already sexist and ageist?) In this show we meet Julie Dennis, a menopause coach, and Rebekah Bostan, an employee of a global company - each is determined to bring more transparency to one of the last workplace taboos.

You can also read a transcript of the show.


Further reading: Here’s a blog post Rebekah wrote about peri-menopause in the workplace.

You can learn more about Julie Dennis and her work here and read more about her book, the Hot Flush Freedom Challenge, here.

This piece, Puberty for the Middle-Aged, first got me thinking about peri-menopause.

If you have something to add to the discussion please post a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Episode 144: Class and Career (re-release)

This will sound funny but I feel like I wouldn’t advise it, this path that I was on. You have moments of pleasure you have to enjoy and appreciate, but it’s grueling.
— Denise McKenzie

I first released this episode in October of 2016. In it, three guests speak about the impact your social class can have on your career, and your comfort level in the kind of job your parents never did.

You can read the full set of show notes and link to a transcript here, on the original show’s page.

Episode 143: True Equality: When It's OK to be Mediocre

The idea is to say we’re not perfect, or great - we can be just as bad, evil, hopeless and ridiculous as men, but so what? The point [is] we need the freedom to be just people.
— Pilita Clark
Photo by eggeeggjiew/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by eggeeggjiew/iStock / Getty Images

Pilita clark

Pilita clark

We all need inspiration in the form of successful women. But sometimes the pitches I get about the latest amazing, do-it-all star who's 'killing it' can make me feel tired rather than inspired.

Financial Times columnist Pilita Clark is in the same boat. She argues that true equality means not having to be utterly stellar to receive recognition. In this show we discuss her theory that women should be allowed to be as mediocre as any man, and what it’ll take to get there.

You can also read a transcript of the show.

As I mentioned in the intro, those of you who are managers or about to become one should check out former guest Anne Libby’s On Management newsletter.

Further reading: Here’s the column Pilita wrote that got me reflecting on my own inbox full of superwomen pitches: Women must demand the right to be as useless as men.

During our conversation we discussed the book Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic.