Welcome to the More Than Sound Podcast. In this episode, Daniel Goleman talks with Anthony Gell about challenges many working women face when taking on leadership roles, and a program that has been created to help them early in their careers.
Daniel Goleman- Well, Naomi Wolf, who of course is best known for her work in women’s issues and so on, also has co founded an Institute for Ethical Leadership. And one of the programs they run there is for early career women. Because they found that many women who are going into professions, going into business, have to overcome early socialization. And that socialization basically is that their role is to be one that keeps things harmonious. To kind of step back and be a supporter, rather than the focal player. And so they tend to feel less self-confidence for example, in a presentation or a meeting. And for that reason she’s developed a program that helps overcome this so that women early in the career can develop the confidence they need to succeed. And by the way, I should say, lots of data on emotional intelligence, converging data, does show that, on average, women, relative to men, have less self confidence in a business setting. Except- and this is quite critical- star performers. Outstanding performers. Top leaders. Women there are just as confident as men in the same position. So what Naomi Wolf’s program is doing is helping women get to the point earlier in their career where they’ll have the self-confidence. And they do it in a few ways.
One is, first, by setting up situations where people are put on the spot. You know, you’ve got to give a stump speech right now. It doesn’t matter if you’re not prepared, go ahead and do it. But they do that in the context of what’s called a safe haven. A safe haven is a highly supportive emotional environment. Where you’re basically feeling a lot of love and support, no matter what. So you can go ahead, fail, but it’s not going to be a disaster. You’ll get feed back, you’ll learn how to improve and so on. And she finds that that’s a learning environment in which, infact, people can become far more confident.