Recently I've noticed a bit of a trend (anecdotal evidence alert!) 🚨— I hear more and more folks asking for actionable advice.
Especially when it comes to conversations about women's experiences in the workplace, I've noticed many of my friends, as well as PowerToFly community members and colleague, stop the conversation ten minutes in to say, "But what can we do about?"
As a writer, I'm partial to conversation — I think that dialogue in and of itself is valuable. BUT I also know that talking only gets us so far. We have to pair all that talk with action (even when we desperately need systemic change, we can still do a lot to change and improve our own situations).
So when I read Amanda Kersey's recent article about the Harvard Business Review's Women at Work Podcast, her experience immediately rang true: "When listeners tell us they want something, I pin their requests to the top of our show planning document. A piece of feedback that guided this past season's production was 'more actionable advice.'"
She explained that 3 of their episodes in particular sparked lots of follow-up questions from listeners, so they asked the hosts to share more actionable advice in response to listeners' questions:
- Let's Talk About Money — with guest Amelia Ransom, Sr. Director of Engagement and Diversity at Avalara
- Sponsorship: Defining the Relationship — with guest Rosalind Chow, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior (with tenure) at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University
- When You Work in a Male-Dominated Industry - Teresa Cardador, Associate professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
So naturally, I wanted to share their advice with our audience here. The questions from listeners and the hosts' responses are summarized and paraphrased below. Be sure to read the full Q&A here, and let us know what types of things you want actionable advice on in the comments below!
6 Questions + Answers with Actionable Advice
Let's Talk About Money: Advice from Amelia Ransom
What should you do if you feel like a new hire oversold their skills and is now being paid more than other people who actually add more value?
- Re-evaluate your interview process. It should be designed to catch oversights like these.
- Make sure you're being honest with yourself about the expectations for the role and expressing them clearly.
I found out two people I supervise make more money than me. What do I do?
- Understand that supervisors shouldn't necessarily make more money than their direct reports. Depending on what you do, the ICs you're managing might actually have a higher value in the marketplace.
- "Ask your manager if they are aware of the discrepancy and whether that's intentional.... Just be careful not to draw a conclusion before you do so."
Sponsorship: Defining the Relationship: Advice from Rosalind Chow
How should I thank my sponsor? What's too much or too little?
Think about how much your sponsor has staked their reputation to help you, and then tailor your thank you accordingly. A general "so and so is great" probably doesn't warrant a specific thank you, but if your sponsor introduces you to someone and says you'd be great for [insert job here], that probably warrants a thank you note.
"What happens when your sponsor leaves the company and/or they get pushed out and you become collateral damage?"
- Don't limit yourself to a single sponsor! You need to diversify, especially the higher up you get.
- If circumstances allow, ask your sponsor to introduce you to someone else at the company who can step up as your sponsor.
When You Work in a Male-Dominated Industry: Answers from Teresa Cardador
"I find it is often assumed that I don't know what I am talking about... How can women effectively establish credibility in new environments without playing into classic negative stereotypes of women who are too assertive?"
- "Research suggests that one technique that can work for women is to combine assertive behaviors with more stereotypically feminine behaviors, such as concern and participation."
- "Focus on demonstrating good performance rather than asserting your credentials. In time, your good performance will speak for itself."
"How can you tell whether the feedback you're getting is driven by an actual need to adjust your approach or by gender bias (or both)?"
- Ask for specific instances of when you are seen as behaving aggressively.
- Ask whether/how they see your behavior affecting your performance.
What do you think?
Do you agree with their answers? Which topics do you want actionable advice on? Let us know in the comments! ⬇️