Dear HBR:
First-time Bosses
Feb 8, 2018 · 36 min
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What should you do when you become the boss? Co-hosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Harvard Business School professor Alison Wood Brooks, an expert on behavioral insights. They talk through what to do when your direct reports are older than you, how to be a likeable leader, and what to say if you’re not ready to be in charge.

Send in your questions about workplace dilemmas by emailing Dan and Alison at

From Alison and Dan’s reading list:

HBR: Becoming the Boss by Linda A. Hill — “After a few painful experiences, new managers come to the unsettling realization that the source of their power is, according to one, ‘everything but’ formal authority.”

HBR: The Authenticity Paradox by Herminia Ibarra — “The only way we grow as leaders is by stretching the limits of who we are—doing new things that make us uncomfortable but that teach us through direct experience who we want to become. Such growth doesn’t require a radical personality makeover.”

HBR: Connect, Then Lead by Amy J.C. Cuddy, Matthew Kohut, and John Neffinger— “The strategies we suggest may seem awkward at first, but they will soon create a positive feedback loop. Being calm and confident creates space to be warm, open, and appreciative, to choose to act in ways that reflect and express your values and priorities.”

HBR: What If You Don’t Want to Be a Manager? by Anne Kreamer — “When I made my leap, I discovered that while there are countless books and courses about how to be a better manager, there are pretty much no roadmaps for how to keep succeeding if you decide you don’t want to manage others.”

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