Women at Work
Women at Work
Oct 19, 2020
Too Shy to Be a Leader?
39 min

We all have preconceived notions about which personality types are fit to be in positions of power. And as a result, a lot of incompetent men become leaders because of the confidence they give off. But being self-assured doesn’t make you good at the job. Imagine if there were more reserved but truly competent women in leadership? So what if your boss blushes easily, as long as she’s emotionally intelligent and inspires her team?

One woman’s struggle with shyness prompts us to explore the seeming conflict between being shy and being a leader. With the help of an expert, we examine the professional advantages of certain personality traits related to shyness — like sensitivity and thoughtfulness — and discuss strategies to overcome the aspects of them that may hold you back at work.


Alice Boyes is a former clinical psychologist turned writer and is author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit and The Anxiety Toolkit.


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Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org

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