Here is the introduction to an article written by Adam Bryant for The New York Times. To read the complete article, please click here.
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When I started the Corner Office column more than four years and about 250 interviews ago, I set several guidelines for the conversations I would have with top executives about leadership.
I was going to pursue, for example, a diverse mix of voices, in terms of age, race, nationality and the kind of organizations they led. I would also interview a lot of women, though I planned never to ask them any gender-related questions. My thinking was simply to interview leaders who happened to be women, rather than focus on the fact that they were women leaders.
But a few things have happened. The vigorous debates started by Sheryl Sandberg, with her Lean In book, and by Anne-Marie Slaughter, with her provocative article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” in The Atlantic, suggest that we are not even close to being done with the gender conversation (though Janet Yellen’s nomination to lead the Fed is certainly a noteworthy milestone). I’ve also kept in touch with many of the women I’ve interviewed over the years, and I’ve heard from them a growing frustration with the stubbornly low number of women in executive suites.
Given that the arguments surrounding work-life balance have been so fully voiced, I decided to take a different tack, and add more insights to the discussion of leadership challenges that women face at work, apart from the juggling act.
So I went back for a second conversation with four women I had interviewed for Corner Office, to ask them to share stories about headwinds they have navigated over the years, and advice they would offer other women about succeeding at work.
[Note: Edited excerpts then follow. To read the complete article, please click here.]
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Adam Bryant, deputy national editor of The New York Times, oversees coverage of education issues, military affairs, law, and works with reporters in many of the Times‘ domestic bureaus. He also conducts interviews with CEOs and other leaders for Corner Office, a weekly feature in the SundayBusiness section and on nytimes.com that he started in March 2009. In his book, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed, (Times Books), he analyzes the broader lessons that emerge from his interviews with more than 70 leaders. To read an excerpt, please click here. His next book, Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation, will also be published by Times Books (January 2014). To contact him, please click here.