Communicating Effectively When You’re Running on Empty

AMY BERNSTEIN: You are listening to Women at Work from Harvard Business Review. I’m Amy Bernstein.

AMY GALLO: I’m Amy Gallo. Communicating clearly, completely, and persuasively sets you up to have the impact and influence you’re after. It’s how we pitch our brilliant ideas, connect with an audience, inspire others, and win support. But expressing your ideas when you are sleep-deprived, burned out, or in perimenopausal brain fog, can feel nearly impossible. Add to that, having to deliver a message you don’t agree with. So, what then? Because dodging the conversation isn’t always an option or the right option, so how do we rise to the moment even when we’re worried we can’t?

AMY BERNSTEIN: Muriel Wilkins has ideas. She’s the leadership development coach who hosts the HBR Podcast, Coaching Real Leaders. During our recent Women at Work Live Virtual Event, she talked us through communication techniques that meet you where you’re at mentally and emotionally.

AMY GALLO: I started by asking her if there was a particular communication skill that she’d been working on.

MURIEL WILKINS: Oh my gosh. I feel like I’ve been working on it for 52 years. Basically my whole life. And it might not be what you expect, because I think people will probably say, “Oh, how do I communicate clearly?” For me, the communication issue that I’m working on, and it’s a lifelong journey, is that of listening. And really listening to understand rather than just listen so I can play back what the person said. Listening in a way to make others feel heard, make others feel understood, not necessarily to agree with them, but just so that I can get to a place of understanding before I move on to actually talking.

AMY GALLO: Yeah. I just think about how hard it is to do that, to listen when you’re feeling all the stress we were just talking about, of all of these pressures that are on you.

MURIEL WILKINS: Yeah. I say it’s listening, because you asked me about communications, but I actually think the deeper work there is about not being reactive, and so listening helps me not be as reactive, which we’re all prone to do, especially under stress.

AMY BERNSTEIN: Yeah. You know what it makes me think of Muriel, is, so last week I was actually working on a communication challenge, and that was a presentation to the board. It turned out to be four and a half seconds of my speaking, but somehow it took over my entire life. And what I really needed to figure out was how to calm myself, so I could be present, so I could hear what people were saying, really listen to the questions. And it sounds a lot what you were just talking about.

MURIEL WILKINS: Yeah, absolutely. I think mindfulness has become such a big word, and we can get overwhelmed by it. I know I have, we’re like, “What the heck is this thing we call mindfulness? What are people talking about?” And even breathing. But then once I got it, that it’s just a matter of trying to anchor yourself and trying to stay with what the person is saying, because that’s the only thing that’s happening at the moment, then I got what that means. And so, calming yourself down in that way, sometimes just getting some type of anchor, it could be the other person’s voice or your own, is really helpful in doing that.

AMY GALLO: Yeah. I love that. I have to say for me, and I don’t think either of you will be surprised to hear this, but the thing I’m working on is not just talking and talking and talking, because I’m tired or unfocused or not able to listen, and I just fill the time. Actually, this happened this morning, I said some very long three sentence thing to Amy B, and she summarized it in a three word phrase, and I was like, “Yeah, that’s what I meant.”

AMY BERNSTEIN: You were fine.

AMY GALLO: Yes, I was. But that’s my challenge, is the just talking and not being able to stop.

MURIEL WILKINS: Right. Because, we’re too tired to stop sometimes. Ironically.

AMY GALLO: We have eight million things happening in our head at the same time. I’m trying to listen, I’m trying to say this, is this the right thing? I’m trying to monitor the person’s reaction. I’m also dealing with all the stuff that’s not even in the room at the moment, all the stress in my life that’s not there.

AMY BERNSTEIN: Muriel, I’ve been dying to ask you this, how do you know if you’re even in the right frame of mind to deliver an important message of any sort?

MURIEL WILKINS: Look, I think it takes a practice to figure that out. I just mentioned mindfulness and what does that actually mean? It’s being aware of what’s happening for you at the moment. A lot of times we might run into a communication or a meeting or a presentation, and halfway through we feel like we’re running out of steam, or afterwards we feel like, “Oh man, I was too tired to do that.” Or, “I just wasn’t really prepared.” But that doesn’t really help. What helps is being aware of that before you go, so that then you can do something about it. I think the first place is really checking in with yourself, “How am I feeling? Do I feel tired? Do I feel frustrated? Do I feel angry? What are the emotions that are happening? Am I prepared at a real tactical level?” And based on what your answer is, then knowing what can you do within the time that you have, whether it’s a no-go decision, and if it’s a go decision, which I’m sure we’re going to explore, how do you handle it? But I think the first place is really to start with, “Where am I?” And most people don’t even know that part.

AMY GALLO: Yeah. I struggle with that, because sometimes I think I’m fine, I feel the energy of like, “Oh, no, okay, we’re in it, we’re in it.” And then I look back and I think, “Oh, I was not prepared to have that conversation, or I was not ready to deliver that message.”

MURIEL WILKINS: You have to figure out what your threshold is, what are your blocks? For me, I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’ll say it anyway, I feel like I’m persistently tired. But I’m an endurance person, so I’m okay with… And then I have to take breaks. Even if I’m tired, I’m okay communicating. Whereas for somebody else, it might not be the case. I know for me, if I’m angry or frustrated, not a good time for me to communicate. Recognizing what are the emotions or the states that don’t put you in the best conditions, and they’re different for everyone.

AMY BERNSTEIN: I sometimes get weary, and I’m so used to pushing through. And the price of doing that for me is that I don’t have much patience on the other end. I can deliver the message, but the follow-up leaves a lot to be desired. When I know I’m weary, I ask myself, “Can I put this off for 24 hours?”

AMY GALLO: I love what you just said, Amy B, because it’s not just about, do you have the energy to deliver the message? But do you have the energy to actually engage in the conversation that’s going to result?


AMY GALLO: Right. And I think we underestimate the length of the communication. It’s not just about getting the words out of your mouth, but then it’s listening, responding, all of that.

AMY BERNSTEIN: And my further check to that is, I always ask myself, when I think about responding, the moment I’ve done the wrong thing, I’ve delivered the tough message, even though I’m really not in the right frame of mind. I take a breath before I respond to whatever I’m hearing and ask myself, “is what I’m about to say proportional?”


MURIEL WILKINS: Right. And do you need to respond? You started off with…

AMY GALLO: It’s evolutionary.

MURIEL WILKINS: Listen, I happen to have somebody very close to me, also known as my husband, whose favorite line is, “Not everything really requires a response.” And I’ve had to learn that as a practice, I actually think there’s something to be said – we’re so conditioned to respond to everything, react to everything. And I think there’s just as much of an impact, not only on yourself, but on others, to actually make a choice as to A, do I need to respond? B, even more importantly, at times, especially in heated discussions, is this worthy of a response?

AMY BERNSTEIN: Okay. But how do you do that, Muriel? How do you not respond and not be insulting at the same time?

MURIEL WILKINS: I will share how I do it. To be honest, most times when I don’t respond, it’s a boundary on myself, not on the other. I know that if I respond right now, it’s going to come out ugly. It’s going to have an impact and an effect that is not the outcome that I’m driving to. And as you talked about Amy B, around what happens after the meeting, I don’t want to have to deal with those repercussions. It’s probably best if I either just let the person keep talking or keep my response short. It’s often a boundary on myself rather than the other. Now, if I feel like I’m not going to get anywhere with the person given their state, given how they walked in, that no matter what I say, we’re not going to be able to move forward, I choose very consciously not to respond in that moment. And I’ll say, “I hear you. Here’s what’s happening. Here’s what I have to say now. Let me think about it. Let me come back to it.” And just figure out, what is the actual information that they need at this very moment. Because they often don’t need the whole soliloquy. They just need like, Here’s what you need to do next. That’s it. Move on.

AMY GALLO: Yeah. There’s a question from our audience, which is something I’m curious about too, and it’s, when you do need that space and time to think, when the go, no-go decision is no-go, “I’m too tired. I’m not ready.” How do you effectively communicate that to a team who’s maybe ready to engage, who’s actually eager to have the conversation?

MURIEL WILKINS: I think you ask, you check in. You don’t assume that they have to go now. I actually ran into this situation yesterday, where I thought the other person was ready to go, I actually wasn’t. And I walked into the meeting telling myself, “I’m not feeling it.” They got on and they said, “Yeah, this and this is going on.” They had a lot going on that day. I said, “Well, how would you feel about us regrouping at the end of the week instead of doing this now? Because I know I’m in a place where this is probably not the best time for us to talk about this.” And he was like, “Yeah, let’s do that.” Now if he had said, “Actually, no, this is the only time that I have and we need to move forward.” I would’ve moved forward with it. But I think this notion of checking in with people and asking rather than assuming, the worst thing they can say is, “No, we need to do it now.” And that’s not really the worst, because it’s what you were expecting anyway. In a gentle way, I think without any fluster, just being able to ask, is good enough, and I think will at least give you an answer.

AMY BERNSTEIN: But what if you don’t have that option? What if you really have to move forward and you’re not feeling it?

MURIEL WILKINS: At that point, this is what life’s all about. Let me tell you something, did I feel like getting on that treadmill this morning? No, but I did. I think you focus on the outcome, what is the outcome you’re looking to drive to? There’s a saying around, particularly for a lot of… I’m somewhat of a runner, and one of the things we talk about all the time when we do endurance running is, think about how you’re going to feel afterwards. Yes, you might be dreading it going in, you might feeling wary, I think you’ve got to say, “Okay, why am I doing this?” You then anchor in the why, what’s the purpose? What’s the outcome? Rather than how I’m feeling? You take it outside of yourself. Now, you can’t do that in perpetuity, because that’s what then leads to burnout. But I think every now and then to be able to say, “Okay, yeah, I don’t want to do this. I don’t like to do it, but I got to do it anyway, so let me figure out what my why is.” And I think a lot of that why is in the outcome. If you don’t know the outcome you’re driving to, you’re going to have a very, very hard time getting past those emotions.

AMY GALLO: I love this point, because if you’re focused on the purpose or the outcome or the goal, then you’re not getting wrapped up in the short-term goal, which is get this conversation over with.

MURIEL WILKINS: That’s right.

AMY GALLO: Or make this person happy.

MURIEL WILKINS: Yeah. And the outcome isn’t always necessarily like, “Get the project approved.” When I talk to my coaching clients, I always say, “There’s the outcome, the content, the task outcome. But the other outcome is, how do you want to leave this meeting or this conversation feeling? And how do you want them to feel about you when the conversation is over?” That is just as important as the other piece. And in woo-woo terms, it’s like, “What’s the energy that you want to create in this conversation?” And because the energy’s going to be created by both of you or by everybody in the room, what do you bring to the table? And then you try to shift to that as much as you can.

AMY GALLO: We have a question from Francesca who’s asking basically, how do you do this? You have your purpose, you have the outcome you want, how you want to leave the person feeling, but also are there any tips or tricks to actually appear stable and confident when you’re not?

MURIEL WILKINS: Look, first of all, I think Francesca, nobody is ever steady, confident, and able all the time, which is why I always tell people that I work with: don’t wait till you’re on the field to warm up. This notion of, “I’m not feeling confident.” Or, “I don’t think I’m going to be confident.” Then what do you need to do before the meeting? What do you need to tell yourself? How do you need to prepare, so that you can show up as confident as possible? That’s what happens even before. Now, let’s say you’re in it and you’re feeling like, “Okay, how do I get through this? I’m tired.” Or whatever else is going on. “How do I make sure that I feel confident?” Well, what does confidence mean? Confidence means that you are pretty certain things are going to be okay. The confidence first has to start with yourself. What are the things that you can communicate that you know what you’re talking about or that you believe in or that you want to get across? Focus particularly on what your key messages are. This is the time to try to be as concrete and succinct as possible. Less is more in terms of showing up as confident. I think the other thing is, find causes so that you can study yourself, which is why I love the fact that I’m working on listening. Ask questions so that it gives you a chance to take a pause and collect yourself before moving on if it’s that type of situation. And then I think third, keep bringing it back to why you’re doing this and state that explicitly, meaning be the anchor in the meeting. If you know that this is a meeting that is about getting the project approved, hold onto that and bring the audience back to it. Even if the river seems like it’s running off course, bring it back, “Look, let’s come back to what we’re here to talk about, which is this project and the three things that we need to discuss to get it approved.” If you can try to stay as structured as possible, that will help you in terms of then keeping yourself steady.

AMY BERNSTEIN: I want to shift directions just a tiny bit, and I’ve been saving this question to ask you, Muriel. One of the things I struggle with is whipping up the celebratory vibes, the balloon drops that are-

MURIEL WILKINS: You don’t like balloons?

AMY BERNSTEIN: Who doesn’t love a balloon? But it’s not something I even think about that much. It’s not how I came up in work. I came up in newsrooms where you were lucky to have a job and no one was sending you thank you-grams. But I think it’s a really important part of our culture here. Help me get better at this, please. How do I do it in a way that’s appropriate and authentic? And I can say that I do feel gratitude so much of the time and I’m not great at expressing it.

MURIEL WILKINS: Yeah. I think that as work actually has gotten increasingly more demanding and there are even more aspirational goals and audacious goals that are being put on organization, on people, my sense and what I tell my clients is, “The greater the goal, the greater the aspiration, the greater the stretch you’re putting on individuals and expecting of individuals, the more radical the appreciation needs to be.” And so, the authenticity part of it, Amy B, actually, what I would encourage you to do, is not so much look at the authenticity of the action of how you show appreciation, but start with the authenticity of the intent. How authentic is my appreciation for what the individual did? Where is my gratitude coming from? Why am I appreciative? And it may not be for the same reason that they expect me to be appreciative, but let me have some authentic appreciation, then I can move to action. And for the action in terms of how you do it, I do think that there’s wiggle room to figure out a way to do it in a way that’s comfortable for you. I personally am not going to walk in with a hundred balloons, but I feel very comfortable sending those one-on-one emails, sending the text, “Hey, thank you. I appreciate you.” Sending the email to everybody saying, “I just want to applaud this person.” Sending a gift. There is no one way. I think really the whole point is doing something, showing it verbally, through actions, through whatnot, in a way that’s comfortable for you. But I would definitely say start with the authenticity part, start with the intent. Because if you show appreciation, but the intent is not authentic, it’s going to smell inauthentic.

AMY GALLO: That’s the worst. If you feel the appreciation and don’t show it, obviously that’s not great, but if you show it and actually don’t feel it… We’ve all been in there, we’re like, “Oh, thanks for the award or whatever.” When they actually don’t. I want to continue on this theme of motivation in one second, but I want to tell you Amy, B, because you don’t show up pumping your arms through the office saying, “We did it.” When you do say something complimentary or celebratory, it has such resonance. And I’ve told you this before, but when you land a compliment, look me right in the eye and say, “You’re good at this,” it means so much. And I think to Muriel’s point, you have to find the style that’s right for you, and it will land with people if you really feel it, because I’m going to believe those things you say about me.`

AMY BERNSTEIN: Well, but you know what? Having received the faux compliment and finding it rattles me. It makes me think, Oh, I really must have sucked.

AMY GALLO: Yes. Exactly. It does the exact opposite.


MURIEL WILKINS: But let me just say something though, I think, this is getting a little deeper than I thought we would. I think that in order to be able to communicate appreciation and to communicate gratitude to others authentically, one needs to be able to have the capacity to receive it as well. And so, part of the practice is in receiving it. I had a client who asked me the other day like, oh, so what should I do? Should I do–” I said, “What about just a simple thank you? Why don’t you just call that employee up and say, ‘Hey, I really want to thank you for going the extra mile and what you did.’ That’s it.”

AMY GALLO: On this theme of motivation though, I do want to ask, Muriel, when you’re trying to get people on board with a decision or a message, and you’re finding that they’re not getting it and you need that patience, we talked a little bit about this before, but how do you tap into that motivation of like, “I need to stick with this.”? And I liked what you were saying about checking in, but is there anything else to internally tap into when you need that patience and they’re just not getting it?

MURIEL WILKINS: Yeah. I think a place to start is to even recognize why you’re not patient. Why do we get impatient? We get impatient because we think we should be at point B, and we’re still at point A. The reality is we’re at point A, so getting upset that we’re not at point B, which is what impatience is, isn’t really going to do anything. It’s not going to make it move any faster. And so, you’ve got to identify why you’re impatient, and what can you do about it in that moment? If there’s something you can do about it, great. If there’s nothing you can do about it, then you need to stick with where you are, which is where your audience is. If they’re not getting it, you have to meet them where they are, that’s a key piece of communicating effectively. You have to start and be with people where they are. You cannot run 10 miles ahead and expect them to hear you and understand you. You’re too far away. Part of it is, while your agenda might be 10 miles ahead, while the final point might be 10 miles ahead, they’re still at mile one. You’ve got to be right there and saying, “Okay, let me break it down to you.” When you’re at a place where somebody is not moving forward in terms of the thought pattern or what you’re trying to communicate, couple of things you can do, number one is, you take a couple steps back, say, “You know what? Let me go back to the assumptions that we use as we talk through this, or let me pull back big picture.” Which is what we call framing something, reframe the message. Those are two steps you can take. You can also say, “I feel like I’m explaining this in a way, but I’m not sure if it’s quite landing. What concerns do you have? What questions do you have? What is it that you’re hearing from me?” so that you can then course correct.

AMY GALLO: Yeah. I like that. Let me ask you another question about one of the challenges I see people struggle with a lot, and I do myself as well, which is that, when you actually don’t want to deliver the message because you have some emotional baggage around it, or the concern about how they’re going to respond, twist the message. Sometimes I might need to send a three-line email and it takes me an hour to write it because of all the emotional… I’m dictating what their response might be and trying to negotiate with them. How do you cut through all that to get right to what you want to say?

MURIEL WILKINS: Yeah. That can be very difficult. And again, the place to start is even realizing that you have all these emotions to begin with. Because a lot of times, I know for me, I might not realize it. I’m just sitting there looking at my computer like, I need to write this email. And I write it and delete it 10 times and it’s not coming out, and then that’s a sign. In that moment, you also have to recognize that emotions are emotions. They are feelings, because of the story we’re telling ourself about this message and the story we’re telling ourself about how people are going to react to this message. And by the way, that story that we’re telling ourselves about how people are going to react to that message is based on some past experience, either that we had with them or that we had in terms of a message being delivered. This is how the story gets big, because there’s all these stories packed into it. What you want to do in those moments, is actually recognize those things and separate it out and go back to, you’re hearing a consistent theme from me here, go back to the outcome. Why do you need to send this message? What is the purpose behind the message? Why do I need to deliver this message right now to these people? And it’s not to dismiss how you feel about it, it’s to really focus on the outcome rather than the story that is wrapped up as you’re trying to move through that piece of communication. And if you’re having a really difficult time, this is when you need to phone a friend. Call a friend be like, “Look, kick the tire on this. Am I overdoing it here? Check my reality here.” And if they’re like, “Yeah, don’t do that,” then you at least have something outside of yourself to do a reality check.

AMY GALLO: Yeah. I have an email writing buddy, when I’m feeling like this isn’t making sense or I think it’s going to annoy the other person. I’ll send it to her, I say… And it’s sometimes just, she’s like, “Take out this word.” And you realize, I’m like, “Oh, that was the emotional word. That was the one that I was trying to stick it to them without really sticking it to them.”

AMY BERNSTEIN: Yeah. Well, so here’s where I would phone you, Muriel, my friend.

MURIEL WILKINS: Phone me anytime, Amy B.

AMY BERNSTEIN: What happens when you’re called on to deliver a message that you just don’t believe in?

MURIEL WILKINS: Yeah. Those are always hard. It depends on the message. And this is when you have to be really honest with yourself. If it is a message that really just goes against the grain of your core value system or even your integrity, is this a moment in life where you need to draw the line, knowing that there may be consequences to making that decision? Then there’s the, “Okay, I can do it. I just don’t believe in it. I’m not aligned with it. This is not what I would do.” I think there’s a couple of things that need to happen. I think there’s always room to negotiate the message. If you can negotiate the message with whoever’s asking you to deliver it, try to negotiate the message. If they still are like, “No, this is it.” Then you’ve got to find a way to voice it, A, in your own words, in a way that reflects what your own values are. Let me put in an example, because that makes it more concrete. Let’s say it’s something that impacts people in your organization, that you have to deliver, the way that you convey that you can convey that same message around the impact on people, but do it with compassion, do it with an acknowledgement of how it might be received so that you’re holding the “and.” You’re holding the message and your own values at the same time.

AMY GALLO: Yeah. And I have to say, my reaction to that advice is, that sounds exhausting, and yet it’s also the responsibility that we take on when we accept these jobs.

MURIEL WILKINS: Absolutely. It’s exhausting. That’s what’s causing the stress, it’s the tension. But if I’ve learned anything throughout my career and working with leaders, is that leadership is all about tension. The role is holding the tension.

AMY GALLO: Yeah. Let me ask you, Muriel, about when can you be transparent about that? And not that you necessarily disagree with the message. Obviously you don’t want to say that. But let’s say you’re tired, you’re under a lot of stress, is it okay to say that when you’re delivering the message, or does that come off as unleaderly?

MURIEL WILKINS: I hate to answer it this way, but I think it depends, how much you divulge around how you’re feeling about it and where it might be causing you some angst or some stress, really depends. Here’s the thing, I don’t necessarily think it should depend on you, as a leader, I don’t think it really depends on like, Is it going to make it easier for me if I share how I’m feeling, that I’m feeling tired or I’m feeling stressed, or I’m feeling this? I actually think the responsibility is, how do you deliver this message in a way that shows good stewardship around the people that you’re delivering it to? For some people, it will make things worse for them to hear that their leader is stressed out or doesn’t agree or is tired. And for others, it’ll actually help humanize it, it’ll make it better. There’s no right or wrong. I think it really depends on how do you think it’s going to impact folks on the other side? And if it’s going to exacerbate the situation, don’t do it right. If it’s going to enhance their experience and hearing that message and it’s going to help them hear the message with a little more ease, then do it. Now, what’s great is if you are actually making a choice about that, because then what it shows, is you have a range. Most of us are not making choices, we’re either TMI or not saying anything. But you have a choice, make the choice based on how do you want them to feel.

AMY GALLO: I love that.

AMY BERNSTEIN: Well, I think I know how you’re going to answer this, but I’m going to ask it anyway because I’ve been here. Sometimes delivering a tough message, having a difficult conversation is a lot easier if you don’t have to face the person. What if you are just tapped out, and it would be so much easier to deliver the message on email and just give yourself a little bit of a break? Should you do it? Is that just too easy? Don’t take the easy way out? Should you be prioritizing the feelings of the person you’re communicating with? How do we think about that?

MURIEL WILKINS: I think that this definitely goes back to impact. This question of how we define what’s easy, what may seem easy in the short term, and what may seem easy to me may not necessarily be generating ease. And so what’s the goal here? And if the priority is, “I want this conversation, this exchange to be done in the most transparent way that honors the fact that this person is a human and needs to hear it straight from me, from the source,” then you talk to them. If it’s okay for this to be transactional, which there are definitely things that can just be transactional, then you do email. It depends on the level of depth and meaning and understanding, and I think the level of connection that you want to reinforce and sustain with the others. Communication is a vehicle for relationships. And so, I think at the end of the day, you have to look at what is the outcome? What is it that I’m trying to create from a relational standpoint with those people or with this person? And based on that, you then decide what the mode of communication is going to be.

AMY GALLO: Yeah. I feel like what I’m hearing you say is, you’re prioritizing their comfort, their needs over your own.

MURIEL WILKINS: And look, I think this is why you have to find moments outside of communicating to do things for yourself. Don’t look for your self-care through sending emails, that’s not where it’s going to happen. If you’re taking care of yourself outside of these difficult moments, those difficult moments will feel less difficult. What would self-care look like in a situation like this? You have to give this difficult message, take the five minutes, get off of whatever social you’re on for five minutes and say, “I’m actually going to prepare myself, so that I can hold myself together as much as possible and prioritize this person and how they feel at this time.” There’s a difference between taking the easy way out or finding the easy way and doing things with ease. Two different things.


MURIEL WILKINS: Taking the easy way out is outside of ourselves, “I’m going to send the email, because that’s the easier, faster, quicker, I don’t have to deal with the way they react right in front of me. That way, it doesn’t feel messy,” even though it still is. It’s all an illusion. That’s the easy, it’s outside of ourselves. The action is easy. Then there’s the doing it with ease. The doing it with ease is, “No matter how they react, I’m okay because I know that this is a message that I already understood that they might not like it, and I’m trying the best that I can. And I took them into consideration as I delivered the message.” And so, to me, the goal is, can you communicate in difficult situations, but do it with an inner ease, even though the external is a hot mess.

AMY GALLO: Muriel, thank you so much for coming on this event with us. Really, it’s been such a helpful conversation. I’m going to go back and listen to it, because there are things that you said I need to write down.

MURIEL WILKINS: Thank you. Always such a pleasure talking to both of you. And thank you to everyone who also participated in this with us.

AMY GALLO: That’s our show. I’m Amy Gallo.

AMY BERNSTEIN: I’m Amy Bernstein. HBR has more podcasts like Coaching Real Leaders, to help you manage yourself, your team, and your organization. Find them at or search, HBR in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen.

AMY GALLO: Women at Work‘s editorial and production team is Amanda Kersey, Maureen Hoch, Tina Tobey Mack, Rob Eckhardt, Erica Truxler, Ian Fox, and Hannah Bates. Robin Moore composed this theme music.

AMY BERNSTEIN: Get in touch with me and Amy G by emailing

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