What Would a Great Boss Do? [WEBINAR]

Today I had the chance to sit down and continue our Power Lunch webinar series with Neera Tanden, the rockstar President of the Center for American Progress, a national think tank based here in Washington, DC.

Neera has a long history of fighting on behalf of working people, including serving as an advisor on both the Clinton and Obama administrations, and working closely with Hillary Clinton through her time as a First Lady, Senator, and Presidential candidate.

Neera had so many wonderful words of wisdom as she shared her story, and you can watch the full replay below. But first – here are my favorite three take-aways from her inspiring interview:

1. Work hard and others will invest in your success

Like Neera, I began my career in the scrappy, start-up-like environment of political campaigns and politics. For all the craziness that comes with the lifestyle, it’s an industry in which hard work is noticed and quickly rewarded.

“The truth is,” says Neera, “that I’ve advanced in my career because some one who was making that decision felt invested in me and felt confident in me because I had proven that.”

Neera’s former bosses (you may have heard of one in particular: Hillary Clinton) were truly invested in her success and were ready and willing to act as sponsors – taking an active role in ensuring Neera was on the path to leadership.

2. Ask for the help that you need

But having people who believe in you isn’t enough. We have to actually ASK them to help us!

Finding a mentor or sponsor isn’t some big formal process, either. “I find it kind of weird when people come up to me and ask ‘how do I select the right mentor?’” says Neera. Instead, it’s about nurturing relationships over time and then calling on those more powerful than when you have a specific way in which they can be helpful.

Do good work. Keep in touch. And then call on your colleagues when you need them.

What do you need to move forward? A resume review? Some one to put in a good word for you? A call to be made to make sure you land an interview? Keep relationships with bosses and colleagues alive and then call on them when you need them specifically to help you out.

3. Think “What Would Hillary Do?”

Okay, so to be fair, Neera said this half-jokingly – but I LOVE it! When times are tough as a woman navigating the choppy waters of leadership, Neera says that she leads with the example of her best past bosses in mind.

“I mean, I’m not going to get a W.W.H.D. bracelet,” says Neera, “but those mentors of mine are also good role models. When I first became president of CAP, it sounds kind of ridiculous, but I would often think what would Hillary do in this situation?”

Whenever any of us are stretching into a new role or opportunity, it’s smart to do what Neera did and think back to the bosses you admired the most. “I thought about how she would run meetings and how to bring out the best of people, how to make them feel confident about their work,” said Neera.

Watch the full interview and share your comments. How can you put these lessons to use in your life right now?


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