CM 040: Therese Huston Shatters Myths About Women Leaders

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Blog Post - Therese HustonWhen it comes to risk, confidence, and stress, who handles them better, men or women? Believe it or not, just asking this question shows we have a lot to learn. Turns out it is not about better, but about different. And while conventional wisdom often has us thinking women are indecisive, risk averse, and fragile, those perceptions are far from what research reveals.

In her groundbreaking book, How Women Decide: What Is True, What Is Not, and What Strategies Spark the Best choicesTherese Huston, founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning at Seattle University, clues us in. Armed with a doctorate in cognitive psychology from Carnegie Mellon, she is a contributing writer for The New York Times and Harvard Business Review.

Therese pinpoints what the research reveals around perceptions of women. Perhaps even more importantly, she discusses several research-based strategies for overcoming these misperceptions.

In this conversation, we talk about:

  • How we misunderstand female decision making
  • The mistake parents make when dealing with daughters on the playground
  • The bias in the term risk averse and the term that should replace it
  • Two traits that make the top 10 list for men but not for women
  • Who pays a higher price for failure
  • The risks women take when they speak up
  • A dating app with unique features for women
  • Confidence as a dial we need to turn up or down, depending on the situation
  • Which gender has the more appropriate level of confidence
  • Two things women can do to overcome negative perceptions of self-promotion
  • How men and women differ when under pressure to make a crucial decision
  • Strategies to avoid being nervous before an important event
  • Why failure trumps regret

Selected Links to Topics Mentioned


Daniel Kahneman

The Honest Truth about Dishonesty by Dan Ariely

Chip and Dan Heath

Pew Research Center 2015 Study on What Makes a Good Leader

Barbara Morrongiello

What Women and Men Should Be by Deborah Prentice and Erica Carranza

Victoria Brescoll

We Are Way Harder on Women Who Make Bad Calls by Therese Huston

The Center for Advanced Hindsight

Siren dating app and CEO Susie Lee


Linda Babcock

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Thank you to Emmy-award-winning Creative Director Vanida Vae for designing the Curious Minds logo, and thank you to Rob Mancabelli for all of his production expertise!



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