back to opinion

Myra White

Myra White

Myra White teaches managing workplace performance and organizational behavior at Harvard University and is a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. She is the author of "Follow the Yellow Brick Road: A Harvard Psychologist's Guide to Becoming a Superstar", a book based on her research into how over 60 well-known people became superstars.


The invisible woman

21 Mar 2018

Visibility is key to building the type of power that leads to top jobs. Men are masters of this visibility, but women are not. So we won't get more women in leadership positions until they start to step out of the shadows and give themselves and their talents a higher profile.

Are you managing your boss?

19 Jan 2018

Your relationship with your boss requires careful management. You need to building a cooperative working relationship and understand their needs and working style if you're going to make it work.

How stress impacts decision-making

25 Feb 2015

Corporations do an admirable job of perpetuating the idea that they run on reason and that their executives are immune the emotional factors that impair the thinking of lesser mortals. But they're not. They're just as susceptible to stress as everyone else and equally prone to making hasty, ill-conceived decisions in the heat of the moment.

Business, Chinese-style

28 Nov 2011

People in the West do business rapidly, frightened that if they don't act quickly, the deal will be lost. The Chinese way is very different. It takes time and patience. And perhaps that's no bad thing.

How to make work meaningful

27 Jul 2011

It's hardly surprising that levels of employee engagement are at an all-time low when so many of us are essentially modern-day serfs. A large part of the value that we create at work simply feeds the greed of the people at the top. And where's the meaning in that?

How to manage a narcissist

31 May 2011

Narcissism is becoming an epidemic in the United States. So just how do you manage a workplace in which many individuals have an unrealistic view of their own abilities and believe they are entitled to special treatment?

Are you trapped on the technology treadmill?

16 Mar 2011

Technology has brought us wonderful tools for exchanging information. But for most of us, the problem is that our technological tools now manage us. Worse, they are alo undermining the way our brains function.

In praise of autocratic democracy

19 Jan 2011

Modern participative management practices may have democratize the U.S. workplace, but they have also undermined management authority. So has this embrace of democratic management put the U.S. at a disadvantage in a world where rapid change is the norm?

How culture impacts management practices

10 Nov 2010

The US is considered a world leader in management. But despite the popularity of 'the American way', it is unclear whether it is effective in cultures that don't subscribe to the US model of individualism and aggressive and capitalism.

Do less, stress less

19 Jul 2010

One of the most common complaints people make about work is that they have no time. There are always new deadlines to meet or crises needing attention. At the heart of this lack of time lies technology. We have been brainwashed to believe that technology reduces our workloads and improves the quality of our lives.

Is your company playing follow the leader?

07 May 2010

Using benchmarking to follow the market leader will never make your company great. That's because benchmarking is really just finding out what others are doing and copying it. And copying others doesn't generate the expertise, independent thinking, and creativity that make companies great.

The power of questions

17 Mar 2010

When we don't ask questions, we remain wrapped in our personal assumptions about how the world works and what people are doing and thinking. The result is that we can make bad decisions and people can take advantage of us.

Unwritten rules at the heart of conflict

18 Dec 2009

Fifty years ago, the workplace was full of similar people with similar values and ways of doing things. Not any more. Modern organizations are full of people from different backgrounds with different sets of unwritten rules. And these rules lie at the heart of many workplace conflicts.

Valuing team members who push to win

01 Oct 2009

Do you really value outspoken high performers who point out problems and strive to deliver the best they can? Or are you unintentionally breaking their spirit and encouraging a culture that rewards mediocrity?

Rethinking the power of money

14 Apr 2009

Despite the financial meltdown, many companies continue to claim that huge salaries and bonuses are essential to attracting and retaining talent. But the evidence suggests otherwise. Not only are people are not driven primarily by money, but the power of money can be deeply counter-productive.

How to find out what someone is really like

20 Feb 2009

CEOs and people who made lots of money were once highly esteemed. They were superstars. Now that many have tumbled down from their pedestals, we can't help but wonder how we were so badly misled. One reason is that most of us aren't very good at judging other people.

Seeking competent leaders

20 Jan 2009

It seems obvious that sports teams pick people based on their ability. Yet as we are all discovering to our cost, many businesses have been more concerned with social skills, likeability and charisma when choosing their leaders than they have been with their real effectiveness.

Job hunting in hard times

26 Nov 2008

When times are tough and jobs are scarce, it is important to be strategic in how you look for a job. Flooding the market with your resume is an exercise in futility. Instead, you need to follow the money and know how you can increase an employer's bottom line.

The achievement solution

16 Oct 2008

The meltdown of US financial sector illustrates the dangers of a society that has glorified the pursuit of personal power rather than achievement. And unless it is able to reinstill that desire to achieve, the US will continue to decline economically.

Women: an untapped talent

10 Sep 2008

Models of effective leadership are still based on men and the types of talents that they bring to such positions. So to tap into the talents that women bring to the workplace, our ideas about leadership need to be reexamined.

Mastering failure

11 Aug 2008

Failure is part of being human. But what distinguishes superstars is that while they make the same amount of wrong turns as everyone else, they don't let their failures interfere with their pursuit of success.

Keeping your career alive

10 Jun 2008

Building a successful career requires continuous forward movement. When considering whether to accept a job, you should always ask yourself: Where will this job take me? Will it lead to a better job in a few years or is it a dead-end job?

Why does talent walk?

06 May 2008

Why do organizations have so much trouble hanging onto talented people? At the heart of the problem is the fact that talent and their managers are often competitors who are each striving to climb the same ladder to higher levels of the organization.

Managing workplace anxiety

09 Apr 2008

Too much anxiety kills performance. Yet anxiety is often ignored in the workplace or considered a sign of weakness that needs to be swept under the desk. So what can those who manage others do about it?