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Cindi Leive's career reinvention and expert tools for difficult work situations

When it comes to negotiating your salary, the former editor-in-chief of Glamour advises women to “always ask for more.”
Image: Cindi Leive
Cynthia "Cindi" Leive attends the 2017 Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Kings Theatre on Nov. 13, 2017, in New York.Evan Agostini / Invision/AP file

As the longtime editor-in-chief at Glamour, Cindi Leive knows what it takes to run a big-time operation. And now, after 16 years at the popular magazine, she’s taking a step back to “reset” and “reinvent.”

“I just wanted to take a moment to really focus on my own work,” Leive recently told Know Your Value founder and Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski. “This is such an exciting moment for women, and I’m really excited to be able to […] immerse myself more fully in that.”

Specifically, Leive has been drawn to the movements taking place globally. Leive just released a new book, Together We Rise, a collection of essays from 2017's historic women's march, and already has another book in the works.

What she finds most powerful about the marches is the sheer volume of women and organizations involved. Also, the march is not centered on a single issue but a slew of them, including race, LGBT issues and reproductive rights. She predicted the women who have been marching can and will change the world.

“When you look at [pictures of the marches], you think, ‘That is the kind of crowd that can turn elections. That is the kind of crowd that can change the world.’”

Leive may be shifting gears in her career. But still, few people know more about negotiation, confidence and how to handle uncomfortable moments at the workplace than her. Here are some more takeaways from the interview:

On negotiating your salary:

“You want to avoid throwing out a figure until you absolutely have to,” Leive advised, “And when you throw it out [there], it should be higher than the highest number you can think of.”

She said that men typically ask for higher salaries compared to women and that men “ask with confidence, without apology and don’t give you a million reasons why they need that money.” She cautioned women against being dejected if their target salaries aren’t met, and reinforced that women have the power to accept or reject the offers they receive.

“I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of asks—men ask for more. And they often get it,” says Leive. She advises women to “always ask for more.”

On finding confidence:

Leive said she believes she is a confident person and credited that attribute to “living” and successfully navigating situations she initially believed she couldn’t. She is also a proponent of the age-old mantra “fake it ‘til you make it.”

“You’re going to get thrown into a lot of situations where you’re like, ‘I have no idea how to handle this,’ and you just have to act like you’ve done it a million times before and then gradually it gets easier,” she said.

On what to do if your emotions start controlling you:

Leive acknowledged that when you’re having a tough conversation with a boss, it’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you – and that it’s okay. She recounted employees in her office crying upon receiving difficult news.

“If you find yourself not in charge of your emotions—if you’re crying—just say, ‘I’m sorry to be losing my composure, but this is important to me,’ take a breath, and then continue. Your boss, or whoever’s on the other side of that desk, has seen it all before,” she said.

Leive advised against letting a difficult situation throw you off your game. Ultimately, “you’re in that chair to have a particular conversation—just get it back together and finish having it.”