photo of Dolly Chugh

Dolly Chugh

Jacob B. Melnick Term Professor
Stern School Of Business At New York University

Most of us like to believe we are “good people.” But, despite the large number of good people in the world, bias persists within many of our societal systems and organizations. If so many of us are good, why does society continue to tolerate bias, and how can we change for the better?Award-winning social psychologist and New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business Professor Dolly Chugh (she/her, hear her name) has the answer: let go of our internal definition of a “good person.” In her interactive presentations and fireside chats, Chugh illustrates clear, actionable techniques for leaders interested in listening with intent, increasing accountability and raising inclusivity. Her TED Talk on these groundbreaking concepts was named one of the 25 Most Popular TED Talks of 2018 and currently has almost 5 million views.“What if I told you that our attachment to being good people is getting in the way of us being better people?” Dolly asks. “We have this definition of good person that’s either or. Either you are a good person or you’re not. And in this either-or definition, there’s no room to grow. In every other part of our lives, we give ourselves room to grow… except in this one, where it matters most.”At NYU Stern, Chugh’s top-rated classes on cutting-edge leadership, management and negotiation strategies are lauded for their transformational effect on students and executives alike. Noted for her teaching and facilitation skills, Chugh was one of six professors chosen from thousands at NYU to receive the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2020 and one of five to receive the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award in 2013. Her newest research, which focuses on “bounded ethicality,” explores and explains the “psychology of good-ish people.”“The person I mean to be stands up for equality, equity, and diversity and inclusion. The person I mean to be fights bias. Sometimes, I do. Sometimes, I don’t,” Chugh admits. “As a believer in these values, I need to do better. The research is there to help us move from having the identity of a believer to the skills of a builder, someone prepared for the necessary growing and grappling involved in driving change.”Noting that many of the key principles of leadership and management are essentially principles of inclusion, Chugh partners her approachable personality with decades of research to illustrate the small interventions we can take to make a disproportionately positive impact.An award-winning author, Chugh’s critically-acclaimed, bestselling book, “The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias” (2018), explores surprising concepts that hold organizations back from achieving success and unpacks the tools believers must use to become builders. Her popular newsletter Dear Good People – a free monthly email offering bite-sized and actionable advice on how to be the inclusive person YOU mean to be – continues to grow as she pursues new avenues to create and disseminate knowledge. Her next book, “A More Just Future: Psychological Tools for Reckoning with our Past and Driving Social Change” (Atria Books, October 2022), is already reviewed as a “revolutionary, evidence-based guide for developing resilience and grit and building a better future.” Grounded in established principles such as growth mindset and psychological safety, Chugh’s prominent and refreshing new thinking on empathetic leadership is already helping create more inclusive organizations.“The fixed mindset tax can be costly for organizations, but research shows we can escape the either/or mindset,” Chugh emphasizes. “By removing the pressure of being a ‘good person’ and equipping people with the right tools, we can make mistakes and learn from them, making mistakes less likely in the future.”

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

Events featuring Dolly Chugh
Events featuring Dolly Chugh