First of all – Dear Lois, where have you been all my life!? If I had read this book ten years ago or at the very beginning of my career, I would have avoided many of the mistakes I made as I climbed (or didn’t climb) the corporate ladder. Nice Girls Still Don’t Get the Corner Office, Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers, by Lois P. Frankel, PhD, is a must-read for every woman, at any stage of her career (and it’s never too late) to learn how to play the game to win.
Dr. Frankel will help you to start mastering the art of the career, not of the employee. Of the woman, and not of the girl (or man), and take the steps to become viewed as whom you wish to become – whether that’s a smart, savvy professional, or a credible, confident and successful woman in the workplace. Lois astutely demands of her reader (you) to decide how you yourself wish to be described in the workplace, write it down and then work on developing your image and the behaviours that will project it. That way other people will describe you that way, and ultimately reinforce your name (or personal brand) on the street.
What This Book Will Teach You
- The Playing Field. How to play the game of work and win it. As women, this is typically what we have not been taught how to do. We also have not been taught that our playing field is different than men’s. At work, men have a wide playing field, but ours is narrower. Unfortunately for women of colour it is narrower still. This helps explain why sometimes behaviour that they might exhibit and succeed with, just doesn’t work for us.
- Self-Sabotaging Behaviors. How to understand the subtext to our self-sabotaging behaviours, much of which has been instilled by our parents, society and traditional gender roles. It reveals how we dumb ourselves down to try not to ruffle feathers or “incur the wrath” of men. How we have learned to placate or make ourselves small to avoid offending others.
- A Wealth of Concrete and Detailed Examples. How to recognize and change unconscious behaviour traits that undermine us to create a positive brand and become successful at work. Traits like working too hard instead of working smart. Being martyrs or taking on too much responsibility. Over-achieving, or under-achieving or being too helpful. Tilting your head, putting your hands under the desk, or offering a limp handshake. Turning the other cheek, accepting blame. Being too assertive or not assertive enough, not handling conflict to our advantage, and more.
The Self-Assessment Test
To read this book smartly – and get the tools which you specifically need, Lois provides a self-assessment test up front and suggests you focus on your key areas of weakness by reading those specific chapters and categories first. This includes “How you Play the Game”, “How You Act”, “How You Think”, “How You Brand & Market Yourself”, “How You Sound”, “How You Look” and “How You Respond”.
Once you add your score, you’ll find yourself in one of three areas – the first area – “You Go Girl!” is where you’ve mastered the game and it’s time to pay it forward. The next is “Fine-Tuning”, and lastly “Danger! You’ve got some work to do.” I scored much lower than I thought – but this is typical, as we as women do not tend to rate ourselves highly.
Women Versus Men
Lois also teaches us some of the secrets of success of men, like having not just a mentor, but a sponsor within organizations to help us be recommended for plum positions and move up, to delegate and work smarter. Or, take key assignments and work hard on them – but not necessarily do everything and take on all responsibility, which we are so apt to do in our effort to work harder and prove ourselves.
She does not however, advocate that we act like men. Some women are more masculine and for them it is natural. Rather be yourself and authentic, as everyone and anyone can sniff out inauthenticity.
In a world where women make far less than men on the dollar and make up an appalling low percentage as executives in top companies and in government (3.5% of Fortune 500 CEOs in the US, 8% worldwide, 20.3% elected to Parliament worldwide), it’s quite clear we as women and leaders in the governing world and in the workforce still have a long way to go.
So, thank you Lois P. Frankel PhD, for writing your second edition ten years later, of “Nice Girls Still Don’t Get the Corner Office. You make it even more possible for many more women in the next ten years, who do.
Your insights are invaluable to all of us.
Have you read Nice Girls Still Don’t Get the Corner Office? If you had to sum it up in one sentence, what would it be?! Looking forward to your comments!