Today, monolith-type companies are being managed, not steered, but managed, by brassy younger men and ballsy women. To survive and flourish one has to really know how to play the office/industry politics game. So when the book Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office 101: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers came across my desk, I had to spread the word, it is so enlightening!
This book could become a career bible to the working woman. It is a fine piece of craftsmanship or should I say ‘craftwomanship’ that addresses the need for women to stand their ground and make their mark in the business world. All it takes to implement author Lois Frankel’s advice is determination, fed-up–with-itness, a strong belief system, support and guts.
I was impressed right off the bat when Frankel gives readers permission to ‘read only chapters of the book that relate to your individual weaknesses.’ She says women ‘feel’ they always have to read a book right through, so as not to offend the author, whereas men read the sections of books that they need to read. Lesson one!
The book starts out with a self-assessment quiz that determines your sabotaging mistakes. Based on the results of the quiz you are referred to specific chapters that offer advice on those mistakes.
Mistake #26: Decorating your office like your living room.
Humanize space but don’t decorate per se. Emphasizing your femininity diminishes your credibility. A family photo or a snapshot of Rover, with a plant and a box of tissues is enough personalizing. Too many family photos may also appear like you wish you were somewhere other than the office.
Mistake #27. Feeding others.
You aren’t “mom” or Betty Crocker, so don’t put food on your desk, Frankel advises. If you want to bring a batch of cookies into the office put them in the lunch room; even this action is discouraged. When is the last time one of the fellas brought in home made fudge?
Mistake #42. Refusing perks.
When a perk is overlooked, bring it to a manager’s attention, they’re just hoping you won’t say anything, like most women. Watch your tone of voice and the manner in which you remind your manager should be tactful and confident. When you get a promotion, ask what it includes, don’t assume the new title or a salary increase is all there is.
Mistake #59. Asking permission.
Learn to take independent action within a given set of boundaries. Children are expected to ask for permission, not adults. Don’t set yourself up for a ‘no.’ Don’t start sentences with “If it is ok with you if I…”
Keep in mind that there are positions within a company where some of these’ mistakes’ have to be interpreted with a grain of salt. A candy dish at the receptionist desk is de rigeur, not so at the Director level.
All 101 mistakes offer coaching tips on how to alter your behaviour, thinking or communication. Like going on a diet, for you to turn these mistakes into successes you have to fully commit to them and apply them consistently. Frankel says that success for women in business is not about acting more like a man, but acting less like a girl.