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Book Review: Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office

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Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office
by Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D.

Warner Business ©2004
268 pages

One Hundred and One Mistakes That Sabotage Women’s Careers

Executive coach Lois Frankel has spent many years empowering thousands of women to reach their fullest potential. To help women overcome the deeply imbedded character traits they learned as girls and take control of their careers, Frankel describes more than 100 common mistakes that women make during their careers and prescribes numerous ways they can overcome them. By presenting many invaluable tips that can improve women’s social and business skills, Frankel creates a guide for women that can help them eliminate self-defeating behaviors from their actions and grow their careers past previous roadblocks.

Frankel’s game plan begins with a self-analysis tool that allows women to assess themselves to determine the areas within them that require improvement. Once readers have found the trouble spots in their behaviors, she then directs them to the parts of her book that can help them overcome behavioral obstacles and attain the levels of self-confidence and leadership they desire. To help women find the areas in themselves that require attention, Frankel offers several examples of the executives she has coached in the past (with names changed), and presents the coaching tips that helped them rise on the corporate ladder, get a raise, and get more respect from their management and peers.

‘Quit Bein’ a Girl’

Frankel’s message throughout Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office is that women do not have to act in ways they were taught. She writes that a female executive should, “Quit bein’ a girl,” and explains that a woman has choices, and is capable of growing into a role as a leader. By providing concrete suggestions for behavioral changes that have been proven to be effective in helping women progress in their careers, Frankel demonstrates how they can act more like women instead of girls. She also explains that her remedies to a stalled career are much like a diet, and must be committed to fully and applied consistently before they can have their intended effects.

After all the mistakes women make in their careers have been identified, and Frankel’s coaching tips have been explained, she describes how women can create a personal development plan with a final chapter dedicated to pulling her guidance together. Warning against complexity, Frankel writes that choosing just one behavior per week on which to focus can help women become more aware of their actions, and understand how they sabotage themselves. Once women have replaced their self-defeating behaviors with more effective ones, they will begin to act more like the women they are capable of becoming and less like the girls they were taught to be.

The Socialization Process

Frankel focuses on the socialization process that has discouraged many women from acting in ways beyond the traditionally determined parameters of society. She points out that when women “live a life circumscribed by the expectations of others, we live a limited life. What does it mean to live our lives as girls rather than women? It means we choose behaviors consistent with those that are expected of us rather than those that move us toward fulfillment and self-actualization.”

Frankel also explains that women often miss opportunities to get the career-improving assignments or promotions because they are reluctant to showcase their capabilities, hesitant to speak at meetings, and working so hard that they forget to build the relationships they need for long-term success.

Here are a few of the specific mistakes Frankel addresses and her tips for overcoming them:

Mistake #47: Using Only Your Nickname or First Name. You’ll be much more likely to be taken seriously if you don’t use your childhood nickname for professional purposes. (You’ve never heard people refer to Billie Gates, Jackie Welch or Sammy Walton.)

Mistake #50: Being Modest. Completely, totally and permanently erase the phrase Oh — it was nothing from your vocabulary. Prominently display awards or plaques.

Mistake #59: Asking Permission. Inform others of your intentions; don’t ask for permission. By informing others you show respect for their need to know, but without your action being contingent upon their approval. ~

Why We Like This Book

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office is packed with numerous smart tips and suggestions for helping women get ahead in their careers. By focusing on the socialization process that can often hold women back from attaining the leadership positions they desire, Frankel delivers strong messages that address how women behave, think, sound, look and respond, as well as how they brand and market themselves. By presenting specific actions they can take to succeed, Frankel offers bankable advice. ~

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