Ten years ago, I first read a fantastic book by Lois Frankel called Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, which was about unconscious mistakes women make that sabotage their careers. Well, apparently not much has changed in a decade because nice girls still don’t get the corner office, and in response Lois has released a new edition of her essential advice guide.
Given that I’m still making some of these errors myself, I thought it might be helpful to show my fellow professional women how to overcome deeply ingrained habits that are presently holding us – and our teams – back. And guys, you owe it to the women you love to share this piece with them.
Needing to be liked
The desire to be liked is so strong in some nice girls that it becomes impossible for them to act in any alternative manner. They become immobilized at the thought of disappointing someone. But there’s a difference between being liked and being respected, and if you’re concerned only by being liked or preserving your workplace relationships, you will not take the kinds of risks that lead to respect. Lois suggests that you use self-talk to counter the need to have everyone like you all the time, because that won’t happen no matter what you do. Replace the thought “but people won’t like me if…” with “people might get upset with me, but at least I will be acting in accordance with my values.” Also, balance your inclination to serve others’ needs with serving your own. Before agreeing to something you don’t want to do, ask yourself how much it will matter if the person’s a little annoyed.
Playing the game in bounds
Even when a woman knows the workplace is a game, she has the tendency to play safe rather than play smart. She obeys all the rules to the letter and expects others to as well. If the policy says don’t do it, then it can’t be done. If it might upset someone, she doesn’t do it. Lois says that you never want to act unethically, but it is a game, and one you want to win. Therefore, you should play the game within bounds, but right at the edges. If you’re not sure where the edges of your company’s playing field are, look at the women in your workplace who are winning the game. Consider what they’re doing that you should be doing too. Also, try writing down two rules you interpret narrowly and always follow. Have you seen other people bend these rules? If nothing has happened to them, take the risk!
For the rest of Lois' tips, please see the full post at Intuit's Fast Track blog.