Ph.D. and executive coach, Lois B. Frankel’s book "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office" offers some much-needed unsentimental and straightforward insight into what it is that keeps women out of top-end jobs. Some perceptions aren’t that ground-breaking, but her comprehensive list of recommendation gives all young women with ambitions something to think about. From my own experience (and that of some of the motivated and hard-working women I know), the “needing to be liked” is an especially dangerous trap which young women habitually succumb to. Another important point is the last proposition – women often wait far too long to dare to speak up and make their opinions – and themselves – be heard. I am a firm believer in letting go of the notion that every sentence we utter must be thought through ten times. And with that a tip-off : Speak up for yourselves - nobody else is going to.
With that, I’m happy to pass along some of Dr. Frankel’s advice:
MISTAKE # 3 WORKING TOO HARD
Women don’t get ahead because they work hard. Likeability, strategic thinking, networking, and being a team player are but a few of the other factors that go into crafting a successful career.
MISTAKE # 9 AVOIDING OFFICE POLITICS
Trying to avoid office politics is like trying to avoid the weather. If you’re not involved in office politics, you’re not playing the game and, if you’re not playing the game, you can’t possibly win.
MISTAKE # 16 NEEDING TO BE LIKED
It’s critical for women to understand the difference between being liked and being respected. A girl’s need to be liked will preclude her from taking the kinds of risks taken by women who are respected.
MISTAKE # 17 NOT NEEDING TO BE LIKED
Fear of being perceived as a pushover causes some women to adopt the attitude, “I’m not here to win a popularity contest.” Well, I’m here to tell you, yes, you are.
MISTAKE # 26 DECORATING YOUR OFFICE LIKE YOUR LIVING ROOM
Your office or workspace can be a reflection of who you are and what’s important to you, but that doesn’t mean it should look like your living room. By emphasizing your femininity, you can diminish your credibility.
MISTAKE # 33 OBEDIENTLY FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS
Women are often so anxious to get the job done quickly that they pay attention to the details and not the big picture. Women who get ahead know how to balance the tactical with the strategic. Don’t just do your job, add value by not obediently following instructions, but thinking and planning-which is what you want to be known for.
MISTAKE # 37 SKIPPING MEETINGS
Meetings are to see and be seen, meet and greet, or play show and tell. It’s part of branding and marketing yourself.
MISTAKE # 59 ASKING PERMISSION
Men don’t ask for permission, they ask for forgiveness. Every time a woman asks permission to do or say something, she diminishes her stature and relegates herself to the position of a child.
MISTAKE # 98 BEING THE LAST TO SPEAK
The inclination to hold back when men are present is a huge mistake. The longer you wait to speak, the more likely it is that someone else will say what you’re thinking-and get credit for it.