Weeks ago I read an interesting article: “Why Nice Girls Still Don’t Get the Corner Office” by Lisa Johnson Mandell. While interjecting her own take on the topic, Mandell highlights a book by Dr. Lois Frankel aptly named “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage Their Careers.” I would venture to guess that many of the work-related mistakes we make aren’t gender-specific and can’t actually be measured in terms of “nice” or “not nice,” but the topic is fascinating to ponder, nevertheless.
I ended up requesting the book from my local library and flipped through its pages to see what so-called “nice girl mistakes” I make in life and how those decisions impact me for the better or worse. I don’t actually have present-day aspirations of getting a corner office, but the topic of kindness in the workforce interests me. Does being nice hold us back, and–even if so–would we really rather implement the alternative behavior? In the end, Dr. Frankel’s actual text doesn’t seem to discuss mistakes “nice” girls make as much as it discusses the errors we make as women who are–in certain areas–ineffective, unprofessional or untrained. And, yes, those “unconscious mistakes” really can prevent us from receiving promotions, raises, etc.
What Behavioral Mistakes Do Women Make in the Workforce That They Don’t Realize?
How We Groom Ourselves. Of the eight chapters of Dr. Frankel’s book, one is entirely devoted to “How You Look.” The section, of course, includes tips on makeup, hair and dress while also venturing into other territories such as accessorizing and when to groom. Finding a balance between dressing femininely not masculinely, but still professionally, can be a challenge. Not knowing how much makeup to wear and what footwear will be best can contribute to holding you back career-wise.
The Roles We Play. In an interesting Forbes Woman article, a team of writers concluded: “If You Want To Be The Boss, Don’t Act Like A Secretary.” Do you unconsciously perform the tasks regularly associated with entry-level positions, not realizing how that affects your boss’ impression of you and your role within the company?
What We Divulge. I was talking to a friend a few months ago about an interview of hers administered by a panel. She was asked to tell more about herself so she ventured into personal territory and mentioned “I have two kids.” Apparently, the atmosphere instantly changed and she could feel the interview was over. The takeaway was clear: don’t share more than you need to. As a female, something as simple as “having small children” can impact the conversation differently than had a father shared the exact same fact. Dr. Frankel touches on this subject in her book as well, along with a number of other sound principles.
How We Use Body Language. Another relevant Forbes piece shares tips on how to “Perfect Your Body Language,” acknowledging that “Since hiring, salary and promotion (especially to top positions) often depend on being recognized as an emergent leader, this puts females at a distinct disadvantage.”
Carol Kinsey Goman, “Perfect Your Body Language.” Forbes.com.
Jennifer Bradley Heflin, Colleen Newman, Kelly O’Brien, Brooke Ybarra, “If You Want To Be The Boss, Don’t Act Like A Secretary.” Forbes.com.
Lisa Johnson Mandell, “Why Nice Girls Still Don’t Get the Corner Office.” Jobs.Aol.com.
Lois Frankel, “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage Their Careers.”