Author: Charlotte Beers
Publisher: Vanguard Press, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1593156824, 256 pages
Legendary advertising executive Charlotte Beers focuses on the qualities and skills women need to pursue leadership roles, but every professional – male or female – can benefit from her perspectives and strategies. She unabashedly dishes up a fascinating, no-holds-barred blend of her experiences and those of the students at her “X Factor” seminars. The result is a solid, workable strategy for tapping into your innate talents. Beers’s mission is to develop females’ leadership potential by helping them avoid being “considered womanly at the expense of being seen as leaderly.” She emphasizes succeeding by tapping into your essential self. getAbstract recommends her informed autobiography for everyone with higher aspirations on the job and in life.
“From revolution to evolution”
Here’s a telling statistic: “Some 51% of managerial and professional jobs go to women today, compared to only 25% in 1980.” Yet with this tremendous progress, women still encounter stumbling blocks and “opaque” (though no longer glass) ceilings that limit their progress as they attempt to build authentic, dynamic relationships with their male bosses, peers and co-workers. Companies have made great strides in reducing workplace sexual harassment, but, ironically, the gains have created a “climate of caution” that puts women at a disadvantage when dealing with male authority figures. If you are a woman in the workforce, three environmental factors will challenge your efforts at work:
1. The “disconnect” between men and women – The genders differ in their thinking and their approaches to work, goals and achievement.
2. Men’s perceptions of “womanly qualities” – Male colleagues expect women to behave according to stereotypes; when a female leader acts differently, men may criticize her or feel uncomfortable working for her.
3. Your “self-imposed limitations” – You can’t attain your full potential if you buy into others’ beliefs about you and your role.
Working hard and doing a great job aren’t enough to earn you the respect and recognition a good leader merits. If you want to move into the upper echelons of your corporation, take decisive action on two main fronts: Change how you see yourself at work and change how others see you, so they can appreciate your real value and tremendous promise. Start by understanding your true self. As you begin your self-assessment, keep a journal.
“Messages: How you learned to engage”
Who you are and how you interact with others as an adult are partly the results of the encouraging or discouraging lessons you learned as a child. You subconsciously carry those childhood messages into your adult life and your workplace, where – for better or worse – they manifest as your professional attitudes and actions. Keep the empowering messages that serve you well, but eliminate the “inner critic” that denigrates your self-worth and erodes your confidence. Answer these five questions to assess the roots of how you respond to work situations:
“What did your mother say?”– Perhaps her messages motivated you, but you may recall that some of her litanies were “negative” or “frankly disempowering.”
“What did your siblings teach you?”– Brother and sister relationships define your role within the family and offer opportunities to learn and practice interpersonal skills.
“How would you describe your family?”– The characteristics you attribute to your family often reveal a lot about your leadership style.
“What is most significant about your family?”– Search for correlations between your family dynamics and the way you engage with others in the workplace.
“What are the gifts you were given?”– Look for blessings within your family’s messages. They can be hidden, but powerful, reminders of your innate talent…