Friday, May 20, 2011

Women in the Workplace are Just Too Nice

Many of us are pleased when our bosses use words like “team player,” “positive attitude” and, “jumps in and helps others” in our annual reviews. We believe these to be traits that help us succeed.

But is it possible that those characteristics may be holding you back?

Few of us have ever had a boss who complained that we were too nice, yet, being too nice may actually hurt your career.

I remember where I was when I read Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois Frankel. The book was so engaging that I couldn’t put it down. It was so enlightening that I have returned to it over time to remind myself that as women, we tend to fall into roles as support players. It’s one of a few books that I recommend all women in business read.

Now, Lois Frankel has teamed up with Carol Frohlinger to author Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It: 99 Ways to Win the Respect You Deserve, the Success You've Earned, and the Life You Want.

One of those ways is tactic #88: Send Guilt on a Trip

Citing a study published in the Spanish Journal of Psychology, Frankel and Frohlinger note that women are more likely to feel guilty because they are socialized to be considerate of the needs and feelings of others. According to the book, “The problem is, guilt is one of the least productive emotions out there, and often it holds us back from going after the things we really want.”

Or, consider tactic #4: Examine Your Choices

“Nice girls don’t proactively make choices for themselves, because they are unduly influenced by the choices that others have made for them,” write Frankel and Frohlinger.

Think about it. How often do you put your own needs first?

Do you want to find out if you’re too nice? This self-assessment at the Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It website is designed to help you identify the behaviors that may be holding you back from getting the things you most want in life.


GameHeelGal said...

Excellent blog...This book is definitely on my "to read" list!

Liza said...

Oh my. I'm toying with taking the
self assessment...except I'm pretty sure I already know the answer.

Joanne said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I think part of success comes with the absolute decision to "own" what we choose to do. To not be swayed otherwise as we move along the journey. And sometimes we have to be a tough nut to stick to that decision.

Liz Fichera said...

Sad but true. If you ever show any aggressive tendancies, you're labled a B*tch. Hopefully this is changing, but I doubt it.

Colette said...

Gameheelgal glad you found me!

Joanne, you're right, but that doesn't make it easier!

Carol Kilgore said...

Learning to put ourselves first isn't easy. I'm still learning. And I'd say I do it maybe 20% of the time. I've learned to do it with things that involve my writing, but not with much else.

Jodi@GarlicGirl said...

Hi Colette, love your blog! Thanks for the nice note. Regarding your post, I'm half Italian and half Jewish and grew up to speak my mind...always kind, but my directness used to always get interpreted as "not nice." I'm with Liz, hoping it's changing!

Nerthus said...

You can also be fired in a "Right to Work" state when you work for a small business run by an owner, a woman in this case, who views any dissent as an act of sabotage and fires you. The labor market is not the same in all places, nor is labor law. I am not saying we should be meek, but there are places where you have to be very, very careful if you need to keep your job.