on May 22, 2006
As a first time manager, I was thrilled to see advertisement for this book. It really was the title that attracted me to it. I was delighted to learn that my intuition about my employees behavior was not my imagination, and this book nailed it. It was interesting to read about people behavior, gossip, reluctunce of male counterparts to cooperate in workplace. This easy to read book was pure blessing with its down to earth advice and excellent reference index. Once I finished reading this book, I was able to continue my management education thru referring to other book materials that address leadership issues and what is means to be a female manager. This is great book for both managers and employees. It does not matter is you work in corporate world or you own your business. Advice from this book applies to all work environments.
The full name of this book is The Girl's Guide to Being a Boss (Without Being a Bitch). The title bothers me - it seems a marketing ploy to catch people's attention while perpetuating a stereotype which is more suitable to the 1980s than the current decade. There are thousands of great female bosses out there. Over half of all graduate students are female. I've worked for many companies and never have had a problem because I'm female - or had a problem with females in management.
That being said, I know many women have trouble in a position of power - and I know that some people still have an issue with women being *in* power. Heck, there are still people around who look down on people for having dark skin. So if this book helps people in that situation, it's doing a good thing.
One indicator of the mindset of the authors is that the book is about 200 pages long - but they explain that they originally had a chapter on "why being a boss sucks" and that one chapter ALONE was over 200 pages and had to be drastically trimmed. What an awful attitude to have!! That's like having a book for moms with a gigantic chapter on "why being a mom sucks". As we all know, the things you focus on end up being the things that take over your life. If you focus on all the awful things about being a boss, that is not a healthy way of living. Heck, why not choose a different career path then, one that does not involve management, if you truly hate being a boss so much? Some people simply are more happy not having control over others. That is fine.
I'm not saying that you should ignore the challenges of being a boss. Certainly, there are challenges! But they are simply skills you need to learn to master, not "being a boss sucks" situations.
What are some of the challenges? The book tells you that as a woman you are likely to "freak out" and must not do that. You must take responsibility for your team, on caring well for them. You have to give credit to them, not steal it from them. You have to stay "consistent, loyal and unbiased". You have to be firm but fair. Learn to delegate.
The book tells you these things via little stories, and by proving lists. For example, as a boss you should post this above your desk: make a to-do list, set goals, stick to deadlines, keep your word, get it in writing, be proactive, think of the entire company, contribute to your team, focus on the big picture, be your own cheerleader, sell yourself stick up for yourself, don't be personal, network, and find a mentor. The book gives you little mantras. Give constructive feedback, not personal criticism. Leave everyone's self esteem intact.
However, the book is not as great at providing actual solutions. It sends you a lot of messages, but does not provide a lot of concrete help. It says many times to be calm, cool and collected at all times - but doesn't give any advice for women who are emotional. It tells you not to be friends with your subordinates, not to drink with co-workers, and (I kid you not) to have all of your minions snap to attention when you enter a meeting room. It apparently is a bad sign if they keep talking when you enter, rather than all looking immediately to you and waiting with hushed breath for your next precious word.
I definitely agree that many of the suggestions here are good ones, if common sense. Praise in public, criticize in private. Don't focus on blame, focus on improving and fixing things. If you apologize, apologize specifically "I am very sorry for xxxxxx" rather than generically.
And I suppose if for some women the "chatty girl" approach of the book gets across a message that they did not understand or absorb otherwise, that is a good thing. We all learn in different ways, and we all have different styles.
Still, it bothers me that women would focus on the mindset of "I have to be careful not to be a bitch" - or that women would focus on the "being a boss sucks" idea. Again, if you have something stuck in your mind, it affects how you act and how others act towards you. It is far more productive to focus on "being a mentor to others is a fantastic opportunity" - and then find ways to make that happen and to handle any challenges that stand in your way. I would much rather see more books come out with that focus.
on January 8, 2007
I was excited about this book, as its subject matter addressed an issue I've struggled with recently--transitioning to being someone's boss.
I was disappointed. It made a lot of solid statements, but didn't give a lot of good advice on how to implement their suggestions. For example, the authors stated that many women cry at work, and one should never be seen crying. But the book offers no suggestions on how to prevent yourself from crying as a reaction to difficult suggestions, right after saying it is a problem a lot of women face. Same with handling the difficulty of giving negative feedback to someone--they say it is a hard thing for many people to do, but don't offer much in the way of how to overcome that difficulty.
Hopefully someone else will write an improved version of this, with real, tangible advice.
on April 19, 2006
I bet any woman in the workforce will not only have female bosses from hell stories, but will also be able to recount times when they've been accused of attitude when that really was not the case. Is it possible for a woman to be powerful without being a bitch? Yes. Is it always the case that nice girls don't get the corner office? Not at all. Is this hard thing to pull off? Most definitely. But this new book makes it much easier with sound advice, true stories from an array of businesswomen, and tips for how to be a good (and successful)"chick-in-charge." And with more women working, more female bosses and more chiquitas owning businesses than ever before, it's a necessary book.
on June 29, 2008
I skimmed through this book and it pointed me in the direction of other valuable resources. For that alone it was worth the price. That said, I agree with the earlier reviewer who said it doesn't provide much in the way of 'tactics'. I supposed you could call it 'grand strategy' wherein you get ideas on what to work on and then leads to other books.
For myself, I think most women I meet have a fair idea of what not to do (barring the wildly overemotional), but it's what to do that many of us could use the mentoring on. For example, working in an environment dominated by former military men, precise instruction on how to communicate effectively and/or come across as firm/tough but fair is helpful. The authors suggested "Nice girls don't get the corner office" which has much more in the way of concrete 'tactics' -- i.e. what words, postures, activities to avoid and which to cultivate.
So if you only have to by one book, it would be "Nice girls don't get the corner office". If you feel that you could use more broad advice and have the money to spare, buy both. Certainly this is more easy to read than some of the other career books I have encountered.
on April 18, 2006
I picked up this book because I was having some trouble with my employees and thought this may help..and it did! The authors gave clear, concise tips on how any woman can be a great boss without being labeled a bitch in the workplace, something that unfortunately every woman boss worries about. It's written in a friendly but empowering tone, with good humor sprinkled throughout. A great-read with terrific advice for any woman boss!
on January 9, 2007
As a new Chick-In-Charge, after reading this book, I was so relieved that I am not alone in my troubles, because when I started to work as a boss, I felt that I was about losing my mind and others could achieve to manage with all these managerial problems but I coluldn't!! But to read this book helped me to see that all these problems are common and normal; most importantly I could find basic tips to solve them and gain a different point of view.
I read many books to improve my managerial skills, to be able to be a good boss ; but being a woman boss is a different thing and you are under very big risk to be a bitch at workplace!! If you don't want to follow the bad examples and if you want to be a nice boss but to make your staff work most efficiently, read this book!!
on August 11, 2006
The Girls Guide to Being a Boss (without being a bitch) is a down-to-earth guidebook for women in leadership positions. It is written how we might talk amongst friends, in a straightforward manner. The bulleted lists, succinct paragraphs, personal anecdotes, and interviews with women leaders made the book a quick read.
By the conclusion of the book, I realized the authors' goal was to empower women to inspire other women by becoming a role model. That is so important, because, even in 2006, there are very few great female leaders that women can look up to or turn to for advice. None of the literature I have read on leadership quotes women leaders or mentions a great woman leader. Perhaps it is because so many of them become "the bitch" or take on a male persona. Both are equally ineffective. Women have innate qualities, such as good interpersonal skills, that naturally make them good leaders. It's a matter of harnessing the skills women already have to make them work to their advantage.
This book is for those looking for practical and applicable suggestions of what to do and what not to do as a woman leader.