Category: Women of HR Book Reviews
Breaking through glass ceilings in the workplace is dangerous business. There is now an easier (and safer) way for women to rise and succeed professionally. In her book, The Glass Elevator: A Guide to Leadership Presence for Women on the Rise, Ora Schtull shares the 9 critical skills that will enhance your ability to engage, connect, and influence in the workplace.
Women of HR was offered the opportunity to review The Glass Elevator and through a series of questions and answers, Debbie Brown (DB) and Dorothy Douglass (DD) present their thoughtful review of this book.
Debbie and Dorothy,
What is the overall gist of Ora's message or topic? How would you summarize her book in 3 or 4 sentences?
DB: The book is a good coach to women who want to work on their engagement, connections and influence to move up the leadership ranks. Ora, writes in simple terms and stories what behaviors and skills women need to hone in on. She also provides a checklist for you at the beginning of each chapter for you to assess yourself and follows through at the end with you to be able to write down those things you want to start, stop and continue as a result of her coaching points.
DD: Professional women – read me! Now! Real life examples of successful executive women add value to this must-read for anyone interested in forwarding their career, at any age and any level.
Ora presented the 9 critical skills that will enhance your ability to engage, connect, and influence in the workplace. Comment on the skills presented. What do you think . . . are they really critical?
DB: I thought all the skills presented were critical for women on the rise. Communication, networking, engaging with your boss, staying healthy, all very important to name a few.
DD: These skills are critical to success, and while not new or ground-breaking information, Ora presents the skills in logical fashion, including some simple self-assessments to determine the reader’s skill level. While I wish I’d had this book about 15 years ago, it still presents in a manner that speaks to me so I can enhance my levels of communications (engage), mentoring (connect), and happiness (influence) at work.
What one skill called out to you? Why?
DB: How to ask for what you want and need called out to me. I believe that women have a tendency to assume too much about what people know and believe about their effort and results. That assumption is not a good one, which is why it is so important to look at many more aspects as the book points out. If you don't ask, many times you will not get what you want.
DD: I kept thinking that I would get bored or not have any more “aha” moments as I read along in the book. However, Ora presents in such a way that made me a) keep reading,
b) say yes, this makes complete sense, and c) think of all the female connections I’d like to share this information with. I kept flagging pages, and chapters that spoke to me, and finally ran out of my post-it flags. Two that jumped off the page included (from p. 132) “…if we’re going to grow our influence, we must conquer our fear of selling.” Selling isn’t always selling a product or service, it is often selling ourselves – for that next project lead, job, or career move. Women need to get over being the care-taker of others, and begin to take care of themselves – at least at work. This does mean getting results in the job, and communicating those results to others (who else is going to ‘toot our horn’).
In chapter 9: Be Happy, Ora speaks of being often overloaded, and I really appreciated the reminder to use four D’s of time management: Delete, Delegate (with care, not in a micromanaging way), Do, but diminish, and Delay
Ora writes on her website, “The good news is that Leadership Presence is not something you’re born with. It’s something you develop.” What do you think of that? Did the book impact your thoughts about this? If so how? If not, why not?
DB: I agree with the author – these skills are something you can work on . The book emphasized non-verbal communication which I think can impact how confident people believe you are.
DD: I felt this book was a well-written moment of preaching to the “HR-Choir.” We work with our managers, likely not enough, to stand up, put best foot forward, develop self and team, and never stop learning. I felt this book was a wonderful reinforcement of those messages, with great examples and good self-check tools for the lady over-achievers in the reader audience.
Did Ora challenge, inspire or enlighten you in any way? If so, how?
DB: Actually all three. It brought to light areas that I continue to work on every day and other skills to add to the list and I found it encouraging to have a woman writing from a woman's point of view, which was easy to relate to. In addition, she provided bios of successful women leaders and I found those stories and bios inspiring.
DD: This book re-energized my passion for helping to develop our professional staff (both men and women) at the bank. I’m hopeful this book is or will be available so we can use it in the future as an opportunity to reinforce, reinvigorate, and sometimes re-engage our talented women.
Would you recommend this book to others?
DB: Yes, absolutely. I would recommend it to both genders because the book provides great perspective and coaching so any leader would be able to grasp how to help women advance.
DD: Yes. Already making a mental list of those in my network who would value reading it!
Debbie and Dorothy, thank you for your review!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Women of HR received this book free from the publisher. We were not required to write a positive review. The opinions the reviewers have expressed are their own.
I’d Rather Be in Charge, by Charlotte Beers, is a breakthrough book, a master class for women who are ready to learn from a legendary business leader how to shatter the glass ceiling, reach the corner office, and—above all—develop their highest self in the workplace and beyond.
Women of HR was offered the opportunity to review, I’d Rather Be in Charge. Through a series of questions and answers, Alyson Nyiri (AN) and Debbie Brown (DB) present their thoughtful review of this book.
Alyson and Debbie,
What is the overall gist of Charlotte's message or topic? How would you summarize her book in 3 or 4 sentences?
AN: Beers echoes Dr. Mark Savickas’ career construction theory when she encourages women to “Think of work as your chance to practice becoming your largest self.” Women are still led to believe from a young age that their work is secondary to their roles as mothers and lovers. Beers doesn’t enter that debate. She starts instead from the premise that women work and require ways to become better leaders in their work. And to do that, women need to see themselves within the world of work and manage how we are perceived by those around us. Beers says “We must be prepared to take controversial stands, initiate ideas and projects; that’s how influence is felt.”
DB: I think that Charlotte summarizes her own book very well – the book is about “to know” yourself and be known by others. She takes us through a process of how to dig into how we learned to be a certain way, what image we want to portray and how to move in the direction of that image. The book also does a great job of differentiating management from leadership and why and when you should step up (and what to look for when you do).
Charlotte calls this “the era of forging ahead for women.” What did she mean by that?
AN: Beers delivers workshops to women in the U.S. and Europe and calls them The X Factor, standing for the extra X chromosome women have. This extra X is women’s potential; the way we chose to work and lead. We are also more educated than previous generations and are acquiring more expertise.
DB: The number of women in the workforce, and the call to action for women to act on the defining moments to take charge and lead.
Charlotte recognizes that the old boys' network is alive and kicking and that women have many more barriers to get over than men do. What barrier resonated with you? What strategy have you, or will you, use?
AN: Beers clearly articulates how men behave in leadership and how women must learn to speak and behave in ways that men in command can understand (I nearly chucked the book across the room, my feminist sensibilities enraged, but decided to hold up!). Beers does not sell out women by asking them to become men. She carefully outlines strategies we need to move ahead in the world of work.