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.