Nice girls don’t get the corner office, or … do they?
I’ve been listening to an audiobook recently called ‘Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office’…
I’m confident in stating that if you have met me in my career so far, you will appreciate why this title intrigued me so much and why I decided to give it a try.
I have always been a self-confessed ‘Nice Girl’ in my working life and I am also passionate about success – for myself and for my customers.
Now, it’s important for me to say early doors that this book is in no way saying that you have to be a ‘Mean Girl’ to get a shiny corner office or that we Nice Girls should be anything less than proud of our niceness.
What this book does say, however, is that there are techniques to master which can empower us to stand our ground in competitive situations.
“There are five things all the women that inspire me, have in common”
There is a part in the book which challenges us to take a look around at the women in our lives that are not only winning this game but also influencing changes to the rules.
I’m grateful to work in an industry where I interact with inspiring female leaders on a daily basis, whether that’s looking inside our own company’s senior leadership and management teams or across the broad scope of powerful women running and managing care businesses across the UK.
And so, I thought I would share my findings from this piece of self-assigned homework that I did…
There are five things that all the women that inspire me, have in common.
There are also five women that I have met in my current role that embody these things and whom I feel specialise in each…
1. They care.
They care genuinely and without hesitation. They don’t ‘CARE’ as part of a marketing campaign, or because a book about setting company culture tells them they should. They don’t allow some of the more ruthless aspects of running a business or managing a team take priority over the care of others, they balance the two and champion compassion.
Case in point: Jane Perry – Director, Bluebird Care Edinburgh and Glasgow
If ‘Care’ was a person, it would be Jane Perry in her tartan trousers chatting about Frangelico and making you feel like you have known her your whole life. Jane puts the care of her team and her customers first, no buts, no maybes.
2. They communicate their ideas with passion and professionalism.
They are masters of getting others to ‘buy-in’ and understand their point of view. Have you ever been stumped by how well someone conveys their perspective or idea during a conversation? I have. I have found myself, many times, sat there in a moment of silence, in awe because something has been so perfectly articulated that I simply don’t need to say anything in response.
Case in point: Taffy Gatawa – Chief Information and Compliance Officer, everyLIFE Technologies LtdYou might have spotted that we like to put Taffy in the spotlight at events. It’s because she’s able to talk about things that, for many, are no fun and at times darn right scary (she’s compliance, right? It’s critical to what we do and critical in care). Taffy’s style builds confidence and gives us practical ways to address things we may otherwise put to the bottom of the pile…
3. They juggle, bend and balance like they grew up in the circus.
It will be no surprise for you to read that all these women work hard, often the hardest workers in the room. They prioritise and re-prioritise and they deliver results continuously. Whether that’s hitting business targets or managing home-schooling during lockdown or both.
Case in point: Yvonne Hignell – Chief Operating Officer, Cera Care
I met Yvonne when she was Managing Director of Bluebird Care, we met shortly after she had started her role there. I had some understanding (not even a detailed understanding) of what was on her plate then and I was in awe of how she managed all of that, so calmly might I add, and made time for her family.
Although I didn’t speak to Yvonne directly too often, I did keep in touch with the rest of her team regularly and I heard constantly how well she handled projects and pushed for things to move forward and be better.
4. They ask for help and give it generously.
This one is my favourite. I am not sure where it began, but there is this myth that asking for help is a weakness. What a crock…
I have never met a master of the universe who never needed help with anything. When we ask for help, we not only open ourselves up to the opportunity of learning something new, but we also build relationships with others.
Case in point: Fiona Williams – Chief Operating Officer, Prestige Nursing Ltd
Fiona is driven to help people. It comes across to me in every conversation that we have had. Having witnessed the way Fiona interacts with people in varying scenarios I have always seen her listen intently to people, offer her help wherever possible and ask for help whenever she has needed it.
5. They lift each other up.
They could very easily enjoy their success from that metaphorical shiny corner office, with the door shut and the blinds drawn. Instead, they are all ready to share this success and tag others in for a slice of the action.
Case in point: Jenny Jones – Business Support and Systems Manager, Right at Home
I haven’t been working with Jenny for very long, but there is one thing that stands out each time we meet. Jenny likes to encourage others – colleagues, suppliers, the milkman (ok, I can’t vouch for that last one, but I’m guessing it’s true).
Jenny is eager to learn absolutely everything she can and what’s more, she’s keen to share it with everyone she can too. I recently saw a post on her Linkedin sharing some feedback that a colleague had given her… It’s not surprising for me to tell you, it was glowing.
So there you have it…
Five women who are the embodiment of niceness, the embodiment of care and the embodiment of females kicking business ASS.
Five attributes that make these women inspirational for a young Customer Success geek like me.
If you have 5 minutes today, I would recommend that you spend that time thinking about who inspires you in your company or your network…You don’t necessarily need to write them a public love letter as I have, but I’d encourage you to let them know.
Meg Traynier, Head of Customer Success everyLIFE