Book Review: See Jane Lead

See Jane Lead:

99 Ways for Women to Take Charge at Work

When Lois Frankel explained how she chose the women she wove into the content of See Jane Lead, she said, “…if a woman didn’t pass my ‘very scientific’ beer test – Would I enjoy sitting down and having a beer with her – she didn’t make the list.” She didn’t choose that criteria because she likes beer or because she’s a social butterfly. What Frankel reasoned was that, in addition to compiling list of characteristics of effective leaders, Frankel wrote, “Great leaders are those who make others feel comfortable around them and possess high emotional intelligence…they’re just plain likable.” In her first chapter, Frankel talks about how much women feel threatened by the idea of leadership – mostly because the feminine way of leading hasn’t always been valued in society. She doesn’t ignore the misconception that “nice girls” can’t be leaders and suggests instead that women can integrate their “nice girls” behaviors into their own personal leadership style and still be effective. In the subsequent chapters, Frankel shows the reader how to do just that by (1) revisiting her values, (2) being more strategic (“if you can run a household, you can be strategic”), (3) encouraging her to take risks, (4) creating influence, (5) motivating others and (6) managing teams. She uses common examples of how women demonstrate leadership qualities in everyday life. Frankel also includes a couple assessments, a few charts and concludes each chapter with a list of tips (the 99 ways). Frankel’s final chapter on entrepreneurship has such great tips that it’s a “must read” for any woman going into business. In fact, since every woman is her own business, she could benefit from applying every single tip to her own lifestyle – from “Never sell your soul to the devil” to “Plan your financial future” and “choose your business partners (aka friends) carefully.” Frankel also raises the stakes for the importance of women accepting the leadership role. She reminds the reader that while she’s feminizing leadership she is also modeling leadership for her daughter – and doing it against the many conflicting messages young girls receive outside the home. She offers suggestions and tips for coaching the leadership qualities in young women. What I liked most about this book is that Frankel explains feminine leadership in a way that demystifies it for women. She makes leadership seems not only doable but a real no-brainer. This is one of those books you’ll keep on your shelf and reread about once a year – as I do. Enjoy!