Book Review: How Women Rise

How Women Rise Book

Book: How Women Rise

By Sally Helgeson and Marshall Goldsmith 

Reviewed by: Ashley Michael  

The Premise: Sally Helgeson is a top expert in women’s leadership. She’s an author, speaker and consultant. Marshall Goldsmith is a New York Times best selling author of Triggers and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. He has been frequently listed as the world’s top executive coach and is an authority on leadership behaviour change. In How Women Rise, Helgeson and Goldsmith identified 12 habits that hold women back in the workplace. They tell real life stories about women falling victim to these habits and what they learned from the situation. The book is peppered with recommendations and suggestions for what to do differently, and the last section of the book is dedicated to how to break these habits.  

The Bottomline: In How Women Rise, 12 habits are discussed including women’s reluctance to claim their own achievements, overvaluing expertise, not building and leveraging relationships effectively, being too focused on people pleasing and perfectionism and the tendency to ruminate. The authors told stories about women they had worked with and shared what the women had learned from their failures. It was interesting to connect the dots on these habits that I could personally relate to, and to see these patterns in many of the women I’ve coached.

One of my favourite chapters was “putting your job before your career” as it spoke to women who move up quickly and then get stuck. They’re doing their job perfectly, they are excellent leaders, loyal and a pleasure to work with, yet others are getting promoted above them and they don’t know why. I think its interesting to consider that many of the habits combined lead to this outcome. Another big takeaway is that there is a middle ground between some of the stereotypically less desirable qualities of men in the workplace and what women do to be different. It is possible to promote yourself without coming off as bragging. It is possible to be an expert without being perfect. And, it is possible to be loyal and a pleasure to work with and still make your career goals known.   

Recommendation: I highly recommend for everyone. This book would obviously benefit women, but also men who work with and manage women. This book is particularly helpful for any woman who is feeling stuck in her career and trying really hard, but not seeing the results she is hoping for. My guess is that at least one of these habits are the culprit! 

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