August 11, 2017

BETA Book Review: Are You An Alpha Or A Beta Woman?

We’re quite often told in business books to be the “alpha” – be bold, loud, heard, speak up! – but what if being a quiet leader is just as powerful?

Rebecca Holman’s new book BETA: Quiet Girls Can Run The World (published August 24th 2017) is a book that touches on these two stereotypes and explores the hidden strengths of women who don’t define as an Alpha in the workplace. Rebecca used to be my old boss when I worked at The Debrief so I especially loved reading this book as you get to have a deeper peak inside her mind and learn about her highs and lows of being a boss. This book proves that you can be a fantastic leader and highly successful magazine editor without shouting at everyone like a scary carbon copy of Miranda Priestly. I love that this book is dedicated to and championing the unsung quiet heroes of the workplace: the BETA women.

“I want to champion the BETA girl. I want to sing her praises from the rooftop and remind us all that success can look however you want it to.” – Rebecca, taken from BETA

I think this book is incredibly important for anyone out there who might feel like their quiet or reserved tendencies might be holding them back. Maybe these women feel like they should be louder. But this book encourages you to feel proud of these traits and not think they are “less than”. Yes Alpha colleagues might talk more loudly in meetings, but Betas also get shit done in different ways. Rebecca starts the book by explaining that her Beta tendencies often made her feel like she was bad at her job, when in retrospect, she was never bad, just different. It is really empowering to hear Rebecca confidently say she is actually very good at her job, it’s clearly something she struggled with in the past, perhaps always comparing herself to her very powerful Alpha bosses or colleagues.

It’s not about pitching women against each other – it’s about celebrating the differences we have.” Rebecca on Ctrl Alt Delete podcast

I love that this book isn’t about pitching women against each other either. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to be the boss – this is the point of the book – there are so many ways to get the job done and feel successful. You don’t have be loud, or scary or incredibly decisive. Interestingly, Rebecca interviewed me for the book and asked me if I was Alpha or Beta. I didn’t know, and couldn’t answer it. I guess it’s similar to when people ask me if I’m an introvert or extrovert because I guess I’m somewhere on the scale. Rebecca said a lot of women couldn’t place themselves straight away. But judging on my answers, Rebecca figured I was an Alpha – I like to have full control of my work output, I’m not a massive team player (I love connecting with people but prefer to work alone) and I am quite loud and good at promoting myself. However I never felt “judged” for being an Alpha – this book isn’t about shaming anymore or saying one is better than the other. It’s just that Alpha’s are better at shouting about their achievements, it doesn’t mean the Betas aren’t achieving things too.

In this book you’ll find chapters on what “success” means in the modern workplace, why successful Alphas still struggle with Impostor Syndrome, office politics, burnout, how to deal with colleagues who work differently to you and even how to deal with sexism.

Grab your copy HERE, or at all good book stores.

Listen to Rebecca and I in conversation on my podcast Ctrl Alt Delete, below.

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