For far too long, men have ruled the roost in professional environments. As the scales begin to tip back to increasing equality at work, women often struggle to claim their rightful place at the “big boys” table. So how do women discover that elusive “swagger” at work? Do they have to behave like men in order to be accepted by them? Or are there more authentic and empowered methods to get the attention, status, and recognition they so deserve?
Here’s 5 simple and straightforward ways that women can have more swagger at work.
- Stop apologizing. We women tend to be naturally apologetic. Whether we can’t make a meeting, have to say “no” to an employee’s request or can’t take on a task, we always come out of the gate with “I’m sorry but…”. While this might seem polite on the surface, its actually one of the ways we give away our power. Learning to own our time and decisions unapologetically is one of the keys to swagger. So save the sorry for when you’re truly in the wrong – and make it meaningful.
- Stop asking for permission. “Is it OK if I…”, “I hope you don’t mind it I…”. Sound familiar? Women often wait for permission to make moves or take up space. This is due to years of conditioning in male dominated environments. This is NOT something you hear the guys at work do! When you wait for permission, there’s a good chance you’ll never get it and end up lagging behind all the people who know better. Instead, be decisive and clear about your intentions. Having swagger requires no permission!
- Stand your ground. Scary, yes. But not backing down is an absolute must when bringing your swagger to the workplace. If you believe you’re right, you know your stuff and want to be heard, then don’t give an inch. Men often use the intimidation tactic to get what they want. But if you remove that option from them, you’ll be amazed at how much ground you can gain. And to hell with how they might feel about it. That’s not your problem. Speaking and owning your truth will get you noticed in more good ways than bad in the end.
- Shout about your accomplishments. This isn’t about ego or bragging, it’s about establishing proof of your swagger. The secret to celebrating yourself with grace is to celebrate others at the same time. Just got a promotion? Tell the world while thanking your champions. Just killed it on a deliverable? Tell your boss and name check some of the key players who helped make it happen. But never detract from your own role in the achievement. Sing your own praises and leave a little room for the backup singers.
- Don’t be a dude. We women have countless superpowers that men often lack and it’s time to embrace and capitalize on them big time. EQ, compassion, community building, active listening – all these and more make up our amazing “feminine wiles”. When we try and duplicate male behaviour at the expense of our true nature, we can come across as inauthentic and impenetrable. So be your true woman self in all its complex glory. People will naturally gravitate to your realness when you embrace it fully. There are already enough dudes around. So do you!
Leslie Ehm is the bestselling author of Swagger: Unleash Everything You Are and Become Everything You Want. For more info, contact Leslie Ehm – Leslie@LeslieEhm.com