Ep #102: The Feminine Principles of Advancing Yourself to Executive Leadership
What kind of executive do you want to be?
The kind of executive who:
👉 Maintains the same old, same old way that business is run?
👉 Shys away from showing up as her full, authentic self?
👉 Or thinks she needs to act ‘like a man’ to fit in at the senior executive level?
🔥 You want to change the way business is run from the C-Suite out.
🔥 You are committed to unleashing a new era of diversity and inclusion.
🔥 And you want to bring your whole dang self to the leadership table.
THIS is what your career will look like when you lean into the feminine principles that are already inside you – right now.
In this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, I am celebrating the release of my brand new book, Promotions Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Executive Suite, AND I am doing that by sharing with you my feminine principles of advancing yourself to executive leadership.
This is one of the most fun episodes I have ever recorded. Tune in now.
If you want to step into a higher leadership position, receive the recognition you deserve, get paid for your ideas instead of the hours you put in at work, and enjoy more time, freedom, energy, and joy, then you need to get your hands on a copy of Promotions Made Easy. Get your copy here.
What You'll Learn:
- How I created my book, Promotions Made Easy, and how it will help you bring your authentic leadership style to the executive table
- Why bringing your authentic self to the table feels so difficult right now
- What the feminine in leadership means to you, your career, and your life
- The problems with masculine approaches to getting promoted (and why they may not be working for you)
- How to use powerful feminine qualities to get yourself promoted
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Get your copy of my brand new book, Promotions Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Executive Suite
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Join us inside of Executive Ahead of Time
- Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex by John Gray
- How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back by Sally Goldsmith and Marshall Helgesen
Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer, and, especially excited to be here with you this week - as this week is the launch of my book Promotions Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Executive Suite. And if you're somebody who's ever even thought about writing a book, you know this is no small task; and I am just over the moon, proud of myself for creating this book and putting it out into the world. And I just want to talk about that a little bit this week, and I'm also going to talk about how we can start to bring the feminine more into executive leadership. And I'm going to talk about how the process of getting this book going and how we can actually use this to bring more diversity to the leadership table. So, I have a ton, a ton, a ton of really cool things to share with you today. But that's because I'm literally bursting at the seams. I feel like I need to shout this work from the rooftops, and now I have it in a hard copy form that you can purchase on Amazon today. So go to StacyMayer.com/book and make sure that you get yourself a copy of this. Buy two copies - Share it with a friend! Because we need to begin to change organizations from the C-Suite out, and this step-by-step process is designed to get you - get you, listen to this - you promoted into a senior executive leadership position. And this process works time and time again. So, get your hands on this book yesterday. Oh, I'm so, so, so psyched. So, before I get into today's episode, I also want to tell you about something really amazing that's happening inside of Executive Ahead of Time.
I recently made the corporate badass decision to open my program up to lifetime enrollment. So first of all, what does that mean for you? That means that whenever you enter the program, you are a member of Executive Ahead of Time of time for life. So not only do you get the 24 training modules - lifetime access to every single training that you can watch over and over again on your own time - but you're also going to get lifetime access to weekly group coaching calls with me. On these coaching calls, we're going to talk about what it's actually going to take to implement these strategies. If you ever had a corporate trainer or a coach of some sort who holds you accountable, we know first and foremost, that is a huge part of the process to actually doing things, getting things done. But also, more importantly, I give you the nuances of how to actually apply the things that I teach to your unique situation. So, while everything that I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time works literally for everybody, no matter what type of company they work for, no matter if they have a crappy boss or they're having layoffs at their organization.
The process that I teach is universal, but the actual words that might be coming out of your mouth when you're having these executive-level conversations might look a little bit different from you. So, it's important that you get coaching from me inside of the program, and now you get coaching for life. You also get to be part of this amazing group of women that are all focused on advancing themselves to executive leadership. They're all on board with my mission. They all want to bring more, not only diversity to the leadership table, but their own unique feminine leadership style to the leadership table. So, all of that is available for you. For the same price - $2000 - you get lifetime access to Executive Ahead of Time, to coaching with me on a weekly basis, inside of this amazing group container. And seriously, if you've been thinking about this, just sign up right now so that you can get coaching and get yourself set up for next year and really make those strides towards getting that executive level promotion.
Now, I promised I would tell you why I did this, and a large part of the reason that I did this right now is because this book is coming out. Because I realized that this mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table is much, much, much bigger than me. It's much bigger than anything that I can accomplish on my own. And so, I need you - I need a community of women around me supporting my mission. I need to recruit corporate badasses who are engaging in executive ways at their organization. If I really want to double the number of women in the C-Suite each year worldwide, I can't do it by having a limited enrollment in this tight period of: you get in, you get your six weeks and you get out. I need this work to be a part of you for life. And so, I was like, you know what? I'm doubling down on my mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table, and I'm just going all in. So, you get to reap the benefits of that and start spreading the message. So, if you're a listener of the podcast and Executive Ahead of Time doesn't apply to you, tell your friends. Tell them they got to get in on this mission. Share the podcast. Share Executive Ahead of Time with them because we really do need to change the way corporations do business from the C-Suite out, and this program helps you guys do that.
So, I talked about the book...what's happening. I'm just like over the moon, excited. I'm looking at the time and I feel like this podcast episode is going to be like an hour and a half long. It's possible because that's what happens when I get so excited - is I talk and talk, talk. But there's actually going to be actionable strategies - don’t worry - if you keep listening. But it's also going to be one of the most fun episodes that you've ever heard. Because I am just - when I get excited, I get bubbly and have a ton a ton of fun.
So, the first thing I'm excited about is the person who is on the cover of my book and his name is John Gray. You may have heard of him as the author of the book Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus. I came across - obviously, I've known about John's work for many, many, many years. But I was listening to this interview with him, and I was really struck by two things when he talked about his body of work. I think he's written over 20 books now, and he was talking about the process of writing and what he does in terms of his own philosophy as a thought leader, as a coach, as a person who really helps people have better relationships. And he was talking about it - how it was this combination of both having faith -I think in his case, trusting in God, trusting in the universe that there is a plan that things are laid out for you. But then also taking action. So, relationships, in his case, don't just happen. He's saying that here is a methodology, a way that you can build a better relationship with your spouse. And so that is what he teaches. But it's all based in this core foundation of faith. Understanding that there is a greater purpose to our lives and then leaning into that greater purpose.
Because I personally don't believe that we were made for mediocrity at all and the work that I'm doing exploding Executive Ahead of Time, bringing, really just going all in on this work is because I am tapping into that higher universal power. So, I'm saying yes - I'm saying yes to what's being thrown at me. The job in terms of being a leader, being a thought leader, putting myself out there, I'm saying yes to everything that is being given to me, essentially. And I'm also doing the work. I'm doing a process to get this message to more and more corporate badasses so that we can really start to move the needle, because I am all about action. I am all about seeing results. This is why no corporate badass gets left behind in Executive Ahead of Time. We all walk away with the tools to get promoted. And many of them - over 50 percent of the members inside of Executive Ahead of Time, receive executive level promotions in a six-month period; or even skip-level promotions or double promotions in just a six-month period. So, people are really getting promoted. They're making more money using the tools inside of Executive Ahead of Time.
So, I want to share with you what John Gray wrote about my book, and this is on the cover of my book that you're going to receive when you go to Amazon and order it. He said, "Faith is the trust that what you want is coming to you, and Promotions Made Easy provides the framework to have faith that you can be promoted and gives you the practical tools to get there". It couldn't have been more perfect. And I didn't even say, like, how the heck did little old me in Berkeley, California, get John Gray to frickin' endorse my book? This is a really big deal. And I'm just going to give you the short answer. I asked. And I didn't just get a 'yes' right away. I asked again and I asked again, and I created a business case. Everything that I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time I did to get John Gray to endorse my book. And it works. And then at the end of the day, what does this help me accomplish? It helps me get more of you promoted into the executive suite because you're going to be more likely to open up this book, especially if you're a stranger. If you're like, 'Oh, John Gray endorsed it; let me take a look at this'. We know that that's how things work. So, I'm just through the moon if you guys can't tell already.
So, today's episode is really, in addition to celebrating my book, in addition to celebrating what the heck is happening inside of Executive Ahead of Time and all of these things, I really just want to share with you how we can bring more of ourselves to the leadership table and why it doesn't feel that way right now. Why it feels like we have to be like somebody else in order to get promoted into an executive position. And so, I'm going to talk a lot today about the feminine and leadership and what that means for you; and how we can use the feminine qualities that we already have inside of us to literally help ourselves get promoted.
So, I'm going to go back in time a little bit and tell you a little bit about my own backstory as a political activist. And basically, my back story is I am not. I am not a political activist. This is the story of my life for over 40 years - is that I just don't get involved in politics. I don't like politics. And maybe many of you feel this way as well. You don't. You hate the politics. And that's also why you don't get promoted. Because you're like, 'I don't want to play that game. I don't want to play politics. This is not what I do', Because politics - listen - is an inherently masculine trait. So as women in general, we will fight till the cows come home, if it has to do with our family or our schools or matters that we really, really care about. But getting ourselves promoted feels a little bit selfish. It feels like it's all about me. And so then - therefore we don't fight. And so that's why we have to tap into these greater missions. So, like in my case, if I started a business just to make money, then I would not be opening up Executive Ahead of Time to lifetime enrollment. I would not be writing a book if I just started a business just to make money. If I wanted to start a business just to make money, I would go out and get a couple of high-end corporate clients. I would go out and get a couple of high-end corporate clients, pay me a shit ton of money and I would do my job. I'd be like, 'Oh, I can make them better managers. I can make them succeed and give you as a company more and more kudos.' I can do that. That's what I used to do.
But I realized what mattered to me was much, much, much, much bigger. And so, as a 'not really a feminist', 'not really a political activist', I had a little bit of difficulty figuring out what it was that mattered to me. And I'll share with you that I believe so much in inclusion that that also includes white men. You know, my brother is a white male. My dad is a white male. My best friends are white males. I care about them so much and want them to be successful, that I almost downplay why I think it's so important to have women - and especially women of color - into these higher executive leadership positions; because I don't want to be seen as somebody who excludes because inclusivity is so important to me. And so, as I started doubling down on my mission of bringing more women to the leadership table, I really thought about 'How does this look for me? How is this actually truly inclusive and what does it look like?'.
And at first, I had to move away from the feminist approach, which was like, it's just much more forward action. We need women. I'm going to stand on my soapbox. This is what we need to change. We need to bring more diversity. Which is kind of what you hear me say now, but at the time, that didn't feel authentic and appropriate to me. So, what did feel authentic and appropriate? Femininity. I am incredibly feminine. I see myself as a woman. I love my female qualities - I love; and this is going to sound totally stereotypical, but I love being fancy. I love getting dressed up. I love doing fancy parties. I love connecting. I love social hour. I love chatting. I love laughing. I love my kids. I love my family. All of these things that are inherently feminine traits.
And again, this is highly stereotypical. So please, I'm speaking from my own personal experience. And so, you can ask yourself - what is authentic to you? What are your unique qualities that you really want to bring to the leadership table? If you could just wave a magic wand and say, I'm going to make this work in my own way. And for me, it looks like passion, drive. I want to have my voice heard. I don't want to be excluded. I want to be included. I want my work to matter. All of those really mattered to me, much more so than the money and the fame. So, it's about - the reason why I want the fame is to help more of you. My life is in service of you and that drives me, that motivates me to do more and more and more and more and more. And so, as you're listening to this week's episode, I really want you to start to ask yourself: what are those feminine qualities that I want to start bringing to the leadership table? Who is the leader that I want to be once I do get promoted? And so that's why we can start becoming that executive ahead of time, because not only are we going to learn the skills, like what is it to actually think and communicate like a senior executive leader? But we're also going to understand - because we're becoming the executive ahead of time - what that means to us personally. As a woman in executive leadership - what does that mean? And so, this is why it's so important not to just get the promotion and then figure it out once you get there, but to figure it out now so that as you're getting promoted, you're bringing all of you to the leadership table.
So, in order to share and condense my point a little bit more, I want to talk to you about the difference between these sorts of masculine approaches of getting promoted, and then the more feminine approach that I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time. So as women and even, you know, unfortunately in women's leadership, we will hear this a lot and get the advice that - if we want to be, if we want to get ahead, we have to learn to speak up more If we want to get ahead, we have to take bigger risks. If we want to get ahead, we have to get sponsors and mentors. And I'm going to tell you why each one of these pieces of advice are flawed. Because essentially, they're based in the masculine principles of executive leadership. So, these principles feel off to us.
So let me talk about 'speaking up more' first, which is - I think it has - and I have other podcast episodes about how to actually be heard versus speaking up. And so, there's this quality, - which is ‘be louder’ - which definitely doesn't appeal, I think, to women in general. We would much rather be heard than be loud. We're also very smart women, and most of the women that I meet are actually the smartest women in the room and unfortunately, the quietest as well. But the truth be told, when they speak, they really have something to say. And they don't just want to be loud. But we've also heard that you need to share about your accomplishments. And so, I want you to think about this, how terrible that is as an idea and how counter-feminine that is for you as an executive - so sharing about your accomplishments feels off - You're totally willing to force yourself to do it. But because they feel so strange and foreign to you, and masculine - let's be quite honest -you're not going to keep doing it for a very long time. And you'll hear in women's leadership, they say, 'use "I" language instead of "we" language'. And I do agree with that because I listen to my women and when I first meet them, they're deferring a lot of the credit very, you know, point blank. And it's not useful. It's not useful for the listener.
There is a really great book called How Women Rise; and in this book, there is example after example of how underplaying our accomplishments actually works against the organization. So, people like the board, or the stakeholders will be frustrated if a woman presents, and then downplays the accomplishments of her group because it doesn't actually give the recognition to the group as much as if she just owned the work that they did. And so, this is a real problem for actual organizations, and it's a problem for you as an executive leader because it doesn't show you in your best light.
But what are you going to do? So, if the masculine approach is to share about your accomplishments, how are you going to do this in a more feminine way? And here is how I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time. So, you remember the conversations that used to happen pre-pandemic where we would bump into somebody in the hallway and have this very enlightening conversation. And it felt so natural, and we would talk about the things that we were working on, but it just felt really normal and didn't feel cheesy or that we had to have this perfectly crafted elevator pitch. We were just talking. And even to very senior executives or the CEO of the organization, we were just talking. Well, that all went away when we moved to a virtual world.
And so, I transitioned that into a process called 15-minute ally meetings. The birth of 15-minute ally meetings was really, literally, how do we recreate that bumping into the hallway approach? And so, at first, I just did this as a way for women to feel more included, but very quickly, like literally within a month, I realized, 'Oh my gosh, this is the secret sauce to getting women promoted'. It's actually the process to getting yourself promoted is to do a series of 15-minute ally meetings. And I developed this entire process. It's in my book. It's what I teach, and it works time and time and time and time again. So, what's happening in those 15-minute ally meetings is we're building relationships, we're building trust with executives on the side. We're having side conversations ahead of time before the big meeting where we have to present in front of the board. So, from a feminine perspective, this totally works. It feels natural. It feels inclusive. But now you're in the big meeting, all eyes are on you, and you've built that trust ahead of time. You have had these conversations with the executives in the room that are staring at you. So of course, you're going to own your accomplishments because it's expected. And if you don't do it, one of the executives is going to be like, 'Whoa. Whoa, whoa, Sheila, back up. You drove that. Own it.' They're going to call you on it. Which would be - it feels like ideal, but that's actually what starts to happen, which is a way more feminine approach to sharing about your accomplishments, to owning your work - is to actually have buy-in from the rest of the room, rather than being put on the spot. So that is one example of why and how you can start to use the more feminine approach to get yourself included in these conversations.
Another thing that always happens for women is the idea that you need to have a sponsor; and you need to have that single executive sponsor that's going to advocate for your career and help you climb the corporate ladder. And this is actually true in terms of - 'we don't get promoted by ourselves. My friends - we think we do. We don't actually get promoted by our boss. We get promoted by having buy-in from other executives in the organization. But I want you to think for a minute why you want to be an executive leader. And is the reason that you want to be an executive leader because you want to have power over people, because you want to be in charge, you want to call all the shots, you want to tell everybody what to do. You get a kick out of being in charge. You have your ego.
All of these things are very masculine. And if you love being in charge - like I'm not saying like, I absolutely love being in charge - but my idea of being in charge is much more inclusive. I like collaboration. I don't want to just be up there on the pedestal, telling everybody what to do. I do not want to be the micromanager. I don't want to have to control and have my fingers in every single thing. What I do want is respect. What I do want is buy-in. What I do want is people to look to me for answers. All of these things - again, incredibly feminine traits. You want to have power with other people. You want to be respected for - you want the recognition that you deserve. You want to be recognized. You want to be paid. You want that title. But why do you want it? It's because that way you can have a bigger impact at the top. You don't just care about the title itself. So, what does that mean for you? It also means that you're not going to give all of this power to one single individual that controls your entire career. It's stupid. It doesn't even make sense to me.
Why would we give one individual so much power over our lives? That is an incredibly masculine thing. So, get a sponsor - make that be a white male sponsor, somebody very important at your organization who's going to control and dominate your career. And then if they leave, you're shit out of luck because now you're in this organization, but you have no sponsors. Because he quit. He went to another company and then here you are. And it's just like, it just doesn't even make it - I never even bought into the fact that we needed one singular person. Even when I was working in women's leadership, I never took that approach. I always took the approach that we needed buy-in from all of the executive team. We needed to connect and build relationships with leaders across our organization. We needed lots of people who understood our values, that understood the impact that we were making. We needed lots of people at our organization that we could call on in times of need, in times of stress to run ideas by them.
All of this is about building a community because at the end of the day, women and again, it's a stereotype of ‘women appreciate and need a tribal community’. It has been ingrained in us since the primitive times. We like our people, and we want those people. We want that inclusive environment. So why are we building our careers with this top-down structure when what we want once we get to that executive position is to never have that top-down structure ever again. It makes sense that you never want that to happen again. So why are you building your career with that in mind, as if that's what you want? So, I say nix the sponsors and have 27 or 30 sponsors, all these mentors all across your organization, internally, externally. This is again, it could sound exhausting, but it's not. It makes your job so much easier. It makes going to work so much more fun, and it teaches you how to build a career that you are going to love. So, when you do get promoted, you know what it's going to be like at that executive level. You no longer have to apologize for leaving at three o'clock so that you can pick your kid up from school. Because you are so respected at your organization, you stop even sharing that you're picking your kid up from school. You're just saying, 'Hey, today I'm leaving at 3:00 if you need anything - check in with me before that.' You stop apologizing for other desires, and wants in your life, because you are so respected for your ideas at your organization.
Now, this can feel like something that only happens at the C-Suite, but I assure you, it does not. As you're climbing, you start to build this collaborative feminine approach of your own executive leadership. So even if you're an earlier manager or you're just building out a team, or you're a director or a VP, you are building that feminine leadership. You're building relationships. You're building your career in this gorgeously feminine way. It is so impactful, and to me, it is truly bringing diversity to the leadership table because we don't want you to get promoted and then all of a sudden start acting like every other person. That's useless. This is not interesting to me. I want you to get promoted and make the changes that your organization really needs to see.
If we're going to change the organizations from the C-Suite out, we have to bring ourselves to leadership and get paid and get the higher titles and salary because that is where the influence is really going to start to happen. So, all of this process is laid out in my book - Promotions Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Executive Suite. Go to Amazon, order this book today, order it for your friends. Help me spread this mission, - this mission of bringing you to the leadership table. I am so excited to see what is next for all of these corporate badasses in 2022. I just can't even imagine - if we've been able to accomplish this much over the past few years of me creating this process - just what is really in store for us in the next few years. All right. I hope you have a fantastic week and I'll see you soon. Bye.
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Women Changing Leadership with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.