Ep #63: Executive Essentials Part 2: How to COMMUNICATE Like an Executive Leader
Have you ever…
Had a great discussion with your boss about your professional development, and then…crickets?
Ran into a problem at work, and felt like you needed to wait until someone higher up told you how to solve it?
Dreaded attending meetings because you were already overworked, pressed for time, and stuck in the weeds?
Sure, these scenarios may sound radically different, but there’s one big shift you can make that will solve all of them:
Learn how to communicate like an executive leader.
Executive leaders don’t have one-off conversations about their professional development, they don’t wait for someone to solve their problems, and they know how to set boundaries around where they spend their time.
And here’s the really exciting news:
You can change your communication style in an instant.
That’s why I’ve dedicated this episode to giving you the tools and strategies you need to start communicating like an executive leader today.
This is Part 2 of my 3-part podcast series, Executive Essentials (you can tune into Part 1).
In each part of this series, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be in my Executive Ahead of Time program AND you’ll have access to some of the tools and tips that I usually only give out to my paid clients.
If you listen to this episode and think to yourself “I want to think and act like a senior executive now”, then my 6-week group coaching program is just the thing for you. I designed Executive Ahead of Time to help corporate leaders like YOU access the skills, confidence, and unparalleled support you’ll need to reach a higher level executive position. Learn more at www.ExecutiveAheadOfTime.com.
What You'll Learn:
- What communication actually looks like at the senior executive level
- My own personal story of struggling to communicate effectively (and how I overcame it)
- Why asking for what you want is never ‘one and done’
- How the way you’re showing up at work impacts your ability to communicate effectively
- How learning how to communicate at a higher level will help you get in control of your time
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Part 1 Executive Essentials: How to Think Like an Executive Leader
- Registration for the next round of Executive Ahead of Time, live coaching begins March 17th.
Hello, everyone, welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayor, super excited to be here with you this February day.
I'm laughing because most of the country is under snow right now. And it actually has been quite a difficult week for so many people in the United States, in the southern United States, in the state of Texas this month. And then in all of the other states, it seems they seem to be under blankets and blankets and blankets of snow. And so I just want to send all of you, my love, and yeah, just keep on keeping on.
I hope you're safe and warm this week as you're listening to this podcast episode. So as we get started today, I actually wanted to share a little bit of a story with you. I am. Recently, I decided to open up the roundtable discussions as part of Executive Ahead of Time, my six-week group coaching intensive. And every Friday we have these group roundtable discussions where I give a topic and then I let the members go into breakout rooms and discuss that topic with each other. And then we come back and we discuss it as a whole.
And it's been extremely powerful in terms of networking and connecting with the other people in the group and other like-minded leaders who are all challenging themselves to show up better at work, to become that executive, to really put all of these skills that I'm teaching everyone actually into practice. And recently, I made the decision to open up those Friday roundtables because they're such a power.
And recently, I decided to actually open up those Friday roundtables to all of my clients. So whether you're in the promotion accelerator, six-month program or executive ahead of time, six-week program, everybody comes together on Fridays and we meet in this forum. And it has been such a great decision on my part. I'll pat myself on the back, but also for the leaders because they get to learn from people who've been doing this work a little bit longer and they actually get to see how it comes together. Right. So how instead of just me talking about how you can communicate more effectively, they get to see what the outcomes are, what actually works, and why it worked. And they get to learn from the people who have done the work a little bit longer. And then the people who have done the work a little bit longer get to learn from the people who are just starting out and remembering how far they really have come. Right. And how when we first started working together, they too felt stuck. They too felt frustrated. They too didn't know what exactly what to do to start getting that recognition that they felt like they deserved.
And they're seeing my clients and executive ahead of time starting to get that as well, even just in one or two weeks of working with me. So this is huge. It's a huge opportunity for everybody to come together and to learn from the experiences and the practical application of everything that I teach.
And the reason why I'm sharing this story with you is because I have a woman in my promotion accelerator who is absolutely incredible. She recently received a huge job opportunity. She actually refers to it as her dream job. She ended up actually we pursued two paths. So she was going to, one, get a promotion at her current organization while she was also interviewing and applying elsewhere. And she ended up receiving both. Right. So she got the promotion at her current organization and then also got an opportunity to move into her dream position. So she decided to take the dream position. But isn't that amazing to have options, right. So that you know, that no matter what, you're going to be fine. Right. That you were actually able to do the work to become that executive and to put yourself out there. So I had her speak at the most recent roundtable and share her experience and what she felt like was the most pivotal reason that she was able to get this new dream opportunity.
And I wanted to share with you quickly what that was. She said that the biggest thing that she did differently that she probably wouldn't have done if both sides are working together, is that she basically owned the fact that.
She showed up to those interviews as if.
It was her job that as if it was the perfect opportunity for her as if they wanted her in that job, that it was the best fit ever.
She said that the biggest reason why she felt like she was able to be different in this job interview process than she would have normally is because she just assumed that she belonged. Right. So normally when we're interviewing for a position, we feel like we have to prove ourselves. We feel like that's the point of the interview process. But because I was coaching with her, I coached her into the fact that, you know what, you need to interview them because you are the perfect person for this job. And so what you're wanting to do instead is to make sure that this is the best fit for you. So what does that look like? Instead of trying to prove your worth and talking about your resume and coming up with all these ideas and throwing stuff at them so that you can show them, hey, I'm a valuable asset, she asked a lot of questions. She interviewed them. She got curious. She had come bold, strong conversations with the CEO during the interview process. She asked him what his goals were for the company. She offered up solutions to some problems. She initiated a peer-to-peer relationship.
She didn't never felt like she had to prove something to him. And even when it got to a point where she was like, oh, my gosh, Stacy, I really want this job. And I feel like it's about to, you know, slip away, I had to remind her to slow down. This is your job. This is your opportunity. And by slowing down, let's again assume that you belong there. And so when you assume that you belong there, you don't freak out and reach out to the recruiter every five minutes or not reach out to the recruiter because you don't want to bother them.
Instead, what you do is you have to send a casual note to the CEO saying thank you for this opportunity, I really enjoyed meeting such and such, and I look forward to hopefully becoming a part of your team someday. Right. Like that is the way that you start to show up when you feel like you belong there. So I wanted to share that with you because I thought it was so profound. And it really is a useful thing for you to think about in any situation, whether you're interviewing or just having conversations with senior executives, you're challenging yourself to have the 15-minute ally meetings that I talk about. Are you having those conversations as a pee-to-peer relationship or are you feeling like you have to prove yourself in every single one of these conversations? The closer you can get to that peer to peer, the closer that you can get to assuming that you belong there, that your ideas matter, the more effective those conversations are going to be, the better you're going to feel about those conversations. And then you know what? The person on the other end is going to enjoy those conversations a lot better as well. And they might even start reaching out to you for your ideas. Right. Which would be ideal, because that's really the relationship that we want to have at work. So I love that story. I think it's really fantastic. And it segues beautifully into the conversation that I want to have with you guys this week.
So this is part two of a three-part series called Executive Essentials. And each part of this, I'm breaking down the process that I take my students through inside of executive ahead of time. I'm pulling back the curtain so that you can see what it's like inside the program. You can listen to how I do the work that I do and see if it really resonates with you because I want to empower you to join us inside of this six-week group Coaching Intensive. This is not only a low-key way for you to start applying these principles. And by low key, I mean, it's six weeks. The investment is 2000 dollars. You can carve out six weeks of your life to say, OK, I'll do what Stacey says if her podcast resonates with me. Imagine if we start to take this work a little bit deeper and actually start to apply the stuff that she talks about on her podcast. I want you to feel really safe and comfortable doing that. And so in this three-part series, I'm showing you exactly what we do inside of executive ahead of time so that you feel really confident about signing up in March and joining us in our group so that you can feel like, yes, this is my time. I want to finally take back my career. I want to start getting the recognition that I deserve and I am ready, so I can't wait to see you there. All right.
Part two, communication. So executive ahead of time gives you the skills to begin to start thinking and communicating like a senior executive leader so that you never get passed over for a promotion again so that you feel like you have a real voice at the table.
So whether you are in a position where you actually want a promotion or have been wanting a promotion for a while and you aren't able to get it, or you feel like you're in the role that you want to have, but you don't have a real voice at the table. Either way, it's because you're not thinking and communicating like a senior executive leader. So executive ahead of time gives you those skills so that you can begin doing that process almost immediately and. A large part of that is how are you communicating?
I'm going to break down how I think about communication, how I teach about communication, what communication means at that senior executive level.
But before I get into all of that, I want to remind you, why are we doing this right?
Why are we doing this work? Because I know if you're listening to my podcast, you're not just in it for the title. Well, at this point, you might be in it for the title because you've been stuck in the same position and maybe you're underpaid for your qualifications. And so in some ways, you just want to get up to par, right. Like, you just want to be equal with the other people in your organization, especially if you're a woman or a male minority leader and you feel like you're underrepresented and you've been passed over again and again and again. So in some ways, it might just be about the title or the pay at this point. But at the end of the day, that's not why you got into this racket, right? That's not why you want to be at your organization. You want to be at your organization at the top because you want to have real influence.
You want to be making a bigger impact and you want to have the energy to sustain it all at that higher level of leadership. So you want to make sure that your work actually matters. You want to make sure that it's affecting the bottom line of the organization. You want to have a more valuable contribution to the greater world. And you don't want to burn yourself out in the process, because we've all seen those executive leaders that look pretty sick, right?
They don't spend any time with their family. They are so focused on their work they can't take a vacation, you might even have that person as your boss. We don't want to be that person. We want to be the person that has real influence and impact at their organization and also the energy to thrive at the top. And so part of becoming the executive ahead of time is really setting yourself up, so as you scale into senior executive leadership, your bad habits don't scale with you. So one of your bad habits is the way that you're communicating to senior executive leadership. And I know this is true because I have a client right now who's the CTO inside of the executive ahead of Time program. And.
It doesn't matter if you're a CTO or if you're a director level. If you feel like you're still having check-ins with your boss about your scorecard and what you're working on and all of the details of your project, and you feel like you're always on the line to answer all of those details and to get back to her or him right away and make sure that you're really just checking in.
And, you know, it's like very stressful even as I talk about it. Right. So it doesn't matter where you fall in that chain, if that's the way that you're communicating, if you're waiting to be told what to do so that you can solve that problem, you're not presenting your ideas upfront, you're going to feel stressed. You're going to feel like you don't have control over your time. You're going to feel like you don't have control over your career like you don't know what to do next. Like you don't know how to get there. So all of these things actually fall under communication. And here is the good news. You can change your communication style in an instant.
You can change it today. You can change it. After listening to this podcast episode, you can begin changing the way that you're communicating with senior executive leadership.
You're going to change the way that you're communicating with your peers and you're going to change the way you're communicating with your team immediately.
You don't need to wait. You can start doing this right away.
Now, I want to give you an example of my own life, and this is how I used to communicate. And you might resonate with this. So I just want to share with you my story. So I speak up, right. I have no trouble speaking up. I, I will raise my hand. I will say something I, I don't know. I just feel like that's just a part of me. I've always been told that I'm a little loud, a little passionate, you know, everything like that. Right. I have no trouble speaking up, but I've not been a great influencer most of my adult life. I would speak up. I would say something once.
And it wouldn't work. Usually, it wouldn't work, I can't say that it ever really worked right, like if I ever really got what I wanted straight out of the gate, I probably wouldn't have been able to see it at the time. So here's what I mean.
So I would tell my boss I used to work at a hedge fund in midtown Manhattan for many, many years, and I would tell my boss that I wanted more responsibility. That was basically as far as it went. Right. Like, I'd love to do more.
And he would say, oh, OK, great, if I think of something, I'll let you know.
And I would say, oh, OK, cool, sounds good, I'm glad I said that I feel good about myself.
But then two weeks would go by nothing, six months would go by nothing, I felt like I still had the same job, but no real influence. Impact. No real energy, I didn't feel inspired about my work. And I was like six months, a year later, I would say, well, I told him well, I told him that I wanted more responsibility, but he didn't hear me. So I guess they don't care about me. I guess they just don't care, right?
One time if I was coaching you now, right, like if you were in the promotion accelerator or even an executive ahead of time, I would say, you know what?
One time doesn't count, right? I mean, it does, right, because I do want to say, like asking is a big deal. And so if you're somebody who's never asked for what you want, just ask. Right. Like, that's a huge deal, right. It's like rip off the Band-Aid and just ask.
But what you're going to find is it's not one and done right. Our bosses are very busy people, and believe it or not, they care very little about us, right. Like we wish they did, but they don't. The only person who cares about you is you, honestly. Right? And so when I look at you, I see somebody who deserves to be in a senior executive position. I see somebody who is a beautiful, powerful, amazing corporate leader that needs to be in that higher-level executive position. I see somebody. Who your company.
Is lucky to have you. Right, so this is how I like the story that I told at the beginning of this about my client who got her dream job.
That's what I was telling her. And I'm not making that up. Right. I'm not even making this up if I've never even met you because here's why I know it's true. You're willing to learn, you're willing to grow, you're willing to learn from your mistakes, you're not afraid of that, you're not afraid of hard work. You've just never been taught how to think and communicate like an executive leader. So I'm assuming that you're an incredible manager. And just the first communication thing I want you to learn from today's episode is it's never won and done. Never. And if you know that going into it, how fabulous is that one?
It allows you to ask sooner because you won't be waiting so long and building up the courage and hoping and praying that you know the perfect time. And I'm going to wait until my performance review because that's the time that she'll really be able to listen to me and I can really present my case. No, you're going to walk into the office and you're going to say exactly what you need, exactly what you're looking for now, because, you know, it's not one and done. You know, you're going to have to do it again in two weeks. You know, you're going to have to do it again two weeks after that. Now, I'm not recommending that you become a nag, right. Like you're that person who just keeps bugging. What about me? What about me? What about that? More responsibility? You're going to say it in many different ways. So this is where Executive Ahead Of Time comes in, right? That you get that coaching from me and all the myriad of different ways that you can start to communicate with your boss that you're ready for a senior executive role. So one way is just asking. All right, just simply asking, and then we might ask again. But we do it in like a creative way, right. So that we're not just, like, raising our hand. Right. I have all different kinds of ways that you could start to do that. But just want you to know today one and done. It's not one and done right. It's many, many, many, many times.
So so if you know that, just do it. Just rip off the Band-Aid and ask.
Now, you're probably already noticing that there's another side to communicating as a senior executive leader, so one side is asking, asking for more responsibility, asking for what you want, and the other side is in direct communication. Right. So how you're showing up, what are those conversations that you're having with your boss in your one on ones? Right. So not about your professional development, but are you showing up as that senior executive leader? Now, let's get real.
Ask yourself, am I showing up as a senior executive leader? Am I showing up as a vice president and by showing up as a senior vice president? You might already be in those roles, right? You are might already be a senior vice president, but not having the impact, influence, and energy that you want at your work. Is it because you're not actually acting like a senior vice president?
Do you know what a senior vice president even acts like? Right, because you probably have some pretty crappy role models if you have the stressed-out boss, the boss that's always asking you for the details. Right. That's just because they're confused. They haven't taken my program yet. They don't listen to my podcast. But you're smarter than that. You're going to be more proactive about this.
Let me give you an example of another client who's in promotion accelerator. So I've been working with her for about a year and she's in a senior management position, really. She should be a director in terms of title. But at first, when we started working together, we were just trying to get her on par with being seen. And in her organization, a director-level honestly looks like a VP level in many organizations, right. So the titles are always different depending on where you are. So I want you to kind of imagine with me that she is really moving.
Let me just say, because I think this is much clearer that she's moving from director to vice president. Right. Like that's her trajectory. So when I first met her, she was in the weeds, she was doing all the stuff herself, she was very busy, very stressed out, and her boss would give her a lot of feedback that she needed to work on her emotional intelligence. She needed to not interrupt. She needed to listen. She needed to take care of herself. Right. She seemed very overworked. And so what my client was doing when I first met her was constantly asking for a team. Right. She needed resources. She needed the team. They didn't have resources to give her. And so then, therefore, it just perpetuated the cycle. So her boss is telling her to slow down, to not take on so much responsibility, but she had no one to delegate it to. And so she felt very stressed and very stuck. She didn't know how to pull herself out of this. And what we worked on was what she could let go of, how she could start communicating with her boss instead of communicating about the details all the time. She could communicate about the higher level, about the bigger picture. What meetings she didn't need to go to, how she could begin delegating responsibility to other people, to her peers, to consultants, right.
So she actually really took back control of her time.
She really took it back. And she started to own, OK, I am the only person who is responsible for this. It's not when I get direct reports, it's me now. And these shifts happened almost immediately. And what the outcome was is going to totally blow your mind. But her boss, first of all, she noticed the chefs and she would compliment on it. Now her boss is actually coming to her because her boss needs to calm down. Her boss is stressed out. Her boss is in the weeds. So usually when we're receiving this feedback, it's usually because the person who's giving it to us is also experiencing that for themselves. Right. So she's looking to her for answers, which is really great.
And then they gave her a higher head-count. So not only did she get one direct report, she got three direct reports. And her boss's boss is right now in this moment right now trying to figure out how to get her one more person because she said, you know what, we need another person under her so that they can learn from her leadership. Right. This is the power of how you're communicating to senior executive leadership. So lesson here, you don't wait until you have resources to begin communicating like a senior executive leader.
You resource yourself, you get resourced now and then senior executive leadership sees you as a resource person. So then they give you other people to lead, right? They're not going to give you people to lead. If you're super stressed out all the time, they're not going to give you people to lead. If you seem like you're constantly complaining, if you feel frustrated like we don't want to put people under her. Right. So you want to make sure that you get yourself resource now and that you are communicating that resourcefulness to senior executive leadership.
So once you begin communicating like a senior executive leader, so two things that we've talked about today is one in your direct asks, asking for what you want very directly, making sure that you understand that it's not one and done. And then the second thing is how are we communicating indirectly, right. With our job itself? Are we communicating a very frazzled, frantic, frustrated, and resourceful person who they couldn't possibly scale into senior executive leadership?
Because all of our bad habits scale with us. So they don't want to give you this promotion. Right. They're worried. Right. And the thing is, they probably like you. You're probably really good at your job. So they actually don't want to lose you. So they're definitely not going to promote you so that you bring all of that stress to the top. So how are you communicating like a senior executive leader once you can begin to do that? Once you can begin to show the leadership team that you are that executive now, not when you get promoted, you will start to begin to have that impact and influence and more energy that you really want to have to have higher level conversations to have that voice at the table, to develop a stronger mentor relationships, to have the energy to become a thought leader in your community, to appear on panels.
Right. Like now, we're getting really big. But unless you start to do this, unless you just take care of what you're doing today in terms of communicating like a senior executive leader, you'll never have the time or energy to begin putting yourself and your ideas out into the world and a bigger, bolder way you might try. But it'll happen and then it will feel like a little clunky and then you'll pull back. Right. So I want to make sure that it happens in a way that you feel very free, that you feel very spacious, that it feels very loving, and I want opportunities just to flood to you. So not only do you never get passed over for a promotion again but now you get offered opportunities before you even know that they're available. That is what happens when you start to do this work. That's what happens when you become that executive ahead of time. And I'm so excited for you because these next six-weeks, if you decide to join me inside of executive ahead of time, are going to completely shift everything.
And the good news is it's the foundation, right?
You are going to start to scale what you want to scale into senior executive leadership. So if you're listening to this and you're like, dang Stacy, I am ready, then go to executiveaheadoftime.com.
That's executiveaheadoftime.com and get yourself registered. It's a small group coaching intensive. It's six-weeks, it's $2000 dollars. It's going to be the best investment that you have made in yourself this year and it's going to reap rewards for the next 20 years of your career. I cannot wait to see you inside that program.
Thank you so much for listening. And I'll see you next week. 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.