Want to know the fastest way to reach a higher level of leadership?
No, it’s not knowing the right people or waiting for your boss to retire.
Become a total Corporate Badass.
A corporate badass is someone who takes full ownership of her career and the leader they want to become.
And whether you believe it or not, YOU are a corporate badass right now, just by virtue of dedicating your time and attention to this podcast.
But you are also underutilizing the skills that are going to make you even more of a badass at work.
I’m here to help.
This is part one in a three-part series I’m calling Becoming a Corporate Badass.
In each of these 3 episodes, I will show you a different set of skills you need to master to become an even bigger corporate badass than you already are.
For this episode, we are diving into executive embodiment.
Executive embodiment occurs when you think, perform, and communicate like a senior executive leader, and in this episode, I am going to show you what embodying your executive leadership will do for your career – and your life.
I’m offering a free live webinar on “Why You’re Not Getting Promoted and the Blueprint to Fix It” If you want to develop the skills I teach you on my podcast so that you can finally get the recognition you deserve, sign up at stacymayer.com/getpromoted and learn how. There are limited spots, so don’t hesitate to sign up.
What You'll Learn:
- 5 steps you can start doing today to become a corporate badass
- The difference between having executive presence and becoming a corporate badass
- How becoming the Executive Ahead of Time will help you have a greater impact and more fun at work
- What thinking, performing, and communicating like a senior executive leader looks like in action
- Why personality and appearance are irrelevant to becoming a senior executive leader
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
Hello, everyone, welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer, and super excited, as always, to be here with you again this week.
I had just recently opened the doors to my Executive Ahead of Time six-week group coaching intensive. We start our next group at the beginning of September, and I open up the doors during the summer so we can get started with some early coaching with some of the people who register early. And I am so unbelievably excited about this next group of powerhouse leaders looking to advance their careers to that next level of leadership.
And if you are listening to this podcast, and you want to be a part of that group, run, do not walk, to ExecutiveAheadOfTime.com. Because if you are at all considering this, I want you to go sign up. It'll be the best thing you ever did for your career. But most importantly, I really want you to understand and feel the sense of belonging that so many of the leaders feel when they join my community.
It is absolutely understated the power that you can feel when you're surrounded by other women who experience the same challenges that you experience. And you can start to see them as not personal and realize, 'Oh, I see...all of these people are experiencing the same thing. So, it must not mean that I'm personally not cut out for executive leadership' or 'it's my fault that I've been passed over for a promotion in the past'.
And then not only do you get to see the universality of the challenges that you're facing in the corporate world, but you also get to watch and witness other women succeed. So, they put the steps - the process that I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time - into place, and they actually get wins almost immediately. You're going to start seeing wins in the first week in the first module; when I teach you my process to get yourself out of the weeds, you're going to start communicating differently, building trust with your boss almost immediately, and you're going to start feeling better and happier - literally - I'll say it again, almost immediately. So, get in there, ExecutiveAheadOfTime.com, even if you need to pause the listening to this episode - I totally understand - and then come back, because today's episode is really breaking down what you become as a graduate of Executive Ahead of Time.
So, this is a three-part series that I am doing, essentially called My Corporate Bad-Ass series. I'm teaching you how to become a corporate badass - what it means to be a corporate badass - also known as executive presence. But I don't really like that word or that term 'executive presence', but I am going to throw it out there. Because it's what we all think we need to do in order to succeed at the executive level. And it makes sense to you in terms of a term - executive presence. Probably you've heard that a lot more frequently than corporate badass-ness. Which is what I personally think that it takes to get promoted into executive leadership. And it's not just that I personally think it, I see it and I teach it and I see it happen over and over and over again. So 'executive presence' - one of the other reasons why I dislike this term executive presence is literally think about it like when you say those words to yourself, how does it feel, how does it feel to you? Do you feel motivated to go for a C-suite role when you say, 'Oh, I need executive presence' in order to do it?
Ask yourself that question - how does it feel when I say, 'I need more executive presence'. And then now I want you to ask yourself, how does it feel when I say I need to become a corporate badass in order to get promoted into executive leadership? Like - I love laughing. Right. And, you know, I do. I have so much fun in life, and I have so much fun inside of Executive Ahead of Time and all of the clients that I coach, because that is the life I want to live. I want to live the corporate badass life. I don't want to keep telling myself the story that I need more and more 'executive presence'. For me, 'executive presence' feels heavy. It feels like it's something outside of my control. It feels like something maybe I needed to be born with instead of something that I can actually control and obtain.
But becoming a corporate badass, the first thing I think of is like 'hell, yeah, I already am', right? Like, I am a badass. You are a badass. If you are listening to this podcast, I am sorry, whether you believe it or not, you are a total corporate badass. There are some skills that you might not be utilizing right now that are going to make you even more of a badass. And that's why I'm doing this three-part series so that you can understand what it truly means to become a corporate badass. And you also want to make sure that other people see that, so that you can get the title and the compensation to match your corporate bad-assery. So, I'm super excited about the series because I just love saying the word corporate badass because it makes me happy. And so, we want to do what makes us happy, people. We want to stop doing the thing that just makes us feel heavy and out of control. And if that is telling yourself on a daily basis that you just need more executive presence, stop it. Stop showing yourself that you are a true corporate badass.
So inside of Executive Ahead of Time, I teach you how to fully become a corporate badass. And I do that by teaching you these three skills that I'll be teaching one by one over the over this podcast series. So, make sure that you listen to the entire series. It'll be coming out every single week. And in this first episode, I'm really focusing on executive embodiment- who you are. Are you embodying an executive level persona? Do you actually feel and dress and act like a senior executive leader? That's executive embodiment.
Next week I'm going to be talking to you more about executive communication. So, once you have that embodiment, you feel like the executive. You really believe that you are the executive. Then it's a matter of how are you communicating that to other people. What are the words that are actually coming out of your mouth when you have conversations with your boss? What are the words that are coming out of your mouth when you're talking to your CEO, when you're showing up at leadership team meetings, when you're leading your team, when you're speaking with clients? How are you communicating? And this is a whole series in and of itself. But I'll be breaking down the actual communication process that I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time.
And then the third part of this series is called 'executive discernment'. That is the third piece that I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time - how are we choosing when and where to communicate? How are we showing up? Are we being proactive in our conversations, in our communications? Do we understand politics? Do we understand what actually matters to the organization and are we able to communicate that effectively? And then I'm also going to show you when to speak up, when to talk about getting promoted into that next level position and when not to talk about it. It's very important that we don't become that squeaky wheel that's always saying, 'What about me? What about me?' And part of 'executive discernment' is understanding that the organization only cares about the organization. They care very little about your career. And so, we have to play into that, sort of, political environment in a way. So that we can get into those higher-level positions and really have that influence and make that impact that we want to be making at our organizations. So that's the three parts of my corporate data series that I'll be teaching you.
And again, today, we're going to start off with 'executive embodiment'. Are you the executive ahead of time? Are you really embodying executive principles? And it's easy to get off track with this one, because most of you have been an individual contributor or have rose in the ranks of leadership based on your specific technological skill set. Anything that you know whether it's human resources or actual technology. So, whatever that skill set is, your knowledge, that is what you have been relying on the first 20 years of your career to get ahead. And many of you transitioned into leadership probably a while ago, or maybe you're just now making that transition. But either way, you're bringing that subject matter expertise with you. And so, you see yourself as an individual contributor; as a person who if they want to rise the ranks of executive leadership, they need to work on their skills - their technology skills. They need to actually advance a specific skill set in order to advance in their career. And I am sharing with you the opposite, which is that, yes, there are some technical skills that we need to understand; but I really want to say that's actually the easy part. Because you've been doing it for 20 years - you know how to find this information. You know how to understand things at a higher level. But what you don't necessarily know how to do is become the executive.
And we can start doing that now, even before we actually get the title to match. And here's the beauty of it. Not only can we become that, but we can also start to experience the rewards of it. And by rewards, I mean the title and the compensation has to catch up with it, of course. You're going to become that executive and your title and your compensation is going to match. But when you become that executive ahead of time, what you start to be able to do is actually be able to make that impact that you want to be able to make at your organization right now. You're able to have the influence that you want at the top and you have the energy to go along with it because you're happier almost immediately. When you start to be able to pull yourself out of the weeds, you stop relying on your subject matter expertise to get ahead. You feel better about your job and the contribution that you're making to your organization.
One of the biggest benefits that my clients receive is having a senior executive leader - that just six weeks prior didn't even really know their name or even know if they were in meetings or not - contact them to run an idea by them. You guys don't understand the magnitude of this, you're like, 'Well, yeah, I guess it would be nice to have somebody...' - I want you to think of that person that doesn't know your name really. That senior executive leader that you admire, but you don't have a strong relationship with them. And then fast forward and imagine them contacting you to run something important by you first. They're not contacting you because they need some specific numbers to fill in a gap. That's what they're already contacting you for - that's why you feel like they don't really know you.
But let's say they contact you because of something that has to do with leadership. They're making some big decisions at the executive level. And they think of you because they want to make sure that they get your input because your input actually matters in this particular decision. And when this happens to you, like I said, you're going to shrug it off because it's never happened. The amount of joy and love and enthusiasm for the work that you do, the pride that you feel when a senior executive leader that you already admire so much actually contacts you, it feels so incredibly good. And here's the beauty of it, you're going to pay it forward. So, as you continue to advance in your career, you're going to give back to other leaders who are rising the ranks as well. You're going to give back to them and you're going to show them that their ideas really matter. And you're going to find ways to include them in the conversations because now you actually have that level of influence at your organization.
So, this is executive embodiment, right? Am I truly acting as the executive ahead of time by acting as that executive leader? And by acting - and this is why I use the word embodiment- is because it's not pretending, we're not faking it until we make it. We are truly embodying that executive level persona. You're able to really become that executive ahead of time, that is the fastest way that you're able to move into an actual executive leadership position. Because that is my goal, is to get you promoted into senior level executive positions. It's not enough to just be continuously doing the job of the executive. At some point we're actually going to make the transition. But the way that we're going to get there is by practicing 'executive embodiment'. So now I'm going to show you how to actually do that. And I broke it down into five steps - different things that you can start doing today to really become that executive.
So, the first thing that you're going to do is you're going to actively take up space. It matters to have you at that table. It matters that you are on the call. It matters that you were invited to these senior executive leadership positions. So, you are going to own your seat at that table by taking up space. Now in terms of executive presence - and you can Google it and look at different physical ways that you can start to take up more space in the room - there's a couple of quick tricks, right?
One is that as women, we tend to kind of sit in the back, set off to the side. So, you actually sit at the table. Another thing, another trick is that women raise their seat up a little bit higher, so they literally physically take up more space. Another trick that I've heard is that you can wear a sweater because a lot of times women will be dressed at these meetings with the air conditioner blasting and then they literally cross their arms in front of their chest and are kind of hunched over. And so, if you actually dress appropriately for the room, for the space, for the air conditioning, then you're going to physically take up more space because you're not going to be sitting there with your arms crossed in front of your chest. So, these are tricks that you can start to do almost immediately - to really be able to take up more space.
But from an embodiment perspective, I want you to just simply practice the notion that it matters to have you at that meeting - that it's a big deal. And so, one of the processes that I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time is understanding what the outcome is that you want out of every single meeting. And so, from an embodiment perspective, what you're going to start to do is just say 'the outcome that I want is I want to be included in the conversation today'. That's what I want out of today's meeting. I'm not talking about carving 20 minutes in your calendar, figuring out all the objectives, how you're going to interject into the conversation. I'm just talking about literally setting the intention to be included in the conversation today.
And if you show up in that way into these senior executive leadership positions, at some point it's going to make sense for you to raise your hand, to take up more space, to include your voice into the conversation. You're going to know when the time is right because you're not going to be checked out. You're not going to be doing other things. It matters to have you in these senior executive leadership meetings. And I want you to start to take up space. And just like I said, a lot of the tricks that I gave you are for physical meetings, but you can do this as well on Zoom. We know that everybody has their camera off. You might even be on another screen. So, you need to - if you're setting the intention - to take up space and to have your voice and to be included in the conversation today. You're going to do certain things like interject. Make sure that your item is actually on the agenda. Make sure that you are participating in the conversation at some point, whatever that means to you.
The second thing that you're going to do to really be able to practice executive embodiment is you're going to start to share your opinions. This is very different than sharing your knowledge. And I think that's what a lot of you guys are doing right now, is you're sharing your knowledge. So, you don't want to just add more noise to the conversation, so you wait to be called on. You wait until you have the answer for something. And what I want you to do is to start to interject into the conversations way earlier than feels comfortable. And you're going to do this by sharing your opinions - something that you believe in, something that you're hearing, something that you thought about, ask a good question, whatever that is. So, when you're thinking about before the meeting that 'I want to be included in this conversation', you're also being open and willing to share your opinions.
Now, I've talked so far about things that you could do in larger group settings, but all of these apply - and you should understand that they're very important to do one on one. And so, it's really important that if you set these intentions and you're having 15-minute ally conversations (that I talk about on my podcast and inside of my programs a lot) that you're actively sharing your opinions, you're sharing what you're seeing, you're sharing what you think is possible. Even if you don't have all the answers, you're not just relying on sharing your knowledge. So that's the second thing that you're going to do.
The third thing that you're going to do is to start to have this executive embodiment is you're going to understand that executive leaders are proactive instead of reactive. And you know this because being in reaction mode kind of sucks. You feel exhausted. It's overwhelming. It feels frustrating. When crap hits the fan, you're the first one they call on and you have to put out these fires all the time. And it doesn't feel good. You get a little bit of a dopamine hit because you save the day. But all in all, it doesn't feel sustainable. And you certainly don't want to scale yourself into higher level leadership positions because you know that all of those bad habits of being reactive all the time is going to scale with you.
So, you're actually going to create a practice to be more proactive. You're going to really think through how you're approaching situations, how you're looking at obstacles, and challenges. When you see those obstacles and challenges, are you actually bringing them up in conversation? Now this is very different than talking about problems all the time. So, when I say sharing your opinions, you want to be very careful that you're not just complaining, that you're talking about problems - 'Well, you know, we're not going to be able to do that because ...', - you always want to have a solution. And so as long as you're being solution-focused versus problem-focused, you can be very proactive about the potential obstacles. 'Have you talked to this person?' You can ask good questions and be like, 'Well, two years ago, I noticed that this happened'. So, you're making sure that you're engaging in all of the conversations ahead of time and not when it's too late. How many times have you ever thought to yourself, 'Oh, I should have said something sooner because this played out exactly as I thought it would.’? And so, you just want to make sure that you're continuously being proactive. And if you start to embody these traits - if you start to take up more space, if you're open to sharing your opinions, if you're being proactive instead of reactive - then the other executive leaders are going to start to see you as an executive leader.
Now, notice that so far, (and I'm going to give you two more things that you can start to do) but I just really want you to understand that this type of executive embodiment is not the same executive presence that we've heard - which is that we need to be louder. You know, I've heard from some women that they've even been told that they need to speak slower, and their voice needs to be lower, which is essentially telling them that they need to be more like a man. The majority of CEOs of Fortune 500 corporations are six feet tall, white males. They don't have to actually do anything to take up space. They physically take up more space than the other women in the room. A lot of times their voice is louder - It cuts through. And so, as a woman, we don't want to be a part of that noise. But this is why you also need to be very proactive in the way that you're showing up at these meetings - because you're not six feet tall. Because maybe you're not in a position of influence and authority yet - so you have to actively take up space. You have to be proactive. You have to be a part and own your voice at the table, own the fact that it matters. You need to be a part of the conversation and it requires a little bit more effort. It requires a little bit more work, but the outcome, the benefits are so much greater.
The other thing that you're going to start to do is hold your own in the conversation. And I'm going to talk about this more next week when I get into executive communication skills. But essentially what you're doing is you're thinking of all of these leaders that you look up to and people that you're partnering with as partners. See, I just said that you're partnering with them. They're not your boss. They're not the CEO. You are - and your ideas are - just as valuable at your organization as theirs. And so, when you start to embody this attitude of partnership, and you're bringing that into all of the conversations that you have, you'll notice that you speak differently. You say different things to people. And it's so key because your attitude is different. You start to feel better at home. You're embodying this executive level of presence. You are becoming that executive.
And then the last thing is, is that you are a leader, not a follower. So, a follower is a subject-matter expert. A follower, a lot of times, is a middle manager. Even at director level I meet a lot of even C-Suite executives that are still acting like followers. And you have to make sure that you are leading the way. And so, I want you to start to ask yourself, 'What is my leadership style?' Understand all of this that I'm talking about - all of this corporate badass-ness, all of this amazing leadership that you have - is not something that we're creating. We're not going out and finding it so that you can become somebody else and create this executive presence. We're literally uncovering what is already within you.
None of this that I have spoken to today requires you to be any different than you are. It doesn't require you to be an extroverted personality. It doesn't require you to be louder. It doesn't require you to not have children, to not have other priorities, to not have the right clothes. None of that matters. There are corporate leaders that I work with, with blue hair who never wear shoulder pads. Does anybody anymore wear shoulder pads? We don't dress like men to do this. There are women that I work with that wear black t-shirts and black jeans, and then there are women that wear unbelievably gorgeous high heels and dress to the tens every single day that they go into work. You can be all different types of personalities and still embody executive level presence.
The executive embodiment has nothing to do with those physical attributes. But it has everything to do with how you're showing up and how you see yourself as a leader. So when you start to take up space, when you begin to share your opinions, when you are proactive instead of reactive, when you hold your own in a room, when you are partnering with these senior executive leaders, when you know that your voice matters and you really understand and embody and are intentional about your own unique leadership style, that you are not a follower - that you are a leader. And you're not trying to have power over people or lead other people so that you can tell them what to do. You're leading with them. This is what partnership is. But for most of you, you're playing too small. And so, what you need to start doing is start to understand that you are a corporate badass. Your organization needs you in a higher-level executive position. And the way that you're going to get there is by embodying this executive level of presence all along the way.
So, give it a shot. Really set your intentions for how you want to show up in all of your executive team meetings, in your conversations with leaders. Let me know how it goes and have a fantastic week. Thank you so much. 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.