Giving yourself permission to walk and talk like a boss

Giving yourself permission to walk and talk like a boss

Have you ever been in an environment that resisted the idea that anyone under a certain level could communicate like a boss?  Where everyone who spoke in a crisp, clear and concise way was only in the senior executive ranks.  That if you shared that you could or displayed the same or superior communications skills and command of your subject matter, that you were taxed for it in some way?

There are work cultures out there, many of them considered largely to be non-toxic, that actually promoted this kind of group mindset–that only leaders with a certain title should have executive presence, exuding a command of their subject and beyond in the greater business context.  Remember that executive presence is simply style, substance and character. It is how your carry yourself, and how you project that into a room and other spaces.   Executive presence isn’t reserved for some higher set.  However, even if it were, are you not to be practicing it on your way to a bigger and better title?

Undoing the false narratives of who should be a boss

It’s a false narrative that only certain people are allowed to be excellent, and it is a common theme in some corporate workspaces.  So much so that if you exude executive presence–walking with your head high, communicating like a senior leader should, having the thirst for knowledge and credibility of someone who knows their craft inside and out–you are chided for it.

This is the experience of many women and women of color, and many times, it isn’t simply about titles.  It is about who is centered in the workplace and who is not.  If women and women of color are not centered in a space, what is the expectation?  It certainly isn’t that she should lead with the same swagger as her white male counterparts, and if she does, she will be frowned upon, called too ambitious, too opinionated, aggressive, hard to work with.  Women and women of color are automatically viewed as more subservient, or that they should be.

Let’s examine the way Vice President Kamala Harris was criticized when it became known that she was on a short list of women to be considered as the Democratic running mate.  She was immediately called “too ambitious” and even someone who would no doubt step out of line or possibly usurp Joe Biden.  Much of this criticism didn’t only come from the other party, it came from within.

How to walk and talk like a boss anyhow

So know that when you decide to walk and talk like a boss, some people will not like it; that in fact, you may be punished for it overtly or covertly.  But Sis, you have to do it anyway. Shine anyway.  Boss up anyway. Remember that the only real villain in your story is fear.  Amp up your “lean out” strategy and walk tall in your power.

Today’s leadership tool is an audio cast called executive leadership online and off.  Listen to it, and learn what you can to to walk and talk like a boss.

My mother always taught me that in order to be what you aspire, you have to start walking and talking like whatever you want to be.  You must start now no matter what your colleagues and bosses say or do.

For more about how to amp up your “lean out” strategy and exude executive presence at any level despite the blow back inside your company, be sure to pick up your copy of No Thanks: 7 Ways to Say I’ll Just Include Myself.  The audiobook will be available this quarter.  For insights and coaching on how to declare “I’m Speaking” in your own workplace, don’t miss the next edition of No Thanks that will be released late this spring with additional bonus chapters and a bonus affirmation.

See you online,


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