Borrowed From the Boys: 10 Tips to Help You Crush It at Work

You wouldn’t want to borrow your dad’s socks, or your uncle’s charming habit of punctuating his remarks with a belch, but when it comes to office behavior there are few things we can borrow from the boys. Here are ten work habits that men have been conditioned to practice all their lives that women need to adopt ASAP:

Drive the conversation and don’t let others take the lead.

You are in a meeting with a group of male colleagues. You state your opinion but then a male colleague states his opinion and hijacks the floor. You feel invisible. Reclaim your position as a driver in the conversation, just like a man would. How should you handle this?

Make eye contact with your colleagues–including the hijacker–and use a firm voice to say, “as George reiterated, I believe … ” State your opinion calmly, but with conviction and strength.

Say no without feeling guilty.

We recognize that it is easier to avoid conflict and acquiesce to requests made of you even if they are way beyond the scope of your responsibilities. Women, typically, are more apt to want to please than their male counterparts. Men don’t equivocate—they say no without feeling guilty. While it is important to support your colleagues and assist your team members when possible, it is equally important to stick to your convictions.

When you make a decision and the answer is ’no,’ then it is no.

Don’t dwell after making a decision.

You’ve evaluated the facts, weighed the pros and cons and made your decision. You know you are correct. Now make like a man and don’t dwell.

Don’t agonize – move on!

Ask for more money in salary discussions and don’t compromise your value.

You took on extra projects when asked by your boss. You are doing the work of three people! You are extremely competent and add great value to your team and your company. Don’t get frustrated and angry or feel like your boss is taking advantage of you. Instead, do as a man would do and talk to your boss about your worth.

Know your value and have the confidence to insist that your salary and overall compensation be fair and commensurate with your experience and value.

Be comfortable with discomfort.

You are having an intense conversation with a colleague or boss. You have done the work, pulled the data and feel strongly about your position. There is some tension in the room because the stakes are very high. Your stomach feels queasy. Don’t fill the silence. Instead, stand firm, like a man might do.

Stand your ground and don’t capitulate.

Negotiate without backtracking.

You are in the midst of a complex negotiation. You did your homework and know that your recommendations is on track. The pressure is on and you are feeling the stress. Stand your ground, like the boys tend to do.

Be prepared with data and facts and negotiate with confidence and power.

Show up ‘large’ and stand in your power.

You are attending a company function or conference. You are mingling with executives or business owners who may have more seniority or experience. Carry yourself professionally like the dudes in the room.

Stand tall and confidently with your shoulders back and head held high. Speak with authority, make eye contact, ‘own’ the room and crush it!

Don’t make a statement a question.

We have all experienced situations that make us feel a tad unsure or insecure. But the menfolk don’t tend to end their remarks with an upturned voice, which turns a statement into a question.

Speak with confidence, conviction, and authority. End your statements with periods not question marks.

Don’t apologize.

How many times have we all started a sentence with ‘I’m sorry’. ‘I’m sorry, but my recommendation is X. “I’m sorry’ but I don’t agree. ‘I’m sorry, but I worked all weekend and can’t stay late tonight.’ This is something that men don’t engage in—and it makes them sound more authoritative

Don’t apologize in every conversation.

Be personable without getting intimate.

We have all been in situations where we end up sharing too much information (TMI). Talking about your menstrual cycle, fights with your boyfriend, etc. is fair game when chatting with your BFF. However, sharing intimate details with your boss, colleagues or person sitting next to you on the bus is not fine. Keep chit chat friendly, but professional.

Know how to engage with warmth and compassion towards all types of people. Be smart about how and with whom you share personal details.


Work tips for women and the convo around women leaning in is majorly important right now. Check out Sheryl Sanberg’s special edition of her best-selling book: LEAN IN for Graduates.

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