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

You wouldn’t want to borrow your dad’s socks, or your uncle’s charming way of punctuating his remarks with a belch, but there are a lot things we Boss Girls CAN learn from men to help us crush it at the office. Here are ten work habits to borrow from the boys:

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 hisopinion and hijacks the floor. You feel invisible. Reclaim your position as a driver in the conversation, just like a man might. How does a Boss Girl handle this?

Boss Girls make eye contact with their colleagues–including the hijacker–and use a firm voice to say, “as George reiterated, I believe … ” Boss girls state their 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. Sure, it is important to support your colleagues and assist your team members when possible, However, Boss Girls stick to their convictions.

When Boss girls 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.

Boss Girls don’t agonize –we 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.

Boss Girls know their value and have the confidence to insist that their salary and overall compensation is fair and is commensurate with their 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 with waivering. Instead, stand firm, like a man might do.

Boss Girls stand their 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.

Boss Girls are 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.

Boss Girls stand tall and confidently with shoulders back, head held high, making eye contact. Boss Girls speak with authority, ‘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.

Boss Girls speak with confidence, conviction authority and end their 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

Boss Girls 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 boy friend, 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.

Boss Girls know how to engage with all types of people with warmth and compassion but are smart about how and with whom they 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.

Marla Isackson

Marla Isackson is a seasoned marketing executive with over 25 years’ experience creating innovative marketing campaigns for world-famous brands including Citibank, American Express, Barnes & Noble, and WebMD. A longtime passionate supporter of womens’ initiatives, Marla is the founder of Like a Boss Girls (likeabossgirls.com), a website providing young women the tools, information and inspiration they need to define, explore and connect with their goals — including finding (or creating) their dream job, becoming entrepreneurs, social activists, leaders, basically pursuing success however they may define it.

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