How to Be a Total Boss Bitch

I started working early in life, by traditional standards, with the goal of being a network news anchor. In my late teens (yes, teens), I hustled hard for any local news gig I could get. And I'll admit I felt like a fake when I started my on-air job as one of the youngest journalists ever to report from the floor of a stock exchange. The truth is,everyonedoes a little "fake it till we make it." It was only once I realized I knew more than I gave myself credit for that I could quiet the haters inside my head and start really feeling confident and in control of my career.

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It took me a few years to come to terms with what being a boss at work — without technically being The Boss — actually meant. Bosses know how to speak up for themselves and stand up for one another. They think of their voices not as something to be ashamed of but rather as their biggest asset. They communicate confidently and authentically, because how you communicate is an extension of who you are, what you stand for, and where you want to be. Luckily, anyone can learn to talk like a Boss, no matter where she is in her career. There are many forms of communication in the workplace, from interpersonal to digital, so let's make sure all of them are on point.

Rethink the Apology

How many times do you apologize throughout the day? Do you say "I'm sorry" when it takes you a few hours to respond to an email? When you start to speak at the same time as someone else? When someone bumps intoyou?

You might not even notice when you are doing it. I only realized how frequently I was apologizing after I kept a tally of each time I said it in the course of one day. My total: 53. I was shocked and embarrassed by that number, but at least I became aware of my excessive apologizing right then and there — and you better believe I did something about it.

I'm sure you're not surprised to learn that studies have shown that we ladies are more likely to say "I'm sorry" than men are. The interesting thing is that men don't have a problem apologizing; they just have a higher threshold for the stuff they deem worthy. Not returning a call right away doesn't make their "Sorry" benchmark. But for many women, it does.

Why is that? I've spoken to a lot of women about it, even high-powered execs, and they've told me that it's about not looking overly aggressive or not wanting to assert too much authority. I get it: It's nerve-racking, for example, to interrupt your boss. But are yousorryfor it? Whatever the core reason, it makes us look like we lack self-confidence. Let's vow to apologizeonlywhen we actually do something wrong.

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A good way to accomplish that is to remember the acronym KISS: Keep It Simple, Sister. (Okay, the last "S" conventionally stands forStupid, but I like my version better.) Get to the point as clearly, quickly, confidently, and respectfully as possible; that way you don't feel the need for fillersorry's. I still apologize to express empathy, and of course if I do something wrong. But I do it far less. #sorrynotsorry

Just Say "Thank You"

Now, let's talk about a couple of little words youshouldstart embracing more than you probably do: "Thank you." I have often said that any math you need to do in getting your finances together you learned in grade school. Well, sometimes, when it comes to talking like a boss, the same sentiment applies: "Thank you" is key.

Amy Schumer has a skit that highlights this crazy thing women do when we get compliments. The female friends in the skit compliment one another with things like "Look at that cute little dress!" Instead of responding with the appropriate "Thanks," each woman puts herself down in extreme and ridiculous ways. (My favorite: "I paid like two dollars for it. It's probably made from old Burger King crowns.") Sound familiar?

A self-hating response to praise is an epidemic not only in our personal lives but also in the workplace. Are you guilty of not being able to take a work compliment from a boss or colleague? It's time to change that reaction to one that's rooted in self-confidence rather than in discomfort.

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Are you seeing a trend here? Whether it's praise for your stellar skills or your new hairdo, you get compliments. Accept them. Say "Thank you!" and move on with your awesome self.

The Power of No

I'm all about laser focus and doing less, better. So by all means, say "Yes!" to projects at work, but only when it's a "Hell, yes." If it's anything less, it should be a no.

Being hungry for success no matter where you are in your career is a necessary quality. I love the saying "If you are persistent, you will get it, but if you're consistent, you will keep it." To me, this means you can't be an eager beaver, then retreat into your beaver hole, tapped out and exhausted, after you get what you want. You have to beconsistentlyeager. To do that, you have to maintain a workload you can keep up with.

In the workplace, you're only as good as your last success. Did you do something stellar last year? Kudos. But what about last month? If you don't keep churning out those successes, then—in the eyes of a lot of bosses — you haven't accomplished anything lately. Being a one-hit wonder at work doesn't equal a home-run career.

Hey, we all want to be seen as these superhuman creatures who can handle any assignment we get. The truth is, no matter how superhuman you are, you simply can't do everything that comes your way — at least not well. The best way to produce a clear, shining accomplishment while also getting some great experience is to go deep instead of wide. What I mean by this: Pick one or two extra projects and dive into them. That focus will allow you to produce real results and gain strong expertise in the subject matter. Taking on every project you're approached about won't do that for you — it'll keep you treading shallow water, which is never great for your personal or professional growth.

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Does the prospect of saying "No" make you nervous? You can do it without damaging your reputation — you just have to be careful. For example, if a coworker asks you for help with a project, you should say, "I would love to help, but so-and-so has me on deadline, so I don't have the bandwidth to make this the success it should be." Then go back to them later and find other ways to collaborate. If your boss asks you to take on another client, you can say, "I'm not confident that I can do this while devoting the time and energy required for my other clients. I would love to revisit after the current projects are wrapped up." Saying no is tough. But if you don't push back you risk doing a mediocre job, which not only hurts the project but also affects your overall performance.

Remember, saying no the right way shows that you value your time, the asker's time, and the importance of the ask. If you're human and honest, people will root for you at work. Sure, you have toworkhard too, but people want to work with and for people they like. Seriously, don't you?

One of the best ways to look like the strong, in-charge, and confident boss you are is to exude that vibe in all forms of communication. If you have some improvement to do on this front, it's fine. Maybe you rubbed the right person the wrong way. That's okay. It's fixable. It's not the end of the world, even if it can feel that way.

Don't forget: Your life is your story. You decide how it's written, what gets edited out, and what gets added in. And at any point in time you have the power to say, "Wait, this is not how my story is going to end." I know that I will have my "happily ever after," because I define whathappymeans. You can too. So, what'syourstory? Now that I've got you thinking like a boss, it's time to start acting like one.

Courtesy of Crown Publishing Group

Adapted from Boss Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Take Charge of Your Career. Copyright © 2019 by Nicole Lapin. To be published by Crown Business, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, on March 21.


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Date: 06.12.2018, 12:52 / Views: 81531