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The Unspoken Rules of "The Boys Club"

As women, we know that know that we are as impactful and qualified

as men are in the corporate world—but there are things we need to understand

about them and how they play the game of business. I have spent some time putting together some helpful suggestions for today’s businesswoman.

First, identify cues to the games; how best to connect and compete to win at their games. Its important to remember it is about winning and dominating, not friendship.

Be aware that men in the Boy’s Club are always keeping score. They assign points to every situation, salary, office, size of teams at work, the golf handicap, vacations, and much more. For both men and women this is also about how we dress. We exude power if and when used the right way. The mindful executive will also ensure that their team looks commanding.

Ask for what you want directly with as few words as possible.

Be comfortable being noticed and don’t expect to make friends.

Force men to take you seriously. Especially when they make advances around you or begin inappropriately flirting. Use sarcasm to neutralize the situation when you can. Only speak of reporting it if it is continuous, deliberate, and destructive.

Creatively challenge condescending or disrespectful colleagues, men and women alike.

Be aware when you are dealing with The Imposter Syndrome. Most men assume they can take on bigger responsibilities with confidence. So can women. We must believe that we can do more than we imagine and then go do it. Think bigger, and you can and will surprise yourself.

Never make excuses for failures. Failures are noticed more when a woman is

involved. Own it and move on. Do not focus on them.

Guard secrets. Some men assume a woman can’t. They will offer wrong information as a test to see who she is talking to about business dealings.

Be proactive to gain credibility and trust with the males you interact with professionally.

Personal issues don’t belong in the office.

Don’t seek out affirmation. Use an executive coach and/or mentor to provide feedback and encouragement.

There is no amount of women’s networking that gains you entrance into the boys' club. So, find two or three women and intentionally go out to dinner or drinks with 2 or 3 men. When we engage in this type of networking in groups, it sidesteps some of the dangers of meeting with a man individually after workday hours.

It seems like a lot to take in. However, once you've started playing by their rules, it comes so much easier in day to day events and situations. Most important to remember: NEVER give up or back down! You deserve to be there just as much as anyone else, and no one can take that away from you.

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