Fabulous in the Boardroom: Owning It

ellenlubinshermanContributed by Ellen Lubin-Sherman, Executive Coach and Author of The Essentials of Fabulous, Because Whatever Doesn’t Work Here Anymore

Fabulous women who have risen to the top are a different breed. Their confidence is palpable. Their self-assurance is awe-inspiring. Their energy level is enervating, energizing and contagious. And their charisma–you can’t buy that kind of high-wattage aura. The secret: they’re fabulous.

To get to the top of the mountain, they’ve worked hard to create a persona that is more than just good at what they do. They lead. They inspire. They mobilize. And they inspire loyalty because they’re authentic.

Let’s look at how fabulous works in the boardroom…

Fabulous women walk into a boardroom exuding a sense of purpose. Their posture is perfect, their smile is genuine, they are “on it.” In addition to mastering the details pertinent to the meeting, they are ready to listen to what other people have to say. You see, these fabulous types do not need to bludgeon others with their superior intellect. On the contrary, they are champion listeners, hard-wired to collect all the information and make a reasonable decision. This confidence also enables them to set goals, develop a road map for success and invite their colleagues to take ownership of the outcome. Unafraid of being authoritative (the Achilles Heel of prominent women), fabulous women are confident that people love to rise to the occasion just as they once did.

Fabulous women are unafraid to wear their success just as a general wears his badges of honor. Their presentation style is polished – elegant and appropriate. They exude panache – a wonderful combination of brains and style. Watch them in action…they stride into a boardroom looking like a zillion dollars with every detail in sync – hair, nails, fragrance, notepad…even their pen (whether it’s a Bic or a vintage Elsa Peretti) telegraphs their attention to detail. Why shouldn’t they display the swagger of the truly confident? They earned it. Show me the swagger, ladies!

Full Engagement
Fabulous women are fully present. They leave their “toys” at their desk to eliminate distraction. While everyone else is dashing off a text, these fabulous types are listening at full throttle, making eye contact, smiling in agreement or looking for an opportunity to share their point-of-view. Whether they’re in a meeting or in the hallway, these fabulous types are “on,” using every tool at their disposal to build connections, alliances and friendships with their colleagues. Distractedness and disengagement is not what we want from our leaders – we will walk through fire for the leaders who are intuitive and empathic with the people they manage. Rather than vertical, fabulous women prefer a horizontal working environment, ensuring that apathy is kept to a minimum (if at all) and employees are passionate about what they do.

Perfect manners are essential to anyone who has a leadership role in their company. That includes: initiating a hello, standing up when shaking someone’s hand, making sure that handshake is strong and confident, looking someone in the eye while speaking and never interrupting when someone is in mid-sentence. Fabulous women love speed but they also know when to brake – to listen, console and encourage.

Good manners set you apart from the competition – grab every opportunity to show you’re the real deal – the fabulous one. A personal message to a colleague who’s done an extraordinary job will be saved forever. Acknowledging someone’s loss with a handwritten note will be appreciated. Taking a young person under your wing so their transition to the company is seamless is all part of the packaging of someone who is not only supremely competent but also supremely lovely in all that they do.

The Brio Factor
Superior leaders are unafraid to show their feelings. They know that people work more effectively when they’re having fun. So they’re relaxed, easy to work with and emotionally accessible. Fabulous women in the boardroom bring their sense of humor along with their spreadsheets because they’re optimistic and confident that they’re working with talented individuals. Brio is what makes someone a standout – a superstar – a #1 on the speed-dial and it’s easy to acquire. Just listen to the radio station in your head telling yourself you’re terrific – unstoppable – phenomenally talented and voila! You’ll be at the top of your game, day after day.

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