Women in senior positions are no longer a growing trend, and have instead leveled off at a stagnant 24%.

There are a number of benefits to having women in the workplace, from getting more funding, to getting higher ranked leaders when reviewed by their peers. It’s surprising to say the least that women aren’t getting these high ranking positions, and in this article I will discuss the hurdles women go over to cross from management to executive, and how to vault over them.

Getting into the culture without being the “Yes” woman

Breaking into a new job can be difficult, and fitting in is a great goal, but do not be afraid of being a “No” woman.

This means that even though it may seem like being nice, making copies, and coffee will win you friends, it will not get you ahead, or on an even playing field. Do not be afraid to stand up, and say no, because that favor you are doing for your co-worker may only make them more likely to see you as a secretary instead of as an equal.

This doesn’t mean being unpersonable, I would encourage you to go out for drinks with a group, or to play on the softball team, but be a friend not a servant.

Don’t be bothered by your supervisor

Building relationships with not only your coworkers, but even with that one horrible supervisor can be hugely important.

25% of women leave their first job because of a difficult manager, almost the same number (26%) that leave for more money. “It’s very important who your first or second supervisor is,” says Rick Waugh, president and CEO of Scotiabank, “Many times, that determines whether you’re going to stay with that organization and how far you’re going to advance”. My advice is to relax, that supervisor might be a corpulent, work-shy museum-piece, but if you work past them, you can elevate yourself beyond them.

Use positive body language

Even if you don’t have a confident gait, in this case, faking it until you make it works.

Body language can reduce your stress, help connect with people, and even help avoid workplace pains and aches. Using positive body language reduces stress. Expansive, powerful postures can increase testosterone levels, and lower cortisol levels, which is a neuroendocrine profile that is linked to outcomes like leadership abilities and disease resistance. Being less stressed can help you relate better to others, form better relationships, and just be a happier person. People who are happy do better work, they are more likely to stay with their job, and will make  more successful at work.

Don’t stay in first level management/ Negotiate right out of the gate

Not only are women less likely to negotiate, but they more likely to be penalized when they do negotiate.

Starting with a leg up is what negotiation can offer, but don’t be off put by companies which might not do negotiations. Reddit no longer does salary negotiations with their staff under claims that it is not only bias towards men, but that their employees worth is not dependent on the employee’s negotiation skills.

If available, a forward moving employee negotiates right out of the gate, and if you are penalized as a woman for negotiating, that is not a company you want to work for.

Don’t be a yes woman, make solid relationships, use open, positive body language, and always negotiate. You are the best person for the job, don’t forget it, and become an executive woman.