Experts agree that all industries need a balance of men and women in the workplace because different viewpoints, ideas and market insights enable better problem solving, ultimately leading to superior performance. In addition, gender diversity provides easier access to resources, multiple sources of information and a wider industry knowledge and perspective.
It is no secret that the average workplace is mostly dominated by men, particularly in Executive roles. And despite continuous efforts to promote gender equality in the workplace, many females are still missing the opportunity to attain leadership roles and be successful in their chosen industry. So how can women survive and ultimately succeed in a male-dominated work environment?
If you find that you are continually missing professional opportunities, then you should take the initiative and speak up. In an article on Forbes.com, Jane Fang stresses the importance of speaking up, stepping up and letting your boss know that you are ready, capable, and qualified to take on more responsibilities and that you are on par or even better than most of your male colleagues. According to Jane, the squeaky wheel always gets the grease.
At times, career opportunities and information about new projects come from conversations outside the office, usually in an informal setting. You may not be keen on having Friday drinks but participating in work social activities will give you the perfect chance to get to know your male colleagues better, earn their trust, and often learn about new opportunities.
Have a Positive Attitude
Dr Collette Burke of SmartCompany.com, highlights the importance of having confidence in your skills and abilities. In her article, Dr Burke outlines that having self-confidence gives others the impression and assurance that you’re a capable person – one that can be a great contributor to your organisation. This will make your colleagues want to work with you and your manager trust you with bigger responsibilities. And if you aren’t confident with your abilities yet, Dr Burke recommends “faking it” until you develop a better outlook towards your own skills and capabilities; ie learn to value yourself.
Use Your Intuition
It has been said that women are gifted with better intuition, so use it to your advantage. According to Dr Burke, following your intuition is a powerful tool in problem solving, employee engagement, and decision making, especially in a male-dominated workplace.
Work with a Mentor and Be a Mentor
Having a mentor can do wonders for your career. Attend networking events and learn to engage in conversations with women and men more experienced than you – especially those in positions you plan to be in someday. Once you build meaningful relationships, you will have advocates who can help you move towards a more positive direction. You must also be willing to help your colleagues, regardless of their gender. Empower others and encourage them to take responsibility. This is a very effective way to develop strong relationships and build trust with your colleagues.
What has worked for you? Do you invest time in connecting with colleagues and building relationships outside of your organisation? If not, why not?
I look forward to hearing from you.