Working in a male-dominated environment can sometimes feel like survival. It is often difficult for women to adapt, but I’m here to reassure you – it is doable, if we learn to speak their language. If you’re the only woman in your team, you may probably feel worried, not confident about your position or uncomfortable. I get it and unfortunately, the reality of some industries or workplaces is that understanding men may be the key to your promotion and getting ahead at work. Let’s get into more detail, so you can be accepted into their tribe, but on your own terms.
Let’s get it straight – you won’t be able to have the same conversation with your male peers, as if you would discuss something with your girlfriends. And I do not mean a subject, although they may not be interested in your latest make-up haul. The way we communicate with other women is often detailed and feeling focused. That would be a mistake in a male-dominated environment. Many men like facts and their short, simple delivery. You can accommodate that by getting straight to the chase and reducing the time you spend in a conversation.
In the beginning, it will probably feel like a balancing act, as you don’t want to come across as abrasive when keeping your communication short and sweet. I can reassure you – practice makes you better. Use team meetings or other types of gatherings as a ground to practice your new skills, observe how your teammates respond and adjust accordingly.
Many men will respect you for speaking your mind and challenging others’ views. You should accept the fact that they ask for your opinion, because they appreciate your strengths that are different than theirs and you bring a fresh, completely different point of view into the subject. Your male colleges almost expect you to interrupt them, as that’s what they are used to and because of that, your assertive position will not be perceived as bossy.
You need to leave at home your desires of taking care of everyone and being a “good employee”, otherwise you will hurt yourself the most. If you use the word “NO” more often, you will not end up overloaded and never create a chance to stand up for tasks you want to participate in.
Men are very competitive – fact! And it isn’t necessarily about delivering results, but definitely about making everyone aware of their involvement and all achievements no matter how irrelevant or significant they are to the business. Your male peers will very frequently vocalise which projects they want to work on, while you may be quietly working hard and hoping that one day someone will reward you for all your efforts.
Unfortunately, it is highly possible that your boss will assign that new project to whoever was bragging the most, because they are often too occupied with their own workload to focus on appropriate resources allocation.
Be your own marketer and spread the word about your achievements, but most importantly make sure that your boss is fully aware of how much value you’re adding to the team.
Now, the most important part! However, you decide to proceed in a male-dominated environment, make sure to stay true to your beliefs and fully aligned with your integrity and values.
What additional skills do you think are necessary to make yourself indispensable? Have you got any tips that you could share with our tribe?
Do not forget to check out our other blog posts, especially this one about the necessary skills to make yourself indispensable at work.
P.S. Let’s stay in touch! (follow the link)