3 Traits to Help Women Succeed in a Male-Dominated Workplace
by Michele Wade, on May 19, 2020 10:18:00 AM
Characteristics that are often associated with men – such as aggression, competition and decisiveness – are frequently rewarded in today’s workplace. While such behavior might go against their natural instincts, women might need to step outside their comfort zone to succeed in a male-dominant work environment.
Valerie Alexander, CEO of Goalkeeper, author and keynote at Women In Trucking’s 2017 Accelerate! Conference, suggests that women adopt these three traits to help level the playing field:
1. Make quick decisions.
Men typically make decisions quickly and confidently without second guessing themselves. Women, on the other hand, are more inclined to think things through in order to make the best decision — weighing options, seeking others’ opinions, etc. While making the right decision is important, making a fast decision might be even more valuable in today’s workplace, Alexander argues.
When a client or one of your superiors comes to you with a question, do a quick risk analysis and give them what you believe to be the best answer. “If you’re a woman and 80 percent sure you’re right, you’re right!” she predicts. Your quick response will demonstrate self-assurance and expertise and help to earn their respect. After they’ve left, check to be sure you’re right. If you’re wrong, simply go back to them with a counter-solution.
2. Speak the language of success.
Men usually state their positions with confidence and authority whereas women often introduce their ideas with comments such as “I might be wrong but” or “Would everyone agree?”
Since confidence and competence are viewed interchangeably in the workplace, Alexander encourages women to reframe their comments. Start by saying, “Here’s what I think.” Pause to get everyone’s attention, then add, “and I’d like to discuss it before we move on.” To build your credibility even further, present your idea clearly and concisely — in 10 words or less.
3. Understand hierarchical structures.
In today’s corporate world, there’s usually a clear chain of command. It’s important to understand – and own – your place in the hierarchy, Alexander argues. While men excel at this, women often take on work that’s not their job or below their status to help out or just get the job done.
“Know the exact functions and expectations of your job, and only go outside of those if it is going to advance your career, increase your skills or move you up the ladder,” Alexander recommends.
Put these three tips in practice to help advance your career today. For more insights, check out Alexander’s book, How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace (Despite Having “Female Brains”).
This article was originally featured in Edition 3 of 2018 in our official magazine, Redefining The Road.
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