Building a career in a male-dominated industry can be a big challenge for women, but it is definitely possible to succeed and thrive in an environment where the guys seem to be in control. In my book, Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business, I tell the stories of 11 women, myself included, who refused to be held back by outdated biases and sexist stereotypes, and in spite of the barriers put before them, went on to achieve great things. I’ve made a video on this topic which you can watch here or by clicking on the image below, or you can read my article about it in Medium.
Here are my top 8 tips and tricks to help you navigate and succeed in a male-dominated industry:
- Believe in yourself. Have confidence in your abilities. Don’t doubt yourself. Know that you belong in the industry as much as any man.
- Build a strong support system. Find other women in the industry, or even outside of it, who can offer you mentorship, guidance and emotional support.
- Network. Build relationships with colleagues, industry leaders and mentors. Attend conferences, workshops and other events to meet new people and learn new skills.
- Learn to communicate effectively. Practice clear and concise communication skills, both in person and in writing. Learn to speak up and assert yourself when necessary.
- Learn to navigate conflict. Conflict is inevitable in any workplace, but it can be especially challenging in a male-dominated industry. Learn to handle conflict effectively by staying calm, listening actively and finding common ground.
- Be knowledgeable and up-to-date. Stay on top of industry trends, regulations and developments. Read industry publications, attend workshops and conferences, and continue to educate yourself.
- Embrace your unique perspective. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry can give you a unique perspective and set of skills. Use this to your advantage and don’t be afraid to voice your innovative ideas.
- Build strong relationships with male colleagues. Many men in the industry want to support and mentor women. Find male colleagues who are willing to be your advocates and work collaboratively with them.
Remember, the dominant culture is powerful and should not be underestimated.
In the majority of workplaces, men created the culture and they will resist, if not outright resent, women trying to level a playing field that they think works just fine. But the shortage of talent, and the fast speed of change, is pushing people to change what they have always thought to be their reality, their truth. The only truth, I always say, is that there is no truth.
Equity won’t just happen — women, and others, need to make it happen.
Now is the time for women to create a new workplace and societal reality that offers equity, pay parity and inclusion, changing a world that thought it had it all figured out before. As I said in a previous blog on this topic, you have a destination — don’t let anyone keep you from it. Building your career means building your own story. Make sure you are the heroine in that story.
At Simon Associates, we focus on women. Ready to do the same?
At SAMC we work with organizations and individuals to help support and promote their female talent, improve their diversity and pay parity, and coach and mentor women to become the best they can be. By so doing, we help recraft the narrative about what women can accomplish in our society. If you are a business owner or manager, male or female, we urge you to take advantage of our leadership academies and individual coaching to help you recruit, retain, develop and empower women as effective members of your team, as leaders, and as innovators. Contact us so we can get started.