Business of Men

8 Secrets to succeeding in male-dominated industries

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Even the most talented and hardworking professional can find it tricky to get the respect she has earned and deserved when trying to make a splash in typically male-oriented industries. But, just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible. While society is gradually changing, female professionals and entrepreneurs are still expected to be comfortable being uncomfortable. They are supposed to suck it up and deal with what the Big Boys want, they are expected to be grateful for their position. This means they often have to work harder if they are to succeed the same way their male coworkers will. Here are eight secrets to succeeding in male-dominated industries.

Focus on positivity

There are a lot of reasons to let the male-dominated industry get you down. However, you will never find the success you deserve if you only focus on the negatives. If you want to survive and thrive in these industries, it’s essential that you pay close attention to the positives, no matter how few and far between they might seem.

If you want to keep your head up, you must look at the good. You have the job, so that’s one tick in the win column, but getting the job is often not enough. Besides this, you should try to focus on the little wins you get along the way to boost your confidence and prove your point.

Look for support

The chances of being the only woman at the office are unlikely, and solidarity with your also-put-upon sisters will be a significant boost to your chances of success.

It might be that they feel the same as you, but perhaps do not believe they have the authority, knowledge, or skills to disrupt the status quo. By aligning yourself with other women at the office, you can become a force for change. As long as you have each others’ backs, you will be able to make a difference.

Pay attention to role models

Everyone should have a role model they can look up to; someone who will inspire you to keep going even if the deck seems entirely stacked against you. Paying close attention to your role models, whether by reading blog posts, books, or following them on social media, can give you the impetus you need to succeed.

You can also take inspiration from successful business owners in your industry. Don’t hesitate to find examples of women succeeding in other industries that are traditionally male. Whether it’s a Woman Owned Podiatry Practice or an industrial firm, there are people out there from who you can draw inspiration.

Men can be allies

As much as you will need women to have your back, you shouldn’t ignore the potential for male allies at the workplace. In the modern office, the chances of being surrounded by men who understand their privilege are much larger than they would have been even 20 years ago. You should use this to your advantage.

One particular place to look could be your hiring manager. They gave you the job for a reason, and this could be a crucial relationship that enables you to reach your potential and show the industry – and the world – what you are capable of achieving.

Don’t hide who you are

It’s tempting to put on a show when you’re in a new environment, especially one you don’t feel entirely comfortable at the moment. But, while many people think faking it will help, it could actually hurt your career more than you think it will.

Hiding who you are means the people in charge never really get an idea of who you are or what you’re capable of. What’s more, pretending to be someone you are not could cause a personality shift that makes you lose sight of who you are. So, be yourself, and do it without any shame whatsoever.

Ignore assumptions

Everyone has assumptions in a professional environment, and if there is an obvious gender disparity in the workplace, these assumptions are further highlighted. If the men at the office are not used to working with a woman, their preconceived notions of your abilities will cloud their judgment, and you can use this to your advantage.

They might think you are not intelligent enough or that you don’t have the same skills that they do. From here, they will assume that you aren’t good enough. But, if you’re confident in your abilities, you’ll be able to shock them and establish yourself as an essential member of the team.

There’s no need to overcompensate

Overcompensating in the workplace is a sign of insecurity. It can prove to other people that you don’t belong here, which will only confirm their suspicions. Therefore, you need to make sure you don’t buy into the supposed disadvantages of being a woman in a male-dominated workplace.

Just because you’re a woman should not mean you do not possess the same abilities that everyone else does. Although you may need to work a little harder at first, your talent will eventually shine through, and you’ll avoid falling victim to overcompensation.

Know when to say no

In some offices or workplaces, women will have established roles. They might be a receptionist or a cleaner. This is just how many professionals have been conditioned to view women. On your first day, they might ask you to get them a coffee or copy some files. You mustn’t do this.

You have just as much of a right to be there as they do, but if you try to please everyone just because you are intimidated by them, you risk losing their respect before you get the chance to prove yourself. So, know when to say no and don’t be afraid to tell them who you are as soon as possible.

Thriving

It’s not enough to merely survive in an industry that has been traditionally dominated by men. Any serious professional wants to thrive. This isn’t just for themselves but also to help the next generation of female entrepreneurs and professionals. Of course, society has come a long way over the past 50 years, but that doesn’t mean things are all rosy, there is still work to be done, and you can help spearhead these changes even more.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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