Business of Men

Being a woman leader in a man’s world


It’s hard enough being a woman and a leader in any industry but when you’re a woman who is leading teams of men in a predominantly male industry, it gets that much harder. Technology is one such industry that continues to be ruled by men. Stephanie Buscemi, COO of Salesforce’s cloud business (pictured above) has shared her experiences as a women leader in the overwhelming male-dominated IT industry.

1. You don’t have to act like a man

Contrary to popular belief that women have to imitate men in order to climb the corporate ladder, Buscemi believes that women have to do no such thing and women are capable of excelling in business without acting like a man.

Like most women, Buscemi was also told to don business clothing similar to that of men and to act like a man around the office. Even in women leadership programs, women were told to negotiate, make decisions and greet like a man. She was quick to realize that they were perpetuating the notion that women somehow do not make effective leaders and will always have to emulate the mannerisms of a man to make it big.

Her discomfort with imitating men showed. Men and women have their own strengths and weaknesses. Buscemi understood that her ability to empathize and build meaningful relationships with people was her strength and began to include this in her leadership style. She admits that it takes some time to learn the balance between managing instincts that are natural to women and professional requirements, but she had managed to do it without losing herself.

2. Avoid internalizing problems and challenges

Women have a tendency to internalize their problems; they get inside of their own heads and blame themselves for other people’s mistakes.

Buscemi described an incident early on in her career where she was at a sales preparation meeting and an executive made an inappropriate comment about her appearance and clothing in front of her colleagues. At that point, she was faced with the decision of being the victim and suffering in silence or to speak up and take a stand; she chose the latter.

She took this step because she was aware that had she chosen to internalize the problem, the focus on strategy and achievement would be disrupted. Her colleague had to be held accountable but not at the cost of the meeting. She chose to inform her superiors later about the executive’s behavior so they could monitor him. By redirecting the conversation away from herself, she was able to lead her colleagues to focus on the absurdity of the comments rather than what the comments implied and how it affected her.

3. Be a role model

Having emerged as a successful female leader, Buscemi is determined to mold more women into being powerful female leaders who can survive in a man’s world. She wants to be a positive role-model for women who want to be a part of industries that are dominated by males. She is an active member of the Salesforce WomenSurge program which focuses on the development of skills and strategy.

At this point in her career, she is no longer faced with conversation about her clothing and people are more interested in her ideas. According to her, there is no longer an imbalance between her and her male colleagues, they now know that they are all on the same team with the same goals.

About Brooke Whistance

Brooke Whistance a lifestyle blogger that loves to blog about topics that cover 'Health & wellness', 'Arts & Culture', 'Self-improvement' and other ongoing trends. Follow for more.

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