Over 100 years since they won the right to vote and the opportunity to gain an education, it is still evident that women are an anomaly in the corporate landscape. Women make up roughly 47% of the workforce- but there are still some industries where there is a strong bias towards men.
Is there such a thing as an appropriate gender role for men and women in the work environment? What would happen if a female industrial electrical contractor showed up for a day’s work?
Over time women have fought for their equality, but how can they continue to stand their ground and get the corporate platform they deserve?
Here are a few ways to do that.
Be Confident and Positive
Being heard in a world that is typically male dominated will mean not allowing people to interrupt or speak over or for you. Be assertive without adapting to rudeness or by interrupting others. It means ensuring you have the opportunity to have your say without being overshadowed.
Develop an attitude that is highly positive. Nothing else will generate good morale among peers than this. Focus on your successes, even seeing your failures as an opportunity to grow. Confidently use your experiences to ensure you succeed in the future.
Leave the Idea of Being ‘liked’ at the Door
Apologising too much can undermine communication. In the world of business people who use the word ‘sorry’ too much are more likely to be undermined. This doesn’t mean being a mean boss, but it does mean focusing on building respect rather than your Facebook friends list. So stop saying ‘sorry’ (unless you really have to) and focus on how you will socialise with your friends outside of work.
Handle Conflict Well
Handling conflict does not mean constantly seeking to avoid conflict in order to avoid confrontation and hard feelings within a team. Conflict will inevitably pop up from time to time and the only way to handle it is to use that positivity to work through it. Never allow conflicts to turn into attacks. Don’t read into sub contexts of emails that may not be there, and don’t hold grudges even when you feel people have wronged you in some way.
Be a Life-Long Learner
So many areas of business and culture have developed over time. However, the corporate world, especially, is fast-moving and ever-evolving. It is, therefore, incredibly important to stay on top of the developments in your area of expertise and the wider marker to ensure you’re always on top of your game. Take advantage of corporate training events, seminars and courses. Staying informed will give you confidence and an indispensable team member.
Put Yourself Out There
There will always be opportunities to go for a promotion, and if you’re good and comfortable in your job, seize the opportunity. But this doesn’t mean you should always wait for them to arise. There’s always going to be things that need doing, and proactivity will always serve you well. Soon, you will become the go-to person to resolve issues and come up with new and innovative ideas.
Be Supportive of Other Women
Since childhood, most of us have had the idea of being kind and supportive drummed into us. Be ethical and kind to others. A woman trying to make her mark in a male-oriented corporate environment needs to show themselves as people who build up others. Many female employees will say that they prefer a male boss than a female boss due to them often being ‘harder’ on their employees– but women in particular.
Though your aim is not to make friends, kindness is not weakness, and neither is agreeableness.
Female bosses who are ethical and fair to their employees will often have happier and more productive employees.
Go it Alone
There may come a time in your career when you decide that you can go no further if you remain an employee. The only way you can fully immerse yourself in the world you wish to build around yourself is to go it alone.
Having your own company will bring confidence to communicate. There has never been a better time for women to start their own businesses. If more women were to do this then the number of successful female business owners will increase from owning 30% of all businesses to create a place of better equality among the sexes.
The pursuit of bringing more women into leadership is the advance needed in the modern corporate landscape. The most important way of doing this is by shaping ourselves into the women in business we strive to be.