One of the many challenges of women working within a male-dominated workplace is the limitations often tied to her gender. This could affect her composure as many men are quick to conclude that she is weak or unsure of herself when she refuses to give herself credit. The flip side of this is the possibility of being labeled as aggressive or attention-seeking in the bid to be visible. This could lead to situations where a woman downplays herself and is unable to do her job to the best of her abilities due to the challenge of trying to be politically correct. Ladies, you don’t need to downplay your abilities, you just need to own it and walk in wisdom.
Here are 6 easy steps to becoming visible in a male-dominated workplace:
How you carry yourself on the job determines how you will be perceived by others. The way you look and speak tells a story about your personality and importance to your employers and colleagues. When relevant knowledge meets innovative application, confidence shows up. This simply means that you don’t give in to the narrative of beauty without brains; you flip the script by ensuring that you become indispensable in the areas that require your input. Knowing when to speak up and convince the decision-makers is also very important so your ideas can see the light of day. Your excellent work will get you noticed and your ability to keep at it without supervision will make you a valuable player (MVP) even before the naysayers.
The work environment is a setting where words and body language can be misinterpreted. This means that your words and demeanor must not spark up a war at that moment or when you leave. Diplomacy demands that you construct your sentence in a way that you are not judged as proud or sarcastic especially when speaking with your superiors. Therefore, careful thought and planning must go into every word spoken and every email shared. Even when you have to defend yourself, you must be clear and avoid making ambiguous statements that can make people feel bad. In a situation where you have the chance to throw people under the bus in a moment of rage, you must step back and clear your head so you don’t wreck your career growth in a minute or two knowing that words are not easily forgotten. Remember, pure hard work may take you to the top, emotional intelligence coupled with the same hard work will sustain you more.
Many workers believe that the KPI (Key performance indicator) tied to their job description is the only factor that comes into play when it is time for the appraisal. Unfortunately, a lot of bosses do not tell subordinates the importance of being a problem solver at every point in time or how it affects their image. When you work in Department A, you must be wise enough to understand how your role affects Department B, C, D and the entire company. This will help you stand out as you will be able to proffer solutions and save the company unnecessary costs while further marking you as one fit to lead others when the need arises
Bosses value subordinates who go all out to do tasks assigned to them. They also favour those who take initiative by taking on additional responsibility outside their comfort zone. Hence when a boss says he needs someone to do a report or accompany him to a meeting, you should not hesitate to step forward and make life easy for your boss. It makes you stand out and also helps you learn new skills that may come into play when the time of promotion comes. This also means that when the time of restructuring comes, your boss will not let you go because you make his work easier.
Be a Team Player
The work environment is a competitive place but the ability to work with the team in mind earns you points. This is the difference between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. If you have the capacity to mobilize the team to play their own part while you play yours, you will be seen as a team player, not someone who wants to shine at the risk of making the team look bad. This also means that you must be careful to use “we” not “I” in sensitive situations that can affect the image of the team. If you are able to do this, even when naysayers or toxic people try to badmouth you, your boss will defend you and support you before his own superiors.
Passion and focus go hand in hand especially in the workplace. The way you do your job with a difference will make people mark you out for excellence. It could also attract more work because people are sure that you will go the extra mile to get the job done but that means that your absence will be felt because people will miss your special touch. The capacity to love your job and do it to the best of your ability without supervision or eye-service shows the depth of your passion, therefore, the recognition and reward many people lobby for will come to you in due time.
Being a woman in the workplace is not a disadvantage, it is a good thing. These steps will not work if you belong to the class of those who want to use “bottom power” to rise through the ranks as a time will come when those who kept you there will leave and your fall will be great. Believe in yourself, work hard, apply wisdom and watch the world clap for you in good time.