Geri’s Note: Before we end the International Women’s Month, here’s a guest article on women empowerment.
Women in the United States make up 53.2% of the professional workforce, but they only hold 38.6% of management positions. Because this is a nationwide average, this number may be significantly lower at your place of employment. Some companies prefer to place men in leadership roles, even when qualified women are available, while others focus on promoting men because women never bother to apply for higher positions. Regardless of what’s happening in your office, it’s possible to land a leadership role in a male-dominated company by executing the actions below.
GET TO KNOW YOUR CO-WORKERS
If you want a promotion, start spending more time with your coworkers. You don’t have to become best buds with anyone at the office, but you should get to know your fellow employees better than you already do. Accept invitations for post-work drinks, or ask your coworkers if they want to join you at a local restaurant for lunch.
You should also get to know individuals in related fields. LinkedIn reports that a whopping 85% of positions are filled as the result of networking. Join the guys for golf next time they meet with other professionals, or attend networking dinners so you can learn more about business-minded individuals in your community. Make sure to bring plenty of business cards with you in case you cultivate a bond with other attendees.
SHARE YOUR IDEAS DURING MEETINGS
How do you handle workplace meetings? Do you jump in and share your thoughts, or do you sit there quietly, staring at your watch or smartphone until the meeting ends? If you chose the second answer, you aren’t alone. Many women sit silently through business meetings because they feel like they have nothing of value to add to the conversation or their male coworkers talk so much that there’s no chance to share their own views without interrupting.
Remember, you have just as much of a right to speak during a meeting as your male coworkers do, and sometimes you may have to politely interrupt them to share your ideas. If meetings are very unorganized, ask your boss if it’s possible to schedule topics to discuss. This potentially gives you a chance to talk about something you’re knowledgeable about without attempting to steer the conversation toward the topic.
Make sure you arrive prepared for meetings. Bring relevant sales charts or figures with you, and consider printing a copy for each attendee so it’s easier for coworkers, both male and female, to focus on what you’re sharing. You may also want to jot down a list of ideas you wish to share so that you don’t forget to mention anything important. If you have ideas for ways to save money or time, your boss will certainly look favorably on your thought process.
ANNOUNCE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Don’t be afraid to talk yourself up at the office, but make sure you also highlight the accomplishments of the folks who helped you. If you scored a huge contract with a coveted client, order pizza and celebrate with other employees. If your team’s sales have increased by 17% in the last month, send out an email with the good news, and CC your boss.
Many women feel like they’ll be viewed as arrogant braggers if they gush about their achievements, but many men enjoy talking about workplace accomplishments. Praising your coworkers whole giving yourself a pat on the back makes you look like a team player, and it also helps your supervisor notice what you bring to the company.
ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
The ideas above will help you develop a memorable presence at the office and establish yourself as an expert, but there’s still one often-overlooked step to getting a promotion: Asking for it. Your boss can’t read your mind, and he or she may be unaware that you wish to advance in the company.
If you aren’t ready to bring up your request for an advancement just yet, build up to the process by telling your boss how much you love working for the company. Say that you’re looking forward to growing with the business, and ask about opportunities for advancement. You don’t have to say you want a leadership role until you’re ready to ask for one, but at least get the ball rolling by learning about how you can advance in the company.
Men might account for the majority of positions in your office, but that doesn’t mean they deserve all of the management positions. Network, participate in business meetings, and make your wishes for advancement known if you want to increase your chances of landing a leadership role. Don’t let the male-dominated corporate climate get you down and lead you down a dangerous path. Fight back by proving you’re right for the job!
About the Author: Gloria Martinez is a college professor turned business owner who knows the ups and downs women face when advancing their careers. She believes that despite the dismal statistics on women in the workplace, there are actually many industries and jobs– from UX specialists to HR professionals to nurse practitioners–where women are thriving and being well-paid for their efforts, and that it is important to celebrate these women-dominated industries.
She created WomenLed.org to educate people about the many women-led achievements that have shaped our world.
Photo from Pixabay.