5 Ways Introverts Can Increase Their Power in a Male-Dominated Industry
When you have a valuable point to make but your extroverted male friend won’t stop rambling about their thoughts that make no sense at all, you just sit there and put on your “active listening” face.
Someone asks you a question at a time when you were having an intriguing conversation with your inner monologue, you instantly put that person on your rude list.
When you receive an invitation to the biggest networking event of the year and you find yourself saying yes because you canceled the last five times, it takes you three days to recharge and restore your people-friendly facial expressions.
And now you have to learn survival techniques in order to thrive in a male-dominated industry.
Life couldn’t be any better, right?
Just because your social preferences are different than others doesn’t mean that you can’t win in the workplace. You just have to find solutions that don’t leave you with anxiety. Not getting your voice heard and having your value lost in the sea of male voices in the workplace may be frustrating. There are days when you may want to call it quits. But don’t let your introverted ways keep you away from industries that are not occupied by people who act like you. Instead, be bold and pave a way for others who are introverted like you to go after what they want in their career.
Here are five ways that you can increase your career power in a male-dominated industry.
1. Let Your Voice Be Heard.
Are you afraid to speak up in a meeting? Find alternative ways to share your thoughts. Lead a meeting or deliver a presentation. This helps you to avoid the pressure to speak extemporaneously and gives you a chance to prepare your thoughts. People need to know your ideas and you can start sharing in ways that are more comfortable for you.
If you want more practice leading meetings and delivering presentation, visit your local Toastmasters club. Toastmasters is the ultimate laboratory for leaders to hone their communication skills and receive feedback that will allow them to connect with and influence their audience.
2. Get Comfortable Asking Questions.
Have a big meeting scheduled this week? This can be your chance to shine. Make sure you review the meeting agenda and do your own research on the topic, taking into account how your job ties in with the meeting and any company research that you have at your disposal. Use this information to ask valuable questions that showcase your curiosity and investment in research. Your question will get you noticed and people will know that they can’t pull anything over on you.
Is the thought of asking a question in a small group meeting too painful to take on? Set a goal to raise your hand the next chance you have to attend a large group forum. Make sure that you review the speaker list and topics before attending the meeting so that you can be prepared with a thoughtful question. This goal will also make you stand out in a crowd that is speechless during the Q&A part of the meeting.
3. Highlight the Strengths in Others.
Women aren’t the only ones who suffer from self-esteem issues. Men do too. Use your listening skills to highlight the value that individual contributors add to the team, and they will remember the great things you said when their confidence is running low. This will earn you more allies in the workplace.
Recognizing the strengths in others immediately sets you apart as a leader. A leader is someone who provides feedback and empowers others to see a vision about themselves that they are too blind to see at this moment. Your ability to bring out the best in others will allow you to gain more power and confidence in your career.
4. Attract Male and Female Sponsors.
Want to get a promotion without having to fight for it? Get a sponsor. A sponsor is a trusted leader who has the brand equity to help others see you as a valuable contributor in the workplace. They will speak on your behalf when you are not in the room and put your name in the bag for the next promotion.
Need help finding a sponsor? Sponsors invest their clout and risk their social capital on people who are perceived as quality performers. Make sure that you consistently deliver quality work and perform at the level that you aspire to reach. Then, have a clear vision and mission that is evident in everything you do. Once you strengthen your professional profile, you will naturally attract people who want to join your team as a sponsor.
5. Leave Your Fears at Home.
Are you intimidated by others in the workplace? Do you fear taking on that stretch project, constantly thinking that you will make a huge mistake that could cause others to perceive you as incompetent? Don’t let others see you sweat. You don’t have to run a public service announcement and constantly broadcast your fears to your colleagues. Instead, ask the right questions and communicate your expectations in order to ensure that you can perform as needed.
Lastly, don’t allow internal fears to dictate your career progress. If you want something, let it be known. When you see something that isn’t right, raise your hand and speak up. If you want to grow in your company, don’t be afraid to take a risk. Career confidence is all about finding out what you want and doing things that will get you closer to your goals.