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This has never been a woman’s world. It is the man who has always dominated the other, so-called “weaker gender” in every situation. Despite the increased awareness about gender equality and sexism, things are no different at a typical workplace, in India or abroad. No matter how open the work culture is or how welcoming the male counterparts are of their female peers—there is a divide—a line that demarcates the two genders professionally.
Therefore, it is necessary to develop cordial relations with everyone at the office—whether it is with a he or a she.
Here are a few tips that will help you thrive at your workplace if you are the only girl in the team:
There might be a possibility of your male colleagues doing all the talking, while you sit and ram your brains to actually make things happen. You might not enjoy the projects you are working on or the assignments you have been given—but then you don’t take an action because you think you don’t have a choice. The point is you ‘do’ have a choice.
As an employee, especially as a woman, you must be strong enough to voice your opinions.
Don’t be silent. There is nothing that cannot be solved through communication.
24-year-old Harleen Kaur* works at an MNC in Delhi. While it is difficult to leave office before it is too late, Harleen makes it a point to at least try wrapping up things on time. “I report to a male boss and what I have observed is that my male colleagues are never in a hurry to go home. The worst part is when I’m at the verge of leaving for home, my boss hands me more work. This annoys me to no extent because the others have no qualms about leaving late!”, shares Harleen.
Don’t be uptight!
The key to breaking the ice with your male counterparts or boss is by being comfortable with yourself. Don’t be a ‘yes’ woman. Don’t go around finishing off other people’s work. And, certainly never forget your moral ground. If your male peers are being casual, you reciprocate casually. Don’t be uptight. But at the same time, don’t forget your real responsibilities at work.
Things are not so bad with 25-year-old Akshita Kapoor* who leads a male-dominated content team at a Gurgaon-based digital agency. Creative demands are more, time is less—but her team manages to have a blast even in the most stressful conditions.
“It is all about your rapport with your subordinates. The first rule is to never treat them badly or be impolite to them. I always welcome their opinions and ideas. We are a close-knit group,” asserts Akshita.
In order to be treated as an equal, you yourself have to treat your male colleagues equally. Don’t be mean, sarcastic or overly confident in front of them. Be respectful. Career development is possible when you understand your personality in different spheres.
You to have play by your strengths, yet at the same time, stay humble.
Adding to this thought is 40-year-old Sonali Patra* who, due to an early promotion at the beginning of her career had to deal with lots of senior-level employees. “I’ll be honest. It was unnerving. I was afraid I might say something to them that would make them angry. So I decided to be polite and have a cordial approach towards work. Needless to say, it worked. Yes, I have worked hard and achieved a lot but that doesn’t mean that I go around rubbing off my success on the senior guys. One needs to be respectful and most importantly, keep the window of learning open!”, said Sonali.
Things can go awry at a workplace with any male colleague. After all, it is a team and prone to numerous misunderstandings. Don’t harbor negative feelings against anyone.
Be the bigger human being here.
If the problem is being blown out of proportion, speak to that person. Analyze the situation. Then, shake hands and move on. You have to learn to let it go. Minor relationships glitches at work are common and must be handled with maturity.
Find a mentor
As a member of a male-dominated team, it is sometimes good to connect with one or two senior women employees. They may not be from the same department as you. But by befriending them, you can provide yourself a fresh perspective on things at work from time-to-time.
Surviving in this world has never been easy. Therefore, it is important for you to grow a thick skin and take each day as it comes. So stay strong and never let anything bring you down. You, go girl!