I never really liked my tag line “Empowering Women for Success in the Male-Dominated Workplace.”
To me it sounds kind of blah-blah, boring typical professional language. I always felt it was missing something – that it wasn’t exactly hitting the mark of what I needed to say, but I haven’t known what was off.
Sometimes as I am writing my articles I find myself reading my words and saying “Blah, blah, blah, blah,” same old stuff. I then trash it and rewrite using the words and expressions I like. Over time I have noticed that what I am rejecting is all of the professional words and thoughts that have been drilled into me throughout my career. They just seem so freaking dull!
For almost a year now, I haven’t been working in construction and it has given me a new perspective. A few months ago I started doing a lot of networking with a wide variety of groups. Some of the groups are all women which at first I was very hesitant to attend. Coming from the all-male world, I was afraid the women’s groups would be like being on the set of The View. I was afraid the women would all be loud, emotional, over-talking each other – a real hen party.
The women I meet with are all small business owners and entrepreneurs. They all have a great sense of who they are and are building businesses based upon who they are. When we meet, the discussions are a blend of business and personal – a business is pursued as an expression of self, not soley for monetary gain.
I think that is so cool!
In attending these meetings I was shocked to learn how much women listen. When one woman is talking, no one over-talks her, no one interrupts. The other women sit quietly and listen. Really listen! Listen at a deep level, helping her draw out everything she is trying to express.
There is something else I notice about these women’s networking groups – Energy! It is a dynamic atmosphere!
Unlike working with men, I come away from the women’s networking groups highly energized, having learned something more about myself, feeling connected to the other women and more confident to express myself.
I can’t help contrasting these meetings to a contractors meeting l attended a few months ago. As soon as I walked through the meeting room door- Whoa! I stopped dead in my tracks. An old familiar feeling came over me. The room felt dead. As more contractors came in, there was no cheeriness only stoic, restrained behavior. I felt myself being drained. I was careful of what I said and how I behaved. I felt kind of trapped or boxed in. I realized how much being around men affected me.
A few weeks ago I decided to try a new networking group. Again, as I opened the door to the meeting I stopped. I felt the deadness. Before I even entered the room I knew it was filled with men. As it turned out the meeting was about 5:1 men to women. The women were glad to see me and asked me to join the group. They were trying to recruit new members but were having difficulty. I chuckled “You need more women.”
Other mixers I’ve attended have a good blend of men and women. In those, the men are more outgoing but don’t dominate! It seems when women are in significant numbers we can draw the men out of their deadpan professional behavior and make them more engaging.
What I realize from all this is that women bring ENERGY to the all-male workplace. Our challenge is to stay energized so we can lead the men to better levels of performance.
Looking back over my career from that perspective, so many things now make sense. I realize that one of the easiest ways for us to feel defeated is by allowing men to drain our energy…and they know how to do it!
I want to thank all the women I’ve met and networked with over the past few months. I am now officially changing my tagline to:
Energizing Women To Lead The Male-Dominated Workplace!
I LIKE IT!
Energized Women Are Empowered Women!
Share with us how you stay energized at work!