Being a female boss in a male dominated field

posted 3 years ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
1389 posts
Bumble bee

I have been in a male dominated field. In fact, my field is 89% male.  My location has 2,000 employes and only 220 are female.  I think you are making this an issue.  I don’t think it ia male/female thing.  

How to “command” respect?  You don’t.  You give respect and it will come back to you.

Post # 4
Member
1248 posts
Bumble bee

I agree with PP. Don’t make it an issue until they make it an issue. My boss is a minority race female supervisor & she even asked me before if i’ve ever had a female boss before… i’m like, uh yeah, in every job i’ve ever worked lol you’re not that special! She is on a high ass horse & micromanages and just keeps her thumb on her just because she has the power to do so. Don’t do that. You want your employees to respect you, but also to like you & enjoy coming to work everyday. Good luck 🙂

Post # 5
Member
1599 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@theEguarantee:  I also agree with PPs… you don’t TAKE respect, you earn it.  Until my current job, I’ve always been the youngest and been one of the only women in management (not to mention my hair was always purple) and I never had an issue “commanding” respect because I did my job well, was transparent and didn’t play into politics.  If you’re good at your job, your team will respect you.  And if they don’t and your supervisors agree that the issue is the team-member, not you, then you fire them.  Pretty simple.

Post # 6
Member
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

My DH deals with the being younger thing a LOT.

He literally ignores it, and calls them out for any disrespect. He’s also careful about how friendly he is–he can’t be too friendly!

But he’s found that once they see how good he is at his job, that they generally accept him.

He says that his only female peer EVER gets a LOT of crap. Mostly behind her back. Which is a serious bummer!

Post # 7
Member
655 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@ValerieBee03:  I agree with @Sunflower–girl:  .  Just be respectful to them and hopefully they will do the same to you.

I’m in a similar situation.  I find I try not to act like a know-it-all (because I certainly don’t know it all!) and try to value the advice that others may give you.  If they do have that much experience, they could have useful stuff to say.  And then you take what you need from that.  I find I also try to explain to others why I have to do certain tasks, or why they have to do certain tasks – I think it helps them feel like they know the bigger plan and can appreciate what they have to do.

Post # 8
Member
759 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Firm, fair, consistent. If you manage with those principals in mind it doesn’t matter what your gender is or if the individuals you manage are older or younger than you. I work with all men, in 9 out of 10 meetings in corporate America I am the only female at the table. I really don’t think about it, I am there because I am qualified and competent. The experience that your team has is impressive, I would encourage you to seek and hear their input but as their manager, once your decision has been made, expect them to respect it. Be clear, foster teamwork and establish quickly what your standards are and be firm about what is not acceptable. People want to understand what the rules are. Don’t try to be their friends, be their manager – a competent, fair LEADER. You will be fantastic, best wishes!

Post # 11
Member
759 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Ummmm, no. If a comment were said to me like that I would respond that we all have tasks assigned to us that we wish we did not have to do.  However, if you have a question or issue with something in particular, we can address it one on one. If someone said a snarky comment that I felt was inappropriate, I would absolutely tell them that directly, in person, at the time the comment was said. Everyone deserves to have an issue addressed at that time, directly to them but I would also let them know that was their one and only warning. I have found that people appreciate directness. Firm, fair, consistent. 

Post # 12
Member
286 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

Hi,

You and I are in the same boat. I have been managing teams of much older, mostly male, employees for the last few years. It can be very daunting at first. I think though that the fact that you are sensitive to the fact that they might be sensitive to is shows that you are thoughful and mature, and care/want to do a good job. Keep in mind that you have been promoted to your role because you are good at what you do. Just be you – be great at what you do, hold to your standards, and relate to your employees as people. Congratulations and best of luck!

Post # 14
Member
950 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I managed a bunch of men in a construction company – I think the biggest things are to be professional but have a sense of humor/don’t react to sexist comments even if they aren’t directed at you/just said in general – don’t jump in but don’t go overboard with a supersensitive reaction – but when someone does cross the line let them know it as absolutely not acceptable.

Also it helped me alot to work with a communal/collaborative attitude.  I always made it clear my purpose was to work with everyone and to help them/get them what they needed.  I think as a female in a male industry you have to sometimes work harder and be better at your job than a man in the same role but hey that doesn’t hurt you right?  I have never been emotional at work and I know if I had been it would not be well received.  I saw other girls either date guys at work, be very dramatic/emotional or dress inappropriately and all these immediately hurt them in terms of respect from the men.

I’m sure you’ll be fine, you obviously got there by being worthy of it.

Post # 15
Member
2421 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

I’ve always worked in male dominated fields and in management positions.  I don’t put up with anything.  And people know that.  I also really respect those that work for me and I know their strengths and use them accordingly.  I’m also quick to thank people, acknoweldge hard work, etc.  It’s really easy to be genuine and to acknowledge someone’s contributions.  

I can and do joke around with everyone (and I poke fun at myself).  But an inappropriate joke never gets any reaction except a blank face.  If they don’t get the laugh, its not worth saying it.  I also have no problem pulling someone aside to let them know that it was inappropriate.  Just that, I don’t usually need to go any further.  And if they continue, then they’ll get a “That’s inappropriate” comment as soon as its out of their mouth.  I have only once had to say it.  

If someone asked who died and made me boss I’d flat out tell them who promoted me. 

I also have been told I’m very commanding, physically.  I used to tag team teach a university (2nd year) course.  My co-instructor was 5’1.  I’m a foot taller.  When she’d be up the class would take ages to settle.  A couple of times I actually stood at the room when it was her lecture.  They’d shut up when I was standing there, even if I didn’t say anything.  

Do you dress differently in your new role?  You don’t have to over do it, just dress a bit more formal/conservative.  If you look the part and set yourself up to appear like the boss in dress, behaviour, etc. they’ll be more likely to accept you as such with less bounce back.  

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