Is the world of business still run by men? There's certainly more diversity today in the workplace than ever before, but many a woman is part of a department, team or industry where there are more pants than skirt suits occupying the offices. And though you may feel you have every right to behave in any way you wish (and you do) under the scope of professionalism, it doesn't hurt to use a few tips to get in good with your coworkers who can't be swayed by a friendly "carb-fest" brunch invitation. If you're rubbing shoulders with men more than women at work, here are six insider tips will have you gunning for that promotion.
Be a Power Player
It might sound cliche, but studies have shown that when it comes to dealing with men, it helps to think and act as they do in key situations. Know this: men speak up and say what's on their mind. Women tend to sit back and wait for their turn. Office politics is not the same as waiting for your date from last weekend to call so you don't seem needy. If you've got a great idea to move the next project forward, bring it directly to your boss, raise your hand in the meeting and deliver it in a confident, assured tone of voice. No, you're not being pushy, you're playing ball.
Tell No Gossip
Just as we have stereotypes about men's behavior, they have stereotypes about ours. One of the biggies they don't appreciate: a gossip girl. This is doubly true for the office. Keep your negative thoughts to yourself, or turn them around into a positive that you publicly express. You'll get more friends and more respect — just don't overdo it. Give credit when and where it's due and keep your judgments to yourself.
Be a Conflict Resolver
It's important to remember our professional relationships are different from personal ones. Though we may bring up an argument with our partner six months after it happened, that's a big no-no with male coworkers. You'll get an eye roll and a look that says "she's emotional, unstable." Whatever happened at work, approach it head on, resolve it, and then truly let it go. Be succinct and get to the point when you're resolving it, your easy approach will be appreciated.
Socialize and Network
Post-work activities can seem awkward if you're not pals with your coworkers, but you should make the effort. Networking and building a friendly bond doesn't hurt your chances of moving up at work. Even if you're tempted to order that choco-tini, try having a good old beer with the boys. This slowly-sipped beverage allows for bonding. It's also a signal that you're down to earth and casual, which you are, of course.
Have an Ego
Anything you want to achieve, you've got to believe you can. This is where men tend to surpass women: a belief they deserve everything good that's coming to them. Match that attitude, even if you have to say it to yourself in the mirror before you leave for the day, and you'll be surprised how it changes your behavior. You'll be standing straighter, looking coworkers in the eye, and giving that great handshake to new clients. It's okay to have an ego, using it to go after what you want. Men do it all the time, and they'll take note of a woman they see doing the same.
Use Your Feminine Assets (Not THOSE Assets)
We can figure out for ourselves that we have to remain professionally attired in a professional setting, so I'm not talking about showing skin. I'm talking about using your feminine instincts to show warmth and understanding. When a male coworker comes to you with a project glitch, we women have the emotional tools to draw him in, rather than make him feel isolated (as another male might). So use your warmth!