Even though there are more women in the workforce today than ever before, female leaders are still not as common in corporate America. In some industries, like science and technology, men still dominate. No matter how male dominated your area of focus is, there are still plenty of traits you can develop to help you succeed.

1. Never Stop Learning

One of the realities of being a woman in a male-dominated field is that you often must work harder than your male colleagues on career development to receive the same consideration for a promotion. It’s important to keep up with industry news, both in your specific niche and in the larger areas that indirectly affect you. Consider taking continuing education classes, and attend seminars related to your area of focus. 

If you are informed, you will also be more confident. Plus, you can end up being a great source of knowledge for your team. If you are taking classes, you might consider taking enough to get a degree in your field. Even if you already have one, getting another one can help you expand your area of specialty. Scholarships can help mitigate the financial impact of your degree. You can find Going Merry scholarships for college students to make this career move affordable.

2. Develop Positive Confidence

If you are one of the few women in your workplace, it is even more important to be assertive, so your voice is heard. Many men tend to be naturally more aggressive, and it can be easy to allow them to speak above you. While you shouldn’t be rude or interrupt someone when they are speaking, you may find you do need to push a little so others listen to what you have to say. 

This can be challenging, so it is important to be positive and exercise assertiveness in a positive, friendly way. No one wants to listen to someone who has a negative attitude and being positive starts from the inside. Instead of dwelling on what you did wrong or how men in your workplace seem more successful, think about the victories you have accomplished. Focus on milestones you want to meet in the future.

3. Value Respect Over Being Liked

Too often, being disliked is one of the common anxiety triggers for women so they shy away from disagreement and apologize every time there is a slight disagreement. Work on erasing this from your vocabulary. If you apologize for every little thing, men will see you as someone they can walk over and saying sorry frequently can lead to communication breakdowns. If you are always wanting to please others, you are less likely to be appreciated and more likely to be overlooked. Getting the respect you need is not an easy process, and some may resent you for it, but it is necessary for career advancement.

Instead, look for healthy ways of handling conflict. While you should not be competitive, you should remain positive and look toward the future. Think about what you need to do to move past the disagreement. Avoid making personal attacks, but don’t let others attack you either. While you may feel dislike toward that person, try to focus on the issue and not the person you are disagreeing with. If you are angry, consider walking away for a few minutes instead of saying something or sending an email you will regret later. Once you have resolved the conflict, move past it, and avoid holding a grudge.

4. Look for Opportunities to Be a Leader

If you are good at what you do, you may be offered a chance to be the lead on a presentation or project. Or you might be asked to train new employees on what you do. Even if you lack confidence in your ability to do this, don’t turn it down. This is a great opportunity to show your managers and team what you can do. However, if you have not yet been given this opportunity, don’t sit around waiting for it either. There might be unsolved problems or unassigned projects that require someone to take the initiative to do them. Being a leader requires you to push yourself, but as you consistently take the initiative on these projects and problems, you will become the go-to person for these issues.

5. Connect with Other Women

It’s important to connect with other women in similar positions, especially if you are feeling alone. If you don’t have many female coworkers, consider joining women’s business associations. You can build your network and get connected, and there may be mentorship opportunities. You can join a large one if you want plenty of opportunities to make friends, or a small one if you prefer to make a few close connections.

6. Be Supportive of Other Women in Difficult Fields

Being ethical might seem obvious, but too often, the Golden Rule is not followed. Women are often harder on other women in leadership positions than men, and many women would rather have a male boss. However, just because you treat a female leader with respect and kindness does not mean you are weak. In fact, treating others ethically can make you feel happier, and of course, getting along with your managers will make you more productive at work. Supporting other women in positions you aspire to can lead to success for more women.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Go Out on Your Own

You may find a time in your career when you have advanced as far as you can at your current company. If you have a passion for an area and want to learn more about it, you might find going out on your own is the best way to do that. Starting your own company does take strong communication and a great deal of confidence, but this is one of the best times to be a female entrepreneur. Over the past several decades, more and more women have entered the workforce, and today, there are more female leaders than ever. Still, there is always more work to be done, and going out on your own might mean others look up to you someday.