As a female exhibit manager, how do I earn respect in what kind of feels like an old-boys club at my workplace?
Many times, when I've studied groups where members were at a disadvantage in some way, I've found that if these individuals let their performance and actions speak for themselves, they were more quickly accepted. That's very easy to say, but can be much harder to do, of course. So I suggest a few basic steps that should pave the way for you.
First, make a point of interacting, formally and informally, with your co-workers as often as possible. This can include everything from official meetings to impromptu coffee runs. By becoming a frequent presence in these ways, you create opportunities for favorable interactions.
Second, in these formal meetings or casual get-togethers, let your education and knowledge do the talking. For example, when you make contributions to a discussion, speak directly from your experience. Try something like: "Well, in the 15 years I've worked in the industry, here's what I learned about that... ," or "I have seen that happen a few times in my career, and here's how we solved it..."
Last, ask others for their advice about what they might do in a given situation. This suggests to them the humility and eagerness to learn the corporate culture that most successful newcomers must exhibit. By following these steps, and with a little time, you'll be accepted as a bona fide member of the proverbial club.
, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org