One of the primary indicators of team success is that team members are able to communicate well with each other. Without a discussion of diverse ideas, and an uncritical or non-judgmental brainstorming process, teams do less well. Women can contribute to that success by simply doing what most women are good at: listening carefully, encouraging others to speak up, and enabling everyone to be included.
It can be difficult, if you are the lone woman in an all male team, to be heard or even taken seriously. But it is official. Your team does better with you on it. Take a moment and relish the thought. Whether your team knows it or not, they are much better off to have you with them.
A Woman Can Make a Team Successful
A recent article, The Secret to Smart Groups: It’s Women, in The Atlantic explains that teams who have a women member are more successful than teams that are all male. So instead of feeling out numbered, think instead that you have a vital role to play and one that the other team members aren’t as good at as you are. Empathy, trying to understand another’s point-of-view, listening carefully before speaking up – these are attributes you have been honing most of your life. Because your life experiences are different from the men on the team, your contribution will be uniquely your own. Diversity of opinion is another indicator of team success. Your opinion will certainly be unique.
It is true that women are often ignored by men or, even worse, man-splained. But it is critical to success to be heard, to have an opinion acknowledged. It is well documented that women are reluctant, even fearful, of speaking out. One of the payoffs for participating in your team discussions is that that fear of speaking up is gently masked in another function that feels much more comfortable: helping others to function well.
Of course, it is our hope that by working as a facilitator and helper, your own courage for expressing yourself and your ideas will grow. For without the contributions you can make, you and your team will suffer. You have great ideas and keeping them to yourself does not anyone benefit.
Get Presenter Updates
Keep up to date with our FREE monthly newsletter.