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Sharon Taylor | Self-confidence | Managing older men

Do you have the self-confidence to be a manager in a male dominated industry? Sharon tells her story of coping with put-downs and building respect.

My work involves being an IP (Internet Protocol) service assurance manager, in Adelaide, South Australia. I am the leader of an IT team of 26 people in the IT industry, many of whom are older men.

Do I ever get problems managing men? Yes!

One of them said to me once, "I get bossed around at home, I am not going to get bossed at work by a woman."

I am Australian, of English/Irish descent and 44 years old.

I have overcome a loss of confidence by re-thinking my career goals and strategies.

What has helped me build my confidence is taking a risk, doing things that are out of my comfort zone, and in most cases finding that the situation isn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it was going to be.

My self-confidence increased when I became a manager, eight years ago, of a much smaller all male team. I became a manager there after being an IT operator. I gained respect and self-confidence and so when this job came I applied.

It’s good to be confident because it reflects in my appearance (posture, facial expressions etc.) and my performance, and it helps me to continue to grow, learn, and achieve.

I stay confident by believing in my abilities and striving to learn and improve to achieve my goals.

Add your comments to our blog "Men scared by women with confidence".

Build confidence negotiating with men: "Confidence skills win negotiations with deadpan males".

Reader Comments (15)

I'd love to know what you said to the man who said he wasn't going to be bossed around by a woman. Does that mean he would be happy to be bossed around by a man?

Wed 4 Nov, 09 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterFran Yeoh
Great to read your story and have it on the website Sharon. I was thinking about what I'd have said back to "I get bossed around at home, I am not going to get bossed at work by a woman."

Would it be snide, "If you do your work you won't get bossed around".
Or a funny, "Well you'll be used to it then!"
Or "Don't worry, I'll just sit in the corner and knit!"

Let's have a competition for the best response. Winner gets a free Confident Woman T-Shirt. Write your comments below and if you include your email address you'll be in with a chance for a free T-shirt: http://www.confident-woman.com.au/t-shirts/
Wed 4 Nov, 09 at 9:16 PM | Registered CommenterRachel Green
My husband came home the other day to tell me how frustrated he was at work. He works in IT, he is a technician at a computer store. The other men told him that they were going to hire a new salesperson. They said that they were going to hire a new girl and they didn't know if they could work with a GIRL. My husband looked at them and asked if the new hire was 8 years old? They look back puzzled. My wonderful husband said, you are hiring a woman NOT a girl. Get over yourselves and grow up!

I am very proud of him. Women have a hard time in certain sectors of work, I am happy that my husband is wiling to work towards women being welcome into the IT workforce. In fact, he sees it as his duty because he doesn't want to see our daughter being treated poorly because of her being a woman.
Wed 4 Nov, 09 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterKendra
Ooooh! I would have loved you to say... "you don't need to worry your pretty little head about being bossed around by me at work, you just need to be worried when it's THAT time of the month"

After that quip, I just want to say that I am married to a man who is convinced that sexism is all in my head :)
Thu 5 Nov, 09 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterSarah Cottman
My response to the guy who doesn't like women bosses - nothing at the time as I was a bit taken aback but fortunately he hasn't said any more, maybe it was just the initial fright, or maybe it's because I'm bigger than he is!
Thu 5 Nov, 09 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSharon Taylor
How about " You seem to be telling me you accept being bossed by your partner, but you object to being bossed by your boss...hmmm....I'm not sure I follow the logic of that position. Maybe you need to give it further thought?"
Thu 5 Nov, 09 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterIrene
Hi "Girls"!
If you are entering the competition please give your email address otherwise I can't contact you if you win the prize ... I'd hate you to miss out!
Blessings Rachel.
Thu 5 Nov, 09 at 9:39 PM | Registered CommenterRachel Green
"Your wife should try paying you."
Fri 6 Nov, 09 at 7:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterCatherine
I guess I wuuld sit down with the men and ask them how they would like you to run the show - put cards on table and see how you can all work together.

I have lobblied GYNs - now thats a male orientated busines - so what I have learnt is just to keep chipping away, be nice to all, keep chipping away and keep on keeping on being strong.

Not sure how else to help with this one.

Good luck with it all anyway.

Regards kath
Fri 6 Nov, 09 at 8:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterKath Mazzella
I have worked in the mining industry for 23 years working on mobile mining equipment as a diesel mechanic, so I have had my fair share of put downs over the years.
About 10 years ago, the company conducted medical examinations to monitor all their employees health. after having my examination I went back to the workshop and while we were all washing our hands for lunch the workshop loudmouth asked me in front of about 10 blokes if I had had my testicles checked, to which I replied; 'the Doctor said mine were the only ones he had found so far'!
He didnt even reply as everyone was laughing at him too much.
Fri 6 Nov, 09 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterTracy Newington
I think this is hilarious! Self-confidence in action minus self-doubt!
Sun 8 Nov, 09 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterRachel Green
"Bossy? In what way? It would really help me if you were more specific"
Tue 10 Nov, 09 at 7:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris
Oh you poor thing! Bossing suggests an autocratic management style. Here, I prefer a participatory approach.....we can talk about it if you like! (Said with huge smile/laugh).
Tue 10 Nov, 09 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterSylvia
Was that your resignation?
Tue 10 Nov, 09 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Moylett
Well done and thank you to all of you for your comments and entries ... some great comments and it is hard to pick the winners - so I am going to award two prizes this time and run more competitions in future as they are clearly popular!

The winner of a FREE Confident Women T-shirt is Alex Moylett - email admin@confident-woman.com.au with the size of T-shirt you want Alex and your address to mail it to. Remember the T-shirts are small fitting so if in doubt pick the larger size. Go here to see the size options: http://www.confident-woman.com.au/t-shirts/

The other FREE Confident Women T-shirt is awarded to the writer of the great story as a woman in the mining industry - Tracy Newington. Wearing your t-shirt to your next medical could be fun! Please email admin@confident-woman.com.au with the size of T-shirt you want and your address to mail it to. Remember the T-shirts are small fitting so if in doubt pick the larger size. Go here to see the size options: http://www.confident-woman.com.au/t-shirts/

Thanks to the rest of you - if you want a T-shirt too you can get them here: http://www.confident-woman.com.au/t-shirts/

The competition is now closed.

Keep on shining!
Rachel Green.
Sat 14 Nov, 09 at 6:44 PM | Registered CommenterRachel Green

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