Showing Up with Intent: Leadership in a Male-Dominated Industry

Written by:

Nicole Braley

I recently had the privilege of sitting on the NAPE Summit’s Women in Energy panel to discuss the challenges we face in the industry as women and as leaders. The discussion started by acknowledging that NAPE attendance itself is only 15% women. As we moved on to cover everything from “mansplaining” to what it feels like being the only woman in the room, there was a lot of conversation around mentoring, leadership, and embracing confidence.

Building a personal brand

Many women attending the discussion voiced concerns around not feeling heard in male-dominated meetings, even when they were in leadership positions. Some even questioned whether they could muster the confidence to continue. One of the keys to overcoming these obstacles is to build a personal brand that reflects your core values and projects leadership with intent.

Personal brand-building doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s a necessity to achieve a successful career ascent. How does it start? Self-reflection. By doing some serious introspection, you can focus on what it is you value and believe, and the effects those values and beliefs have on how you show up as a leader, how you lead your team, and what you stick to — the core principles you’ll come back to again and again as you interact with others. Self-reflection is a critical part of leadership. It takes energy to have intentionality and lead through what you value and believe.

Is mentorship for me?

As you progress through your career, you may seek out mentors — both men and women — to offer guidance and support. But at a certain level in your career, mentorship can become too formal, and transitioning to cultivating big relationships becomes much more important. What I mean by big relationships is building foundational, collaborative ties with other leaders. Although these relationships are more informal, they enable you to give and receive support among peers in the workplace, whether that’s when you need professional guidance or help achieving a project or initiative.

The process of co-creation in big relationships truly enables powerful, successful results. This comes from diversity of thought — different viewpoints and perspectives, including mainstream and underrepresented groups in the industry. It’s really a no-brainer that better outcomes result from more diverse talent and leadership, regardless of the workplace.

Showing up

At the end of the day, my job is to work for my team. My question to them every day is “What can I do for you?” or “What do you need from me?” This doesn’t mean I can’t be a tough manager — it means adopting a servant-leadership mentality that elevates the people I depend on to deliver on the goals and visions of the business.

In a recent blog on managing a crisis of confidence, I talked about how emotional intelligence is critical to assessing major events in the workplace, processing them internally, and showing up for your team with resilience. Without knowing who you are and what you stand for, it’s impossible to be effective when your team needs you most. Intentionality is key to effective leadership, and the more women can identify who they are, the more confidently they will lead — no matter who is in the room.

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