Women as leaders in male-dominated sectors

This month I celebrate 10 years Shell and 24 years of my career in male dominated Energy, Technology, Petrochemicals and Engineering sectors. All my career I worked with 99.9% male colleagues.

Many young ladies ask me on how to work in a such gender unbalanced environment and yet enjoy progressing your career? Here are my personal, experience- based little nuggets.


To be a successful and fulfilled female leader in a male-dominated team, it is important to realise that men and women have different psychology and mindset.

If you fail to understand this, there is a tendency to deceive yourself and start imitating male behavior, as it is dominant in your environment.

In any situation, remain true to your feminine nature and yourself. However, this does not mean that you should be weak!

Here are some rules of behavior in a highly dominant male team:

✅ Do not change your feminine nature to succeed. Strong leadership does not mean suppressing your femininity.

✅ Do not become a victim of the circumstances, step back and reflect, if something does not work, the way you expect! Strive for independence. Solve problems with confidence and without fear of difficulties.

✅ Show confidence in yourself and your decisions, by respecting yourself and others around you – it is a key attribute of a successful leader. Do not hesitate to express your opinion!

✅ Your competences, skills, technical capabilities and reliability should be impeccable, be good at what you do! This will help you earn the respect of your colleagues.

✅ Always strive for self-improvement and learning. This will help you remain relevant and successful as a leader.

The role of a female leader may be challenging, but it becomes quite achievable when you understand how men think.