Six Thoughts on Debunking the Steve Rule

Next month’s Code PaLOUsa 2014 will see me having a couple of roles.  One of those is as a contributor to the ”Debunking the Steve Rule” panel.  What, you might ask, is the “Steve Rule?”  It is this:  at any given conference for software developers, there are usually more men named Steve than there are women.  In imaging for myself what the women in the software industry must be facing, I am reminded of my own experience in the male-dominated IT, Automotive and Diversified Manufacturing and Financial Services worlds.    No doubt, we trailblazing women have a lot to learn from and share with each other.

Here are six thoughts on how to discredit the Steve Rule:

  1. Be in it for real.  If you love what you’re doing, stick with it.  Do it authentically, not trying to impress, or show-off to, anyone.
  2. Let your confidence speak for itself.  When you believe in what you do, you don’t need to compare your work, apologize or second-guess yourself.  Do the great job you know you are capable of and let the rest go.
  3. Notice what mood  you are in.  How well is it serving you?  For example, cynicism and distrust will likely not win you any favors.  Better to move on to something else.
  4. Choose a mood that will help you be more effective.  Curiosity, ambition, support:  these tend to attract healthier interactions with people.
  5. Build relationships.  Like it or not, relationships = results.  We must develop close ties with people at all levels and roles in the organization.  Be genuine as you do so.
  6. See conflicts as opportunities for growth.  The Chinese brush stroke for conflict can be translated into the words danger and opportunity.  While often uncomfortable, conflicts – when worked out appropriately – can be the bridges toward understanding others better and allowing them in to the way you tick, too. This is one way that connections can be strengthened.

Women of male-dominated fields, have no fear.  Together we can accomplish a lot more than we can alone.  I look forward to learning from all of you.

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