According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, women who have a close-knit support system made up of other women are far more likely to have success in their careers. So, how can we support our female colleagues?
Women need to be reaching out and supporting each other - not only in our personal lives - but in the workplace too. Of course, this is easier said than done. As a women’s leadership and performance coach, my aim is to encourage women to craft their own templates and models for leading and influencing. This is a vital development which can be enabled through building strong support systems.
Four ways to support your female coworkers
Be a mentor
Reach out to women in junior positions and help them value their own capabilities. Help them by demonstrating the possibilities of what they can create, what their successful future might look like and how to build their visibility. Assist them with articulating and executing their own vision – it can be hugely rewarding to watch them flourish.
Help them to claim their ‘I’
Women often step back from taking ownership of their achievements. All too often we will put our achievements down to a ‘we’ although in reality, we - as individuals - deserve the credit. If you notice other women (or even yourself) doing this, give them the credit they deserve. This sets an example for other women to do the same.
Applauding your women colleagues when they show passion, feeling and emotion when it matters... encourages other women to drop their corporate masks and do the same
Initiate coffee or lunch
Starting in a new office can be an anxious time – especially for junior women if the majority of staff are men. Why not initiate coffee or lunch to any new members of the team? It’s a great opportunity to share a personal story to show who you are outside of the organisation. Invite them to do the same and create connections and trust, which will help to build a network with your female colleagues.
Show your emotion
Many women report anxiety about showing too much emotion in the workplace. Applauding your women colleagues when they show passion, feeling and emotion when it matters, for instance, when giving presentations, talks or pitches, encourages other women to drop their corporate masks and do the same. Help to role model courageous authenticity.
As well as reaching out to other women to build your network, you might also want to work with a coach to give your career a boost. Working with a coach is creative, empowering, strategic and inspiring.
As a working relationship and dialogue, coaching offers a protected time for exploration, discovery and action. This is the space in which, guided by your coach, you can create the best version of your career story, your clearest vision of your aspirations and your personal brand of strengths, qualities and passions, and how to leverage them.
Dr Diana Theodores is an executive performance coach, speaker and Director of Theatre4Business. Her new book Performing As You: How to have authentic impact in every role you play is out now.
To learn more and to find a coach near you, visit Life Coach Directory.