There’s been an interesting conversation circling around me lately on what women want in their work environment that is an indicator of support from men. With the #MeToo movement as well as the gender pay gap conversation shamefully still occurring, and the problem of like hires like, many organizations are looking at what do women want as support.
In May, my friend and business associate, Linda Holroyd, of fountainblue and the “When She Speaks” leadership events, hosted an interesting panel discussion entitled “Men Who Open Doors.” This event featured panelists who represented a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds, and a wide range of roles and organizations. These men get the importance of gender diversity and use their voices to not only support it, but to actively promote it.
Each one of the panelists consistently focused on sponsoring (mentoring on steroids where someone in power actively encourages and advocates for one’s success and helps remove obstacles) and supporting women in the workplace. In the conversation, they pointed to the business case for doing so. The benefits mentioned included:
- Increased diversity of thought from heterogeneous teams, which can lead to innovation;
- Improved decision-making abilities of diverse teams;
- Increased creativity and increased amount of different ideas presented when brainstorming and problem-solving;
- Improved productivity and morale;
- Greater likelihood of reflecting the customer base you serve and the local community.
Their collective advice to those who seek sponsors for their careers is:
- Be prepared to take advantage of opportunities which may arise.
- Be consistently confident, competent and courageous, regardless of whether or not you’re seeking a sponsor.
- Own what YOU can control – your experience, your results, your brand – while you’re waiting for the opportunity to be recognized by others.
- Be your authentic self. Don’t think that you have to change who you are to succeed. Find a way to succeed by being uniquely you.
- Make an informed and specific ask when the timing is right. Know who to ask for help, and why he/she is the best person to ask.
- Work together and help each other be successful – professionally and personally.
- When you’re given an opportunity, be diligent, hard-working, open and eager, and passionate about generating measurable results.
- Communicate openly and transparently and be worthy of the trust of others.
- Select the right mentor and/or sponsor for you, based on what you need at the time.
We all have the power to impact others around us and support their growth. Take the mindset that working with and for others benefits everyone.
Beyond all their great comments and show of support, these panelists each make the choice to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
This includes sponsoring women in the workplace.
Yes. These men know what women want.