Tips on How Working Moms Can Empower Other Women in the Workplace
In celebration of this year’s upcoming Mother’s Day, SuccessStory will be featuring posts throughout this week related to celebrating the power of successful working mothers everywhere. Today, this article outlines how working moms can help empower their female colleagues at work so they can succeed not just as individuals, but as a united group of goal-driven women. Watch this space for more of our Mother’s Day 2017 coverage.
You might be familiar with the saying which states that behind every great man is a great woman, and for the most part, this adage holds some considerable degree of veracity. But what’s even more impressive is the fact that the aforementioned statement doesn’t go the same way if the roles were switched. That’s because there’s no great man standing behind a great woman because a woman’s work and accomplishments aren’t the result of a man’s assistance but through her own merits and independence.
This is especially true now that we’re living in a time when so many women everywhere are holding positions of power in various fields and who are just as capable as their male counterparts when it comes to making important decisions and leading those who follow in their footsteps. But even with such leaps and bounds, society still has a long way to go in order for women to truly shatter the glass ceiling that is preventing them from reaching the heights of men in power.
There’s no denying that there’s an unspoken competition between men and women when it comes to jockeying for the best positions in the workplace. This is not surprising given that women have always actively fought for equal standing and respect to be considered just as good as men. But what is surprising, though, is how women are also competing with other women in order to ensure that their personal interests are being served first before that of others. Given that the standard ratio between men and women in typical workspaces skewers slightly more towards males, women really shouldn’t be putting their female peers down just so they could rise to the top.
In fact, they’d be better off presenting a united front and making sure that all of them are able to achieve their goals and be supportive of each other in the process. And working mothers are the best torchbearers for this progressive movement because they understand the difficulties of the challenges being presented to career women and what they need to do in order to resolve their problems.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that working women without kids don’t experience the same struggles compared to working mothers; females in general undergo the same obstacles and trials that hinder them from pushing past their full potential at work. But given that working moms aren’t just holding down their careers but also doing whatever they can to support their families, they’re in a much better position to help their female colleagues to learn and discover the ways on how to succeed in a predominantly male workspace.
And if you’re a working mom eager to embody a mentorship role to someone who needs your wisdom and expertise, then you’re in luck! Previously, we featured an article where you learned about the ways to balance your work and home life as a working mom. This time around, we’ll let you in on the secrets to become the best mentor you can be to your female coworkers so that they’ll feel supported and empowered by your guidance. Look to the details listed below for more helpful information on this subject.
Educate them on institutionalized biases
As a mother, you are responsible for teaching your children about what is right and what is wrong in the world that we live in. This same principle applies when you are trying to mentor your female coworkers, particularly on institutionalized biases such as sexism and racism in the workplace. Even though most people are now more sensitive to the socio-political injustices happening around us, there are still instances where companies or businesses are not aware that they are preventing both men and women from attaining their career goals because of their racial background or their gender preferences. This is something that you have to actively work against because any type of bias—particularly those that are treated casually as normal—is completely unacceptable in any situation, let alone in a professional business setting.
It’s important for you to teach your coworkers that they should exhibit greater compassion to others and to not quickly judge others based simply on their religious beliefs, how they look, or whether their opinions are different from yours. Instill a motherly approach to your conversations about workplace biases because being too aggressive will come off as overly preachy and women don’t like it when others force them to listen to what they have to say. Give them the freedom and agency to make their own decisions after you impart your enlightening words of wisdom upon them.
Exhibit best practices for them to apply
If you know that there’s a female coworker who is relatively new to your workplace, then you must take it upon yourself to be proactive and take that woman under your protective wings, so to speak. It’s one thing to be warm, friendly, and approachable during a casual conversation with a newcomer, and its another thing entirely for them to see whether you walk the talk. By this, we mean that in order for you to gain a newcomer’s trust, you must display the best practices that are strictly enforced within your office. It will definitely give you a bad impression if that new female colleague sees you breaking the rules after having a conversation with you about how employees should always follow company guidelines.
Not only will this situation turn you into a hypocrite, but you’ve also lost a potential ally who could very well be a valuable part of your workplace sisterhood support network. However, if they see that you’re a model employee while also being a sincere and genuine person with no hidden agendas, then you’ll certainly have no problems making new friends and being a source of guidance if newbies need your help in solving problems. When in doubt, always make sure to stick to the rule book so that your integrity won’t be under scrutiny.
Promote their work to higher management
Mothers are known for being selfless individuals and this isn’t just something you can do to your family members; your selfless attitude can also extend to your female coworkers, as well. If you happen to hold a senior position in the company you are working for, then you could use it as an opportunity to help promote your junior colleagues to rise up the ranks. There are frustrating times when someone whom you know deserves to be promoted because of her dedication and hard work is often overlooked in favor of someone else who is less qualified. Do not stand for this kind of professional injustice and ensure that your colleague deserves the spotlight that she rightfully earns. Wield your supervisory or managerial position to make sure that any hardworking woman under your supervision will be noticed by your superiors.
A good way to do it is to drop their names during casual conversations with higher management about who you think are the top performers from your team. Try to be subtle with your promotion since being too enthusiastic about it will make your bosses think that you’re merely playing favorites. It will be beneficial to your worthy female colleagues that they are presented as well-rounded individuals who may have their shortcomings, but have more than enough strengths to compensate for their flaws.
Always be constructive with your criticism
Humans are prone to make mistakes, and women are no exception to this fact. Even working moms such as yourself aren’t perfect and may often stumble once in a while, so don’t be too harsh with your criticism if you see that a female colleague of yours has committed an error at work. Think about how you would enforce constructive criticism or discipline upon your own children at home and do the same thing at work with your coworkers. This approach works better because they are more responsive to a gentler form of course correction rather than something hard and cold. Have a private meeting with your coworker and be direct to the point about the situation in order to lessen the awkward tension brewing in the air.
It’s essential to show your empathetic side to this conversation because you don’t want to make your colleague feel like she’s being belittled for her mistake. Another thing that you have to remember is to express your disappointment with finesse and control since overdoing it will add an excess amount of guilt and self-doubt to your colleague’s already fragile emotional state. The majority of your discussion should focus largely on your colleague’s plan of action to ensure that her mistake won’t be repeated in the future. As one of her guiding mentors, you should take this responsibility seriously since you want your coworker to succeed and learn valuable lessons from her mistakes. Use these situations as teachable moments where you could point your protegee in the right direction.
Teach them not to see men as the enemy
Perhaps the most important lesson you could ever give to your female colleagues is to let them understand that they should not view men as rivals. Women will be no better than men if they would decide to act all arrogant and condescending if they hold positions of power within a company, so you must educate them that this is not the right way to go. The point of feminism is that an individual should believe that equality should be applicable for everyone, regardless of their sex. And while there may be more men than women who hold leadership positions in many businesses, this is still not a valid reason for females to rail against the opposite sex.
Furthermore, more and more males are actively working to ensure that women are being treated fairly in the workplace, especially with issues that involve equal pay and sexual harrassment, which are situations that resonate the most with women. Your coworkers will be more inclined to follow your lead if they see that you have a healthy, stable, and cordial working relationship with the male employees of your workspace. How you interact with the men in your office is a reflection of your teachings, so don’t give your female colleagues any reason to doubt your advice. On the flipside, you could also use this opportunity to reach out to your male coworkers and let them know that they should do their part to guarantee that the workplace should be an environment where everyone can coexist in harmony.
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