Welcome to April – that time of year when the world is emerging from the dreary winter days and things begin coming alive once again. This month, we will “spring forward” with our clocks, launching into Daylight Savings Time. We’ve also just wrapped up another amazing Women’s History Month. While we spend time celebrating the amazing accomplishments of women throughout history, it is also a timely reminder that it is our job to help women “spring forward” in their careers as well, breaking through the many barriers that sometimes come before us and realizing their full potential.
If you’re looking for a few ideas for simple but impactful ways to uplift the women in your workplace this month, here are a few tips to consider:
1. – Mentor or sponsor other women
Mentorship and sponsorship have long been seen as keys to success for many individuals, yet many women are left out of these circles. Because these relationships can be the catalysts for opening doors and elevating women to pursue new opportunities, it is important to intentionally seek them out.
Whether you are a new professional who is just getting started in your career, or a seasoned leader with years of experience to fall back on, your input is vital to inspiring the growth of those around you. Seek out opportunities to advocate for the women on your team, show up for them where you can, and offer your guidance and input as they navigate their paths forward.
2. – Give women direct, constructive feedback
Often in the workplace, women receive less (or less helpful) feedback from those around them. This may be due to a desire to preserve their feelings or “handle” them with care. Whatever the reason, not receiving direct and specific constructive feedback can inhibit the growth of even the most promising individuals. We can’t address what we don’t know is wrong, right?
Make it a point to provide direct, constructive feedback to the women you are working with. Help them home in on where their weak spots are and congratulate them on the things that they do well. Having an understanding of where they can improve is the first step in getting better results for them (and for their teams).
3. – Make sure women’s ideas are heard
Typically speaking, men get more “air time” in meetings and discussions than their female counterparts. This happens for a number of reasons, but the end result is the same: women stay quiet, and their status as a leader in the workplace tends to suffer as a result. To combat this, you can set an example by choosing to sit front and center for meetings in which you are present, and you can recognize when other women are speaking. Simply adding an encouraging, “Great idea!” comment to back up a colleague’s contribution or interjecting when you see that a female coworker is being spoken over not only emboldens the woman speaking, but also sets the tone that her voice is relevant and should be considered by the whole group.
For more information on ways that you can support the women in your workplace this month, please feel free to check out the wonderful article, “6 Ways that Women Can Champion Each Other at Work” from Lean In that served as a reference for this note.
Whether or not you identify as a woman, these insightful tips can provide actionable examples for how we can all be better advocates for making room at the table for the women in our work lives.