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New Year, renewed you.. to take back your power and Thrive!

TrustWorki recently ran our 'Take Back Your Power’ taster workshop with the mission of building awareness for women that they are not alone; there are many shared obstacles related to gender. We surfaced the barrier of systemic bias that women often contend with in the workplace, sharing strategies to overcome barriers to thrive, and bringing women together to support one another! A powerful theme of the workshop was that in a world, where women support women (and ideally where male allies elevate women), there is a collective strength which leads to a powerful network of support and encouragement. Together we amplify each other’s voices and foster a community of mutual support and shared success, where there is equity in advancement.

It's not you – it’s the system

This workshop was not about ‘fixing women’. The system was not built for women. The nine to five, five-day week was built around men’s circadian rhythms rather than women’s cycles. Women are too often advised to be more confident and given advice which translates to being more like men in the workplace. The Simone de Beauvoir quote comes to mind “Her wings are cut, and then she is blamed for not knowing how to fly.” We need to create the space for everyone to show up as their best selves, Mary Ann Sieghart in her book ‘The Authority Gap’ clearly demonstrates the Confidence v Competence challenge for women. Women are less likely to self-promote. If they do, it reduces their likeability. Women need to temper competence with likeability. In studies where the same CV (resume) is submitted to open roles, the one with a male name typically receives more engagement and higher offers compared to the female sounding names.

Playing Small

Women are socialised to not upset the apple cart, to be liked, to conform. For this reason we prefer to use ‘women’ instead of ‘ladies’ as this word infers an expectation of being ‘ladylike’. Cambridge Dictionary defines ladylike as: ‘gracefulpolite, and behaving in a way that is thought to be socially acceptable for a woman’. This constant concern with how we are seen and judged can stop women from playing big.  This HBR article on ‘The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why’, talks about how women are likely to downplay their certainty; men are likely to minimize their doubts. Men and women are likely to have different ways of talking about their accomplishments because of the different ways in which they were socialized as children. We love Cindy Gallop’s advice in decision making to ask WWSWGD – What would a straight white guy do? What would Chad do?

Actions for workplace leaders

What can your organisation do to support women’s voices being amplified?

Often education is the key to unlocking awareness and understanding. When employees, regardless of gender, are provided with the tools, skills and knowledge, it can unleash a thriving team dynamic and performance for all. Similarly, for women in the workplace, building out their toolkit can empower them to take own their power and thrive. When everyone thrives, workplaces win.

Your personal board

‘Men go broad; women go deep’. Our key objective with this workshop is to bring women together and to expand their network. Building our personal board is a helpful concept to consider, i.e., intentionally building a diverse group of people who will support your success yet hold you accountable too. As we launched TrustWorki as a business, we appreciated greatly our many contacts who supported us, with advice, shared their experience and were invested in our success. While it may be comforting to surround yourself with people who are like you and will tell you that you are right, this runs the risk of creating an echo chamber and a comfort zone. Building a group of trusted people who will help you to think differently, create accountability, safely open up space for challenge and alternative perspectives, will serve you better in the long run and in return, you can reverse mentor back too – growth and learning for all involved.

Stepping into your power

As this was a short one-hour workshop, we touched on the first five of ten steps we can take to own our power. Some of the key concepts we discussed included the power of language, celebrating ‘wins’, surfacing inequity, the importance of reflecting on where your energy is going, and building our personal brand.

Knowing it not the same as doing

We all know things that we don’t put into action, such as exercising and eating more healthily. To help us be successful, we can articulate our goals clearly to an accountability partner, along with proposed timelines. The accountability partner doesn’t need to be an expert in what we are trying to achieve. In fact, sometimes it is helpful if they are not, as they may ask us some good questions to help us surface what might get in the way. How will we know we are successful? Considering the outcome we want to achieve, rather than just the action we will take, can be helpful. It is worth reminding ourselves that we can do hard things!

Angela who attended our workshop shared this feedback on the value of the session!

Over to you, will you take your power back or can you empower your team to?

If this sounds like a workshop that would be of interest to you personally, for your team, for an ERG (Employee Resource Group) you are part of, or within your company, feel free to get in touch with us! Together, lets empower all employees to equitably take back their power and thrive.

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