- Starting with the WIIFM (what’s in it for men)
- Sharing their story with men
- Speaking up WITH him
- Practicing self-care
As we shared in our last post, we are thrilled that our new book, ONE: How Male Allies Partner with Women for Gender Equality, will be available early October! Our next three blogs will feature sneak peaks of the new book, with exclusive content from our research and interviews with successful women and male allies. For the next wave of gender equality, it is critical that men are involved in the movement.
This post will unpack the four key areas where male allies partner with women for gender equality are by:
- Channeling the women they empathize
- Asking for her HERstory
- Speaking up with her
- Doing the fair share
Channel the Women You Empathize
Think About What You Want for Your Daughter, Mother, or Spouse. Male allies shared incredible insights into the strong women in their lives that they cared about, and acted as a source of inspiration to transfer that care and compassion to other women. These men often were selfless in their gives of mentorship, sponsorship, or in how they managed women. They saw them as humans just like them, and did what anyone would do. They downplay their extraordinary efforts as ordinary, yet as I shared this with women, they responded that they wished there were more men like this. Male allies, although all around us, are more of a rare breed than they realize. Our belief is that these men see themselves as “normal” because they have channeled the strong women in their lives subconsciously, seeing the women they work with as extensions of their “normal” reality.
We are so excited to announce that our new book, ONE: How Male Allies Partner with Women for Gender Equality, will be available early October! Our next four posts will feature sneak peaks of the new book, with exclusive content from our research and interviews with successful women and male allies.
In working with successful men and women leaders throughout my career, and in my research, there is a clear and integral role for women helping one another, as well as the importance of men supporting women. We rarely recognize the “male allies” behind successful women, and this book is intended to help men and women understand the importance of “male allies,” and also to provide strategies, tools, and ideas for women and men to partner together for gender equality.
From our research, we believe that feminism failed to produce results because it was negatively perceived as “man haters” and left out 50% of the population in its cause. Now is the time to showcase examples of what good looks like, and the man’s role in creating positive change. As many of the male allies we interviewed said, it’s the small things that make a big difference. From everyday men in business, to men in academia, to executive women leaders, to bestselling authors, to Ted Talk speakers, we interviewed dozens of extraordinary men that have done ordinary, and extraordinary things to support women.
This is not a tug of war; it’s not a zero sum game. We all stand to benefit when we welcome men into the conversation about gender equality. We’re not going to solve this problem as women alone. We need the support of male allies to win together. And, as we found in our research, there are benefits for both women and men. It’s a win-win.
There are four key areas that we believe holistically represent what male allies do to support women and what women do to engage male allies. It truly is a collaboration across genders.
- Heart: How Men Channel the Women They Empathize, and How Women Start the Dialogue with the WIIFM
- Story: How Men Ask for HERStory, and How Women Share Their Story
- Speaking: How Men Speak up with Her, and How Women Speak Up with Him
- Work-Life: How Men Do the Fair Share, and How Women Practice Self-Care
We’ve been writing and sharing data that continuously supports that when organizations have more women in senior leadership positions and on corporate boards, performance increases. Yet, as organizations are initiating women’s groups, diversity officers, and inclusion initiatives, the numbers of women at the top continue to stagnate. In my research for our new book, ONE: How Men Partner with Women for Gender Equality, I found that strong women leaders often have access to sponsors and mentors, and many of them are men. These women leaders believe strongly in the purpose of their work, and the positive impact it has. We also found another pillar focused on coaching. Managers of strong women leaders coach them, provide real-time feedback and help her be her best possible self. They do not solve her problem for her, they help her self-discover her own plan forward.
To increase gender equality at the highest levels of organizations, we must engage women in other ways. In this post, you will learn proven strategies from our research that outlines these three pillars. To retain top female talent, leaders focus on:
- Improving access to sponsors and mentors
- Aligning their value and purpose with their work
- Coaching women to success
At our pivot points, women I coach often are asking, “what’s next?” I call this a pivotal journey. While the answers are often inside ourselves, we may not have the confidence, risk appetite, or belief that we even know what we want. In our last blog post, we shared the story of Ashli and her pivotal journey asking for what she wanted. This post features Carrie, and this story brings tears to my eyes every time I share it. It is another great example that illustrate that we do know what we want when we prioritize the time to reflect and give ourselves space to self-discover. Also, it is our choice to believe in ourselves and fuel our confidence to take the risk and make the change.
Similar to Ashli’s story from last time, Carrie was also at a cross roads personally and professionally. She took time to reflect on her true passions and purpose and renewed a love of running marathons. Once she knew what she wanted, she prioritized her passion. Here’s Carrie’s story…
Last week, we took a family road trip out to Yellowstone, something I have dreamed about doing since I was a little girl. It lived up to the hype. When you spend 10 days in a car with your family and drive more than 4,000 miles together across the country, you learn a lot about yourself as a human and a leader.
We tried new things like white water rafting and intense hiking down canyons and hot springs. My favorite experience was the zip line. I have a fear of heights, and while this was not my idea of fun, it was the family favorite.
Here is what I learned from this scary, yet successful experience:
Fear is a mindset. Terrified of heights, being up 100 feet in the air on a swaying platform is my worst nightmare. At first, I hugged the middle pole and gripped my harness tightly, fearing the worst. Yet, once I was able to look around and see the beautiful surroundings and my smiling family, I was able to release the fear. Most people fear public speaking. As a speaker, I have overcome that fear, yet heights continue to be my nemesis. Releasing the fear and embracing the positives is a choice. It is a mindset, even if just for a few hours. I could have chosen to be miserable and let fear take over. Instead, I parked the fear and chose to embrace the experience. While I am still not a fan of heights, this small win helped me understand the power I had within.
Early success and failure is good. Our first run was smooth and easy. I was able to get my feet wet and release the fear. I was proud of my semi-smooth landing and ability to relax and enjoy the views. The second run was not smooth. I actually missed the rope to pull myself back onto the platform and slid back along the wire into the valley, stopped hundreds of feet above the ground all by myself. Our guide had to tow me in. I was so happy to be on that shaky platform again. While it was important to have an early win, the early failure helped me more. It helped me realize that if that was the worst that could happen, I had nothing to fear. The early successes and failures helped me manage my emotions and build confidence in the subsequent runs.
New experiences broaden your thinking. I loved meeting people out West so different than those in the Midwest where I call home. Our guides lived in vans on the river all summer and entertained us with their wisdom and stories. When you put yourself out there and do something you have not done before, you stretch your mind and open yourself up to more new experiences longer term. I normally would have declined offers to do anything heights related, yet this experience will make me think the next time before saying no. Our brains are wired to routine thinking. By pushing ourselves to embrace new experiences, our brains create new pathways to other parts of our brains that enable better creative thinking and problem solving.
I got out of my comfort zone, and took some much deserved me time this summer. This investment in myself, my family, and my health will refuel my energy for the rest of 2017. And I need the energy. I am excited that we have a new book on #maleallies and #genderequality coming this fall, and we are thrilled at the lineup of amazing speaking engagements and workshops with #womeninleadership. If you have not taken some time off for yourself and/or family, do it. Women that #practiceselfcare are more successful. We have to fill our tanks first before we are able to fill the tanks of others around us.
At our pivot points, women I coach often are asking, “what’s next?” I call this a pivotal journey. While the answers are often inside ourselves, we may not have the confidence, risk appetite, or belief that we even know what we want. In our next two blog posts, I wanted to share everyday stories of women doing remarkable things. When these women shared these stories, it brought tears to my eyes. They are great examples that illustrate that we do know what we want when we prioritize the time to reflect and give ourselves space to self-discover. Also, it is our choice to believe in ourselves and fuel our confidence to take the risk and make the change.
In this story, Ashli took a risk and asked for what she wanted. Through our discussions, she took time to reflect on key questions:
- What are the tasks/goals that get you most excited? (will)
- What are the tasks/goals that you are doing on your very best days? (will)
- What are the tasks/goals that people continuously praise you for? (skill)
- What are the tasks/goals that you seem to be most effective at? (skill)
- Who are the people that are most important to you in your life? (skill/will)
Once she knew what she wanted, she was more confident in asking for it. Here’s Ashli’s story…
Research indicates that Millennials will be 75% of our workforce by 2025, and with this, organizations are struggling to engage top talent across generations. Often, with leaders I coach, they ask, “how can we change the millennials to be more motivated, and less entitled?” to which I respond, “they are far less likely to change for us; they are far more likely to change us.” There are so many wonderful traits this next generation brings to the workforce: a genuine passion for making a positive impact on the world, a desire to work to live rather than live to work, and an uncanny ability to find solutions to complex problems. Yet, there are some distinct behaviors and expectations that do not always align with organizational values and processes.
The Pew Research Center outlines generations by birth year range as follows:
- Millennials: 1981-1997
- Generation X: 1965 to 1980
- Baby Boomers: 1946 to 1964
Much attention has been placed on Baby Boomer and Millennial alignment, as they represent two ends of the spectrum, and have the most differences between them. However, Generation X is the next generation of leaders, and represents the majority of small business owners. They are a force to be reckoned with as well, yet often blend in with the Baby Boomers or identify with the Millennials as the pendulum swings. Humorously, at a conference I was at recently, the speaker talked about Generation X being overwhelmed by the Baby Boomers. Due to their sheer size, Baby Boomers made Generation X into mini Baby Boomers. Partially true, Generation X seems to be amicable and the most flexible to each of the other larger generations.
In order to effectively lead an organization today, leaders must inspire and engage across all generations. In this post, you will learn:
- Understanding how “coming of age” experiences shape generations
- Learning how to “flex” your leadership style to meet the needs of each generation
- Aligning cultural values consistent with generational expectations
So, I had this epiphany when I was a young adult. I was in college and it was freshman year, and it was my first time living away from home. My roommate, also one of my best friends from high school, and I were getting into our first argument. She informed me that, to my shock, “not everyone was like me.” I thank Amy for this assertive statement, and recall that memory fondly as a great moment of self-awareness.
My roommate, Amy, and I had completely different personalities. While we had so much in common in our passions and interests, we could not have been further apart on our communication styles. As a results-oriented, direct communicator, I could not believe Amy would need time process her thoughts before sharing, and often thought of the impact on others before thinking of herself. She’s the steady one; I am the bold one. Still to this day, our differences are felt, and I am thankful to have someone to balance me out that knows me so well, and accepts me for who I am, even if our priorities are completely different.
As my two-year anniversary of starting my own business passed, I took some time to reflect on what I learned. Having done the b-school thing, and the corporate gigs in a variety of industries and functional areas, the last two years have far surpassed any learning in the classroom or on the job.Being your own boss is hard. Giving yourself a day off, or a weekend for that matter, is a challenge. Dealing with the major swings in demand and revenue can be frustrating. Yet, I would not trade this experience for the world. It’s taught my daughters that women can do it anything they truly set their minds too, it’s made my relationship with my husband stronger (we now work together), share my passion with my family (my niece also supports the business), and it has helped me fuel my real calling for women’s leadership.
I get to go to work now, I no longer have to go.
I meet countless people that think that they want to start their own businesses, and they often believe it is not possible. If you are one of those people with a great idea, but lacking the courage to make it happen, then this blog is for you. The frequently asked questions here are a culmination of what I am asked most often in one-on-one discussions with clients and aspiring entrepreneurs.