Sisterhood In The Workplace

Women are by no means a monolith, yet there are fundamental experiences we share. While many of us have found success in the workplace, several barriers have historically hindered our progress. Discrepancies in the opportunities and salaries afforded to female employees in the corporate world continue to this day. 

That is precisely why the importance of women supporting women cannot be overstated. A strong network and a trusted community are critical in the workplace and in other aspects of our lives. Remember that alleged village it takes to raise a child? And a village can also foster the connections women need to empower each other and collectively rise to new heights. 

Networks are Nice! 

One of the most fundamental reasons women need to stick together to go farther is the invaluable power of a good network. In the working world, having the support of people who know people who know people can open doors that might otherwise be closed.

New jobs, promotions, lucrative projects, and impactful partnerships all come out of those basic relationship-building fundamentals. Access to like-minded professionals who have faced similar obstacles – both general and gender-specific – can comfort us and help us chart a path forward. 

When advice is freely exchanged and support is readily available, a warm sense of community grows, and the members of that community thrive. 

Gain a Mentor 

Beyond casual interactions, water cooler chats, and quick messages through Teams, you may need to go deeper into some of those relationships to get the most out of them. Especially for younger workers or those new to their careers, a mentor can offer a veritable treasure trove of insights and advice based on their experiences. 

Women lucky enough to find the right mentor who understands their unique challenges may find the relationship transformative. Ideally, the mentorship relationship goes beyond mere career guidance but covers personal development, connections, and overcoming obstacles. 

How do you gain the most value from your mentor? To do that, women must be open, curious, and willing to listen and learn. Be prepared with questions about career choices, negotiation skills, and workplace dynamics. You must share your short-term and long-term goals and be transparent about challenges, fears, and skills gaps. 

Most importantly, you must be prepared to consider your mentor’s advice and act accordingly as appropriate. 

Be a Mentor 

You’ve been at this for a few years (or a few decades!) Have you been giving back to others? Pay it forward If you had a fantastic mentor once upon a time. And if you didn’t have the guidance you wished you had, be the change you want to see in the workplace: step up for someone else. 

It is critical to share your knowledge and experience once you have ascended the corporate ladder. Mentors create a ripple effect that empowers others and helps them get farther faster. 

Being a good mentor entails honesty and the provision of constructive feedback. Your task is to encourage your mentee’s professional growth and boost their confidence by sharing lessons you learned the hard way. Most importantly, you’ll want to build trust and rapport so that the relationship becomes a safe space for your mentee to ask questions, seek advice, and gain valuable insight from someone “in the know.” 

Empowered women can inspire each other to strive for excellence, which benefits us all. We are inspiring our daughters and proving without a doubt that we are every bit as smart, capable, and resilient as our male counterparts. And equally deserving of promotions and pay raises. 

Women have needed a community of women for time immemorial. The workplace is no different. When our needs for community, sisterhood, mentorship, and network are met, we cannot fail. So let’s rise up – together!

Lisa L. Baker - Certified Personal, Career, Success and Life Coach

Lisa L. Baker is a professional life coach, career strategist, and keynote speaker. Lisa is the founder of Ascentim – a Maryland-based coaching practice that utilizes a unique G.R.O.W. process to help clients gain clarity, realize new possibilities, overcome obstacles, and win at life. Lisa shows high-performing professionals how to Level Up and Live the Life of Their Dreams.

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