Author: Juliet Schuler, SVP International, Global Head of Client Success
During Women’s History Month, we reflect on all of the obstacles females have had to overcome throughout history to give us the opportunities we have today – both in the workplace and out.
As we continue to march forward, we must continue to reflect on the work we need to do everyday, ensuring that we are mentoring the next generation to shatter glass ceilings and raise equality standards. It is well known that the more we empower top talent, the more we can power inspiration and confidence in the workplace, establishing a workforce that does great things together.
But how do we define “empowerment”? While “empowerment” has become a mainstay buzzword in the workplace, what does it actually mean to give female colleagues the power or authority to do something, or give them more control over their own life or the situation they are in?
Here are actionable ways in which you can take to make female peers feel heard, confident, help grow their careers, and empower them to take risks and actions every day in the workforce:
Nurture an open, positive and collaborative work environment.
Everyone, at every level of seniority, has different and valuable experiences to contribute. Encourage collaboration and idea generation across teams and actively ask for people’s points of view to inform decision making. Be open to new ideas and different approaches and recognize them. Simply recognizing contributions and new ways of thinking can go a long way towards establishing an open environment. Try saying things like, “that’s a good idea,” “yes, let’s do that,”or “I hadn’t thought about it that way, I agree that’s a better approach.” This does not mean you cannot give feedback when things are not right; in fact, this is essential to developing talent. Recognizing your own mistakes fosters an environment of accountability and ownership for both the successes and failures.
Define what success looks like and set clear expectations.
Being clear about desired outcomes empowers each individual to achieve end goals uniquely; through this direction, they will also learn a lot more through their journeys. Be sure to include key milestones based upon seniority, established trust, and credibility. Giving transparent, honest and constructive feedback along the way is crucially important, highlighting both the positives as well as areas of improvement.
Listen with intent to understand.
Asking questions is one of the most effective ways to offer guidance without being prescriptive. It also gives you a deeper understanding of different perspectives- why decisions are made and the approaches taken. Try asking questions like “what are your thoughts on…” or “help me understand why you see it that way, or talk me through your approach.” Giving a simple playback of what you heard is a helpful way of ensuring you understood correctly.
Nurture talent and celebrate successes.
Recognition and encouragement drives confidence and repeatable desirable behavior. Celebrate all successes – not just the big wins but also everyday progress and achievements. Also most will look to develop skill sets that come naturally to them, when you guide talent to areas that are not in their comfort zone but you see potential, it allows them to stretch their skills in ways they never saw as possible.
Create a dynamic spirit.
At Zeta, we believe in employees treating the business as if it is their own; this creates a real sense of “doing the right thing”. This mindset empowers employees to constantly think with a fresh perspective and reinvent themselves. We foster a deep entrepreneurial spirit and encourage teams to come up with new ideas, if there is a business case, we’ll test it. Making things happen together, that’s rewarding.