There seems to be a shining light on women at the moment. There is an exponential amount of marketing targeted at women around diversity, equity, gender and bias in the workplace, leadership journey’s and how to juggle and let go of stress.
There is no shortage of women’s groups, tribes and communities who seek to offer support for other women. The media can portray this to be just a male driven problem but in my observations and experience, some of the worst behaviour is by women towards other women.
I want to know why with all this online and offline focus, is that women don’t actually support other women in business enough?
As I have developed my practice and gained more profile, I have been astounded to see how other women react negatively. I have had two instances recently where other women’s behaviour has made me stop and ask the question Why? Both examples were driven by personal agendas and were actually quite nasty and emotionally draining.
I wanted to substantiate my experience so I asked other people who I knew to see if they too had any similar experiences. I was surprised to see that this actually seems to happen quite a lot but women just either brush it off as a side comment or isolate themselves from that particular woman. If this is a business relationship it can become incredibly stressful. They use the deflection of “Never mind. It doesn’t mean anything.” But here’s the thing it actually does. And it’s unnecessary.
Here’s what I do when I see this behaviour play out now. I used to say Karma: The big hand always comes to the 12. Now it’s a simple: “I understand why you are behaving like this. I get it. And I have compassion for you. I hope you get the chance to see what you are doing and why so you can choose to take behavioural action to lose the resentment, the fear and jealously.” All these feelings are wasted emotions. They harbour dysfunctional energy and create a negative result usually with ourselves continuing to be unhappy and others continuing to succeed.
The world is an interesting place right now, surely the right connections and more meaningly support would be a great place to start.
I’ve taken a stand this year to step up and speak up about the topics that we sweep under the carpet. I want to create change through action at an individual, organisation and community level because when we do this together, the paradigm will shift and real change will occur.
I read an interesting article on linked in this morning by Shane Snow who went through a really, really bad time. He noted that ” the best way to make progress when the going gets tough is with each other. And as Grant and Sandberg write in the final line of their book: “By coming together and supporting one another, we can bounce forward and find joy again.”
So next time you see or hear another women, colleague, peer or friend doing something courageous or taking action to be the best they can be, embrace them and tell them how much THEY inspire You. I did this exercise recently and I was felt so fulfilled to write how people in my life inspired me. I promise you it will feel so good.
But only do it if you really truly mean what you say. Other wise say nothing. As I say regularly to my children” If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.”
It is time to take action to support each other.