- Starting with the WIIFM (what’s in it for men)
- Sharing their story with men
- Speaking up WITH him
- Practicing self-care
It’s Not a Zero Sum Game. With more women in leadership roles and making equal pay for equal work, there are many known benefits for men. Rather than looking at this as a traditional win-lose mentality, research shows that men stand to benefit just as much as women. Organizations with gender diverse teams make better decisions, are far more innovative, and retain top talent. Women that are passionate about their careers and taking them to the next level, need to be armed with this data and remind men carefully that the pie actually gets bigger when we work together, rather than against one another. There is nothing to fear, women at the table is a really good thing for the team, and results.
Give Men the Chance to Give. Throughout our research, women admitted to personal struggles with allowing others to care for them. Partly primal and through gender socialization, there are good reasons to support this behavior, yet for women to help others, they must first help themselves. Women often feel selfish when they allow others to help them. Reminding ourselves that others want to give to us, especially men, is important. Give them the chance to give to you. It’s not weakness, it is a sign of strength to open up, share your story, and accept mentorship, sponsorship, advice, or connection, whatever it is that he wants to give to you.
Share Your Story
Know Your Why. Women that know what they want, win. Often women struggle to share their story, assuming others around them already know, or will ask them if they want to learn more. This is a common mistake – people do not know what we know. We assume that our thoughts or beliefs are somehow magically transmitted to those who can support us. Not true. We wait for someone to tap us on the shoulder and ask us what we want. Instead, proactive communication is key. When we proactively communicate what we want, what our strengths and passions are, we are far more likely to achieve success.
Have a Plan. Women with a plan have an 80% higher chance of success. It is critical that your plan is based on your why. Your purpose is the foundation to any successful plan or strategy. Setting goals and time chunking action steps to get there is pivotal. When we channel our why into our short and long term goals, it begins to feel more achievable and attainable. The great thing about keeping your plan simple too, is that you can easily communicate it to male allies around you that want to support you and align your plan with the organization’s goals too.
Be the Change You Want to See. Ghandi coined this powerful phrase, and it is still so relevant today, especially for women seeking male ally support. We have to align our beliefs with our aspirations. Men respond to confidence, so faking it a bit until you make it is okay sometimes. If we continue to barrage our thoughts with self-limiting beliefs and negative self-talk, we will never achieve what we want to achieve. Positive affirmations and modeling success behaviors invites male allies into the process. They want to champion women that know what they want, and illustrate what good looks like.
Speak Up with Him
Teach Him How You Want to be Treated. This theme emerged constantly in our research. Rather than being treated like a daughter, women want to be treated as a peer, equal to their male allies. The role male allies play are far ranging – mentors, sponsors, managers, coaches, advisors – so it is important that women know what role he is best suited to play. Rather than shying away from support and guidance, welcome these male allies into your world. Share your story and allow him to participate in it.
Ask for What You Want. Start the dialogue with intentionality. Male allies encourage women to speak up and share what they want. With less confident, emotionally laden conversations, men admitted to feeling overwhelmed, or not knowing what to do, thus defaulting to advice. Tell him what you want, and ask for help to get there. Get to the point quickly, and ask questions to facilitate his thinking. By clearly stating you do not want the answers, he will respond positively to your ask.
Draw Clear Boundaries. Male allies highlighted the importance of expectation setting in the relationship and clear objectives. Once they understand their role, and how they can help, they need to be held accountable. Emotional intelligence was another powerful theme in our research, where male allies noted the importance of being level-headed and listening vs. being drawn into emotions. Emotion drives us, and it is important that our purpose is based on some emotion, yet emotions are better when tempered in discussions with male allies.
Work Life Balance is Impossible. This phrase is often associated with women. Countless women’s group survey data reveals an increasingly common theme around balancing work and life. Women continue to bear the brunt of the household labor from parenting to housework to errand running. There is still this notion of “how does she do it all?” which implies that she is not doing something or that she is dropping the ball somewhere. Accepting that there are some good weeks, and some bad weeks, some good days or hours, and some not so good days or hours, is okay. It’s not always rainbows and sunshine, yet upon reflection, with practicing gratitude, women see the good in their lives and focus on what drives them versus what depletes them.
You Can Only Make Others as Happy as You are Yourself. Align your why with your plan and it transforms how you think and feel, positively impacting the world around you. Women I coach and facilitate workshops with continuously note that they are exhausted by the expectations they put on themselves and that society places on working mothers. You cannot give to others when you are empty yourself. Fill your tank so that you can fill the tanks of others.
Give Intentionally. The most important word to practicing good self-care is “no.” We say “yes” to everything, and often are saying “no” to ourselves without even knowing it. When we are responding to the needs of others over our own needs, we easily forget our passions and purpose, and do not show up in a way that is best for ourselves or others around us. By ensuring that your give is aligned with your why, women are far more likely to attract positive male allies in their pivotal journeys.
We appreciate your support in advance of ONE. Please join us in celebrating the book release at the Speak Easy in Broad Ripple on Thursday, October 5th from 6-8pm. Registration is free, yet limited, sign up here. Next time, we will wrap up with our male ally challenge.
To spread the word on the importance of male allies, post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags: #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.