March 1 is the first day of #Women’s History Month. We will celebrate the accomplishments of women from the past, present, and future. The world may not infamously know many of us, but that does not dictate the level of power and influence we have in our environments. 2017 was a pivotal year for the voice of the woman. Women have begun to walk in their ability by using their voices to change how women are viewed and treated #globally.
I concur with #Oprah’s Golden Globe message that so eloquently highlights that women will no longer be held hostage to their truths out of fear of a man and his power. For decades women have always displayed the ability to think strategically, build key relationships, be excellent communicators, inspire others, use their passion and commitment to drive positive change, and are good at making decisions. These are just a few characteristics that can be intimidating to a man.
This article is not to male bash. The intent is to show women how much power they innately have. The real meaning of being a #powerful woman is to stand boldly in your truth. When women stand in their truth, they have full control over their lives.
How do you think women can #standintheirtruth?
I will share my thoughts tomorrow.
Hollywood and Sexual Harassment
It has taken me a while to gather my thoughts around the recent news of Weinstein’s sexual harassment allegations. As an expert on workplace bullying, I can no longer remain silent. Sexual harassment is a form of bullying. Bullying is not just a school yard term. It is also a workplace strategy used to get reasonable people to do unreasonable things to please the boss.
I don’t know much about the entertainment industry. What I know is many people are afraid to come forward in any form of harassment for fear of retaliation. I am sure in Hollywood this means being black-balled which translates to little to no work. Weinstein wasn’t the first to get away with sexual harassment, he just got caught.
It is disturbing to know that men have experienced the same type of sexual harassment and have remained silent. This lends itself to a bigger problem – even men are afraid to speak up. Statistics show that 94% of women who are harassed do not report it. I can only imagine the percentage of men who have and are remaining silent. It can take years to undo any form of abuse. Many times people do not recover because they continue suffer in silence alone.
Here are few things that stood out for me based on what I have read:
- Approximately 40+ women have come forward – I can only imagine how many are remaining silent.
- He denies many of the allegations – One allegation is one too many.
- He should be given a second chance – To do what? The damage has already been done to countless number of women.
- Anytime a person uses the term “unequivocally” –it’s means they are lying.
Here’s what I know:
Silence is not always golden: When harassment is present no one wants to be the FIRST to complain.
There is an abuse of power: Most people who bully are in positions of leadership and influence. The use of coercive power is high. This is when a person has the ability to influence another person’s decision by either threatening to take something away as punishment or taking something. I admit we will never know the full stories of any of these women, but the truth is they were afraid of losing something.
Perception can be reality: Paying a settlement to someone may not be an admission of guilt. However, the victim of any form of harassment should not be forced to deny their truth. Money does not buy peace. Peace is internal.
Reverse psychology is present: Victims of any form of harassment are made to feel guilty and tend to feel sorry for the predator.
Will these women be able to have healthy, trusting relationships?
It is time to Be the Voice and Not The Echo.
In a recent study by the Department of Labor, it is shown that women of working age already outnumber the amount of men in the workforce. The gap between the sexes is only supposed to increase exponentially in the next 6 years. (http://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/latest_annual_data.htm) The pay gap between men and women is only one of the major disparity between the genders in the workplace.
How can a business become a more women friendly work environment? There are several ways that your business can be on the cutting edge of tapping in to the ever-growing pool of women who are ready to grow and build your company.
For some reason, flexible scheduling has gained a bad rap. For many, flexible scheduling is synonymous with employees coming and going with little to no accountability. That’s simply not true. More often than not, a woman in the workforce has other obligations that she is juggling. This is true for men as well. Allowing your employees a certain amount of leeway with scheduling is ideal for a good work/life balance. In addition to flexibility in the schedule, the option of telecommuting on occasion will work wonders for the moral of any employee.
Offering mentoring opportunities to women will provide invaluable to both women in leadership and those just starting out. Finding a good match for each employee is ideal. Be careful not to stick to strict gender biased mentoring. The gender of the mentor or mentored is not as important as matching based on goals and personality.
Clear goal setting
There’s no reason to lower the bar, just make the bar clearer. If you want to encourage your female employees to succeed and climb the corporate ladder, helping them set clear, achievable goals will help them get there. This will also help you separate those who are ready for more responsibility from those who need more help.
Oftentimes, professional development is just seen as boring lectures that one must attend. Women are used to multi-tasking and want to make sure that there is no wasted time. Career development is no different.
In addition to offering job specific learning events, offer opportunities that are geared towards specialized groups: women, men, LGBT community, etc. Another way to get your employees involved is to have them choose or plan their own learning path.
Putting together a plan for the year helps women feel more secure in their positions with the company and also more in control of their growth. Women are already in your company, but are you really connecting to them? Spending time developing each woman will have a huge return on investment. Reaching out to each woman is as simple as listening and responding in a way that will only grow her and your company.
Be Confident, Be Bold, Be You
Women and confidence should be a synonymous phrase but, unfortunately, that is not the case. Most women struggle with confidence and find it difficult to be effective and influential in the workplace. This lack of confidence may also transcend to a woman’ personal life as well. However, it is possible to become a confident woman even if you are lacking in self-confidence. Confident women in the workplace are productive and effective workplace contributors. We all know this is true.
The question that I often get asked is “what can I do to become more confident?” The fact of recognizing that you lack confidence is the first step. Just because you do not have confidence doesn’t mean that you cannot obtain confidence. When you recognize a lack of confidence as a challenge rather than a weakness, you make it more realistic to conquer. Most people have heard the phrase, “fake it until you make it.” This phrase came about for a reason; you have to keep trying and building yourself up to gain confidence. It is proven that
The first thing you need to do to achieve self-confidence is to stop talking negatively to yourself. Negative self-talk is not good for your heart, your soul, or your mind. Instead of saying I can’t do this or that, say, I know I can do this or that. Never tell yourself you are not worthy of a promotion or award or that someone else deserves it more than you. Accept that you are valuable and worthy with grace and be proud of yourself. Take baby steps and learn to be kind to yourself. When you learn to encourage yourself, you will find that you learn to be confident. Changing your thought process to a positive perspective is sometimes challenging, but very rewarding in the end.
Surrounding yourself with positive people and influencers. By being around people you admire you will learn to emulate their positive self-talk and positive outlook. Confident people will build you up instead bring you down. Eliminate or minimize the presence of negative people in your life. Negative people want others to share in their misery. When you surround yourself with positive, confident people, you set yourself up for confidence and success. You can learn how to rock your influence, confidence and self-esteem with ease. It takes some work, but you can do it. Everyone has it within themselves to become confident. It’s about attitude and perception rather than lack of ability.
If you need to get a coach or a confident friend to help you, do it. You own your development. It is always your choice to be confident. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything. It just means that you have to open yourself up to possibilities and to change. When you find yourself empowered by your own self-confidence, you will find you become more successful in the work place and in your personal life. You will find that you are effective and you do have the ability to influence others. There is always someone who secretly wishes they were you. So why not be the best you? Becoming a self-confident woman means you offer up the best of yourself and you bring out the best in others. Sometimes the little changes you bring about blossoms into success for other women. When women decide to become more confident, they make a conscious choice to claim their worth. When you realize that you choose your reactions and over your emotions, you begin to gain confidence simply knowing you can change and be confident and influential in any situation.
Be Confident, Be Bold, Be You