Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard the phrase, “nice girls don’t get the corner office.” Is your hand raised? If not, consider yourself lucky. You’ve found a sisterhood of like-minded people who believe wholeheartedly in being women who help other women.
If so, sadly you know too well—and probably have horrible stories—about female peers or colleagues who made your life miserable. In a way that too closely resembles what many of us remember from our high school days.
Often for seemingly no reason.In some work circles, it seems as if there are women who don’t really like to help each other out at work. They’re competitive. They can be nasty. And, the more senior they get, the more they act like having another woman at the table hurts their own chances of standing out.
Over the years, women have fought hard to take a seat at the table in Corporate America. Because the battle was hard, the trailblazers – women who carved out a path for the rest of us – adopted a tough girl persona. However, as more and more women take on leadership roles in the most successful companies on the planet, the stereotypes are being shattered. And, as a result, we are seeing a brand-new type of professional woman emerge.
Most of these women are generous and believe that teamwork in the workplace, and helping other women succeed, is a win-win. But occasionally we do run into people who don’t believe in helping the woman next to them, who may not particularly want to help female colleagues in their own office, and don’t seem to understand that women benefit by banding together in the workplace generally.
But occasionally we do run into people who don’t believe in helping the woman next to them, who may not particularly want to help female colleagues in their own office, and don’t seem to understand that women benefit by banding together in the workplace generally.
The Myth – Successful Professional Women Don’t Play Nice
If you’ve been a woman in Corporate America for any period of time, then you’ve heard it said before, “every woman for herself” and “nice girls don’t get the corner office.” The long-perpetuated myth that in order to get ahead in the corporate world, you need to be cold, calloused, and competitive is just that, a myth.
For years, women have played into this stereotype, and for years they have been isolated while climbing a ladder made for men. But things are changing and this is no longer the reality. Today’s professional woman is a far cry from Queen B who stomped on everyone to get to the top. In fact, today’s corporate women are rising through the ranks with confidence, adaptability, and a smile.
The Truth – Today’s Professional Woman
In today’s world, there is room for an entirely different type of woman – even at the top. For those whose ultimate goal is success in the professional world, there are a few characteristics that most women already have, that can be further developed to propel a woman’s success to new heights.
Intuition is truly a gift most women have, that can lead them well in today’s corporate landscape. Many of us know the nagging feeling, at the pit of your stomach, that whispers what your next step should be. That’s your intuition.
However, far too often, women doubt their intuition. They question themselves and try to logically pick apart their gut feelings. But, in today’s world of over-analysis and logical structure, a woman’s intuition can be the catalyst to innovation, creativity, and massive breakthrough.
While the world tells women to silence their intuition, I truly believe that a woman who is in tune with her intuition can radically transform her industry. That takes a lot of trial and error, listening to your intuition and course-correcting along the way. But developing this skill – is a key marker of today’s most successful professional women.
Women have a unique ability to empathize, to read into emotion, and to tap into core motivators. When utilized well, empathy will help women lead more effectively. Additionally, for those in outward-facing roles – empathy can propel sales, improve marketing, and strengthen a company’s culture. For too long women turned off their empathy in the professional world, viewing it as a weakness.
However, in today’s landscape, empathy is a truly untapped strength that more and more consumers and employees are looking for in the companies they work with.
Very few women would consider themselves confident. In fact, women are less likely to ask for raises, time off, or promotions than men. But I want to challenge this traditional stance.
In actuality, I believe most women are incredibly confident, but that their confidence only stretches into the areas they feel they’ve perfected and fully understood. Most women in business are confident in the skills they know they possess and are confident in their ability to get the job done, in those areas.
However, today’s professional woman is growing more and more confident in her ability to take on new challenges and step into the unknown. This is where many women were held back in the past.
Women leading the way in today’s corporate world, are more willing to take risks and learn as they go. As she takes these new leaps of faith, she is breaking the mold and setting a new precedent for other women in the workforce.
Community Over Competition
While the stereotypes of successful, professional women showcase women trampling on other women to get to the top, the reality today is that women are more supportive than ever before, of other women in the workplace.
There is a greater sense of camaraderie between women in the professional realm, because we understand the implications of what it means, and what it takes, to be a woman who succeeds.
We recognize more than ever, how a win for one woman equals a win for all women. Because of that, there is more of a willingness for women at the top to reach down and offer support and mentorship to new women coming into the professional world. Today’s professional woman is invested in the next generation of professional women in some truly impactful ways.
Characteristics of the Modern Professional Woman
Today’s professional woman is there to support and empower other women. She is intentional, focused, willing to work, and uses her innate characteristics to climb the ladder, while helping other women do the same. She isn’t cold-hearted and calloused. She isn’t constantly competing with other women. She uses her intuition to guide her and support other women on the road to success.
Times are changing, and while there is still a lot of work to be done, it’s a great time to be a professional woman.
Empowered Women Empower Women
Although the number of women in higher-level positions in all sectors of the economy has increased over time, the majority of senior positions are still held by men. Which means the lack of female role models in high management and C-suite positions only adds to the barriers to women's leadership due to male‐orientated organizational expectations.
Research has shown that mentoring can significantly enhance income, confidence, and promotion possibilities for individuals experiencing these relationships. So why wouldn’t we, as woman, make more of an effort to mentor other women if mentoring awareness can reduce barriers to women's career advancement, tenure, and pay?
We need to do better for the next woman in line. And, while having the guidance, encouragement, and support of a trusted and experienced mentor can provide a mentee with a broad range of personal and professional benefits, which ultimately lead to improved performance in the working world, a mentoring relationship also has lasting effects on the mentor herself.
In fact, mentoring is more than the transfer of advice, knowledge, and insights. As well as the personal satisfaction of sharing their skills and experience with a willing learner, being involved in mentoring also provides some tangible benefits that can reward mentors professionally.
A few key benefits mentors might experience include:
- Recognition as an industry expert and leader.
- Exposure to fresh perspectives, ideas, and approaches.
- Extension of their professional development record.
- Opportunity to reflect on their own goals and practices.
- Development of their personal leadership and coaching styles.
You never know, your time spent as a mentor to a mentee could be the catalyst in their career that changes everything. You could be the person that takes someone from high risk to high potential.
Lead By Example
As leaders, it’s our job to inspire.
It’s our responsibility to create a vision and share where we are going and how we are going to get there. We must also listen to our community so that we are able to equip them with the items that they need to be successful.
Having diversity of thought creates a safe space for thought-provoking conversations. This safe space could be used in a healthy way, to challenge the mean girls to think differently.
The value is in the transformational journey of changing the culture on how we support one another. It’s about coaching your people and their dreams and creating the right mindset and openness to be vulnerably, you, in the real world.
Curious about how you can become a woman that supports other women?
Here are twenty different ways you can show your support of others without diminishing your own light.
1.Support businesses that make women’s lives better.
2.Avoid businesses that promote women’s insecurities.
3.Don’t make negative comments about any other woman’s appearance.
4.Don’t judge another woman’s lifestyle choices.
5.Remind another woman that she’s awesome exactly the way she is.
6.Share your story.
7.Be open and honest with your communication.
8.Support small woman-owned small businesses.
9.Celebrate the victories of other women.
10. Lean back and listen.
11. Start a movement.
12. Connect them with others in your network.
13. Start a mastermind.
14. Meet up for coffee or drinks.
15. Ask them how you can assist them in achieving their dreams.
16. Check in to see how they’re doing.
17. Recommend their work to your peers and network.
18. Support them on social media.
19. Cheer them on when they need support.
20. Invite them to the party.
Remember, while we all may have to do the work ourselves, it doesn’t mean we have to go through the journey alone.cWhile it’s no secret that various kinds of conflict in the workplace persist, I think we can all agree that it seems logical that women are on the same page in advocating for each other. Because if you see her, you can be her.