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What Every Man Can Do For Gender Equality At Work

What Every Man Can Do For Gender Equality At Work

I’m a man, and I’m a feminist. Over the years, this word has developed a negative connotation. It’s become synonymous with man-hater. Even some women don’t like to be called feminists. As a guy, I am definitely not a man-hater or a woman-hater. I believe in gender equality, not only at home, but in the workplace. That means equal opportunities for both men and women. Before you say, “Hold on just one minute, men have had it too good for too long, it’s women’s turn.” Or, “Oh no, not another guy-bashing post about how we should feel guilty because men make more money,” I encourage you to read on. As a guy, I feel like it’s an obligation to not only support women, but also help support men support women. Here are five ways all men can take action to support gender equality in the workplace.

1. Lead by example

Spread the word about gender equality in the workplace. It doesn’t mean you have to hold rallies every Friday afternoon by the water cooler, but start talking about it! Talk about it with both men and women, and listen to both sides. You could even start a committee to ensure both men and women are being fairly represented. Not only can you be an avid supporter of women in the workplace, but you can be a supporter of men, too!  Men also want to be heard and validated.  Perhaps you could encourage men to take advantage of paternity leave where available. When you see men or women being treated unfairly, speak up about it. Other people probably are thinking the same thing, even though they don’t say anything.

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2. Ask for help

As a guy, it’s not always easy to ask for help. I have no problem asking other women for help! When we take some of the ego way from the workplace, both men and women can support one another—which is crucial for workplace gender equality. By asking for help, men show women that they too are vulnerable. The more women see men this way, the less stigmatizing it will be for women when they ask for help. Men have needs too, but they might not communicate it was well. The more men communicate well, the more women won’t be seen as the only ones who have needs.

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3. Share the workload at home

Men need to step up and volunteer to do more. It’s unacceptable that women do more household work, despite working equal hours. USA Today points out that, on average, women spend two hours and 10 minutes doing household work while men only spend one hour and 17 minutes. Too often we expect women to push for gender equality, instead of looking at reasons why they don’t have it already. More important, we fail to examine how men exacerbate the problem. So guys, learn how to cook, clean, and change a diaper.

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4. Be aware of gender stereotypes

We often use different gender-based words or phrases to describe the same behavior. For instance, a man might have a bad temper so we describe him as “bold,” “strong,” or a “know-it-all.” That same behavior exhibited by a female is often described as “bitchy,” “difficult to work with,” or “lacking patience.” Both men and women are guilty of this. We’ve been conditioned to speak this way. But it’s a huge obstacle to gender equality. By simply being aware of stereotypes in language, we can point out the behavior for what it is, instead of resorting to gender stereotypes.

5. Empathize with women

Men need to put themselves in women’s shoes. The more men understand and experience struggles that women go through, the more likely they are to stand up for equal rights in the workplace. Although men and women have varying needs, we are more alike than different. The more we all realize this, the more we can see both sides of the gender equality debate. Yes, men have a lot of work to do but, as an individual man, I too have a lot of work to do. If one man can empathize with the opposite gender, many men can. As we continue to progress as a society, my hope is that both men and women better understand one another. Because the truth is that both men and women struggle in the workplace. The more we experience and share our struggles, the more we won’t see each other as so different and the more we can inch closer to gender equality. My hope is that some day gender equality will become the definition of the workplace, rather than an ideal the workplace should have.

Featured photo credit: Multi-Ethnic Group of People Working Together via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

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Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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