Equality is not only an ethical imperative; it’s a business priority. And it’s not simply a women’s issue—it’s a people issue.
Michelle Gadsden-Williams, Accenture North America Inclusion & Diversity Lead and Romy Newman, Fairygodboss President and Co-founder, discuss improving the workplace for women and why it will take the support of men as allies to radically shorten the timeline to gender equality.
At the Fairygodboss Galvanize event, Accenture’s Jimmy Etheredge, Chief Executive - North America and Laura Peterson, Senior Client Account Leader, discussed ways to cultivate a culture of equality, including the importance of men ally mentorship and sponsorship.
5 ways to build strong male allyships
1. Seek authenticity.
Do you think you could benefit from having a mentor but aren’t sure where to look? Find the person you connect with the most authentically and build the relationship from there. Sometimes it’s just about reaching out and asking the people you trust.
2. Stop and listen.
Too often, well-meaning people in positions of power attempt to become allies or mentors without first stopping to listen to the other party’s actual experience and needs. One way to listen and learn? Invite people in.
For example, bring male and female colleagues together and ask them to share their experiences, offering their vantage points and advising ways to support each other. It can be a valuable learning lesson for everyone.
3. Be willing to accept help.
For a variety of reasons, we often say no to help when it’s offered. It’s time to say yes, to accept both the allyship we’re seeking out as well as help that’s organically offered.
4. Be empathetic and in the moment.
The most important elements of mentorship? Being present and showing empathy. Being in the moment with that person instead of thinking about your last meeting helps you become a much better mentor. Success can be dependent upon how much a mentee feels heard.
5. Communicate your needs.
Communicate the things you like and want to do and what you think you’re ready for. Then ask your mentor for advice in reaching those goals. Male allies should not just listen but prepare to receive that information in a way that helps the other party feel “seen, safe, connected and confident.”
When this happens, it’s truly possible for both mentors and mentees to bring their most authentic selves to work every day.
The key to innovation, growth and thriving into the future is creating a workplace culture of equality, where everyone is valued for their contributions and offered equal opportunity to advance in their careers.
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