With all the rhetoric about leaning in, it can be easy to forget, as women, we’re meant to lean in together. The leaning in expert, Sheryl Sandberg, acknowledges that we can’t do it alone or at the expense of other women. You’ve probably already devoured Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead(and if you haven’t – you should!), but we think the COO of Facebook says it best when she wrote, “The more women help one another, the more we help ourselves. Acting like a coalition truly does produce results.”
We all want to be successful, and more and more we’re being empowered to do so. Which is great! We’re all about collecting personal achievements and #LadyBragging until the sun comes up. But what do we do when we realize we’ve been sabotaging another woman in order to get ahead?
There are many situations in which you may be unknowingly harming a colleague’s potential to be successful. In the fight to break the glass ceiling, it can be easy to develop tunnel vision on the path to your own success. Maybe you’ve been focusing so much on your own professional development that the development of a mentee has fallen to the wayside. Maybe you keep talking over a peer at important meetings. Or maybe, you’ve found yourself in the habit of gossiping about other women in your professional network. Whatever your slip-up, it’s good you’ve recognized the issue and want to make amends.
There are many ways to help other women in your workplace or professional network, but here are just a few:
LEVERAGE YOUR NETWORK
Introducing a colleague or a mentee to someone important in your professional network is a great way to help them. Our CEO and Co-founder Olivia always advocates for the importance of a good network and knowing how to use it. Helping someone make important connections could do wonders for their career in the future.
Even if no one asks you explicitly, your experience and knowledge are valuable information to spread. Don’t be stingy with the advice! We all have so much to learn from each other and we should not only be open to listening, but also to sharing. One of my favorite things that we do at VINA is sharing important reading materials that we come across on a day-to-day basis. If we read something informative about marketing, app development, or social media, we share it with the whole team! Spreading the wealth of knowledge is one of the greatest assets we have as a coalition of women.
STOP THE GOSSIP
One of the things most detrimental to women in the workplace is unnecessary gossip. According to Sandberg, successful women are disliked by both men and other women. Do what you can to change that! Step in when you hear people spreading negative stories about a female colleague and don’t perpetuate any rumors or bad thoughts you hear. In fact, try making it a rule to say one nice thing about a colleague every day! You don’t just have to #LadyBrag for yourself, you can celebrate your peers’ successes, too.