How to be make the women you work with feel more included in 3 easy steps + 1 new habit.
Step 1 : If you’re a manager in your next 1:1 ask your female direct report:
“How can I and the team make you feel more included at work?”
Take notes, actively listen, come up with suggestions and work out one or two changes you can make as leader and as a team. This may lead to a team discussion or more 1:1 discussions across the whole team. Whatever it is, find a few changes that can be made quickly and easily and implement them to get momentum happening.
Step 2 : As a peer, send an email to a female collegue using the following opening line:
“I’m so glad you work here and are a part of the team. Its so great to have a strong women around and we so need that here.
If you need any help or assistance with anything please let me know because I will always be happy to help”.
Feel free to add extra comments on why you think they’re great and how you could help them.
Step 3 : Over coffee with your female co-worker, you could say something like :
“Hey, if anyone here says anything or does anything stupid/offensive/hurtful, let me know and I’m always happy to act as a sounding board, just to listen or even help raise an issue up to the boss/hr/account director etc. I want you to feel included all the time not just some of the time.”
And, then follow it up if your collegue does need help. This does not mean you have to fix the problem but it does mean you need to be available to listen and come up with suggestions.
One really good habit to form
STOP F$%#$%#$% SWEARING!! (or saying dodgy lineball things) and start thinking X 10!
I have a rule – it’s the times 10 rule. Whatever can be publicly said in your workplace multiply it by 10 and that’s what is happening by closed (or not so closed) doors.
Every time you swear, act super macho, make ‘lineball’ comments, it enables the really dodgy guy to do 10 times worse to a women behind closed doors (and to any other minority you have in your workplace.)
So if you let people joke about s## harassment then behind closed doors that is exactly what will be happening because you’re sending a signal to dodgy-man that maybe that’s ok. And, maybe is usually good enough for dodgy-man. Dodgy-man will only understand that acting in a dodgy way will have serious consequences when he sees consequences for saying ‘line-ball’ dodgy things. He will know that its not ok to be dodgy in your workplace and maybe dodgy-man would not have taken a job at your company in the first place if that discipline was clear in the first place. Nothing says things are ‘loose here’ more than swearing during a hiring interviews or a recruitment discussion. Swearing at formal announcements/interviews/emails = anything goes here boyz because if casual put downs and a lack of displine are ok by senior staff and in official forums, then anything goes in all the other forums and especially behind a closed meeting room door.
To women these behaviours send a strong signal that they are not safe in your workplace – verbally and physically. Women will stay shorter periods at your company and you will have higher turn over of women in environments like this.
Think X 10 when something is said and if it makes you feel uncomfortable then the comment isn’t appropriate and you need too speak up fast!
So make a new habit today, stop swearing and shut down lewd behaviour. The involvement of women in meetings and at social gatherings will increase and everyone will feel like your work place is a much safer and friendlier place to work.