To ensure equality in the workplace, especially for women, there is a responsibility and requirement for men. When men hold positions of organisational power, they are well-placed to initiate positive change, creating safer, more inclusive organisations across the board.
To help consider the best ways to do this, we’ve detailed six tips for male leaders who wish to make a positive difference in their organisation.
Tip #1: Reflect on your career
It is unlikely that you achieved your position without some form of assistance, advice, or guidance along the way. Consider the ways in which you have been supported throughout your career. Consider how you may play that role for someone else, especially concerning the career trajectory of females who may be on a similar path.
Think about times when you may have been discriminated against and how it made you feel, especially concerning others in positions of power. This level of awareness can change the way you act with subordinates who look at you in the current position of power. How can you make the experience more positive and beneficial for them?
Tip #2: Be aware of the data
The topic of equality has hundreds of global research studies from McKinsey, Catalyst, Bain & Co, The Conference Board, various universities, and more. By understanding the data and learning the facts behind why the playing field is in favour of men, you can understand the disadvantage of women better to help rectify it in your organisation.
At the same time, data and evidence demonstrating the benefits of gender-diverse organisations and where they excel in their performance can be used as a roadmap for your own change initiatives.
Tip #3: Be aware of your unconscious bias
No matter who you are, you likely have some examples of personal unconscious bias. Try to identify some of these and how they play out in your organisation. It may be difficult to think of some examples, it is unconscious after all, but with time and understanding, more can become obvious.
The Harvard Implicit Tool for gender and careers can be a helpful way to measure unconscious bias. The key is to consider how this may affect recruitment, pay, performance reviews, and promotion decisions (if relevant to your decision-making responsibilities).
Tip #4. Be a part of the discussion
Whether you start or join the discussion about equality in your own organisation, you are making a contribution. A great starting point for this can be data from your own organisation that is a talking point about possible inequities. These may be concerning recruitment, remuneration, performance reviews, promotions, or high-value opportunities.
It can also be beneficial to join discussion groups that are outside your organisation to understand the work of others in this area.
Tip #5: Build a narrative
A compelling narrative can help explain to others why this topic is important. You can base it on the reasons why you are committed to change, the history of why it is a prevalent consideration, and the benefits of improvement.
From here, you can build an alliance of like-minded people that provide support and become a positive force for change in your organisation.
Tip #6: Commit to change
This journey will not be easy, and you will need time, effort, and focus to commit to it properly. There may be contention or backlash along the way, but as long as you commit to the journey, you will find the results are worthwhile. A mentor or a coach may be helpful to ensure you navigate any tricky patches. However, this is an important improvement for any organisation. So keep down the path to achieving equality, and reap the benefits along with everyone else in your organisation!