How to expand your horizons when talking to your female colleagues

Many women struggle with feeling like their ideas are being slammed by their male coworkers. And while it is not easy to work with people who are mean and unhelpful, there are ways you can deal with the problem and make your job easier. Check out these 5 tips below to help you become a more empathetic and supportive colleague for all your female colleagues.

1. Listen to her

If you’re a man, it can be difficult to know how to expand your horizons when talking to your female colleagues. Women are still underrepresented in all levels of leadership, and they’re often the targets of microaggressions that undermine their authority or make them feel like outsiders at work.

A good way to start is by being a great listener. Give feedback live and in the moment, and encourage your colleagues to share their ideas.

Whether you’re a manager or a new employee, it’s important to be an ally for your female colleagues. They’re more likely to feel respected when they have someone advocating for them, according to a new study.

2. Respect her

One of the most important things you can do when talking to your female colleagues is to be a good listener. It can be easy to get distracted by thoughts about your next project or deadline, but it’s essential to focus on what they’re saying to you so that you can develop a deeper understanding of their point of view.

When women are in the midst of a difficult work situation, it’s often helpful to offer them a shoulder to cry on. This can be a great way to help them overcome obstacles they might otherwise struggle with in their careers, and it can also make you a better person as well.

But when you do this, be sure not to show off your ego too much. This will make her uncomfortable, and she may even avoid you entirely.

3. Be a good listener

There’s no better way to show you care and support your female colleagues than to be a good listener. Whether it’s a boss or someone you work with on a project, listening is an important skill that can build trust and increase your influence.

Being a good listener requires a lot of discipline and can be tricky at times, but it’s crucial for building relationships and understanding others.

To be a good listener, you should pay attention to the speaker’s nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. Maintain eye contact, track their movements and nod when you agree with their statements.

Good listeners also ask questions that are relevant to what the speaker is discussing. This can expand the conversation and show that you truly understand what they’re saying.

4. Be a good friend

Having a friend at work is a great way to build relationships, support your team, and feel connected to the organization. Studies show that people who have friends at work are happier and more engaged with their jobs than those without them.

The key to making a good friend is being authentic and approachable. You don’t want to come across as too pushy or inauthentic; this will hurt your chances of building a friendship.

If you have a close friendship with someone at work, you should treat them the same as anyone else on your team. This means letting them know you are not always going to be the toughest manager in the room, and giving them the same level of respect you would give to anyone else.

5. Be a good ally

Regardless of your gender, race, sexual orientation, ability, religion or body shape, you can be an effective ally. Allies recognize their privilege, use it to call out or challenge behavior that perpetuates bias and systematic oppression based on race, gender, religion and sexual orientation, and work toward equity for traditionally excluded groups.

In addition to being a good listener, allies take time to educate themselves about the history and complexities of how marginalized people experience the world. They also learn to acknowledge and dismantle white supremacy in their own lives.

When a qualified colleague from an underrepresented group is missing in meetings, strategic planning sessions, dinners with key partners or career-building opportunities, an ally should use their power and influence to bring her into those spaces.