One of the things that first shocked me, and it really shouldn’t have, is how any organisation, local, national, international, develops a culture of ‘politics’. The power play between people trying to either elevate up a perceived ladder, or control of the ladder’s destination is amazing to watch.
This almost primal power play comes in all areas, in all communities, in some it is more pronounced, but in all it is the enactment of privilege, being used, sadly in most cases against another.
When this culture is challenged it is changed, fairly easily. It becomes one that is more productive, one that addresses in-equalities. Essentially our lesson from history is that when we work together great things happen, and when we champion one another, we address inequality and amazing things happen.
It is sometimes all to easy to be caught up, either in our own motivations, ambitions or privilege to forget we should be championing others, instead we look for ways to harm from a distance, gossip, plot or scheme either directly or indirectly against people. This is often for the most arbitrary of reasons.
We need to remember our motivations and remove that motivation from being linked to any sort of Ego. Now be honest, how many of us have wanted to elevate our position in society based on the perception of good we do… I think at some point we have all done this. My own view or outlook on these situations is always one of asking three questions;
- 1 Why do I want to motivate a change in society or workplace
- 2 What and who will be served for the better and who for the worse as a result of this change
- 3 Can I effect this change within myself and for myself without a title, job or role.
The answers to these will greatly be served by the changes to the world you would like to make and how determined you are to effect change. Now before you wonder if I’m going off topic with this, I’ll ask you to consider the third question again, and throw in… Can I champion or enable someone else whom is already attempting this change.
Below are six ways we can all actively support one another personally and professionally. These apply to how we should all strive to treat others, regardless of differences.
It applies directly to the pressures we all feel to tear each other down, instead of raising each other up. It’s an effort to lift up people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles to not only make the individual lives we touch better, but life better for all in the future.
1. Shut down unnecessary negativity and gossip from the start.
Change the subject when major gossip or speculation tarts taking place around you. First of all, you’ll probably end up having better conversion. Second of all, you’ll feel better afterwards, and be less likely to ever run the risk of association with hurtful comments that you’ve at some point in your life been the victim of too. Be the bigger person, and the entire mood of the room will start to shift along with you.
2. Go out of your way to help others when they’re encountering a personal or professional hardship.
Be proactive and reach out to others that are struggling with life’s many challenges. Between an entire social media following and an extended circle of friends and work colleagues, there has to be another person that has been through a similar difficulty, or can at least empathise. Any life change or struggle can make us all down at some point in life. It makes all the difference just to try to help out with anything from a career introduction to a listening ear or supportive colleague.
3. Share your stories. Be honest about your life, and let othes find some solace in your honesty.
We often can feel isolated and very imperfect when comparing ourselves to others. In part because of the marks we all are guilty of putting up, both in person and on social media. We can demonstrate unrealistic presentations of ourselves, our lives, our careers, looks, our families and anything that we may be fearful or unwilling to show vulnerability about. We don’t ever want to find ourselves in a position of vulnerability about a subject, particularly if it is something “personal”.
The truth is, we’re all tremendously imperfect, and in a way that’s the perfect remedy to all of the complexities of human life. We are not alone. Sharing your stories for others to cry with you, rejoice with you and feel comfort in their own struggles and short-comings is a surprisingly simple way to make a real impact. Be who you are, and by doing so you’ll make others feel like they can be who they are too.
4. Fight for the people you work with, not against them.
This one is really important in terms of professional empowerment. The workforce, paid or voluntary, is competitive for everyone, and women specifically still fight against the gender wage gap, encounter more difficulty on obtaining senior management positions than men. Women can also have more trouble gaining traction in male-dominated fields, of which there are many.
For this reason, it’s more important than ever to fight for each other. Advocate for your female colleagues. If you’re a manager, you set the stage for all future managers and an entire team of growing professionals. Encourage them to aid in the success of others, regardless of gender or gender identity.
You can make an impact felt at any level for your colleagues. Help them find their strengths and passions. Push them towards promotion. Let them know it’s OK to ask for the benefits and recognition they deserve. Give them constructive feedback. Resist the urge to personally criticise others or put them down for the sake of your own professional gain.
5. Encourage others to make difficult decisions, present new ideas and step outside their comfort zones.
Push your friends, colleagues, family and peers to achieve and be their very best. Listen to their new ideas. Give them strength. Tell them it’s OK to walk away from negative situations, even if it’s scary or painful. Encourage them to take a leap of faith for what they want in life. Help them through the intimidating next steps, and let them know they deserve what’s on the other side. Sometimes you have to hold a friend when they are down, and other times you need them to give you a shove in the right direction when the rest of the world tries to hold you back.
6. Lead by example.
One of the best ways to empower others is to empower yourself. Lead by example. Be everything that you would want your brothers & sisters to be. Show them it’s fun, beautiful and exciting to be genuinely yourself. Don’t accept less than you deserve from anyone at work or at home. Be tough. Be independent. Be honest. Be understanding. Be mature. Be authentic. Be kind. Show others that you are what you preach, and each day is one more step towards a better world for all.
This article resource links to the following Sustainable Development Goals: