Arianna Huffington recently warned about men potentially shying away from mentoring women as one of the biggest downsides to #MeTooMovement. She also alluded to how this would place a further divide between the two genders interacting professionally. If anything, the genders are at a point in time when we need to work towards figuring out how to do a better job of interacting. One of the ways to do this, is to increase the amount of mixed gender mentoring, not go in the other direction.
Mentors have a tremendous responsibility for professionally guiding those who are working with them, and the wisdom they impart is literally priceless. The information mentors provide is also not easily obtained in most educational settings. Being a mentor myself, and having mentored both men and women, I always keep in mind how important it is to share from my gender perspective about the topic I am in the process of teaching my mentee. This does not happen all of the time, as I tend to look at most situations as being gender neutral, but there are plenty of instances when it is important to understand where the other gender is coming from, and why they might have the perspective they do.
So, why should men not shy away from mentoring women? Namely because they genuinely want to help the woman in her career, and do not have any ulterior motives for doing so. Many of them likely have a daughter, wife, girlfriend or other women in their life they perhaps wish had a mentor, whether it be a male or female. They understand the value mentoring can bring to a person’s career, and how it can put them on a better and faster trajectory for success and higher career satisfaction.
Here is my take on why more men should sign-up for becoming a mentor, and how they can mitigate the current cultural risks seemingly negatively associated with them doing this.
- A male’s perspective is not always well understood by females, and not being taught how to see through your perspective lens can potentially stymy their career opportunities.
- Not all women are comfortable working with men, but they will never tell you this. By being a mentor and confidant to them, over time they will ask you questions to better understand and realize the reasons they are potentially not comfortable working with men. They will also start to look at men as people versus a particular gender.
- In general, men’s communication style is different from a woman’s. As a mentor, you can help women to better understand the male communication language you take for granted, and vice versa. When people better understand one another, we all benefit.
- Be a role model and representative of the gentlemen out there who have stellar ethically oriented reputations.
- You have a great deal of wisdom to share, and depending on what decade of life you are in, perhaps more than others. Sharing knowledge is a way of caring about others, and is a gift which can be professionally given. No strings need to be attached, other than the understanding you are 100% behind the women you are mentoring and looking out for her professional best interests.
- Put in writing what your intent of being a mentor means, and that you will take on this role honorably and with the highest level of professional integrity and courtesy.
- Help be part of uniting the genders versus pulling them apart. The more people who take this approach and have this attitude will help to repair and lessen the divide which has been increasing.
- If you have a female in your life who has a career, wouldn’t you want her to have a wonderful mentor like you?
If you are a male, I sincerely hope you will consider or reconsider becoming a mentor for a female. More importantly, I encourage you to be part of another movement to help disprove the negative sentiment in our society about the value of men professionally mentoring women.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.
Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.
If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (339) 987-0195.