How to empower women around you

Practice kindness

True kindness starts with being kind to yourself. Are you constantly putting yourself down? Do you engage in body-shaming, towards yourself (or others)? Are you apologetic about what you want from life? People will look at how you behave first, before listening to what you have to say. Once you’ve corrected your critical inner and/or outer voice, make sure what you say to others builds them up.

Protect the sisterhood

Don’t spread rumours, engage in gossip, or tell stories at someone else’s expense. Stand up for each other. Put in a good word for others. Do you know that people (subconsciously) judge you according to how you talk about others? If you’re nice to people, but talk smack behind their back, the people around you are taking mental notes, and will come to associate the negative things you say about others with you. In other words, there’s a selfish payoff to talking with kindness. So if you don’t have something positive to say about a co-worker, rather don’t say it. If you have an issue with them, talk to them about it, or address it appropriately with HR. Down with pettiness. Up with sisterhood!

Take the time to understand each other

Everyone has a story. Take the time to find out what those around you are carrying. Too often we take offence and get annoyed by others’ behaviour without trying to understand it first. Remember that everyone is going through something; make an effort to walk in someone else’s shoes, and then make them feel heard, seen, and understood. Nothing quite breaks down walls like making the effort to understand each other.

Give genuine compliments

Spread the love, but do it with sincerity (women can smell fake from a mile away). What does your co-worker do really well? What have they excelled at lately? Even if it’s something as simple as praising someone for their positivity (definitely something worth encouraging) or telling them you checked out their latest report/blog post/presentation and thought it was [insert genuine praise here], start practising this.

Be inclusive

Building relationships with others is actually where it all starts. When people feel included and connected, they are more likely to flourish. Take the time to do things together, and make an effort to be inclusive. Cliques have no place post-high school. Everyone deserves a chance and you can literally learn something from everyone you meet, so you can only gain by making the circle bigger.