Times have changed and more women are now choosing to contribute equally in the workforce and by doing so they’re slowly changing the professional landscape. To help us move forward with solidarity we can build ourselves a trusted circle to call on to help us grow both personally and professionally. Since the dawn of time women have gathered in circles to share their challenges, take care of each and support one another through tough times and changes we face in our developmental growth and lifespan. Our movement to contribute more in leadership roles has seen a transformation in the workplace status quo and there is still much work to be done. But we can’t do it alone, we are stronger and more likely to succeed, together and here’s how to be intentional about your relationships.
When you are looking for your personal board of directors you need to think about what each person you select can bring to the relationship because a diverse group works best. You want to leave feeling inspired, motivated, challenged, supported, informed, strong and confident to make bold moves and take risks. Your circle should include others able to connect you to the right people, be influential, have strengths and knowledge you don’t as well as be willing to advocate for you and help you advance. They can also help you balance career success with your personal life satisfaction by sharing strategies that are unique to women who juggle successful careers, home life and even children.
“The Power of Many will Always Exceed The Power of One.”
― Colleen Ferrary Bader
The Connector: This is someone who is really good at professional relationships and can help you navigate any politics or personalities that are challenging.
The Editor: This is the person who is good at critical thinking about your work and can look over your project with a black hat and offer you a different perspective
The Expert: This is a person who has specialist expertise in a certain area you might need like finance or law. They can offer you advice and it won’t cost the earth.
The Cheerleader: When the imposter syndrome sets in and your full of self-doubt the cheerleader can build you up and encourage you.
The Wise One: This is an elder who is already further down the road and can help you see what’s up ahead and how you’ll need to navigate.
The Confidant: Someone you can be vulnerable with, they listen with empathy and don’t judge you. The are kind and nurturing and nourish your wellbeing.
The Creative: This is an innovative, original thinker who sparks your ideas, helps you think outside the square and offers you different ways of connecting the dots of your life.
“The coordination of knowledge and effort between two or more people who work towards a definite purpose in a spirit of harmony…no two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind”-Napoleon Hill
Your personal board of directors can be seven different people with these personality attributes and skills or it may be one or more people that play many of these roles combined. Your personal board of directors do not even need to know that is their role in your life but it might be fun to actually make it official. Begin to think about what you want to achieve over the year to help you focus on what your specific needs and growth areas are. Try our journalling activity at the end of the article to help you unpack some ideas around who you have in your current circle and where the gaps might be before you start actively seeking to fill them.
Once it is time to ask them to meet, reach out and explain what you’re doing and perhaps have a think about what you can offer the relationship. If you have chosen a circle with our approach in mind you should have a diverse group in which you can all learn from one another’s strengths. Offering your group access to expert knowledge, experience, support, creativity and wisdom creates a valuable environment for learning and growth.
Relationships built on contribution and trust that have a win/win currency flowing freely between them are rewarding. Make sure you invest in the people who have made the effort to contribute to your board of directors on a regular basis. The careful and selective nurturing of these relationships can help you build an empowering board of directors that will enable your shared learning, adaptability and sustained growth.
Download the free Melbourne Coach Journalling activity to help you develop a plan for your Personal Board of Directors and get started.