Andi Simon noticed something early in her career as she moved up through the executive ranks in the male-dominated banking industry.
A disconnect existed between the way female employees thought, talked and felt, and the environment in which they were engaged to do their jobs. But Simon, who often was sent to a location to launch new services or open a new market, found a way to overcome that disconnect using an approach different from her mostly male colleagues.
“What was it I did, rather intuitively? Nurture, nourish, encourage and teach,” says Simon (www.andisimon.com), author of Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business.
“These are things women know how to do rather naturally as the mothers, daughters, and friends we are. While those attributes are not missing from the relationships men create in a business, they seemed to be classified as ‘feminine’ or ‘womanly’ at the time, and often today as well. Yet those attributes are exactly what we need in business as we re-enter a new normal post-pandemic.”
Simon, who today is a corporate anthropologist and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants, points out that the economy and the jobs that are reopening are not simply reincarnations of what existed before COVID-19.
“In many cases, the old way of doing things and the jobs that people had have changed,” she says. “That can be because of remote work, new technologies, or a new awareness of how teams can get things done better and faster without being in the same location in in-person meetings.”
With that said, Simon suggests it’s time to let women nurture others “in an environment that all-too-often doesn’t nurture them back.”
“Maybe the business culture should intentionally begin to nurture their employees, encourage them, train them, and support them as they realize the changes that are impacting them,” she says.
Simon says using the following techniques would be a good start:
- Inspire. Begin each morning by trying to inspire your staff with a thought, quote, or idea that is not tactical and practical but truly touches their hearts, Simon says. “Remember, people decide with their hearts, and then their logical brains kick in,” she says. “Start your days with moments of inspiration relevant to what you do and how you want people to act towards each other and towards your clients.”
- Discuss the day ahead. Set up a daily intention discussion and let someone lead the morning huddle where you talk about what you plan for the day. “Giving people time to talk about their day helps them focus, prioritize and get feedback before they detour and go off course,” Simon says.
- Show gratitude. Simon says the end of the workday is a good time to encourage people to give thanks and have gratitude discussions. People can do this individually and find their own ways of achieving it. “They can have a gratitude diary,” she says. “They can send a ‘thank you’ to others as a physical note or a simple email. It will allow them to realize how important gratitude is for their own well-being.”
“Back to this question: How can women nurture in an environment that doesn’t nurture them back?” Simon says. “Women have ways of showing they care and are concerned without doing things that might seem too ‘womanly.’ They can bring into their environments the three tools I just outlined and provide the support others need to refocus and find a new pathway. Forward in a fast-changing world.”
About Andi Simon
Andi Simon, Ph.D. (www.andisimon.com), author of Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is an international leader in the emerging field of corporate anthropology and founder and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants (www.simonassociates.net). A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy®, Simon has conducted over 400 workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights.
Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts for entrepreneurs. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning America and Bloomberg and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.