8 Ways to Promote Female Leadership in Your Healthcare Practice
As a woman in healthcare, you're no doubt aware that there are still many barriers to female leadership.
You may also have found yourself wondering how, exactly, to help more women break through those barriers. Promoting female leadership isn't just about what's happening at the top of the corporate ladder. It can also be about making sure that your employees feel like they have a voice within the company and that they feel valued equally as employees regardless of their gender identity or other factors outside their professional achievements. But how do we make all this happen?
Here are some ways you can promote female leadership in your practice:
1. Understand your team and what they need to hear.
The first step to promoting female leadership is understanding your team and what they need to hear. In order for you to promote female leadership, you have to know whom you're talking to, which means understanding their needs as well as their wants. The best way for you to do this is by asking them questions about themselves--what do they want from life? What does success look like for them? What are their goals and dreams? Once you know this information about your target market, it will be easier for you to communicate with them in a way that makes sense for them specifically.
2. Showcase women already in leadership roles.
Women who are already leaders can be a great resource for those looking to get started on their own journeys as well. They can help you understand what it's like to be a woman in leadership, and they can help mentor you and provide advice for your career development.
By showcasing these women, we send the message that female leadership is normal and expected--not something special or unusual!
3. Avoid gender-based language.
You may be using gender-specific language without realizing it and this can have a negative impact on how others perceive your company. Instead of saying "the man," say "the person." Instead of using the phrase, "he or she," try substituting it with something like: "Anyone who..." or "everyone who..." The more you can avoid using words that are inherently linked with one gender over another, the better off you'll be in promoting female leadership within your business!
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4. Do more than just talk about promotion.
In order to promote female leadership, you need to do more than just talk about it. You must provide opportunities for women to learn and grow. Mentor them in their careers, give them the resources and support they need to succeed, and give them opportunities to speak up and lead--including making decisions on behalf of your organization.
5. Focus on female employees' skills, not their gender or appearance.
You can help promote female leadership by focusing on employees' skills, not their gender or appearance. For example, if you're hiring a new manager and want to make sure that your team has a good mix of men and women, try not to focus solely on the candidate's gender when deciding who will be the best fit for the role. Instead, consider what kind of experience they have had in similar positions (and whether or not this experience aligns with what you need from your manager).
You'll also want to avoid using language that excludes certain groups based on gender identity or expression--for example: "he," "she," "him," "her," etcetera. Instead of using these terms when talking about people at work (or anywhere else), try using inclusive terms like "they" or even just repeating what someone said without mentioning them at all ("So-and-so said...").
6. Keep reaching for new goals for yourself, and for your company as a whole.
When you're the leader of a company, it's easy to get comfortable in your position. You've worked hard to get where you are, and now that you're there, why would anyone want to take away what seems like such an enviable position?
But if you want more women in leadership roles--and we know that's what everyone wants--you must keep pushing yourself forward as well as encouraging other women around you to do so too. This means keeping learning new skills, growing personally and professionally, and challenging yourself with ambitious goals (and then reaching them). It also means setting ambitious goals for the company itself--what kind of growth rate do we want? What kind of profits? How many new products/services can we offer? How fast should our healthcare practice grow over time? Once these goals are set up front, everyone knows where they're going and can work toward achieving them together as part of one united front instead of competing against each other internally (or externally).
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7. Create opportunities for collaboration within the organization, including with outside groups and other companies.
Collaboration is a great way to learn new skills, gain new perspectives, and make connections with people in your industry. There are many ways you can collaborate within the healthcare practice as well as with outside groups and other companies.
• Collaborate with other departments within your practice: For example, if you're working on a project that involves marketing, consider reaching out to someone from sales or customer service who could provide some insight into what the customer experience should be like once this project has been completed.
• Collaborate with outside organizations: If there are any organizations whose mission aligns with yours (and vice versa), look into ways that you can partner together on projects or events. This could include charities/nonprofits that work toward similar goals as yours but need more funding; local businesses that serve customers who would benefit from what you're doing; universities that might have students interested in learning about what it takes to start their own business--the list goes on!
8. Promote women's voices in leadership roles at every opportunity!
Women are underrepresented in leadership roles, and this means that they often have a harder time getting their voices heard and making their perspectives known. When you have the opportunity to promote female leaders and their ideas, do so! This can be as simple as sharing an article written by a woman on social media or making sure that you're inviting women onto panels whenever possible.
If you want to promote female leadership, you have to be willing to do it yourself. Promoting women means going out there and promoting them--not just talking about it! You don't have time to wait around for others to take action on this issue when they could easily do something themselves right now. So instead, we can all help each other by sharing stories of success, learning from one another's mistakes in our own journeys toward equality in the workplace, and encouraging those around us who may not know where or how (or even why) they should start their own journey towards equality too.
How HR for Health Can Help
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