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Eight tips for helping middle managers become gender aware

Elisabeth Kelan reveals eight tips for helping male middle managers become more gender aware

Male managers are in a central position to influence organisational cultures. Here is a checklist of advice you can give a male middle manager who wants to become more gender aware:

  1. Monitor meetings closely for potential gender bias. Think about ways to ensure that women are being heard and be aware that women might express themselves differently to men.
  2. In hiring and promotion decisions, keep in mind that assumptions we make are not always correct. Check your own assumptions and alert others to the assumptions they make.
  3. Mentor and sponsor a woman by not only providing advice but also encouraging her to take developmental assignments.
  4. Make sure that your panels are not men-only but fully represent the talent of individuals. Find women experts!
  5. Monitor how you and others speak about and to women. Check which metaphors are used or even exclude them completely. Reflect on alternative language that could be used.
  6. Demonstrate support for women, for instance by attending women’s group meetings, and take responsibility for gender parity.
  7. Do not hide outside work commitments. Talk about them.
  8. Reserve a few minutes every day to reflect on how gender might have played a role in your work day. Did you experience or notice any discomfort in you or others? What went well? What would you do differently?

Elisabeth Kelan is a chaired professor of leadership and the director of the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders at Cranfield School of Management.