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Women's Fitness Workplace Wingwoman-2 copy

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Women's Fitness Workplace Wingwoman-2 copy

  1. 1. Love this? Search for more like it on womensfitness.com.au KEYWORDS: OFFICE SUCCESS morale. Increased morale = increased productivity, but that’s only the beginning. With a wingwoman by your side, your confidence levels will soar, says Craig: “In situations where you know you’ll be outside of your comfort zone, the support of other women in the organisation is essential for encouraging professional development.” Instead of spending your lunchbreak alone, sobbing into a sandwich, you’ll have your wingwoman to inspire you and provide solidarity in a competitive environment. “Jess is always there for me,” says Stephanie. “If I have a tough task ahead of me, I know I can go to her and bounce ideas around, which definitely gives me the confidence to start it. There’s no judgement.” According to Jackson, this level of understanding is something everybody could use. “There are times when you simply need an empathetic ear,” Jackson adds. Sometimes you don’t want advice, you just need a good whinge – and that’s where your work ally can deliver the goods. “My wingwoman and I have lunch together nearly every day, which gives us a chance to vent,” says Stephanie. “After that, we’ll chat about life outside the job.” Now, sure, a workplace wingwoman can be the perfect distraction when you don’t want to think about the future, but when you do want to kick career goals, she makes for the perfect cheerleader. Your wingwoman can act as a sounding board for any problems you’re having, they can be the voice of reason, helping you gain a more productive perspective and, as Stephanie says, they keep you accountable to your goals. “Jess will ask me how I’m going with things and if I’m stressed she’ll reassure me I’ll get it done,” Stephanie explains. “Having that positive female support definitely keeps me sane.” Find your match So, where do these career-boosting wingwomen reside? They might be sitting next to you. “Because of the supportive nature of the relationship, generally you’ll be friends with your wingwoman,” says Craig. If you haven’t found your work wife yet, don’t sweat it. Finding a wingwoman can be kinda like dating. “It’s not easy to find ‘the one’,” Jackson cautions, and once you do, it might be a while until you’re ready to take the next step. Before Stephanie realised that her wingwoman was, well, her wingwoman, they spent weeks chatting in the car park after work. “We learnt more about each other and realised we were on the same page and shared similar values. Since then, we’ve had each other’s back,” she says. When it comes to recognising wingwoman potential, Craig recommends looking for someone with whom you share mutual trust and respect, who has strong communication skills, a positive attitude and a willingness to back others. Once you do find that special someone, you might come to a silent understanding, but if you prefer to make things official, go ahead and ask if they’ll be the Gigi to your Kendall. As for stepping things up? Lunchtime debriefs about your workload can be helpful, but if you want to make the most of your relationship, do activities together that’ll increase your skill set. If you’re in the same department, Jackson recommends you both volunteer for special projects that will stretch your capabilities and allow you to grow. Does your company have a workplace committee? Sign up together! Oh, and make her your plus one at social events. “Get involved in a networking community together, go to events and help each other make connections,” tips Craig. workplace wingwomanShe’s more than your morning tea buddy, she’s the ally who’ll have your back as you climb the career ladder YOU KNOW, YOU COULD REALLY DO WITH A WORK BFF.  They’re kind of like the pal who’ll laugh at all your jokes until the hottie at the bar finally buys you a drink, but instead of helping you pick up, they’ll stand by you in any career sitch. Think you’ve already got one? Fifty points to Gryffindor, so long as they’re not your mentor – you know, the person who’s basically your Yoda. We’re talking about someone who’s more on your level: A workplace wingwoman. According to career counsellor Fiona Craig (fionacraig.com.au), a wingwoman is someone who advocates for you, your advancement and career success. “This might range from supporting your opinion to talking with other teams or bosses about who you are and what you do well,” she says. And it’s something account coordinator Stephanie Bateman, 27, is grateful to have. “My wingwoman, Jess, always has my back in meetings and we help each other get our points across,” she says. “Having someone who listens rather than tells me what to do is helpful because when an issue comes up, I can still arrive at a solution on my own.” As well as supporting you inside the boardroom, your wingwoman should lend a shoulder to lean on, says career management coach Jane Jackson (janejacksoncoach. com). “They’re someone who genuinely cares about your career and you care about supporting them, too,” she explains. What do they do? Metaphorically speaking, your workplace wingwoman is like the wind beneath your wings when it comes to climbing the career ladder. Scientifically speaking, they help you get stuff done. According to Israeli research, people who establish genuine friendships with co-workers based on trust and common interests enjoy a boost in SO, YOU WANT A MENTOR? Different to your workplace wingwoman, a mentor can help you get a leg-up on the career ladder (cos they’ve already climbed it) ■ WHO THEY ARE: “Mentors tend to be people who have walked the path before you or at least have experience in the areas in which you need help,” says Craig. They’re someone you aspire to be like. ■ WHAT THEY DO: A mentor acts like a career advisor. They can help you solve issues or problems you encounter in your job and, because they have years of experience under their belt, they can make you consider options you might not think of. ■ WHERE TO FIND ONE: If your workplace or industry association has a mentoring program, register! Otherwise, Jackson says to reach out to people in more senior positions and ask them if they’ll help you. “Remember they’ll gain a lot of personal satisfaction from helping you, too,” says Jackson. WHY YOU NEED A 3130 womensfitness.com.au womensfitnessaustralia @womensfitnessmag @womensfitnessau WORDSJAYMIEHOOPERPHOTOGRAPHYTHINKSTOCK LiveFIT