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3 Things that need to change in the world of work – self belief and advocacy

Introduce the word ‘strategy into a sentence and everyone in my training room tries to look ultra-intelligent.

“I’m strategic!” their eager faces say… and it’s always someone else who is not!

Truth is I think the term has been overused and put on a pedestal, to mean anything that an executive (rather than a mere manager) thinks. Alright I concede, I’m being a little facetious, but the second most identified issue in PWC’s 2018 study is something entitled “strategic support”. So where exactly does that fit?

The study defines it as

“a blend of workplace and personal relationship support to reinforce a staff member’s self-belief and self-advocacy”.

Shew, a mouthful, but it points to the very real need for relationship both within and without the work place, to build that ever elusive self-belief. I was working with a group of millennials this morning and talking, interestingly, about relationship awareness theory. Not something you would expect the iTouch generation to engage with and yet, research is showing how desperate this generation is for connection and recognition; and not by way of a text!

So our intention this morning was to foster working relationships between employer and employees, to open up communication channels and share priorities and goals. This is hopefully regularly achieved at a workplace level, but what the PWC study points to, is the necessity for “personal relationship support”.

Working women and millennials particularly need “proactive networks of leaders and peers, who will develop, promote and champion them at home and in the workplace”. With the breakdown of more extended family structures, employees may be more reliant on mentors and sponsors within the business than ever before.

They need someone to wave their flag and model the way of self-advocacy.

I am lucky to currently mentor-coach three ‘fellows’, who are busy with a foundational fellowship programme. They are what was termed ‘bright young things’ back in the day, and each is seeking to be a better leader in their respective NPOs. I am mindful that my role is to try to offer that blend of workplace and personal support, as they navigate the dual roles of studying and working, while having families to manage. It is a delicate balance but the very identification of the necessity for this role, means that these organisations (and the fellowship) are acknowledging the necessity of this “strategic support”.

My closing questions for you to ask would be;

  • What does strategic support mean for your organisation?
  • And how do we go about providing it not only within, but without of the organisation?
  • Finally, to question what levels of strategic support you have built for yourself and in which networks you potentially need to invest to support you in your career and life ambitions.

Next time the third and final element that begs change in our organisations.

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