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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.
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
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
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