Would you be surprised if we told you that, on the whole, there are important differences between the networking needs of men and women? Although networking is crucial to everyone’s career, women approach the matter differently than their male counterparts.
Women take more time to build exclusive and intimate relationships with other women they meet. They surround themselves with those whom they can trust in every aspect, personal as much as professional. They start by thinking of what they can offer others, with the mindset of building a tight and strong circle, a circle of allies.
Is this how you build your network?
There are numerous advantages to “weaving a tight-knit.” This small group that is exclusive and unique to you, allows you to discuss with those you trust aspects that are most important to you, but it also allows you to access information that is exclusive to your female colleagues.
But the benefits of a circle of allies aren’t limited to only that. We’ll tell you about it!
The Circle of Allies: Stick Together to Get Ahead
Although the circle of allies of women is smaller than that of men, it is supportive and meets very specific needs in their career. When they form their circle, women do so with a clear objective: to have a safe space where they can discuss different situations. According to Forbes support from one’s peers (of the same sex) and the advice that is exchanged between them allows them to advance in their career.
Trust is at the foundation of these connections and the bonds that they build. All this makes sense; we share exclusive and informal information with each other on many topics, whether it be the workplace or the treatment of women in certain companies.
Most importantly, don’t forget that these connections go both ways! The women who surround you are probably as generous as you are! It’s proven: women who have a quality circle of allies and who nurture it are three times more likely to have a job that suits them than those who don’t.
Having a Diversified Circle of Allies: A Measure of Success
While surrounding yourself with colleagues in the same environment is, at first glance, easier and more natural, you must be cautious not to find yourself in an echo chamber that won’t allow you to take advantage of different points of view and different expertise. It’s essential to vary your network with people who bring a different vantage point to situations that you’re going through, a network that widens your perspective. The Kellogg Insight, the journal of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois, insists on this point in this article: by being connected to people
who come from different environments, women who are more successful in their careers are guaranteed to always have new information and, especially, different opinions on the same situation.
This is an effective way to come to creative solutions for the problems you’re experiencing. Think of your circle of allies! Surround yourself with women who are different from you. They’re there to guide you and propel you further in your career.
Maintain Your Network to Keep It Strong
Your circle of allies allows you to better position yourself in your career and, especially, to have support in the situations that will mark your professional path. This is why it’s important to nurture it. Give yourself some time with the key people in your network regularly. Set aside time in your schedule to make yourself available during a coffee or lunch break. A solid network is a network nourished by the bonds that you maintain with each person that forms it. When your circle is strong, you feel safe and exchange openly to get ahead. As Anne Cournoyer, premier chef of Radio-Canada’s Advertising Strategy, Information and Specialty Channels and graduate of the Défi 100 jours, puts it so astutely, “I never networked very actively in a female circle before. Today I see all the advantages […] Having a solid circle around you, that will push you to go further, that will ask you the right questions and will help you ask the right questions, is priceless.”