Are you a woman in FM?

So, you’re working in FM and you just happen to be a woman – so what? Are things really any different for you than they are for any man working in the same sector? Well, you tell me. Coaching both men and women in FM has led me to believe women have a different perspective on the world of work. Read on and let me know if this sounds familiar…

You’re already successful at what you do but perhaps you feel you haven’t quite met all your goals yet. You ‘sort of’ know what you want, but have never actually sat down and written out some clear goals, not just for your career, but for your future. Sometimes, even though no-one around you would know, you have moments of self-doubt, when that little voice in your head says, ‘I wonder if they’ll realise I don’t know the technical spec for this,’ or ‘being a manager is really hard work’, or ‘just for once it’d be nice if my team was appreciated a bit more’.

Now might be the right time for you to decide what you really want, in all aspects of life, including:

  • Career
  • Finances
  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Personal growth
  • Contribution/giving back

In your ideal world, how do all these areas balance? Are you currently spending too much time on work (and I don’t just mean when you are at work) and not enough time with people who are important to you? Do you keep your ‘phone or PDA on all weekend even if someone else is duty manager? What message does that give your family? Might they think they come second to your work? And what message does it give your team? Might they think you don’t trust them?

Of course it’s important as a manager to lead, direct and reward your team, but what about you? On ‘planes they tell us, ’fit your own mask first before helping others’ and this is true at work too. If you are overworked because you’re so busy taking care of everyone else, what happens?

So, what can you do about it? Here are some ideas you may like to consider:
1. Find a role model – someone who has been there and done it. Find out what they do that works, and try it yourself. Find out where they go to network and learn, and go there. Find out who they mix with, and mix with them too. Find out what they read, and read it.
2. Join industry networking events and online groups who will share their experiences – both successes and challenges. Check out the Women in FM special interest group at www.bifm.org.uk
3. Surround yourself with a peer group that supports and inspires you. These don’t have to be people within the industry, but choose your company carefully – you want people who exude warmth, not people who drain all the energy from you.
4. Become a mentor. Yes, but Liz you’ve just told us to become more balanced, isn’t this more work? No, this is about giving back, and many people I work with find this incredibly rewarding.
5. Find a coach. Coaching will help you build knowledge, skill and capability and enhance performance, and can be focused on your current job, and/or on an anticipated future role.

My last thought, directed to both men and women working in the sector, is:

Imagine how much more successful you could be if you invested some time in discovering your true potential and regaining the balance in your life.

Liz Kentish The FM Coach is the expert in the field of people development in the FM sector – for a free no obligation assessment of your skills and career options, contact Liz Kentish, The FM Coach on Tel: 01778 561326 / 07717 870777 or email: coach@lizkentishcoaching.co.uk


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