​​​​​​​Building a network of constructive positivity

Why should women be mindful of surrounding themselves with trusted feedback and positivity in their inner circle?

Research shows that the initial responses when people first talk about good news or share an idea or goal has a big impact on whether they further pursue that activity or idea. Having an inner circle or sounding board of people women can trust to give them thoughtful and encouraging feedback—constructive positivity—can be crucial to their ability to perform with success in the workplace as well as advance in their careers.

Yet many women are surrounded by “frenemies” because “they’re afraid of being seen as not nice,” observes speaker and positive psychology expert Caroline Adams Miller, MAPP, in a LinkedIn video. “It’s really critical that you take a look at your web of support. … We need to be very, very shrewd about the people we choose to have in our lives.”

We talked to four female industry leaders about the need for and the makeup of their support networks. Bosses, professional mentors or personal friends often logically fill this role for many leaders. Women can also intentionally develop their own sounding boards through connections with other co-workers and peers in the office or colleagues found outside the workplace—people without a direct stake in a woman’s advancement who can still provide positive support and respond when needed.

These types of supporters in the life of professional women can form a crucial network and source of positivity during important projects and at key career decision points. When asked for honest feedback, such trusted advisors can offer substantive, constructive criticism that goes well beyond a simple “good job” to helping explain what specifically is good about an idea and how to overcome potential challenges related to an idea.


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