Whilst we are celebrating International Women’s Day today I wanted to remember that good business partnerships are often founded on couples going into business together whose strengths lie in diverse, but complimentary, areas. So often we hear the catchcry “Behind every good man there is a great woman”, as if his success depends on this support. It has often been, to my chagrin, and I am sure to most feminists as well, that the female role is seen as one of support and often played out in the background. I would also speculate that to see the roles reversed may not sit particularly well with many men; think of Dennis Thatcher and Tim Mathieson. Remember the scramble, when Julia Gillard became PM, to craft a suitable role for the first ‘new man’ of The Lodge.
The reality is just that though, I could not have started Employee Matters without Mark’s expertise and his encouragement, support and confidence that he had in me; that firstly, we could do it and secondly, that it would be successful. Part of the reason for this is that we have complimentary skill sets; I am apt to jump in and not be buried in detail for long, but I’m great with developing and maintaining relationships. Mark writes like a poet and is a wordsmith and I certainly lack great skills in this area. Mark is focused on the finance, IT, editing and the risk & compliance side of the business, enabling me to get on with what I do best. This is often the struggle faced by SMEs; trying to be an expert in all areas of running a business. We don’t always agree on everything, but we have trust and respect in our relationship that enables us to work through issues to find or create a solution. All employee relationships need these ingredients to be successful but, sadly, they are often lacking to the detriment of the relationship and the business. The employer needs to let their employees know that they matter.
So I guess I am one of the lucky ones to have a ‘great man’ behind me.
Natasha Hawker owns Employee Matters Pty Ltd; an HR Consultancy that assists small to medium businesses with their HR functions to make them more efficient and profitable. Their offering includes HR Management, Recruitment, Training, Coaching, and Exit Management – find them at www.employeematters.com.au