Last year, when I was working on my book, “21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot”; several female clients suggested that I address a few things they’d been unable to figure out on their own. Given that the recommendations came from women using a male career coach, it wasn’t surprising that the most frequent questions were about working with guys:
1. “What is it about the word ‘no’ that males don’t understand?”
2. “Is it true that guys spend half their day at work thinking about sex?”
3. “Why do men keep getting credit for my ideas?”
If you’ve ever wondered about these yourself; here are a few thoughts which may interest you.
First, most men and women in the workplace today were raised differently. As a result, they respond differently to different feedback This is the Nuture vs. Nature argument. When they are little, many girls choose to play with other girls because they have similar values and approaches; for example most girls prefer to play games where everyone wins, leaving the game happy. Little boys on the other hand, are more inclined to play games where there are clear winners and losers, for example competitive sports. And if you were a boy playing sports like hockey or baseball; you learned pretty quickly what to do if you were pulled and replaced by someone else. You learned how to convince the coach to put you back out there even if he said you were finished for the game. You learned that his, “No,” really meant, “Convince me – tell me why I should put you back in the game.” So you learned how to get him to say, “Yes”.
Second, new research clearly states that men don’t spend 1/2 their day at work thinking about sex. It’s more for some of them. New research shows that guys in their 20s and 30s think about sex every 52 seconds they are awake. It’s less for older males, but they are called members of the “old boys networks” for a reason. (Compared to gals: They likely only have sexual fantasies a couple of times a day.) From this we can take a few clues about how to behave at work – if you’re a man, recognize that the lady across the table from you is probably more focused on what’s being discussed then you are. She may be recognized for that and become your boss as a result. That’s true even in male dominated businesses like IT or cable. If you’re a woman, don’t be fooled into thinking that your male boss is inviting you to meetings simply because of your brains. Or that he finds you to be uniquely attractive. He’s probably having a lot of thoughts about the other women in the operation as well.
So, nature has a big role in how we are at the cellular level.
Finally, I’ve found that many women are negatively impacted by their own voices and speaking approaches. Because of a woman’s particular pitch, tone and volume; she may simply not be heard by the boss in a meeting. Also, males don’t have the same range of hearing spectrum as females who can hear higher highs and lower lows in most cases. So, ladies if you don’t want another person to get credit for your idea in a meeting because he simply repeated it; then learn to speak in a manner which you know will be heard in all environments.
Until next week,