Gender in the Work Place

Is Gender on the Agenda?

Having worked for a long time in the area of behaviour and communication at work I know there are a whole host of diverse influences on how we behave and communicate including religion, race, geographical location, class, role position, company culture, personality and… gender. If you are a man reading this, are you now about to hit the delete button? Perhaps the men didn’t get past the title. I really hope not because the point of this post is to explore whether this is on your radar or not.

When I talk to women about how it impacts them, particularly when working with male dominated work teams they quickly relate to the subject. They’re usually very aware of how it affects their working relationships, and open to understanding how they may undermine their own credibility and apparent confidence and are keen to learn how they can change it.

I recently tweeted about a talk I had given to a large group of women entitled “How to Talk So Men Listen” One man responded by asking how I help men talk so women listen. Fair point, and the question it raised for me is do men care?

Women are interested because they are usually in a minority on senior teams, can site numerous examples of when they’ve felt frustrated that they’ve not been listened to or acknowledged and can frequently see the potential implications for their personal and business success.

Do men have the same incentive to address this? If the senior team of your business has always been  male and has well established conversational norms, what’s in it for you as a man, to consider anyone joining the team, whose style of communication doesn’t fit those norms, whether that is due to gender or any of the other influences, for that matter.

I’d really value your input on this because I don’t want to approach it as purely a women’s issue. I want to learn more about your experiences and thinking.

Whilst acknowledging that none of these are absolute measures and more on a spectrum of styles, what do you think about men and women having different ways of behaving and communicating?

  • What has been your personal experience?
  • What have you noticed when men and women work together in teams?
  • What impact can these differences have?
  • What, if anything, is in it for men to acknowledge or address any differences?