Why men and women continue to misunderstand each other at work
Studies have shown time and time again that men and women have markedly different strategies for conversing, and can easily misunderstand each other -- particularly at the office.
But all is not lost, maintains gender intelligence expert Barbara Annis in her recently published book Work With Me: The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business, co-authored with John Gray, of the famous Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus franchise.
The authors argue that men and women are hard-wired differently, so they communicate and process interpersonal information differently thus producing 'gender blind spots' when it comes to understanding their co-workers’ behaviour.
The key areas of confusion include:
1. Conflicting communication styles
2. Different modes of appreciation
3. Women feel excluded by oblivious men
4. Men feel like they walk on eggshells with women
5. Men don’t know what to do when women ask lots of questions
6. Men need to learn to listen to women and women need to understand that men’s ability to pay attention is limited
7. Women and men have different ways of expressing emotion
8. Men and women are insensitive to each other
Women need to understand that men prioritize and sequence their work and focus on results rather than on the effort to get there. Men, on the other hand, need to realize that women care about goals as well but are concerned about the process of reaching them.
When women talk about an issue at work, other women will likely respond with sympathy or by sharing a similar problem of their own. It's reassuring, and creates a sense of solidarity or closeness between them. Men's reaction to hearing a problem, on the other hand, is more usually to offer a solution.
If both genders can embrace these differences and come up with ways to cope with their different responses to workplace challenges, the end result will be better productivity and with less friction, the authors argue.
What are things like at your workplace? Is everyone talking the same language?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money