For several decades now, women are represented almost equally with men, and enjoy equal opportunities at workplaces. According to Forbes’ article on the 8 blind spots between sexes at work, the varying characteristics between the two genders may cause many of the problems at work. However, little did you know that these gender differences play an influential role in the workplace. Let us elaborate on the five type of common differences between the two genders at the workplace.
1. Attention Span
It is natural for a woman to multitask as compared to men, especially in stressful situations. Women find it difficult to understand and believe that a man is unable to do the same. When a man is under stress, he tends to develop tunnel vision and fails to provide attention to his surroundings. In such situations, women may find it offensive and take it personally.
Research shows that 80% of women prefer to ask questions even when they know the answer. They feel that questions can stimulate an exchange of ideas and help arrive at a common consensus. Due to the lack of attention span, 72% of men feel that women ask too many questions. Research states that these questions could actually help to generate better outcomes and improve communication among the team members.
Men and women have different way of handling their emotions. Research shows that men are as emotional as women but they tend to hide their feelings more. Men only reveal their feelings when they are under great pressure, as they usually seek space and solitude. Most men prefer to shut down and re energize internally, rather than talking out their problems. If they do talk out, they will seek comfort in close buddies.
In contrast, women tend to express and share their emotions to anyone freely, including strangers. Women prefer heart to heart talk, or rant out to release their inner tension. The other party could be anybody, as long as the party is willing to listen, empathize and support them.
3. Communication Style
Generally, men are results oriented and have a tendency to focus on what is critical. They frequently prioritize and sequence their work to achieve the goals. On the other hand, women are process focused, and are motivated by the effort going into the process of attaining goals. Women are conscientious workers and need to have all factors considered before executing. This gender intelligence difference has brought several conflicts in workplaces where women feel like their wishes are ignored by men, who only have thoughts on getting work done.
On another aspect of communication style, 79% of men feel that they need to be careful and indirect when dealing with women, especially with critical feedback. There are two common types of women in the workplace - one who gets emotional easily and one who is assertive. Emotional women get affected easily and may cry in office or performance reviews.
Men have also mentioned that they have troubles dealing with both emotional and assertive types, which may create a barrier in transparent communication. These men mentioned that they are afraid of being straight with women, for fear of offending them. 82% of women say they would prefer receiving direct feedback from men.
Both men and women may not be as sensitive to each others’ needs and feelings. 68% of men agree with the 72% of women who said that men are not as sensitive as women to surroundings, situations and feelings. Men are more goal-oriented and traditional, and tend to prefer being be more isolated when making decisions at work.
Researches have shown that women are also poor in reading men’s behaviour accurately and responding sensitively. On the other hand, women like to express their feelings, and have a high level of curiosity and empathy. Women prefer getting engaged in decision processes. This may caused misunderstanding as 82% of women feel excluded in conversations or workplaces in general. Yet, 92% of men think otherwise. It’s time for both parties to start understanding how both parties’ brain work and start accommodating!
5. Team Playership
It seems that men and women have different preferences on getting acknowledged and appreciated as part of a team. A man would feel much more appreciated when he’s singled out to do a task, as opposed to a woman who prefers to be acknowledged as part of a team that completed the task. It seems that for men, teamwork is similar to playing a competitive sport.
For men, performance is important. Men contribute by supporting the leader, playing his position well, and supporting the leader efficiently. When they succeed, they naturally point inward and attribute it to their own skills. When they fail, they point outward and blame external factors for causing the failure.
Women enjoy interacting with other colleagues by sharing ideas, listening, working together, and provide assistance whenever possible. They point outward when they succeed, and give credits to their team members and external surroundings. When they fail, women tend to blame themselves for the mishap caused.
Since men and women are wired differently, is it still possible to establish good work relationships? It is, and here are some tips from the PanelPlace Team that may help to make things better!
Male employees should acknowledge your female colleagues feelings, encourage her while laying out what you expect of her in the future. As for females, give the gentlemen some space and time to sort his thoughts out. He will definitely tell you his thoughts if he wants to - no point digging!
Men should try to view work as not only a place to deliver outstanding results but also to connect with the other players. As for women, they should approach men at right timings. Both parties should try to put the shortcomings of the other party to good use.
To illustrate, women can view men as a role model to become more motivated and be emotionally stronger. Men can learn from women to be more people oriented and be less self-absorbed. Workplace should not be seen as a competitive environment, but a place for people to build work relationships and deliver great results at the same time.