Words and behavior are the key differences between how men and women communicate in the workplace. It is a very obvious and widespread dis-connect that exists in the corporate (and non-corporate) world. See a few quick cases in point:
Descriptions used – when a woman gets weak due to the flu, she “faints” where a man “collapses”; men are “hot-tempered” while women are “emotional”; men “take charge” and women “take care” …. These are all real life examples that I have heard first-hand.
Former TNT news show producer, Gail Evans, author of Play Like a Man, Win like a Woman, points out a very true (and quite humorous observation) which I have seen occur in lots of corporate environments. The example is this (and you will see it in some form at your office, too): The CEO or Managing Partner of your firm will take have a “walkabout” around the office – this is a habit whereby he walks down the hall or through the work space once a week or so. As he walks by, the male professionals come out to meet him in their doorways to give him an update, ask for advice or share a success story. I equate this to the alpha make pounding his chest so all can see he’s in charge. (That’s not a criticism, by the way, just a nod to our natural state). The thing to note is that the females in the offices wait at their desk for the male in charge to come to them. And if the male does enter her office, the tone of the conversation is usually very different. There is small talk first before they approach a work subject. Conversely, women don’t usually just walk into the office of another – they will knock first, and ask to be invited in. This deference can sometimes be perceived as submissive or “weak” by their male counterparts.
There are so many examples of how men and women are different – as it should be! After all, the entire world is based on contrast – the yin and the yang. It takes both genders to create life and both segments of the human population are equally important. We must understand each other more to completely value each other’s contributions to the whole – at work and beyond.