In writing my forthcoming book Breakdown, Breakthrough (Berrett-Koehler, Fall 2008), I’ve come across countless real-life stories of individuals who’ve told me that they feel men and women are radically different in the workplace, and that they truly speak different languages.
From my experience, I would tend to agree. There are certainly cliches about how men and women differ, but I think most would agree to the following differences:
- Communication styles
- What’s disclosed and what isn’t at work
- Values in terms of why people are working, and what they expect to get out of their work
- The importance of money and benefits as a reward vs. finding connection, meaning and respect
- The need and acceptance of “face-time” at work vs. desiring flexible work-from-home schedules where face time is less important
- Showing “heart” and emotion at work vs. keeping it hidden
I’ve also had numerous discussions lately with high-level professional men who have shared that they too are in crisis, but experience it very differently from women they work with.
I’d like to hear what you think. Are men and women very different at work? If so, how? And do you think men are going through professional crises as intensely as women right now? If so, what are the common crises men face today?