8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women

8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the 8 blind spots between men and women as identified by 2 researchers.

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Now, let’s talk about the 8 blind spots between men and women as identified by 2 researchers.

In the desire to create equality, proponents have created more problems and resistance because they have mistakenly confused equality with sameness, and they expect men and women to act and think the same. They don’t.

Men and women are different which has or should have no correlation to equal opportunities. For example, boys are 5 times more likely to have autism than girls – and that stark difference is due to the male brain structure and not to nurturing or societal expectations or demands. Women are also twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s than men.

“In pursuit of gender sameness, we’ve painted ourselves into a corner.” – Barbara Annis/John Gray PhD

Why would you want to deny or suppress your uniqueness and that of the other gender, and thus fail to “appreciate each other’s authentic, complementary nature?”

By adopting the belief that we are all the same, we fail to see the blind spots that exist between the genders; we fail to understand, communicate and effectively work together.

In her book, “Lean In”, author and chief operating officer at Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, claims women have not ascended to the most senior positions at companies because they fail to “lean in”; they fail to ask for promotions, speak up at meetings or insist on taking a seat at the table.

In the book, “Work with Me: The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business”, authors Barbara Annis and John Gray PhD argue that these 8 “gender blind spots -misperceptions, false assumptions and opinions – of each other’s intentions and expectations in today’s workplace” wreak havoc in business – and in personal life as well.

Barbara Annis is the pioneer of the concept of Gender Intelligence, and chair of the women’s leadership board at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; John Gray, PhD is the author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.

Gender Intelligence
“Gender Intelligence is an active consciousness that views gender differences as strengths, not weaknesses. It is an understanding that both nature and nurture play a significant role in a person’s life.”

Annis and Gray interviewed more than 100,000 male and female executives at more than 60 Fortune 500 companies. Of course, there will always be exceptions to the gender differences i.e the differences are not black and white – they are a spectrum; people should always be seen, heard and understood as individuals.

Men and women do seek to understand each other; they simply fail at accurately reading each other’s thoughts, intention and actions, even though they believe they understand what causes them to act that way! This results in unintended, inappropriate behavior.

The Eight Blind Spots

1. Conflicting communication styles and values
There are, according to the authors, 4 differences in values for women versus men:
I. Improve versus Maintain
II. Together versus Independently
III. Journey versus Results
IV. Sharing versus Declaring

“The traditional business model we work in today … is based on a male model of work and a male code of behavior…We have to stop fixing women to act like men and then blaming men for acting like themselves. … When we understand our differences, our language begins to change and our expectations become grounded in reality instead of assumptions.”

Action Step: Focus on Gender Intelligence – seek to understand and embrace the differences. Women – understand that men prioritize their work by focusing on results. Men – understand that women care about the goal but also value the process to getting there.

2. Men and women seek different forms of appreciation
“While men thrive on recognition for their results, women feel most appreciated and validated when they’re acknowledged for the challenges they faced in attaining those results. Men don’t realize that for many women, a collaborative work environment, peer and supervisory support, and building sharing and reciprocal relationships are as important as money, status and power.”

“For many men, teamwork is similar to playing a competitive sport.”

Action Step: Women accept and acknowledge men for their accomplishments. Men accept and acknowledge women for their actions and processes towards achieving the goal. Men listen attentively; women accept men focus on fixing things.

3. Women feel excluded
“…inclusion is not generally a top-of-mind issue for men. As a result, a woman may misread a man’s behavior in team meetings as being aloof and indifferent, which tends to amplify a woman’s feeling of exclusion.”

In Gender Intelligence Workshops, women cite 3 reasons why they feel that men need to change:
I. Women’s ideas are dismissed and their concerns are ignored
II. Women feel excluded – from advancement opportunities to informal social events
III. Women feel they have to work harder than men for the same level of recognition

Action Step: Men be aware of including. Women be aware that men focus on results over relationships, stream-lining over discussion.

4. Men feel they are walking on eggshells with women
“Men say they often feel they can’t express their ideas or be their natural, casual selves without the fear of inadvertently saying or doing something that may upset a woman.” However, 82% of women say they want to get direct feedback from men.

Action Step: Men stop walking on eggshells; be empathetic, supportive, and communicate directly. Women be authentic and speak directly.

5. Men are stumped when women ask a lot of questions
Women generally ask more questions than men – with the intention of stimulating an exchange of ideas, building consensus, showing concern and offering feedback and asking for support.

Action Step: Men listen when women ask questions; women respect the male tendency to take risks and focus on the task/goal with little discussion.

6. Men don’t listen as much as women do
“One of the leading ways men sabotage their success in working with women is by not taking the time to show that they are listening and, in the process, demonstrate their care and concern.” When a man is under stress, he tends to develop tunnel vision and focuses on the task, with little interest in listening.

Action Step: Men listen more. Women accept that men have sharp focus and don’t feel the need to talk as much.

7. Men and women are emotional; they express it differently
People were surprised when Tom Hanks cried during the Golden Globes awards ceremony when speaking about his family who were right there. Men and women are emotional. When stressed, women will tend and befriend (open up and talk) while men will seek solitude and space – opening up to people who are closest to them.

Action Step: Men listen to women’s reactions – they are cathartic and part of their processing of emotions. Women accept that men focus on fixing the problem versus thinking about what they are feeling.

8. Men and women are insensitive to each other
“Many men today make an effort to be more actively conscious of the people and events around them…Nevertheless, being sensitive is not a natural and effortless response for men.” Men state that women fail to read their behavior accurately and to respond sensitively.

Action Step: Accept each other’s differences. Women are process oriented first, and they ask lots of questions while also focusing on relationships on the path to achieving goals. Men are goal-oriented (results first, process second), they don’t need to talk about the process and relationships, and, they seek credit for themselves first.

Again, remember that these principles are generalizations; there are female executives who focus on the goal over relationships or processes. Seek to first understand the individual – biology, environment, upbringing and so forth. Above all, embrace the differences rather than trying to make others like you!

If you need help to improve your communication or to be more empathetic, supportive or patient, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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