In addressing problems, both men and women have equal skills to solve them; however, the processes are often different.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just go about our business doing things our own way without having to take into consideration the culture, personalities and nuances of different folks? Unfortunately, in order to be successful in any segment of our business, it is necessary for us to learn to communicate effectively in our marketing, sales and operational efforts. Since the purpose of this column is to share a woman’s perspective, I thought it would be beneficial to address some of the common differences between the masculine and the feminine so we can maximize the business strengths each brings - increasing cooperation, success and the ability to reach and communicate effectively with all of our clients and vendors.

As discussed in the previous column, I’m a firm believer in balance. Today, it’s important to have a combination of feminine and masculine traits, energies and qualities in order to succeed. How boring is pasta without the sauce, wine without cheese or beer without chips?

Thought Processes

Thinking through a situation, while conclusions and decisions can be similar, the outcome may be very different depending on whether a man or woman is processing the information. We’ve all heard the adage, “Think global, act local.” This, in a few words, characterizes the masculine and feminine. Men grasp situations as a whole, thinking globally, and can separate themselves from the surrounding dynamics and focus specifically to the task at hand. Women think locally and rely on the details and nuances assessing the interdependence and interconnectedness of a decision. If the company needed to layoff workers, women would see the overall effects of the layoff to the other employees and company, while men would see it solving one particular issue, such as the bottom line.

Approaching a Problem

In addressing problems, both men and women have equal skills to solve them; however, the processes are often different. Not only do women want to solve the problem, they are equally concerned about the how the problem might be solved; while men are more concerned with demonstrating their ability and strength in solving the problem effectively and correctly. The masculine mode would want to either make the decision or have one person make that decision, while a woman would rather explore the solution through collective intelligence. The solution? Using the strength of a group/committee to make decisions with a leader or spokesperson would be a great way to accommodate both.

The Past

Most men have experienced a woman’s ability to bring up something from the past in a split second while addressing a current dilemma. Women will connect the emotional components of an experience, while men recall events based on the restructuring of elements, tasks or activities that took place, detaching from the emotional. For a woman, if a decision or event had caused a strong emotional reaction, any “similar” action might bring this memory to the surface while men have a tendency to remember something based on the action only. While it’s important to make a decision and move on, it’s also important to understand the emotional reactions that the decision may incur.

Although there are no absolutes in either the feminine or the masculine brain function, researchers have been able to track definitive tendencies. Our task is to accept and benefit from these differences. My father taught me early on that a good leader understands their strength and weaknesses and surrounds themselves with those who can maximize the strengths and gird up the weakness. The idea that we should all think alike and punish those who don’t think as we do is absurd. Two parts can really be better than the whole.

See you at Coverings!