I have to say I was a little aggravated. When I saw the results of the research, it irked me. It irked me that there was a difference.
I have to confess I was a little taken aback. When I heard from no fewer than three separate executive level male leaders over the course of no more than three months, that each had a problem working with women.
I have to admit, though, that there is something to this. And I am moved – as usual – to encourage an open discussion. A discussion about the existence and ramifications of the difference between men and women in the workplace.
It doesn’t help anyone – or any relationship – or any organization – to deny it. A bridge isn’t built until it is joined in the middle. And the fact of the matter is, one of the 50% of us has to work productively with the other 50% of us in order to create good work and good lives.
So here’s the deal. Recent research shows that the motivation factors (the driving forces that compel us to act or not act in certain ways) of men and women are different. The differences are not surprising. In fact they are quite typical – even archetypal. That’s what aggravated me. And things that aggravate, irritate and itch usually do so because they represent at least a grain of sand of truth.
There is more than a grain of sand of truth in this case. If you’ve read this far, you know it too. If you hit the “back” button in dismissive disgust at the topic, you know it too. So we must stop pretending that those differences don’t exist. We can do better. We can all do a better job of understanding our own motivators and leveraging those of others. Ostriches don’t make good leaders in the long term.
I’m hosting Helle Bundgaard next Wednesday, June 6 at the Center for Meaningful Work to present this research and discuss the implications of these findings. I hope you’ll join us! (The great common motivators – beer, pretzels, wine and cheese – will be served)