Inside the Minds of Men
Everyone knows men are from Mars and women are from Venus—and, of course, this difference can result in huge miscommunications when it comes to matters of the heart. (Her: “Does this make me look fat?” Him: “Depends on what you mean by fat.”)
But what about in our professional lives? When it’s time to get down to business, there are five ways men generally behave differently than women. And here’s what they don’t want us to know.
1. They don’t apologize. Although an apology might get them out of the doghouse at home, at work it rarely serves them well. Men apologize if and only if they’ve screwed up royally. Women are quicker to offer up the “I’m sorry,” which can make them appear less confident without realizing it:
“I’m sorry, but may I say something?”
“I’m sorry, but this is going to need some tweaking.”
“I’m sorry, is someone sitting here?”
The lesson: Commit to replacing “I’m sorry” with “Excuse me,” unless you really mean it.
2. They externalize. Here’s a story for you:
“A man asks for a raise and you turn him down, he thinks you’re an ass. A woman asks for a raise and you turn her down, she thinks she’s an ass.”
When a woman fails, she has a tendency to think of the hundreds of ways she could have done it differently, and it becomes harder to focus on moving forward. On the other hand, men are more likely to assume their failures have to do with external circumstances, and therefore face less of an emotional setback.
The lesson: Though an honest personal assessment will never hurt anyone, over-analyzing can be paralyzing. Set a time limit and then spring into action!
3. They ask for what they want. Sure, statistically men make more money. But they’re also more likely to ask for it. They understand very well that the worst you can ever say is “no,” and that “no” simply means “not now.” The fear of rejection is lessened by the fact that they’re not as emotionally invested (which brings me to my next point).
The lesson: Your new mantra: What have I got to lose?
4. They don’t take it personally. In the famous words of The Godfather, “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.” A bad review? A rejected idea? The nature of the game. To women, work presents an opportunity to build and nurture relationships. Because they’re emotionally connected to the people around them, it becomes more difficult to accept and offer negative feedback.
The lesson: Say what needs to be said. You and those around you will be better off for it.
5. They expect you to like them. A man walks into a room and he generally expects that people will like him before he’s even opened his mouth. A woman walks into a room and she knows she’ll have to prove herself.
The lesson: Of course, this train of thought has its cultural roots, but as the wage gap closes and more women hold executive positions, we’ve got to act like everyone in the room believes what we’ve known all along—that we belong there.