Tuesday, September 23, 2008

That's Profiling, and Profiling Is Just Wrong!!

Let's just go ahead and dive into the politically incorrect waters. I'm going to offer suggestions that anyone with a gender chip on their shoulder will love to take off on. So, let me say that, yes, I know these suggestions are based on stereotypes and the recognition of stereotypes leads to profiling.

And let's make sure, class, that we are all on the same page. "Male" and "Female" have to do with biology. "Men" and "Women" are societal constructs.

But, like Jimmy Buffett says, "Cliches say what they mean and mean what they say." If this stuff weren't true people wouldn't say it.

Current elections on a lot of levels have us asking if there are differences in how men and women do things. Here are six tips for each sex that can make life more tolerable at work:

For Men:
- Do not address or describe women as girls, gals, honey, babe or ladies.
- Describing women as objects; such as commenting about “the wife,” is offensive
- Understand that when women tell a story they are trying to build a connection with you, not waste time.
- Understand that when women are talking about an issue (processing) it is a way to include others and build relationships.
- Ask what you can do to help. It often shows support and is a step to building a positive relationship.
- Strengths associated with women include harmony, teamwork, collaboration and attention to detail.

For Women:
- Men are not mind readers at work or at home. Be specific about what you do or do not want.
- Don’t try to be one of the boys, you aren’t.
- Get down to business. Some men interpret the personal stories you tell as weakness instead of the relationship-building step you intend it to be.
- Don’t try to get men to talk when they are not ready. Men process internally while you often process out loud.
- Understand that offering a man help may be interpreted as questioning his ability to do the job. For some men your offer is a blow to their self-esteem.
- Strengths associated with men are goal orientation, singleness of purpose, problem-solving and responding to a challenge.

Class over. Go and profile no more.

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