Two lessons women at work can learn from men

Women are not getting ahead and statistics report that the percentage of women at work in top positions has stayed relatively static for the past three years. The problem is women at work need to realise that the business world was created by men and so they must play by men’s rules. It’s sexist and harsh but it’s a reality women need to grasp. Women need to stop blaming the glass ceiling for not growing in their careers and start observing the creators of the game.

I spoke with Donna Rachelson – CEO of Branding & Marketing You – about how women can grow professionally and she shared these two lessons that women at work can learn from men.

1. Treat work like a game

Men tend to treat business as a game with winners and losers. Men who succeed in business often approach business like a sports match, testing new strategies and testing unique plays to win the match. If women can understand this, they can be powerful in the workplace.

Men are also very good at not taking things too personally. Donna gave this example:

“Men will be in a meeting together and they seek to win, whatever the costs, to the point where they may anger the others, however afterwards, this group of men will go to a bar together and bond.”

Women at work can learn a lot from this. We tend to personalise work issues too much and internalise these. This can lead to resentment and a bad team dynamic. If someone does something untoward at work, don’t take it personally. We need to stop taking people’s professional behaviour personally and start separating our professional and personal feelings.

2. Ladies, put your hands up!

“Men make sure that they’re recognised and women don’t,” said Rachelson. “Men take recognition whereas women hope to be recognised and stay silent.”

Here’s an example:

There’s a meeting regarding a new director position in company X. Janna has be working extremely hard and putting in extra hours in the hope that she will be considered for the role. Her main competition, Frank hasn’t been working as hard but he has been loud and proud about his accomplishments. When it came down to the crunch, Frank got the job.

What’s the moral of the story?

Women at work need to be open about their achievements and how hard they are working. Staying silent stops others from seeing how much value you have contributed to your organisation. We need to man up and understand how men do business. It’s time for us to say GAME ON!

Donna Rachelson will be speaking at the GIBS IPM Women in Business 2014 – Leading The Future on 19 August. For more information, follow this link.

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