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Learn how to work better with men
By Sandra Beckwith

According to one survey, 52 percent of the female executives surveyed believe their main obstacles to success in the workplace are male stereotyping of them and male preconceptions about their ability to manage. Women can overcome stereotypes by understanding how different styles influence others’ perceptions of you and adjust your behavior accordingly. Use these tips to make changes:

  • Understand that we all enjoy working with people who are like us or who share our interests. Something as simple as reading the sports page every morning might help you find common ground with men.
  • Get to your point quicker and you will keep male colleagues tuned in. While they interrupt more, men talk less than women, and would prefer it if women talked less, too.
  • Acknowledge that some men equate “quiet” and “meek” with “weak.” If you’re timid, understand the assumptions men make and evaluate the benefits of becoming more assertive and outspoken.
  • Don’t take male criticism personally. It probably isn’t intended that way.
  • Avoid Fumbled Football Syndrome, when team players treat a good idea much like a dropped ball — it’s okay to pick it up and run with it after someone else (you?) fumbles. Make sure your good idea isn’t a fumbled football: put it in writing, especially when someone else “picks it up” in a meeting.
  • Don’t be stymied by the male vocabulary, which includes references to sports terms and war metaphors women might not understand. Working behind the scenes to learn what the phrases mean will help you be part of the team. Consider, too, peppering conversations with more typical female phrases, such as "it’s all sewn up" or "let’s stir up the pot," for a little more balance.
  • Recognize, appreciate and point out the strengths the other gender brings to the situation. One way isn’t better than another. It’s just different.
  • Keep your sense of humor. Laughter is a universal language.

Sandra Beckwith speaks frequently on the lighter side of gender differences and is the author of WHY CAN’T A MAN BE MORE LIKE A WOMAN? Learn more at www.sandrabeckwith.com.