The Benefits and Challenges of Working for the Opposite Sex

There is an old saying that behind every great man there is a great woman. This demonstrates the value of feminine energy in creating success, even if it isn’t always valued to the same degree as the more masculine energy that is typified by the stereotypical «businessMAN».

Beyond Gender

It is important to note, however, that masculine and feminine energy are present in all of us and don’t equate with gender. They also have little to do with sexual orientation. They are more to do with styles of communication and leadership.

Some people would argue that since opposites attract, it will always be easier for a man and woman to work together. In the Western world, we seem to still think it normal for the man to be the boss and the woman to be the support staff. The disadvantage of this is that it can be tough to switch the roles, with, for example, the woman as the CEO with a male personal assistant.

Communication Is Key

The crucial difference, and one which may explain male dominance and the disadvantage of working for the opposite sex, is different communication styles. Men want to speak but are not always good at listening. Women have a reputation for being «chatty», but that chat is usually about people because women tend to be more nurturing and concerned for others.

Women also tend to have a better emotional quotient; that is, a better grasp of the feelings of others and level of empathy that few businessmen will express. They can therefore «grease the wheels» and get their foot in the door on a lot of deals. The men can then close those deals.

Everyone Wins

Women are generally not determined to win at any price, but to create a win-win for all parties concerned so that the business relationships will continue happily over the long term. A male boss who values his female colleague’s feminine energy will pay attention to her input and value her contributes.

The Downside for Women of Working with Men

In an ideal world, we would all be enlightened and mature enough to treat each other with perfect professionalism and equality. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sexist remarks can do serious damage to business relationships.

Sexism in the workplace can create a «glass ceiling» that women seem to hit. Note how few women CEOs there are in the US. The fact that women earn about one-third less than men is also a telling point, even though in many cases it is the woman on the team who is working harder and producing more results.

Sexual harassment can work both ways, of course, but it tends to be a male colleague behaving inappropriately towards a woman, rather than the other way around. Bullying is another negative aspect to working for the opposite sex which needs to be addressed.

On the whole, women entrepreneurs are not given the same degree of respect as male entrepreneurs, but conducting yourself in a professional manner can ensure you are successful no matter which gender you are working with.