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psychology of women in the workplace

The Psychology of Women in the Workplace

Gender plays a major role in company culture, office politics and working relationships.

Understanding the psyche of women in the workplace can aid in greater ease of communication, employee satisfaction and conflict avoidance.

The great news is, the core differences between men and women in the workplace can benefit the employer greatly, as each brings something unique and valuable to the table.

Holistic Problem-Solving

Women have the innate ability to see an issue as a whole and thus dissect the core problem, without knowing each small detail of the situation.

In other words, women hone in on the bigger picture and ignore the “fluff” or extraneous conflict.

Great Leaders AND Team Players

In a study conducted on gender bias, researchers found that people viewed woman as more supportive and encouraging, which allows them to be both productive leaders and team players.

Women are also viewed as more compassionate and thus exceptional at team-building and fostering workplace harmony.

Praise

Women are very much of the “it takes a village” mindset. When a goal is achieved or major success accomplished, women are keen to attribute praise outward towards their team or other circumstances.

The downfall is a decreased willingness to embrace their competence and can thus impede others’ confidence in their abilities.

Persuasiveness

Women outscore men when it comes to the skills of persuasion. Women assess the root of others’ needs more quickly and thus respond (and persuade) appropriately.

Challenge

In a 2009 study conducted by Accenture, women are 20% more likely than their male counterparts to request new challenges from their bosses. 

Perhaps, driven by the fact women still earn approximately 20% less than their male counterparts, women possess a stronger desire to achieve, advance and establish their credibility, despite cultural limitations.

Women are roughly 15% less likely to ask for a raise, as their male counterparts.

Women are clearly keen to take on greater roles and responsibilities, but there is still room for improvement when it comes to negotiations and compensation.

Work Ethic

Women will always rise to the challenge, even it means harder, longer hours. In fact, a career site poll indicated 54% of women logged 9 to 11-hour workdays, compared to just 41% of men in equal positions.

Honesty

Women are partial to honesty and are less likely than men to “play hooky” or fake a sick day for alternative purposes. A key takeaway is understanding women value honesty in others, as much as they do themselves.  

Language

Women are decidedly less brash and perhaps more “politically correct” than men, especially in the workplace.

They are more inclined to use supportive, productive language, where men are more prone to playful banter or “trash talk.”

Collaboration

You know the old joke where men refuse to ask for directions, even when they’re lost? The same goes for workplace politics.

Women are equally as likely to seek guidance in difficult situations, as they are to collaborate on simple, straight-forward tasks.

A high appreciation for collaboration is a direct factor in what makes women successful leaders AND team players.

Process-Oriented

Men are infatuated with the end goal and thus are motivated by its realization. 

Women, on the other hand, are driven by the processes and incremental goals leading up to the final result. 

As a result, the success of completing a task or reaching a target has less appeal, as the road to getting there.

Engagement

Women value engagement over authority. When it comes time to solve a problem, strategize or brainstorm, women are quick to seek input externally, rather than relying solely on personal instinct.

From a male perspective, this can be perceived as uncertainty or incompetence; a happy middle ground would be a healthy dose of engagement coupled with autonomy.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is women and men react, interact and perform differently in the workplace. Each side possesses traits, which the other lack and together they bring immense value to employers.

Women and men shouldn’t necessarily focus on their shortcomings. They shouldn’t focus on how their counterpart does something better, but rather focus on capitalizing strengths to be most effective.

At the same time, both sides can learn a lot from one another and find a pleasant, middle ground.

Gender parity still exists in the workforce. Employers can focus on a major insight to lessen the discrepancy: stop treating women like women.

The moment leadership can grasp this solution and put it into action, the sooner the playing field is leveled.

What are your thoughts on gender differences in the workplace? We’d love to hear your input in the comments below!

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The Psychology of Women in the Workplace
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Understanding the psyche of women in the workplace can aid in greater ease of communication, employee satisfaction and conflict avoidance.
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