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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Remember "For Women Only"? - Author's Follow-up

“The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace” by Shaunti Feldhahn examines how women could be unintentionally undermining themselves at work. Feldhahn was able to write this insightful piece after anonymously interviewing and surveying 3,000 men.

Why should a book like this be read? Generally, especially as people rise through the ranks, no one is incompetent - so it falls to other factors. It's not just talent, because everyone has that. So what are “these other factors” other than talent? That's what you'll learn in this book.

Here's an example of one of the many aha-aha moments I experienced: At work, have you ever asked a "why" question such as "Why did you come to that conclusion?" If so, you probably thought that you were asking for information and doing so in an appropriate, straight-forward manner. But, are you aware that men often perceive "why" questions as calling into question their judgment? In contrast, if you simply rephrase along the lines of, "Can you tell me what you're thinking here?" most men will no longer take offense at the question and will be glad to answer it.

In addition, Feldhahn tackles questions such as differing views on emotion, social conversation and dress. These are topics that are often not addressed because of fears about crossing the line of political correctness, but from the author’s standpoint her hope is motivated by a desire to help women succeed. She uses the analogy of her experiences working within a foreign culture and how it’s helpful to do your homework in order not to be misperceived, “The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace,” is a book that also moves the gender differences forward in understanding the reason behind them.

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