Recently I had the chance to present on the topic of ”leading up” to a group of business women. After my presentation, we engaged in a lively dialogue about the difference between men and women. Most of the women in the room were energized by a particular point from my presentation: When talking about career progression men are more likely to discuss title and women are more likely to talk about meaning and content of the work. The women who attended my presentation agreed whole heartedly with this assertion. Not only did they agree but they took it one step farther they felt men are wrong to talk about career progression in terms of title. These women were advancing the argument that what is important is the content of the work not the title. They wanted their male counterparts to talk about what matters to them rather than unimportant titles.
I find myself wondering about this? is one group right? and the other wrong? why the gap- is this a gender gap? is this a style gap? I am co-authoring a book with renowned author Dr. John Gray whose book Men are from Mars Women are from Venus was an almost instant best seller. The popularity of this book suggests that men and women alike think there is a gender gap! and perhaps want to understand this gap! Upon further research I discovered author Dr. Louann Brizendine’s book The Female Mind in which she states that women talk three times as much as men. Additionally she asserts that, for women, talking triggers a flood of “happy hormones” in the brain. So it seems to me, there is a gap and this gap might be born from our physiological differences. However, is one sex’s preference or view-point more right or perhaps wrong? I don’t know the answer. However, one phrase Mind the Gap!
If you have ever had a chance to ride England’s Underground Subway you will be familiar with the phrase mind the gap! It plays over and over again to remind you to step over the gap between the platform and the train. When you look up the phrase on Wikipedia, “Mind the gap” is a warning to train passengers to take caution while crossing the gap between the train door and the station platform. It was introduced in 1969 on the London Underground.
I find myself thinking neither men or women are right or wrong. Titles and meaning and job content are all important in career discussion. I do think when crossing the gap on important subjects both sexes would be served by minding the gap!