Men’s Health: What Women Can Teach Men About Real Strength

A few months ago Richard Conniff interviewed me for an article in Men's Health Magazine titled What Women Can Teach Men About Real StrengthWorkplace Lessons from Women.

Conniff writes, “In the modern workplace, the best way for a man to succeed might actually be to suppress his caveman and try to think like a woman instead.  It's not about acting like a woman. People respond badly to what psychologists call “gender rule violations.” Nor is anyone suggesting that women always make ideal employees. They can be just as stupid as men can be.

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Source:  istockphoto

But the case for learning a few basic skills from the so-called weaker sex is simple: Women are succeeding in a time when men generally aren't. Four out of five jobs lost in the current recession belonged to men. (It's been dubbed the “he-cession.”) Male-dominated construction and manufacturing sectors are taking the hardest hits.”

Here's the link to the full article.

There were so many interesting points.  What caught your attention?  As you share your thoughts, I'll talk back more than usual.  Not in the saucy sort of way I did to my mother as a teenager, but politely — a civil discourse or dialogue. This could be fun!

In thinking about what men can learn from women, what can women learn from men?  Specifically, if we revisit the Psyche Myth, and take a look at the helpers (ants, eagle, etc) as skills that men in our lives may have already mastered, what can we learn from our husbands, sons, brothers, colleagues?

HBR – How Star Women Build Portable Skills

In the ‘What is your dream?‘ questionnaire, one of the questions posed is — What is the biggest challenge (personal or professional) I've overcome?  Who would I be had I not surmounted this?

Because one of my most daunting professional challenges was working on Wall Street, I was intrigued when my friend Stacey Petrey referred me to Professor Boris Groysberg's article ‘How Star Women Build Portable Skills‘, a study which states that women are generally more successful than men in moving from one job to another because of the portability of our skills.

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Groysberg states “women have learned how to build external networks of clients, associates, and other professionals outside the organizations – that remain intact when they depart…Not because women set out to do this, but because they

[women] are often marginalized and have to fight institutional barriers, so they build external networks out of necessity.”

I found Professor Groysberg's case study so affirming that I sent him an e-mail telling him — yes, I really am trying to walk my talk of getting in the game).  This contact serendipitously led to an interview by Rob Weisman at the Boston Globe for his article on Groysberg's findings.

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Can you relate to this as much as I can?

You're trying to figure out how to get something important done, whether personally or professionally, and it's just not happening.

So you get creative — you buck convention — and you get it done (whether at work, in the community, your children's school), and in the process you find you've developed one of your greatest strengths.

What is that strength?

After you read Groysberg's case study, and Weisman's article, what would you add?

What thing have you tried to get done for which traditional channels were blocked, so you created a workaround solution?  What ‘portable skills' did you acquire in the process?

Would you agree that there are parallels to Psyche's 2nd Task of gathering the fleece?

Have any of you read Clayton Christensen's The Innovator's Solution?  Isn't it true that as we are trying to get something done, we are in effect the innovator vs. the incumbent?

Related posts:
Second Thoughts on Psyche's 2nd Task

Rachel vs. Leah: Reclaiming Our Power to Dream

Book Club: There's a Business in Every Woman

What if Madeleine L'Engle Hadn't Dared to Dream?

Valuing What Women Do


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