|In this Issue
Simma Lieberman Associates
Simma specializes in
diversity, gender communication, and life/work balance and
stress. She is nationally known as a dynamic and humorous
speaker, trainer, and consultant. She is also the co-author of
"Putting Diversity to Work," a guide for managers on leveraging
workplace diversity (Crisp Publications: Fall 2003).
Many readers and subscribers have been requesting to use
Simma's articles and information for research papers,
presentations, and programs. We welcome the use and would love
to get copies of how you've used these materials. Please email
us with details and send hard copies to our mailing address.
Simma's In the News: Simma was featured in the March
cover story of Human Resource Executive® Magazine,
covering the topic of ethnic pride in 7- Eleven stores. You can
read the whole article on WorkIndex.com:
Shows Ethnic Pride"
Welcome to the July edition of the Lieberman
Learning Letter, published by Simma Lieberman Associates!
This edition deals with gender communication issues. Simma
has been receiving daily inquiries on gender
communications topics, and we realized we should dedicate
a Learning Letter to the topic. We hope you find the
information helpful and useful.
In this edition, we
also present the first part in our series on CHANGE!. This
first section explains change and helps individuals
understand the change process.
This newsletter includes information from Simma's many
workshops, seminars, and keynote speeches. Simma shares
this useful information free of charge with colleagues and
clients to promote their continued learning and
|Wage and Position Disparity Across
According to a recent report by The
Conference Board there is still a big disparity between
women and men in the workplace in the US and other
countries. Only 15.7% of directors in Fortune 500
companies are women (Catalyst). In Europe, these figures
seem worse; women only hold 3-4% of all senior executive
While we have seen some improvements in
gender equality at the workplace in the last few decades,
we also know that a wage disparity still exists between
men and women for equal jobs.
Why should you care? Women will
continue to play an increasingly important role in the
business world in many roles (customers, employees,
leaders, business owners). Consider these facts:
- Women have buying power and
influence. They make most of the decisions in terms of
- Approximately 70% of new
entrepreneurs are women, many of whom will be employing
- Men have created our business
culture therefore the cultural norm in most businesses
is based on male culture. If there is no room for female
styles of leadership and input, and if you do not know
how to leverage their strengths, they will leave
organizations, or not work at 100% in terms of
creativity, productivity and teamwork.
More Info »
Gender Communication Differences and Strategies
What can your organization do to create
more equality for men and women? The first step to
creating equality is understanding the different strengths
and styles that different genders bring to the work table.
Oftentimes men and women use different processes for
decision making and leadership. Here are some common ways
that men and women differ:
towards tasks vs. relationships. Women tend to be
more relationship oriented and accomplish tasks by
building relationships first. They then know who to ask
and are comfortable asking others to get things done.
Men tend to be more task oriented and go straight to the
task. They build their relationships when they are in
the task or project.
Processing Information. When women have to make a
decision they will often process and look at options out
loud while men tend to process internally until they
come up with a solution. Women often think that the man
is being unresponsive to suggestions because of this and
men often think that women are looking for approval when
they process out loud or don't know what they are doing.
Some men think that a woman's way of processing is a
sign of weakness.
Style. Because women are more relationship oriented,
they tend to lead by consensus. Men tend to be more
hierarchical and include only the people closest to them
at their level in the decision making process when they
think it is necessary.
Styles. In non-verbal behavior women will nod their
head to show that they are listening. Men leave the
conversation thinking that a head nod means agreement
and will be surprised to find out that the woman didn't
agree at all. When a woman is speaking to a man
and he does not say anything and stays in neutral body
language to show that he is listening, a woman will
interpret that as the man being bored or not
understanding what she is saying. This can lead the
woman to become very uncomfortable and repeat what she
is saying or ask the man each time if he understands
what she is saying. The man then interprets that as
insecurity, or talking to much and which then lead him
to think she is not assertive or confident to be a
leader. Women will actually use more direct eye contact
in conversation to create relationship and connection
while many men take that as a challenge to their power
or position. Women will also approach a man from the
front while men often approach from the side at an
angle, which is how each of them tends to stand or sit
when talking to others. Men interpret the face to face
as too personal, or aggressive and women will interpret
the talking side to side as though he is not being
upfront or even hiding something from her.
time. Men take up more time and space at meetings,
while women try to make sure there is more equality in
the room. Despite stereotypes to the contrary studies
have shown that men talk more then women. Men interrupt
women and talk over them much more that women interrupt
men. All of this can lead to the type of
miscommunication based on assumptions of why member of
the other sex are using certain verbal and non-verbal
behaviors. These miscommunications can result in team
breakdown, people not listening to each other and loss
of good ideas.
How different styles lead to
While most women are in the workforce
full time, there is still bias amongst certain men in
leadership roles that stop women from moving ahead. This
bias can include the following ideas:
That there is only one style or way to lead and
that is the more hierarchical one.
That most women can't be leaders because they are
Because many of these men are married to women who
work in the home, they have a harder time conceiving of
women running organizations, and therefore are not as
objective when making hiring and promotion decisions.
There is an unconscious belief that women are not
in the workforce on a permanent basis and don't really
want to move up or stay.
Strategies to Bridge Gender
Differences and Value Diverse Styles
If you grasp the importance of
effective gender communications and gender equality in the
workplace, then start making a difference today using the
following gender communication strategies.
these facts with a grain of salt. It's important not
to use this information to stereotype all men or all
women. Of course not everyone fits these
generalizations. These are cultural norms based on
research that showed that a large majority of men and
women display some of these characteristics. Some of
these behaviors are based on acculturation and learning
and some of them are based on how our brains work.
aware. Both men and women need to be aware of each
others styles of communication both verbal and
non-verbal in order to avoid miscommunication and work
of unconscious stereotypes and biases and be open to
breaking past them in order to leverage each others
that many different styles of leadership can be
be aware of how much time and space in meetings or group
interaction. Make room for the contributions of women.
When asked for a decision by a women or for your opinion
if you are an internal processor, let her know you are
in process of thinking about it so she knows she is
get comfortable asserting more space for yourself. When
dealing with men in decision making, try to stop
yourself from processing out loud. If you do process out
loud, let the man know that this is a process you use
for decision making and you are not asking him what to
Get Information. Learn about male and female
styles of communication and be able to use both. You
need both to deal with the complexity and diversity of
situations in today's world both personally and
professionally. Don't be afraid to recognize
differences. Once you do that it will be easier to have
open discussions in order to find similarities and use
those differences to achieve greater goals together.
& Articles »
Part 1 of the CHANGE! Series: Understand Change
Let's face it: change isn't easy. Whether the change is
positive or negative, chosen or imposed, it almost always
causes stress, uncertainty, and general unease. Leaders
need to be aware of the challenge change presents to their
employees, whether dealing with lay-offs, mergers,
retirement, or other changes in structure or approach.
The first step in learning to deal with change is
understanding how it works and what it looks like. Here
are a few things to consider:
have a beginning, middle an end, but begin with an
the change process, you need to let go of old ways and
old ideas. Say goodbye to the past with
middle can be very chaotic, ambiguous and scary.
Uncertainty is high. It may take a leap of faith to
get through it.
back at how you have successfully dealt with change
in the past can help you go through change in the
present. It can also help you lead other people through
quickly and easily people go through the change process
can depend on whether the change is imposed by outside
forces (budget, management) or as a result of a personal
conscious choice. It can impact whether the outcome
will be positive on negative.
If you are facing change, be able to define the
specific change you are involved with and connect it to
Next Issue: Part Two of the CHANGE! Series
Coming up next in our CHANGE! Series: In our
upcoming newsletter, we will address the differences
between cyclical and structural change, the impact of
change, and provide strategies and tools to effectively
prepare for and deal with change.
About this Newsletter
This email has been sent to you either because you
signed up for Simma's newsletter or because you are a
personal acquaintance, professional colleague, program
attendee, or past client of Simma Lieberman Associates.
This newsletter is intended to be enlightening, not
irritating. Please let us know if you have received this
email in error, or if you no longer wish to receive
Simma's newsletter. Simply follow the link at the bottom
of this email to remove yourself from our list of
As always, feel free to FORWARD THIS
NEWSLETTER TO FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES who would benefit
from this newsletter (click on the link below). If this
email was forwarded to you and you would like to join the
Lieberman Learning Letter, sign up at
www.simmalieberman.com or click on the link in the upper
right hand corner of this email!
Book Simma for your next conference or
presentation for a speaker who educates, entertains, and
enlightens. Simma will help your organization meet the
demands of today's workplace and rally your entire
organization to get involved in the process!
Simma today! »