Political Pitfalls for Men & Women

All material on yourofficecoach.com is copyrighted to Marie G. McIntyre. All rights reserved.
May be reproduced for non-commercial use with copyright and attribution to www.yourofficecoach.com
Commercial use requires permission: email mmcintyre@yourofficecoach.com.

Anyone can have trouble with office politics. While we don’t want to perpetuate stereotypes, it is true that certain problems tend to be more typical of one gender than another. Check out the list below to see if you might be guilty of any of these political errors. And since behaviors don’t divide neatly by gender, be sure to look at both lists!

Potential Issues for MEN Potential Issues for WOMEN
My dog’s bigger than your dog: Men tend to be hierarchical, competitive, and concerned with who’s bigger, better, stronger, or whatever. This can create unhealthy competition with coworkers. But that hurt my feelings: Women are more likely to have emotional reactions to business issues. This can lead to unnecessary conflicts.
You’re not the boss of me: Some guys have trouble acknowledging that anyone has the authority to direct their activities. This can get them in hot water with their managers. Do you think maybe we might possibly try this?: Women tend to use “conditional speech”. They often qualify their statements with words like ‘maybe’ or ‘probably’, making them seem less certain of their views.
Being a guy means never having to say you’re sorry: Men are less likely to admit mistakes and offer appropriate apologies, sometimes leaving others annoyed and angry. Being a gal means always having to say you’re sorry: Women are more likely to apologize, even when they’ve done nothing wrong. Constantly saying “I’m sorry” can make them look weak.
Real men don’t need help: Men may see a need for collaboration as a sign of weakness. They are then less likely to form helpful partnerships with work colleagues. Power is an aphrodisiac: Women are often attracted to men with power. Unfortunately, this may include developing an attraction to their boss, leading to problematic workplace romances.
Me Tarzan, you Jane: Men who are stuck in gender stereotypes have a tough time working for women. They may ignore a female boss’s requests or go over her head to a higher-level male manager. Did you hear the latest dirt?: Women can get entangled in relationship “snits” with other women. In female groups, work is often disturbed by gossip, cliques, and backbiting.
Life is one big frat party: Some guys who never grew up enjoy insults, practical jokes, and crude humor. They fail to realize that others may not. Carried too far, this can even create sexual harassment problems. Giving up the floor: In meetings, presentations, and discussions, women often give away their power by allowing men to interrupt and take over.