Tom Peery reached out to me to discuss the concept presented in my blog “5 Pointers, How Women Business Leaders can Avoid the Them vs. Us Syndrome.” I was interested in his point of view and had not realized how pervasive this issue actually is. Feeling confident as a woman and not having had adverse reactions from men, Tom’s comments accompanied by his strong desire to change his upbringing and mindset was really enlightening.
Here is the response that he shared with me: ”I agree with Bridget Ayers’ response to Christopher Flett’s “What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business,” in that the competition is not between men and women, it is between one company and another. Men who regard business like war have not experienced the horrors of combat, and may still be operating on the belief that “male” and stereotyped “masculinity” are the same thing.
A more interesting approach is “What can women tell men about business?” Today’s gender roles are shifting as an expansion of societal definitions and needs, evolving from the formerly strict definitions of masculine stereotypes that once separated the sexes. I do not see that shift as a war between the sexes.
Mr. Flett does not mention the many men today struggling to find their place in this shifting sand. I was born in 1944, and grew up stuffing emotions and viewing the role of “breadwinner” as my sole purpose in my marriage. Self-sufficiency was my ideal, competing against peers. I couldn’t nurture relationships. Believing that being rational and using reason were the only means of acquiring knowledge distanced me from my body’s intelligence, my emotions, meditation, dream work, intuition, and my sense as a spiritual being among other humans.
In today’s workplace, corporate training emphasizes teamwork, communications and leadership skills. Professional training companies trumpet “soft” skills, aka skills previously defined as “feminine.”
Female entrepreneurs are more familiar with the soft skills that young to middle-aged men are beginning to seek. For these explorers they can
- provide a non-warlike competitive environment, a safe place to talk about fears, problems, hopes and desires.
- assure men that an emotional life contributes to their personal growth–that because their anger is theirs, not caused by others, men can learn to soften their anger.
- help men better communicate with themselves and others by being supportive rather than not.
- reward inner company relationships, rather than pitting employee against employee”
If you’d like to learn more about Tom and his philosophies on life, please visit his website at www.sodadwhatmakesaman.com.