Being a Man in a Female Dominated World

Really, this is not a spoof. Have you ever observed the phenomenon of a man providing feedback in a female dominated profession? I have, and it opened my eyes to a deeper meaning of diversity.

I now work in a female dominated industry, teaching, but I came from a predominantly male profession, business. I am a woman used to giving and receiving feedback in a man’s world. What happens when a man gives feedback in a woman’s world?

The instance I am thinking of is not the best example of acceptance in diversity management, but it shows a great opportunity for growth in my adopted profession.

The men in the group offered their feedback, but feelings were hurt. I was asked about this meeting later, and I couldn’t remember any personal attacks. I thought about what was and what wasn’t said and realized that the problem might be with the way the feedback was coded and decoded differently between genders.

The men were very straight forward and task oriented in their feedback. Did the lack of a relational message affect the way the message was decoded by their colleagues? I have to admit, I have to make a conscious effort to start with a relational message in a mixed group because I’m a very task oriented person as well. did the task oriented message play a part in the hurt feelings?

A better understanding of this issue can create positive change in so many management areas: performance evaluations, coaching, job satisfaction and much more.

I invite your comments.