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Differences In How Men And Women Banter & Play - Speaking With Wendyl Nissen On Radio Live

Women and Men Differences Banter And PlayWhenever my twin teenage sons are sitting in the back of the car on the way to waterpolo, I notice just how different boys play than girls. They're constantly ribbing each other, playfighting and giving each other a 'roast'. It's in a marked contrast to how most girls of their age act and these differences have a tendency to play out in certain ways in the workplace

Recently I was talking with Wendyl Nissen on Radio Live's Long Lunch about these differences, and just how they can cause misunderstandings in the workplace, along with some tips to help manage them. It's not that girls don't fight with their sisters or friends (because there are plenty of girls that do), it's just that the nature of fighting (or play fighting) is very different between the sexes. 

In the current workplace environment, many men and women are confused just how they relate to each other in the workplace, especially in a social context, how they might joke or create camaraderie to develop a good workplace culture. 

This is about men and women working together for better performance, with most men concerned how they interact with their female colleagues without causing offence, and everyone being more careful around the use of bawdy jokes, teasing and how they mentor more junior staff members. 

Listen here to find out more. We'll be looking at concerns expressed by men, including "Can I give a compliment to a woman?" or "How do we manage dinner when we're working late", and concerns for women around "How do I express my boundaries without causing offence?" or "How do I sit better with conflict?"


 Press Play _





Key Learnings:


  • Men have a very hierarchical nature of play, this is instilled in them from an early age both through their learned behaviour and neuroscience, where playfighting and ribbing creates situations of intimacy (refer my twin sons story above). Women are less comfortable with banter and playfighting, and this can cause misunderstanding between the sexes

  • Men are now three times less comfortable mentoring women, this has big implications on succession planning in an environment of existing talent shortage

  • Millenial women and men have very different views on what is permissible workplace behaviour, making this group the most in danger of creating misunderstandings between the sexes - this is a strategic business red flag

  • Women have a tendency to be less comfortable with conflict (with conflict perceived as a threat to maintaining key relationships); supportive techniques for women (and some men) to managing healthy conflict is vital for both thrashing out good ideas, to communicating boundaries in uncomfortable situations

  • Organisations must provide best practice boundaries around what's okay and what's not okay - this structure helps to support the workplace safety of men, women, and in doing so a supportive backbone for organisation camaraderie. 


Women and men bring valuable and different strengths to business, it's critical to business outcomes that misunderstandings between the sexes are minimised through supportive best practice structure and training techniques. Everyone needs the support and clarification around what's okay and what's not okay, with this then providing a framework within which each can thrive. When the boundaries are not established, and misunderstandings occur (often escalating from simple differences in how women and men communicate), then problems will occur. 

Men too want to be part of a solution, the worst mistake is not addressing issues and then not involving both men and women as allies in creating the best outcome of high performance with good work culture and staff engagement. 


Three Tips To Help:


  • Misunderstandings between the sexes are normal due to differences in the neuro-wiring of men and women, leading to marked differences in how they communicate

  • Everyone needs support and clarification in the workplace around what's okay and what's not okay in terms of permissible behaviour - a best practice manual is a framework for safety within which each can thrive

  • Brushing it under the carpet is the worst approach and will only lead to an escalation in problems - successful modern day leaders running diverse teams recognise this and do something about it


If you would like help leading your diverse team for better trust, engagement and performance, using neuroscience-based techniques to leverage peoples differences to become a unifying strength, please contact us here.

To your success. 


Warmly, Kimberly

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