A View from the Other Side: The first in a series of comments from a man…by Peter Hale *

skeptical manDo men connect with the things that women hold as self-evident? When I ask my fellow educated, professional male colleagues whether they would like to see more women in senior positions, they mainly answer yes. Good news for women? Well, actually, maybe not. Because, somehow, they cannot, do not, or are not willing to articulate why.

Women, on the other hand, if asked why, can confidently give a long list of benefits – greater diversity of thought, wider vision, better balance – and my associate Rina from Voice at the Table will also send you detailed studies from McKinsey about the economic benefits of a more diverse workforce.

From a male perspective, it may not be so self-evident. If our brave male has grasped only a superficial list of benefits it can be positively disastrous. Suppose his senor male asks him “what are the benefits?”.  Our champion of women can refer to those studies. What do many of those speak of the benefits of diversity as? Leading to “challenge”, “internal debate” and even “dissent”, that’s what.

So, into the mind of the sceptical senior male come all sorts of worries –call them threats, call them concerns. So, if the man asking him to change is not himself convincing, it’s easy for the senior person to say that the case isn’t made.

Women have lots of male allies out there. Men, however, need to have the case put to them in terms they can use with confidence. Saying the case is self-evident will not be enough.

I’ll be expanding on some of these points in the next blog or two…

*Peter Hale is an associate with Voice At The Table.  Read more about Peter here.