The world is full of stereotypes about men – from mansplaining to their discomfort at the display of any emotion (apart from anger). These may or may not be present in your office, but just in case, here are five things each man can do to turn a stereotype into a force of good.
- Give others a voice
Men have been known to speak over a colleague or two – frequently of the female persuasion. Next time you feel a sense of urgency to interrupt a colleague, hold that thought! Your voice is likely to be deeper and stronger than a female colleague’s – so use it to give her or him a stage by inviting them to speak while you listen.
- Share your limelight
Yes, you do deserve the credit – but all of it? Honestly, was there no-one else alongside you who helped you achieve your success? If you think there was, then share your glory with them. Approach your success with humility by ensuring that all members of your team can bask in the same sunshine.
- Ask for those infamous directions
Well, not literally. What I’m getting at is, don’t be afraid to show you don’t know. Ask for help! It takes a strong and confident man to acknowledge his weaknesses. Be that man.
- Observe your behaviour for bias towards women
Rarely does one admit that he has a bias towards women. Most men will say they don’t, and many will go as far as to say they don’t care whether they are dealing with a man or a woman – they treat everyone equally. Really? Why not put this to the test? Pay attention to the following three things: (1) Do you direct your remarks at meetings equally to men and women? (2) Do you answer emails from women as fast as emails from men? (3) Do you listen as attentively to women as you do to men? Don’t answer now… observe yourself over the next few days/weeks.
- Make the coffee
True, it’s been a long time since I’ve been asked to make the coffee. My male colleagues are respectful enough to offer me a cup instead of asking me to get them one. And we probably are already there – except, let’s extend that respect to every woman, including your admin staff and your juniors. Coffee for everyone – made and brought to the table by you! It’s a simple sign of respect – like holding the door open – that goes a long way.