Most of us have read, or at least heard of the book that delves into the fundamental psychological differences between the sexes. So why, when it comes to corporate development programmes, is there a ‘one size fits all’ approach?
It’s a universal truth that men and woman function differently.
We process emotions differently and we deal with our issues in very different ways. Of course we all have problems that are personal to us as individuals, but I’ve noticed certain gender specific, low vibe patterns repeat over and over again in the corporate world.
A few weeks ago I attended a workshop on a female leadership programme. There was a lot of shame in the woman with children. I heard stories around how woman believed that their new role would require them to give 110%, which was impossible with family commitments. As a result they felt they didn’t deserve their place on the programme. One woman in particular had already convinced herself that because she’d had a baby unexpectedly, she now couldn’t fulfil her job requirements. She was struggling with work/life balance and had limiting beliefs around the workload and hours she believed were expected of her. She had a bad case of imposter syndrome.
We’ve already talked at length about Functioning Fakeaholics. Although not entirely typical to men, there are a lot of men showing up for work and pretending that everything is ok, when in reality they’re drowning. They don’t talk. They don’t tell anyone how they’re really feeling. The fear they’ll be seen as weak or incapable of doing their job is all consuming. Long hours in the office and a tendency to overwork are typical Functioning Fakeaholic behaviours. Almost as a way to ‘prove’ they’re committed and fit for purpose.
So at one end of the gender spectrum we have woman who aren’t putting themselves forward for roles that they’re more than capable of doing. At the other end, there are men battling through the daily grind, barely functioning under the weight of their emotions, feeling overworked, stressed and unable to get the help they really need.
So what gives?
The Hampton-Alexander Review – an independent, business led initiative, supported by Government, aimed at improving the leadership gender balance in FTSE 350 companies – is committed to achieving a 33% target for woman on boards and in leadership positions by 2020. However, it is failing monumentally. Why?
Because the real issues facing both woman and men in business aren’t being addressed.
I’ve seen so many clients go through sticking plaster programmes that don’t work. I’ve seen talented, capable woman miss out on promotion after promotion because of limiting beliefs around work/life balance, or quit because of family commitments clashing with a culture of presenteeism. I’ve seen men struggling with their emotions, placed on programmes with woman, because there’s nothing out there just for them. These ‘tick box interventions’ don’t address the real issues in a way that engages and resonates with them as men or woman. They don’t address the specific thoughts that drive the feelings. Is it any wonder that the 2020 target is doomed to fail?
Both men and woman need to take action around how they FEEL.
Whether it’s woman tackling the unhelpful thoughts that drive their imposter syndrome or men getting to grips with their emotions so that they no longer have to go to work as Functioning Fakeaholics. If these emotional issues are addressed, then woman can finally feel empowered to take their place at the table and men can feel better at work, become powerful role models, be more productive and stop overworking.
Rising Vibe run leadership programmes for woman, for men and for both together. We recognise and understand that our needs are very different and one size doesn’t fit all. Our Calling Out the Men corporate development programmes aim to address the lack of learning and development opportunities for men in particular, in the business world today. We support businessmen with the tools, the language and the space for them to tackle their feelings head on, transforming Functioning Fakeaholics into highly engaged and productive leaders.