Q&A with John Gray, whose newest book "Work With Me" tackles gender relations in the workplace.
John Gray is a love, relationships, and gender relations coach and expert, primarily known for his book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Gray's newest book, Work with Me: The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business, written with Barbara Annis, addresses the false assumptions and miscommunication between men and women, both in the workplace and at home.
What inspired you to write Work With Me?
Over the past 20 years, both Barbara Annis and I have been separately teaching gender intelligent workshops to 60+ Fortune 500 companies. Barbara and I thought to create a book together which talks about the importance of understanding the strengths that men and women bring to the workplace and how to improve communication in the workplace as well as in the home. My expertise over the years has been in personal relationships, but hers has been primarily in the workplace.
Barbara has done a study of over 100,000 men and women finding out the differences in their perspectives of each other. We discovered that there are eight primary blind spots when we looked at her research where men and women really didn't understand each other. If we can point out those blind spots, people can understand and value their differences rather than feeling tension or stress because of them.
What does a gender intelligent world, both in the workplace and at home, look like to you? Does it mean greater equality for women in the workplace?
A lot of my Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus material is about learning to understand our differences in a positive way. We apply those differences to the workplace. Gender intelligence includes an active awareness that sees our differences as strengths, not weaknesses. The blind spots are areas where men recognize women's strengths as weaknesses—and they're not. And often, women look at men's strengths, and resist them as being against women—and they're not. Currently, only 3 percent of CEOs in the world are women—in a gender intelligent world, there's no question that there'll be an equal number of male and female CEOs.
Barbara and I have been hired by companies to interview women who were leaving the workplace. Why were they leaving? They say, on the surface, it's for personal reasons; that they're deciding not to choose advancement. But what we have found is that women don't just leave for personal reasons. They leave because the workplace is not a supportive environment.
One of the strengths that women bring to the workplace is that they value personal life and personal fulfillment equal to profit and gain. Men will tend to simply look at profit and gain as their main objective, and they don't really prioritize personal fulfillment. Businesses that are more aware of their employees' personal fulfillment will be more successful at maintaining highly competent women. When women's natural strengths are not being valued and appreciated, stress levels will go up and they tend to back down or pull away. Keep reading...
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