I Can’t Believe a Business Woman Wrote This

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in Blog | 4 comments

I found this article today on what business women can learn from men.  I completely agree that men and women are different and we bring different inherent qualities to the workplace.  But this article is, well, ridiculous.  In fact, I can’t believe a woman, let along a woman in business, wrote this.

You can read the article here.

I’ve summarized my issues with it below:

1.  Be more confident.  I have to agree with this, to a point.  However, there is nothing that turns  me off more, than someone lying about their capabilities.  Yes, I said it…”lying.”  If you tell me you can do something and then you can’t, I’ll lose all trust in you.  I have much more respect for someone that tells me that they are willing to learn and then demonstrate other things they’ve learned.  If the skill they are lacking is something that can be taught, and they are a strong candidate otherwise, I’ll invest in an employee’s continuing education.  Skills can be taught, character can’t.  I certainly prefer not to do business with someone that undervalues themselves, but I respect those that value themselves, and me, enough to tell me the truth.

2. Move faster.  I must admit that I’m a ready, fire, aim (in that order) sort of person.  In business you can’t always see the second step until you’ve taken the first.  There are certainly times in which we must act first and then get feedback and adjust.   However, it’s all about results, right?  So wouldn’t it be preferable to have someone on your team that actually took a little time to plan something.  All planning and no doing is useless, but you can lose a lot of money by just doing and adjusting over and over again.

3.  Get help.  The article states that women generally prefer to be more efficient than get help.  Well, if that is true, doesn’t that make us smarter?  Here’s the thing, it’s extremely expensive to hire someone these days.  For every dollar you pay an employee you’ll pay about 50 cents to the government and benefits.  Don’t believe me?  Go to your payroll department and see for yourself.  Have them calculate what they spend on Worker’s Compensation, State Unemployment Tax, Federal Unemployment Tax. Social Security, and Fringe Benefits including: holidays, vacation, sick-time, retirement, health insurance…get the picture?

I agree that if a business needs help, it needs help, and you are limiting your potential when you need help and don’t get it.  But perhaps we are better-served going a different route.

1.  Using temp services to fill in the hiring gaps.  Using temp help is a great way to make certain you actually need someone in a position and it also allows you to hire more effectively.

2.  Upgrading your systems.  Often we doings manually and just keep hiring.  Human capital is more costly in the long-run than updating your equipment, software and they like.

3.  Using specialized companies to handle those specialized tasks.  I hired a payroll/employee leasing company to handle all of my payroll and HR needs. It’s the best decision I ever made.  I pay them much less than I ever would a full-time employee and because they specialize in a certain area, they are on-top of all of the changing laws.

My point is, just hiring for the sake of saying “I have “x” number of employees.” or because there is something that you’d rather not do, is foolish.

4.  Go for the gold, not the glamour.  This article seems to suggest that it’s a bad thing that women choose to work for companies or build businesses where everything is not about the money.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m the biggest capitalist around.  I want to make money, lots of it.  But money isn’t my biggest motivating factor, and I won’t apologize for that.  In fact, it’s not the biggest motivating factor for many people, men and women.  There’s more to life than work and what’s so wrong about choosing a company to work for or building a business that affords you a little more margin in your life to enjoy your friends and family.

5.  Don’t toss all buzzwords.  Ok this one just floors me.  The article actually suggests that men use more industry jargon than women and that it’s a good thing because it confuses the listener into thinking the work they do is more important than it is.  What?  Seriously?  I help my clients communicate their brand every single day.  Simpler is always better.  Things that are easy to understand sell.  Confusing things puts people off.   Suggesting that trying to make yourself sound more important than you are by using industry jargon is the hallmark of an amateur.

I’ve reread the article several times now and am just sad.   I am insulted by this for men and I am insulted by this for women.  I think it characterizes men and women in a very bad light and gives dangerous advice.  Here’s the thing, we are different. …and I mean we are all different as people.  It benefits a company to add team members with all sorts of differing strengths to compliment one another and make the workforce whole.

But to suggest that men lie, confuse, and care only about the money and that we, as women, should follow is just stupid.

What do you think?

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  1. The article has some validity in pointing out the differences between men and women in the workplace. Probably the best way to bridge the gap is to work as a TEAM, thereby combining the traits and strengths of each for the benefit of the whole. (Of course we all know who will grab the credit! But I digress…) Men and women ARE different. There is nothing I dislike more than to see a woman give up her femininity and grace to act and talk and try to BE a man in the business world. Men don’t respect it and other women think it’s silly. I wholeheartedly agree with Lourdes on the part about not giving up the buzzwords. The majority of my clients are with me and remain with me because I give them transparent, honest answers to their questions in plain language they understand. Men who make a secret of what they do to make their work seem more valuable is a turnoff – especially to female clients! Thank you for sharing this article – I agree – it’s dangerous advice!

    • Dee,

      Transparent and honest is always the way to go!

  2. Obviously men and women are indeed different and some of those differences have cost women in terms of pay, promotions and prestige. Research I have read certainly indicates as women we could do a better job when it comes to being confident based on our strengths as well as asking for help.

    Yet as you point out, rather than encouraging more effective behaviors to adopt this article actually seems more likely to encourage women to adopt the same self-centered motivations and short term thinking that has led to the sorry state of the world economy today.

    There is a wonderful Linked In group called 3Plus International that focuses on supporting women in succeeding by leveraging the best of both their feminine and masculine energy rather than trying to continue to succeed in a world defined by a male paradigm that alone will not help us transcend the problems we have today.

    Thanks for calling out this article for being well meaning, but misguided!

    • Susan, I’m not sure it’s fair to characterize what the writer suggests as “the male paradigm” I don’t think it’s anyone’s paradigm, male or female…at least not anyone who is actually successful.

      In fact, I think this article is more insulting to men than women.

      I’ll check out that group you mentioned. Sounds like something we should all be very interested in. Thanks for sharing that!

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