Women, Business and Girl Games
There’s a wonderful scene in the Tom Hanks film “A League of Their Own” where the baseball team manager (Hanks) berates the performance of one of the members of this all-women team and she starts to cry. He looks at her in disbelief and says, “You’re crying? There’s no crying in baseball!”
Welcome to the world of women, business and the reality and perception of “girl games.”
Even all these years after women have taken their place in the business firmament – building businesses of their own, moving to the upper echelons of organizations around the world – there is still a concern among many men that women’s behavior in organizations is a problem. It just doesn’t fit. It makes them uncomfortable.
So, let’s take a look at this larger picture to see where the concerns come from. Then, in forthcoming articles, we’ll take a look at the behaviors and what you need to know.
To be fair to the men – and at the risk of sounding terribly sexist – from a Western socialization perspective, organizations are male animals.
Men are focused and linear. They tend to go in one direction and – unless forced to look at other ways of doing things – they keep going exactly that way. While there may be a ‘team’ orientation, within that team is an individual level of competition and credit-taking that supersedes any focus on a ‘greater good.’
Having said that, it’s not that women bring “softer” skills to the organization (although some do). It’s that we simply look at things differently.
We can be just as focused, but our socialization is to be simultaneously looking at the context within which we are focusing.
We can be linear, but because we’re socialized to be inclusive, there is more give and take as well as idea generation and sharing – not least because we tend not to take individual credit for what is achieved.Continued on the next page