- April 17, 2020
MALE AND FEMALE COMMUNICATION STYLES
Male and female communication styles
Men and women view the purpose or intention of conversations in adifferent manner, and that is why there is a big difference in theirstyles of communication (Lieberman, 2016). Academic researches onpsychological gender differences show that while men utilize languageas a means of exerting domination and achieving outcomes that aretangible, women use it as a tool for enhancement of socialconnectedness and the creation ofrelationships (Lieberman, 2016). In an overall perspective, women aremore tentative, expressive and converse politelywhile men tend to be more power-hungry and assertive in aconversation during communication. In relations towards othersocietal members in communication, women struggle to be highly socialwhile the men prefer to be independent. DeborahTannen and John Gray say that men take communication as a means ofachieving dominance and maintaining a high status in a relationshipor in a workplace, whereas women view it as a way of initiating andfostering a bond that is intimate through expression of their day today issues in the community and topical problems ("EmployeeBenefits Security Administration (EBSA)", 2016).In this regard, review of the available literature on the effects ofthese differences on interactions and the workplace are to beexplored. Moreover, an explanation of whether the stylesdiffer according to professional or personal environments and whetherpersonal experiences at the place of work contradict or align withthe outcomes of the research shall beinvestigated.
What impact does this have onworkplace communication and interaction?
There are various parameters to be considered inthe workplace as a case in point to explain the differences in thestyles of communication between men and women (Lieberman, 2016). Theparameters include giving orders, questioning, and overcomingmisinterpretations and misunderstandings. There is a difference inthe way a man and a woman manage and give orders to people. Variousstudies have shown that men tend todirectly order someone to do something whereas women are moreinclined to softening their orders and statements. For instance, awoman may use taglines and phrases like “Ifyou do not mind,” after demanding or“don’t you think” after suggesting a given idea. It is acultural condition that women have to establish and maintain aharmonious relationship. In its manifestation, the conditioninginvolves demands that are soft, a tentative form of communication andstatements that are hedged. Moreover, it is important to note that ifcommunication is tentative, it means notthat the speaker is weak or has no confidence, but just that thesociety has tamed them to being so. In a similar manner,communication that is direct as exhibited by men in a place of workdoes not mean that they are bossy, superior or arrogant (Lieberman,2016). Other women also behave in a similarmanner, although a minor population. It is just that they havelearned this way of communication and there is nothing that could bepersonal (Wood, 2012, p.100).
Another way in which they differ from theworkplace is when asking questions.Generally, women ask more questions ascompared to men (Wood, 2012, p.108). There is an anecdote of a manwho literally refuses to askfor a direction when he gets lost and opts to use Googlemaps or other means such as guessing. Regarding how these people askquestions in the workplace, one can be confused and misinterpret theconversation for the good or bad.Questioning means entirelydifferent things to women and men. It is purely for gatheringinformation that men ask questions. On theother hand, a woman may ask a question that she already has theanswer, but why would she do that? Because thereis an interest of building a relationship by gauging the opinion ofthe other person.
These differences in communication at the workplace could lead to amisunderstanding and misinterpretation of each other, thus, creatinganother difference in handling this matter through communication(Wood, 2012, p.107). The style of management and questioning bringsforth a fundamental debate on the role thatwomen have at the place of work. It is imperative to note that thereis intrinsically nothing wrong with havingdifferent styles of communication. When men are more direct inquestioning and having fewer questions, itis right, the same as when women and some men prefer a soft-spokenand more inquisitive style ("Employee Benefits SecurityAdministration (EBSA)," 2016). Hence,the misunderstandings could culminate in the destructionof teamwork, collective responsibility,and personal development. Therefore, it is important that people lookbeyond their assumptions about a given manner of communication sothat we can build a prosperous mixed-gender organization and team.Men can be more abrupt and direct to the point,and one could be offended and assume that they are uncaring,uninvolved or cold, which may not be the case. Also, when one is softspoken or tentative in their communication, they should not be deemedfearful, weak or having no confidence. Therefore, the significantdifference in communication originates from our daily lives ofinteraction as a girl or a boy. For instance, aboy tends to emulate the father and the girl the mother, also,the society tames them into beingdifferent. A high school coach may tell a student to “be a man,”when he/she means the student should be assertive, firm and having ano-nonsense nature. In this regard, we should give everyone achance of expressing themselves so that we can understand theirstyles and importantly, we should not jump topremature conclusions without even probing further.
Do our communication stylesdiffer depending on our personal and professional environments?
Our methods of communication also differbased on personal and professional environments ("EmployeeBenefits Security Administration (EBSA),"2016). Women will always adjust to the new demands of work which mayneed an upholding of ethics. For instance, they may need to refer toa boss as “sir” whereas men find it hard to adjust to these newcircumstances at work. When a man isused to communicating directly at a personal level, he mayextend the same to the place of work. In this regard, there is alwaysneed to foster appraisal programs or ethics and communication.Personal environments call for an open conversation that has nosecrets. For example, ladies will be open to their longtime friendsabout the problems they are facing. They may also talk freely toother ladies than men. Moreover, they maybe more open to the family members like a husband or sisters. Inprofessional terms, females are more likelyto develop trust for another person as long as they are listening andempathetic, thus, they may even develop an emotionalattachment to a boss, or a coworker (Wood, 2012, p.110). Here, theymix personal and professional matters through communication. On theother hand, men are more likely to be stern and maintainprofessionalism thus making clear cuts between personal and workenvironments. In personal environments,they will communicate directly and explain further when probed.However, there is no much difference with the way theycommunicate in the workplacebecause they will still be direct and assertive. Therefore, women aremore inclined to being open and clear in both personal andprofessional environments, and they canalso adjust to the demands of work regardingcommunication. Men tend to maintain their assertivestyle both in a personal and professional environment (Gamble &Gamble, 2014, p.96).
Do your personal workplaceexperiences either align or contradict the research outcomes?
My own experiences at the workplace alignwith the research findings. By observing the way colleaguescommunicate and even on an individualbasis, I have noted that the society has shapedmost of the ways through which people communicate. In atransition from a male to a female nursing officer in charge, thehospital I was attending my professional experience placements alsowitnessed a change in two different forms of communication styles bythe major stakeholders in a nursing environment. Upon gettinginstructions from the male, I developed a first impression that thisguy is proud and careless. He could order one asif referring to a child, “bring me a cannula,”“you will be in charge of this patient for primary nursing” amongothers. I realized later that it was his way of communication and hewas a good guy (Gamble & Gamble, 2014, p.97). He could teach usso many things, but he just could not talkmuch. The relationship with us was mainly professionalhe had boundaries. After some time, he was replaced by a lady.She was very social and outgoing. I recall her giving us an exampleof her child who developed mental instability out of substance abuse.She could open up about her personal life when explaining a givenissue so that we could understand better. Thissurprised me but I learned laterthat she was creating friends and many people liked her. Personally,I am reserved, and I find it hard to engagepeople in lengthy conversations when asking or answering questions. Ihave developed a culture of knowing that people have personal mattersand there is no need of too many talks.This is why I am assertive and direct in mystyle in both personal and professional environments (Gamble &Gamble, 2014, p.98).
Conclusively, the styles of communicationbetween males and females differ. When giving orders at the place ofwork, men are more direct whereas women tend to be soft andtentative. They may use tags like “if you do notmind.” When asking questions, women askmany of them and men tend to only ask when seekinginformation. During misunderstandings, people do not realizethe uniqueness of someone else in theircommunication style, a reason there is need to listen to them firstbefore jumping to conclusions. Also, women have a tendency ofmaintaining the way they communicate in professional and personalenvironments by being soft-spoken and tentative. They can also adjustto the demands of work,but most men do not differentiate work and personal settings,they just remain direct and assertive. The research findings alignwith my personal experience in a workplace.I considered the nurse officer in charge who was a male and anotherfemale nurse, and how their styles of personnel management andcommunication were different.
Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).(2016). United States Department of Labor (DOL).Retrieved 16 November 2016, fromhttps://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/ebsa/about-ebsa/about-us/erisa-advisory-council/2013ACreport1.pdf
Gamble, T. & Gamble, M. (2014). The Gender CommunicationConnection (1st ed., pp. 96-98). Hoboken: Taylor andFrancis.
Lieberman, S. (2016). Differences in Male and FemaleCommunication Styles | Simma Lieberman. Simma Lieberman.Retrieved 16 November 2016, fromhttp://www.simmalieberman.com/simma/differences-in-male-and-female-communication-styles-2/
Wood, J. (2012). Gendered lives: Communication, gender, andculture (10th ed., pp. 100-112). Beverly, MA: Wadsworth.