If you work in a department that is balanced equally with women and men, you may have noticed that men and women exhibit different behaviors. You may be asking yourself, why are women and men so different?
A great way to start a conversation about gender communication is with a human treasure hunt. Coworkers answer a series of questions and then discuss similarities and differences in the answers. It is a fun, simple, and low-risk questionnaire that gets people talking and considering the complexity of this topic.
Here are the questions:
Who was your favorite hero or heroine when you were growing up?
What grade were you in when you had your first male teacher?
Do you believe that it’s okay for a man to cry?
Did you read only the “juicy” parts of certain books when you were growing up?
Have you had a female boss and what was it like?
Do you have strong feelings about how parents help children establish sex roles?
Have you broken away from “traditional” sex roles?
Have you ever had a close, purely platonic relationship with someone of the other sex?
Do you like or dislike being the sex you are?
There is always a wide-range of answers to these questions. Discuss these different perspectives and the impact it has concerning communication assumptions and expectations. The treasure hunt is a fun activity that I would recommend sharing with your staff.
The key to working together better is open and honest communication. If we can create a supportive communication environment that provides people the confidence to discuss sensitive topics freely, true understanding can be found. That would be…a treasure.