Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Team-based Gender Differences

This week has become a study of gender differences from a social perspective for me. I don't fit the stereotypical female mold so it grates on me when I am grouped on a team that behaves in ways that are illogical and irritate me.

From my experience, when men are together on a team, even if the guys don't like each other, they work together to reach their goal the best way possible. Even if they end up in a fist fight, they'll still work together as part of the team without it getting in the way.  If the asshole is the best guy on the team to do the job, the guy that hates him will still give him the ball, or the role, or the portion of the project that will best move them toward the goal.

But, again from my experience, when most women are put together on a team, if they don't like each other, they separate into cliques, and make snide comments and elicit passive aggressive behavior, back stab and otherwise sabotage the women they don't like in the group.  There doesn't have to be a fist fight, anything that threatens a women can make her dislike the other woman and, boom!, she's on the outs in terms of the team. Even if the woman that isn't liked is clearly the best person on the team to do a task, the group will not even consider giving the role to this woman, and if they are forced to, they will try to make her look bad in whichever manner they can.  In fact, if they can, they will try to get that top performer booted from their team entirely.

How does this make any sense?  Men, in my professional experience, NEVER behave in this manner.  Never ever.  But there are women that I've encountered professionally that do it, and quite frequently.  Not all women.  But enough women that I've learned to associate the behavior as a feminine phenomena.  At times it becomes so illogical, and detrimental to the group that it makes me want to be on the other team (with the dudes).

If I have people on my team that I don't like, but respect their abilities, I will do my best to see that they get assigned to do that work and that they get credit for the work.  I don't get paid to have petty insecurities in the office.  I'm there to get a job done, utilizing all resources in the most effective and efficient manner possible, while nurturing an environment of empowerment, accountability, and recognition.  Seems pretty simple.

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