Mars and Venus in the Office

October 25th, 2013

Written by Marcel Borgi MarsVenus Coach

In 2013, is it out of date to suggest that men and women are polar, or planetary opposites?

John Gray, best-selling author of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” says gender differences still count. In his book, “Mars and Venus in the Workplace: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting Results at Work” Gray agrees that “many men who get ahead have a respect for masculine and feminine traits; a lot of men are willing to collaborate. The whole workplace is moving in the direction of greater collaboration and teamwork, and there is greater acceptance of differences in the workplace.”

But there’s still a strong need to generate awareness of traditionally masculine or feminine reactions to problems at work “so that there is greater potential to respond intelligently in each situation.”

Let us explore in the next few paragraphs some sides of the concept.

As mixed gender work teams become the norm, to succeed at work and in business we must all learn to speak a second language. And that language is the language of the opposite sex. Learning a second language does not mean you become that language. It is like, if you could speak a second language, say Italian, and you had a family come to stay in your home for a while who could only speak Italian because they hadn’t learned English yet. Wouldn’t you speak Italian to them? Of course you would. You would do it to make them feel more comfortable but also so that you could get your message across clearly.

Does being able to speak Italian make you Italian? No! All it does is give you a greater choice of how you interact with people.

We all know that men and women are not really from different planets but for the purpose of understanding our differences we’re going to pretend that they were.

Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus metaphor was, in fact, deliberately chosen to playfully introduce some basic gender differences and how they apply to the workplace today and then provide some simple practical solutions as well.

Reducing gender conflict has a variety of benefits. It leads to:

  • Happier team members
  • Greater cooperation
  • Decreased loss of personnel, which leads to
    • Decreased cost & time spent on recruitment and training
    • A better ability to understand the needs and concerns of your customers (regardless of whether they are internal or external customers), and
    • A greater competitive advantage for the company as a whole when they utilize the masculine & feminine skills.

It is very important that you don’t think that all men have to be a certain way or that all women should be the same, because the reality is that we are all individuals.  Everyone can think of examples of reverse gender styles.

GENDER DIFFERENCES

Women express their feelings of discomfort working in what they perceive as hostile masculine environments. While men tell of their confusion or frustration when working with female colleagues.

Men perceive that women don’t know what they want or if they do know what they want, they’re not asking for it directly then they must have a hidden agenda.

A more positive interpretation is to remember that women are socialized to present their ideas as suggestions. This is actually a great skill for achieving cooperation and is excellent for situations where maintaining harmony and equality within a group is necessary.

Many women, on the other hand, see men as arrogant or self important. This is based largely on their observations of men expressing their opinions forcefully or seeking attention for their achievements.

Once again, a more positive interpretation is to remember that men are socialized from an early age to suppress doubts and maintain, either a facade or, a reality of self confidence. Again it is a great skill and essential in a situation where it is necessary to maintain status within a group.

The whole principle of the Mars Venus work is that we are different and equal not that one is better than the other.

We’re going to look at some basic Martian behaviors and traits and some basic Venusian principles and characteristics. Two sets of characteristics, many of which you will recognize in yourself.  They may not, however, come from the column you might expect.  We often have women say “I associate with the female or Venusian characteristics but also associate with these particular Martian characteristics”, and we sometimes have men say “I know I have these male characteristics but I can also identify with some of these Venusian traits”.  We are each different.  I mean the majority of men are taller than women but we can all think of taller women or shorter men.  We are dealing with generalizations here and what is important is for you to take away the information you find helpful.

Martian and Venusian Characteristics & Behaviors

Some Martian Characteristics Some Venusian Characteristics
Martians offer solutions, many times invalidating a woman’s feelings Venusians offer unsolicited advice and direction
Martians tend to pull away and silently think about what’s bothering them Venusians feel an instinctive need to talk about what’s bothering them – many times they discover what’s wrong by talking
Martians are motivated when they feel needed Venusians feel motivated when they feel respected
Martians experience self worth through trust, acceptance and appreciation Venusians experience self worth through caring, understanding and respect
Martians study things rather than relationships Venusians study people and relationships
To feel better, Martians go to their caves to solve problems alone To feel better Venusians get together and openly talk about their problems – talk therapy
A Martian’s sense of self is defined through his ability to achieve results A Venusian’s sense of self is defined through the quality of her relationships

 

When He Has A Problem

When She Has A Problem

Appears to shut-down Wants to talk about it
Retreats into himself Seeks out colleagues who may be able to help
May go into his office and shut the door or leave the office Walks around the office
Wants to be left alone to think Openly discusses the issues
Needs to work it out himself Just wants the right answers

Now I’d just like to explain a concept that was mentioned in the Martian characteristics that you may not have heard of before and that is the cave.

A cave is a place where a Martian retreats to solve the problems of the day and/or to reduce stress. A cave may be a physical place like a quiet corner at work somewhere; it may be symbolic like shutting the door on his office to create a private space, or if a physical escape is not available, a man’s cave may simply manifest as him becoming so focused on what he is doing that he completely shuts out everything else and appears as if he isn’t even present. Men often simply create an internal cave by blocking everything else out.

For the majority of women talking about a problem is part of the process of resolving the problem and feeling better.

Most men instinctively know that if a man is in his cave, he doesn’t really want to talk or have people offer assistance. Most women don’t read the cave signals the same way. If a woman saw another woman withdraw and be silent, she would assume that that woman was overwhelmed or had a problem she needed assistance with. So when a woman sees a man withdraw and become silent she initially assumes he needs assistance and will often go and ask questions to establish if the problem is anything she can help with. A man will often ignore her or respond tersely or abruptly. He is thinking “why on earth is she bothering me when it is clear I am working this out and need space to do so effectively”. This simple situation immediately causes massive misunderstanding on both sides.

How Women Can React to the Cave

Cave behavior can sometimes be read in very negative ways by women.

Here are some perceived characteristics:

  1. Excluding.  A woman may feel excluded and feel as if her abilities are not appreciated, acknowledged or respected. She will have difficulty connecting and participating in a graceful manner.
  2. Uncaring.  A woman may feel that he doesn’t care what she thinks or that her input is not valued by him.
  3. No Time.  A woman may think that he doesn’t have the time to talk to her or have any interest in what she can offer.
  4. Impersonal.  A woman may believe that all he cares about is the bottom line and that her personal needs are not important at all.  She will not trust him to look out for her needs in a transaction.
  5. Intimidating.  A woman may feel intimidated as if nothing she does is good enough for him.  This creates fear and a tendency to distance herself.
  6. Misunderstands.  A woman will believe he does not understand her motives. Above all else, if she is to do business with someone or trust them as a coworker or manager, a woman needs to feel that she is understood in a positive light.
  7. Unapproachable.  A woman may feel that he is unapproachable. She doesn’t feel comfortable speaking her mind or asking for what she wants. This frustration will only continue to build.

It’s now fairly easy to see how without an understanding of the purpose of a cave and how that works for a man a woman can misinterpret his silence. It should also now be easier for men to see how their caving can distance, intimidate or alienate the women around them.

With this new understanding of what is happening it is very easy to make simple small changes in our behavior to create greater harmony and efficiency in the workplace.

With this new awareness, men can simply take the time to add some small politeness or friendliness to their communication while in the cave. A “no thank you” versus a grunted “no” or a “would you please…” rather than a “go and do” command will make women feel more comfortable and understanding of your situation.

One of the great things about the Mars Venus material is that you end up with a common language that you both understand and it takes the sting out of what otherwise could be interpreted as offensive or inconsiderate communication.

Women who now understand about caves can simply remind themselves that the behavior of the man has nothing to do with them personally and if possible allow him time alone.  So, any women thinking “yeah, great, but what if I really need to speak to him and he’s caving? Do I just leave him there forever?” The preferred option for everyone is to leave him alone, however there will be times when this is not practical or possible. Even with the best intentions in the world sometimes you may simply have to discuss something with the caving man. At this time, the best way to approach him is directly stating how much of his time you need and exactly what the topics are in as few words as possible. This kind of precision and focus will assist him in shifting his attention to you without irritation (or at least with the minimal amount!)

Coping with STRESS

Following on from our discussion about the use of caves and how we each like to be treated differently one of the areas that this shows up in very obviously is when handling stress.  As a general rule, men have a much lower tolerance of emotional stress than women. What this means is that when presented with a problem most men, by nature, will feel a greater sense of urgency to find a solution or do something about the problem straight away.

Most women find just being able to talk about a situation actually helps reduce their stress about a particular problem. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t also want a resolution, but simply that talking about it is an integral part of the solution for them. Because of our different tendencies stress often increases when men and women are put together to discuss a problem; men want to solve it now with the first available solution where women are usually happy to explore lots of different possibilities and talk about it longer.

Competence

Men instinctively respect and respond better to those they perceive have power. Power comes from competence. On Mars a man’s sense of self is primarily defined by his sense of competence. He prides himself on his ability to achieve results, solve problems and get the job done. This is also what he will admire in other people. If a woman does not let a man know what she has done he will think she is incompetent or not achieving much and therefore has no power leading to his respect for her decreasing.

On Venus competence is also important but shares space with compassion, integrity and other personal values. The inclusion of these qualities into the workplace is making it a better place for all concerned. Because these have not traditionally been values that have had importance at work many men have not yet seen how these values are a major influence with female colleagues, bosses and customers. Women will respect and respond better to those they perceive as displaying and understanding those values. Not sharing credit with others when it is due is a sign to women that you are inconsiderate of other’s efforts and feelings leading to her respect for him decreasing.

A simple solution for both parties is to use a mixture of independent and inclusive language.

Simple Tips for Women when dealing with men in business

  1. Promote yourself
  2. Avoid tag endings
  3. Be direct and concise
  4. Don’t take male comments so personally
  5. Make acknowledgements direct and simple

Simple Tips for Men when dealing with women in business

  1. Build rapport
  2. Avoid monopolizing conversations
  3. Respect her abilities
  4. Don’t lecture
  5. Be specific with praise

DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO THE SAME TASK

As we’ve seen so far today, we tend to have very different approaches to the same tasks. Let’s for a moment think of the different styles of approach that could be exhibited when a male and a female manager are asked to make a decision.  In traditional circumstances the following could seem to be the norm.

The female manager will tend to discuss it with others, seek their input and feedback before making a recommendation to senior management.  She thinks it’s important that everyone feels they have contributed to the decision and therefore are more likely to support it. This is her style of management. It is based on cooperation and collaboration (and a whole stack of other C words – conversation, connection, commiseration and compassion).

In contrast, the male manager will tend to make the decision, with no apparent consultation (although he is likely to seek information from others in a non-conspicuous way), and then make the recommendation.  He believes that he is in charge so he needs to make the decision himself.

Because of his approach it is likely that when the male manager sees his female colleague openly discussing the issue with others, he will think that she cannot make a decision on her own, and needs to check with others first. Meanwhile because of her approach the female manager is likely to think her male colleague arrogant for making the decision without any apparent input.

Here are two very different approaches for very different reasons.  The female’s first priority is relationships, the male’s is status.

PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT

In life, as well as relationships, we tend to give what we actually would love to receive and unintentionally don’t honor that which would make the opposite sex feel supported. Sometimes what is a nutrient on Venus is poison on Mars.

People are different. Recognizing this truth is essential for creating positive interactions. Without this recognition we try and change one another and we think that everyone else should think, feel and react the same as us.

Once we realize and accept that we are different in many ways, we can start to create an environment that supports and honors those differences.

Mars Venus Driven by Innovation

September 7th, 2012
Innovation Opens the Door

Innovation Opens the Door

Businesses that withstand the test of time, no matter the product or service they offer, rely on two things: (1) Innovation and (2) Character-Based Services. Let’s about innovation, however to truly understand how to get ahead the second ingredient, Character-Based Services, of creating value for your internal and external customers is no longer optional. You can only have a recipe for success when you are founded on core values.  The quality of life for yourself, your employees, and your customers increase because you are providing a value-based service which addresses needs to make people feel connected to one another.  However, to keep business opportunities coming your way, your business model must have creative innovation as part of the plan from the beginning. So remember add, taste, and stir every day!

Being Innovative Means Adapting and Thinking Creatively—All the Time

Add a Dash of New

There is never a moment when you rest on your laurels, or expect mediocrity; either from yourself or those working for and with you. Thinking outside of the box should be your norm, as well as motivating and allowing others to do the same. By giving others you come in contact with the opportunity to be creative and voice ideas, you cultivate a climate that is inclusive, rather than obtrusive. This means no micro-managing or tasting the soup every two minutes! This allows your business to keep its doors open to implementing cutting-edge opportunities as they become the next big thing.

The way you stay innovative is by being well-versed in the latest trends. Whether it is in leadership or with technological advances, you have to stay current. Reading books and articles, networking, and staying abreast through social media platforms keeps you from staying in the past or dreaming of the future. By doing small steps every day to innovate, you naturally create change. There is never a moment that you’re not adapting.

In other words, always ask why and how, then adapt proactively rather than reactively.

Stir Until Well-Blended: 90-Day Action Plans

The way you constantly adapt to change without becoming overwhelmed is by creating 90-Day Action Plans. The beauty of a 90-Day Action Plan is that your dreams and ideas are on paper for all to see. Mars Venus coaches use these during every coaching session, because they provide the framework for modeling open and honest communication. Often people and businesses seek coaching to help with time management. This gets into prioritizing, and then being able to effectively communicate your plans and intentions to those working for and with you.

As the 90-Day Action Plan is created together, Mars Venus coaches are different than other coaches because they model and teach how to use men and women’s different preferences for communicating, how they cope with stress, and how they buy/sell differently to ensure you get the added bonus of learning healthy communication skills. Learning these skills as you develop your 90-Day Action Plans together ensures you implement the new communication skills as you interact with the people that will make your business a success.

The 90-Day Action Plans not only provides a valuable working document to incite feedback from your investors and coaches (those keeping you accountable), but you also get to track your progress! You identify your vision, clarify your goals, break into strategic objectives, and further whittle down the to-dos into doable action steps.

Taste, Add Ingredients As Needed: Test & Measure

The way you measure your success is through testing and measuring how well you meet and exceed your goals in your 90-Day Action Plan(s) on an ongoing basis. Make sure to design vivid, descriptive Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that tell you benchmarks for when your goal is met. The more you’re able to describe the KPIs using your six senses—seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling, and kinesthetic awareness—the faster you’ll achieve your goals. Why? Neuroscience. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between fact or fiction, memory or visualization. You can use this like athletes do to create new neural pathways in your brain focused on everything that entails success for your envisioned goals. Remember, adapt and re-prioritize as the curve balls are thrown at you so you don’t get hit. Add, stir, taste, and add ingredients as necessary—daily!

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

 

Mars Venus Addresses Gender Intelligent Communication in the Corporate World

August 31st, 2012
Gender Intelligent Communication Levels the Playing Field

Gender Intelligent Communication Levels the Playing Field

For anyone attending recent women’s business conferences or reading the latest articles devoted to the lack of women in the executive ranks, Mars Venus ask you to open your mind to the possibility of a quick, yet long-term fix to increase the status of women in the corporate world. Mars Venus realizes there is an undercurrent of paranoia and frustration about why numbers are not equalizing among the sexes at the top of the leadership pyramid. These feelings of uneasiness are in response to being run ragged by constant low-grade stress. Whenever I ask people if they are familiar with the book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, there tends to be an instant lighting up of the eyes, and an intake of breath. This term coined by Dr. John Gray when he wrote his best-selling book of that title back in 1992 is now considered to be part of our society’s vernacular. Dr. John Gray has written many books relating to the Mars Venus dynamic (16 and counting). Instead of reading the research and literature, the following is a quick synopsis of why implementing this quick fix is imperative. Mars Venus stresses it’s important not only for women to remain in and ascend the corporate ladder, but also to re-balance and give quality of life back to everyone in this fast-paced, high-tech world. The solution I refer to is introducing gender intelligent communication into professional development training.

Our current expectations and assumption men and women are equal, and therefore must be treated the same is both an unrealistic expectation and an unexamined assumption. Mars Venus makes it clear, to address reality, the solution is to address the real issue, and that is the current state of men’s communication style being preferred, while disregarding how women communicate. The solution then is to teach how men and women communicate differently in workshops at work. Women are up against a brick wall when it comes to fitting into a culture that disregards their unique gender-based contributions of working and relating to others. This is where Mars Venus enters with the solution of teaching gender intelligent communication implementing a culture shift at corporate to equally embrace and respect men and women’s unique gender contributions. Continuing to force women to assimilate to a male created work climate is unwise. Now we are armed with information regarding why and how it damages both our bodies (health and wellness wise) and our relationships (at work and at home).

The latest research shows how men and women’s interaction with stress is different in three ways. These gender based traits are taught in Mars Venus Coach Training. The first is how the chemicals in our brain respond differently to stress. The second way we’re different is we produce different stress-reducing hormones. Men reduce stress by producing testosterone, and women reduce stress by producing oxytocin. And the third is the way we reduce our stress. How we produce the stress-reducing hormone based on our gender actually increases the other gender’s stress! The research is good to understand the why’s behind the way we behave, and more importantly why we communicate differently the way we do with one another; however, what is more germane to this discussion is the quickest way to balance men and women in the workplace. The easy answer is we do this through gender intelligent communication workshops.

The culture needs to change, and Mars Venus believes, the quickest way is to train people in the ways men and women communicate differently. The first level of learning is awareness. The second level is putting it into practice. Previous solutions offered saved face. This “lip service” backfired with more misunderstanding and disgruntled employees. This solution does not promote women being promoted without hard work or merit. The companies which accept and respect women’s unique penchant for attention to detail while they incorporate everyone into the decision-making process at the same time as when they identify emotional consequences are the companies gaining recognition for success and increased quality of life for its employees and customers. This solution is not lip service, because it requires an immediate call to action to train people how to effectively communicate.

When the two different gender styles of communication are both given credit for their strengths and weaknesses, then the playing field is leveled, because our unique ways of relating to one another are understood, respected, and embraced. Changing the way we talk to one another, in essence, is the fundamental first step that has heretofore been missing. A culture shift occurs when we are able to open our hearts and minds to understand the other person’s way of communicating as being a slight variation in dialect. The modus operandi of male communication patterns or else is outdated. Running a balanced work world embracing both men and women’s unique contributions acknowledges everyone’s gifts. In turn this makes the workplace more productive and conducive to both new growth and change as the workforce assimilates cultural awareness. There will be equal numbers of men and women in and at the top in the corporate world once everyone is respected for their method of communicating. Lucky for us the by-product is lower stress levels for all. This goes a long way for our economic, health, and marriage crisis; which would be easier to handle if our relationships were open, honest, healthier, and a source of comfort both at work and at home.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Corporate Media Relations

Mars Venus Coaching

 

 

New Generation Of Venusian has Arrived

August 27th, 2012

My dear readers, this article is dedicated to today’s women. In the last few years of my life, I have seen how a new generation of

I can take that mountain!

I can take that mountain!

women is standing out in the crowd. I have to admit that I have become one of these women, and I am proud now that I understand what kind of women we are. With Mars Venus by our side,we are more evolved and more independent than the women before our time. If our husbands do not meet our expectations, even if they have sexual prowess in the bedroom, we are not afraid to divorce them, even though most of us were raised up with the absurd mind set of “until death do us apart.” This new generation of women is not afraid to say “next!” Mars Venus has taught us not afraid to be alone rather than bear the emotional burden of a relationship that is not working.

Mars Venus considers these women “Warriors”, and they are a new generation of successful womenwho: solve problems; work outside the home; who are always moving forward; they raise their children; deal with criticism from their exes who constantly question their maternal skills and/or try their patience; they are responsible for paying their bills; dealing with men in the workplace who seem to think they know it all; they are available to listen to their friend who will not move on with her life and keeps reminiscing about the boyfriend who left her so long ago; she takes the time to arrange a surgery vacation for herself for a “breast augmentation” or a “retouch” somewhere on her body to keep her looks up to standard; and she sadly watches her neighbor hiding their gay son or daughter because she only cares about what society will think … Ah! and last, but not least, she still has time to sexually please her partner for a “quickie,” that more often than not, does not satisfy her own needs. OMG! Just reading this paragraph gets me all stressed out!  But this is how it is today … Today’s women, today’s “warriors,” can successfully manage many things all at once in their lives with grace, poise and determination.

Mars Venus sees today’s woman dealing with the stress and frustration of having to kiss many wrong frogs in hopes of finding her prince, or “the right man.” One of my roles as a “Mars Venus Coach” is to guide people, especially couples, towards a successful relationship.  When I see that a person, or couple, is wasting their time with one another, I am the first to tell them that although they may in fact be in  love with their mate, that person may not be the RIGHT ONE for them. The basis of my success is that I understand that people come into our lives to fulfill a cycle. They are in your life to teach you, to guide you, and to help you grow.

If the time has come to end a relationship, we must accept that the relationship no longer works, for whatever reason, and understand that it is time to close the cycle with this person. This allows us to move on, and to be available for a new relationship that will eventually bring us closer to the right person for us.

In our next article, we will discuss what skills the Successful Women of Our Generation needs to develop in order to find, and preserve a relationship with her perfect mate.

Mernela Anez

Certified Business Coach

Mars Venus Coaching

 

Mars Venus Gender Increases Women’s Status Using Gender Intelligence Communication, Part 2

August 24th, 2012

After reading part 1 of this article, let’s delve right into why Mars Venus teaches gender intelligent communication as a solution to raising women’s status in top positions to equal numbers with men. Another way to phrase this is by teaching gender intelligent communication as the solution we will be implementing a culture shift in the corporate world so at last both men and women will be respected equally for their unique gender contributions. Assimilating women into a male created work climate is unwise on many levels, and now that we are armed with information regarding why it is doing damage to both our bodies (health and wellness wise) and our relationships (at work and at home), it makes sense to open this discussion as food for thought, and hopefully, as a solution to the problems put forth so eloquently across the news.

Mars Venus explains why as being, the reason and research behind why men and women in fact do communicate differently is mainly based on our physiology and the ways our bodies respond differently to stress, and the ways in which we keep our stress levels low. Did you know that when women are at work they produce testosterone just like men? However, to reduce stress men must produce more testosterone in greater quantities than the hormone women need to reduce stress. The easiest way for men to increase their testosterone is by relaxing their muscles and doing nothing. So while women are constantly producing testosterone while at work, and they get ready to come home after a hard day they are unable to produce their stress reducing hormone: oxytocin. When women are rushed, or when they nurture or give and there are expectations in return, oxytocin is unable to be produced. When women get home, their stress levels continue to rise limiting their ability to produce oxytocin. So while men are able to begin rejuvenating their stress reducing hormone (testosterone) when they stop work for the day, women are unable based on their physiology to increase their stress-reducing hormone (oxytocin).

Previously in history, women lived in a community, which was organic and connected to childrearing, for both their own and their neighbor’s children. Mars Venus believes the constant state of nurturing, and connecting through talking, incorporating one another in decision making, and helping one another out with similar tasks gave a constant flood of oxytocin. Not so today. Our world is now at such a tilt that we have cortisol (fight or flight hormone) constantly in our bodies—both for men and women. When there is a constant flood of cortisol, there is no room for the body to manufacture the stress reducing hormones. Both disease and infertility are on the rise due to both genders at the end of the day being unable to re-generate the stress reducing hormones they need to live a long, well-balanced life. All of these issues go back to one thing only, and that is how we communicate with others, which impacts our quality of relationships both at work and at home. Just based on these physiological reasons, besides how we actually talk to one another differently when assimilating information and making decisions…it should not be a question of women assimilating into a “man’s” world. It should be a question of how we can alter the culture in corporate to best embrace the unique styles of gender communications to have the most productive and efficient company.

The content is phenomenal in regards to the latest research in how men and women’s bodies react differently under stress and in producing the stress reducing hormones unique to their gender. While the research is good to understand the why’s behind the way we behave, and more importantly why we communicate differently the way we do with one another; what is more germane to this discussion is what the quickest way is to balance both men and women in the workplace. The easy answer is you do this through gender intelligent communication workshops as found in the Mars Venus website.

The culture needs to change, and the quickest way to do that is to train people in the ways men and women communicate differently. The first level of learning is awareness; second level is putting it into practice. And all the other solutions that have been offered for the purpose of saving face, has done just that “lip service,” and not evoked the change. The companies which are able to embrace these subtleties in dialect such as women’s attention to detail and incorporating many into the decision-making process—these are the ones who are able to make their visions grow into viable action plans with results where everyone is taken along for the ride. This solution is not lip service, because it requires an immediate call to action to train people how to communicate with one another more effectively.

When the two different gender styles of communication are both given credit for their strengths and weaknesses, then the playing field is leveled, because our unique ways of relating to one another are understood, respected, and embraced. Changing the way we talk to one another, in essence, is the fundamental first step that has heretofore been missing. Mars Venus teaches us how to open our hearts and minds to hearing the other person’s way of communicating as being a slight variation in dialect, and that in order to relate effectively we have to learn the other’s dialect…this is what causes a shift in culture from a male-dominated, created, and run work world to one that is a balanced work world embracing men and women’s unique contributions. When this happens, then there will be equal numbers of men and women in and at the top in the corporate world.

 

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Corporate Media Relations

Mars Venus Coaching

 

 

Mars Venus Increases Women’s Status using Gender Intelligent Communication, Part 1

August 17th, 2012

Whenever I ask people if they are familiar with the term men are from Mars, women are from Venus, there tends to be an instant lighting up of the eyes, and intake of breath. This term coined by Dr. John Gray when he wrote his best-selling book of that title back in 1992 is now considered to be part our society’s vernacular. However, when is the last time you’ve picked up any of Dr. Gray’s books? There are now too many books (16 and counting) for a high-level executive, or really anyone for that matter who has both a career and family to tend to sit down and devote good chunks of time to read and assimilate the information. Instead of reading all of the literature, the following is a quick synopsis of why implementing this quick fix is imperative, not only for women to remain and ascend in the corporate world, but also why it needs to be done in order to re-balance and give quality of life back to everyone in this fast-paced, high-tech world.

Back in 1992 Dr. Gray provided an easy way to understand the fact that men and women communicate differently, and if we want better relationships, we have to learn the other’s dialect so we can speak the same language. Now, in 2012, we understand the research behind why we communicate differently, and the message is now more urgent than ever, because not only are women not climbing in corporate, but we’re doing irreversible damage to our bodies, and the families we are currently growing. It is imperative that the culture in corporate shift for good now that we understand the revolution of men and women are created equal to be an unexamined assumption and unrealistic expectation. Based on John Gray’s book, Mars Venus Coaching teaches, men and women are uniquely different genders, and the latest research is showing how our unique natures and physiology are meant to complement the other gender.

So to get back to the point we must saturate the “market” by doing just this: while at work teach how men and women communicate differently in workshops. It is imperative, because right now women are up against a brick wall when it comes to fitting into a culture that disregards their unique gender-based contributions of working and relating to others. Stand by for part two about why teaching workshops on gender intelligent communication is the common sense approach and quick fix for a long term solution.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Corporate Media Relations

Mars Venus Coaching

 

Mars Venus visits Complacency at Work

August 14th, 2012

Mars Venus realizes we all have moments when we procrastinate at work. We typically procrastinate when we are stressed out and need to re-energize; we’re a little anxious as we’re figuring out the day’s priorities; or we have a few minutes to kill say before a meeting, between a project and lunch, waiting to talk to a co-worker or it’s almost time to go home. Procrastination and complacency are two blocks any of us can fall prey. One is much direr than the other; both can impede productivity, efficiency, creativity, and growth at work. Complacency, however, when it takes root can be deadly infectious to our success, and mark the beginning of our failure to meet our customer’s demands. When we are satisfied with our success, but are unaware of deficiencies or that we’ve fallen into this lull we stop growing.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a politician and statesman during the Second World War who is considered to be one of the most influential people in British history. His words still inspire leaders today. One of my favorite quotes by Winston Churchill is:
Success is not final;
failure is not fatal:
it is the courage to continue that counts.

As a coach it is frustrating to see a client hack away at a goal on a 90-Day Plan stop, because they think they’re done. People seek out coaching to help end their procrastination. A good coach eases a client’s anxiety surrounding change to achieve a goal. As a coach holds a client accountable to do what the client says he or she is going to do, clients typically achieve their goals faster than when they were on their own doing it whenever, when the mood strikes, or because they’ve run out of time. I’ve seen the complacent attitude crop up right after a milestone has been reached such as a promotion at work, a raise, or taking a course needed for professional development, and it’s the kiss of death. It also begets the question, why were you working so hard in the first place?
Like Winston Churchill says, “Success is not final.” When we become complacent that we’ve done well on a project, or we’ve attained a goal, our perspective and plan of attack must also change. If we focus on past accolades, guess where our professional career or our company’s vision remains? It will remain mired in the past. When we lack foresight and have no direction for attaining the next goal beyond the one we just completed, our deficiency is lack of planning, and what we get is stagnancy. Will others still want to seek you and your services out?
We all fear failure, but it is never fatal. When we make a mistake, the quicker we’re able to make it a learning point, the sooner we’re able to dust ourselves off, regroup, and move on. This is why Winston Churchill’s quote remains germane today, “it the courage to continue that counts.”
My challenge to you is to always ask the question, “what’s next?” So in this next week your homework is to ask yourself, colleagues and customer’s “what’s next” on the agenda. And, be sure to ask for details and timelines to keep things moving forward. This line of probing will ensure freshness, creativity, and focus to achieve the next goal at work. There is always room for improvement, growth, and inspiration.
Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
Corporate Media Relations

Inspiring vs. Motivating Employees

July 25th, 2012

We have all worked with an employee who seems to be beating to their own drum. They are either out of step with the rest of the company’s climate, or completely off target. How many of us have tried to motivate this employee to get with the program? How many have written it off as not their problem? How many of us have tried to motivate this employee and failed spectacularly? Do we know the difference between motivating and inspiring others? And, did you know that what inspires a male, generally does not inspire a female? Mars Venus Coaching explains how men and women’s communication styles are different, but equal. When you understand these dynamics, then you are able to tap into and help people draw out their potential like never before, because you are speaking to their heart when you speak their same language at the same time you inspire them to greatness.

Let’s first address the difference between motivation and inspiration. When you attempt to motivate others, the motivation comes from outside an individual. Basically, you can motivate anyone to do small things faster. However, when you are externally driving a person to work more or faster, the effect lasts as long as the motivation lasts and is short-lived at best. As a leader in order to inspire an employee to greatness and to develop into their best self requires a little more time and patience as you focus on educating them to draw out their own conclusion. When you push-in or force someone to be something they are not, the result is short-lived. The etymology of the word education is derived from the Latin, educare, which means “bring up.” Educare is related to educere “bring out,” “bring forth what is within,” “bring out potential” and ducere “to lead.” Therefore, when you are in the act of educating someone in this sense, you are inspiring them to be the best they can be. This is the process to unlock intrinsic motivation for the person to keep excelling according to their own will.

Now that you understand the difference between motivating and inspiring an employee, let’s look at the different ways you would do this for a man verses a woman. The key lies in the “why,” and the way in which you find out a person’s why depends on their gender, because men and women are socially taught different ways to communicate their preferences. If you can identify why a person would want to motivate themselves to be more productive, then you are able to unlock this process of drawing out potential for them. Inspiration to increase their capabilities will then become internal.

A large majority of the challenges we experience across gender begin with the different ways the gender’s use language to communicate. The words we use (or don’t), and the meanings we attach to those words affect how we view each other. Sometimes we use exactly the same words but attach completely different meanings to them. The easiest way to remember the difference is the preference for men to use “I” and women to use “we” when speaking. Women’s communication style is from a point of inclusion, because they are socialized to be inclusive, i.e. maintain harmony; and consequently, women tend to use “we” when speaking. Men, however, are socialized for independence and tend to exclusively use “I” when speaking.

To Inspire Men:
Promote Yourself
Avoid Tag Endings
Be Direct and Concise
Make Acknowledgements Direct and Simple

To Inspire Women:
Build Rapport
Avoid Monopolizing the Conversation
Respect her Abilities
Involve, Do Not Lecture
Be Precise and Specific with Praise

Remember, the best way to help someone become self-motivated, and therefore inspired to bring forth their own potential is to tap into the “why” behind what they are doing. When we are cognizant of the different dialect men and women use, then we are able to communicate in a manner where the other person is comfortable. You can then focus on the underlying “why” reasons behind why people perform the way they do. When you are able to identify what you like, and praise what you would like to be repeated—you are coming from a place rewarding positive behavior. And, everyone likes to be told what they are good at, not what they could do better.

Mars Venus on Gender Intelligent Communication

July 23rd, 2012

For anyone attending recent women’s business conferences or reading the latest articles devoted to the lack of women in the executive ranks, Mars Venus Coaching asks you to open your mind to the possibility of a quick, yet long-term fix to increase the status of women in the corporate world. There is an undercurrent of paranoia and frustration about why numbers are not equalizing among the sexes at the top of the leadership pyramid. These feelings of uneasiness are in response to being run ragged by constant low-grade stress. Whenever we ask people if they are familiar with the book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, there tends to be an instant lighting up of the eyes, and an intake of breath. This term coined by Dr. John Gray when he wrote his best-selling book of that title back in 1992 is now considered to be part of our society’s vernacular. Dr. John Gray has written many books relating to the Mars Venus dynamic (16 and counting). Instead of reading the research and literature, the following is a quick synopsis of why implementing this quick fix is imperative. It’s important not only for women to remain in and ascend the corporate ladder, but also to re-balance and give quality of life back to everyone in this fast-paced, high-tech world. The solution Mars Venus refers to is introducing gender intelligent communication into professional development training.

Our current expectations and assumption men and women are equal, and therefore must be treated the same is both an unrealistic expectation and an unexamined assumption. To address reality, the solution is to address the real issue, and that is the current state of men’s communication style being preferred, while disregarding how women communicate. The solution then is to teach how men and women communicate differently in workshops at work. Women are up against a brick wall when it comes to fitting into a culture that disregards their unique gender-based contributions of working and relating to others. The solution of teaching gender intelligent communication implements a culture shift at corporate to equally embrace and respect men and women’s unique gender contributions. Continuing to force women to assimilate to a male created work climate is unwise. Now we are armed with information regarding why and how it damages both our bodies (health and wellness wise) and our relationships (at work and at home).

The latest research shows how men and women’s interaction with stress is different in three ways. The first is how the chemicals in our brain respond differently to stress. The second way we’re different is we produce different stress-reducing hormones. Men reduce stress by producing testosterone, and women reduce stress by producing oxytocin. And the third is the way we reduce our stress. How we produce the stress-reducing hormone based on our gender, actually increases the other gender’s stress! The research is good to understand the why’s behind the way we behave, and more importantly why we communicate differently the way we do with one another; however, what is more germane to this discussion is the quickest way to balance men and women in the workplace. The easy answer is we do this through gender intelligent communication workshops.

The culture needs to change, and the quickest way is to train people in the ways men and women communicate differently. The first level of learning is awareness. The second level is putting it into practice. Previous solutions offered saved face. This “lip service” backfired with more misunderstanding and disgruntled employees. This solution does not promote women being promoted without hard work or merit. The companies which accept and respect women’s unique penchant for attention to detail while they incorporate everyone into the decision-making process at the same time as when they identify emotional consequences are the companies gaining recognition for success and increased quality of life for its employees and customers. This solution is not lip service, because it requires an immediate call to action to train people how to effectively communicate.

When the two different gender styles of communication are both given credit for their strengths and weaknesses, then the playing field is leveled, because our unique ways of relating to one another are understood, respected, and embraced. Changing the way we talk to one another, in essence, is the fundamental first step that has heretofore been missing. A culture shift occurs when we are able to open our hearts and minds to understand the other person’s way of communicating as being a slight variation in dialect. The modus operandi of male communication patterns or else is outdated. Running a balanced work world embracing both men and women’s unique contributions acknowledges everyone’s gifts. In turn this makes the workplace more productive and conducive to both new growth and change as the workforce assimilates cultural awareness. There will be equal numbers of men and women in and at the top in the corporate world once everyone is respected for their method of communicating. Lucky for us the by-product is lower stress levels for all. This goes a long way for our economic, health, and marriage crisis; which would be easier to handle if our relationships were open, honest, healthier, and a source of comfort both at work and at home.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Corporate Media Relations

Mars Venus Coaching

 

 

One Easy Way To Reduce Workplace Stress And Enhance Productivity

July 13th, 2012

Victor Lipman, Contributor Forbes 6/5/12

It’s always pleasant (if rare) to find a management tactic that works well and is also easy and even fun. Over the course of my career – both as an employee and a manager – the best way I found to reduce stress and improve productivity was simple: to exercise at midday.

Everyone has his or her own biorhythms, but I found and observed energy and concentration often flagging toward midday. And also noted considerably renewed energy and productivity following a lunchtime workout.

These aren’t simply my own idiosyncratic observations. Numerous studies link exercise to mood elevation and productivity enhancement, as well as more collaborative and tolerant behavior. The benefits of exercise are copiously well documented; the trick is effectively integrating a regular exercise program into a conservative or restrictive work environment.

What form of exercise works best? My answer’s simple: Whatever you like and can easily do in or near the workplace. For me it was usually a 3-mile run. All I needed was a change of clothes and a shower. Many I managed liked weightlifting, walking, aerobics classes, yoga, Spinning and so on. (Personal aside: The only form of exercise that was clearly not for me was Spinning. First, it looks wicked hard. Second, I exercised at least partly to take a break from people barking at me, so the last thing I wanted while taking a break from people barking at me was other people barking at me.)

Here are six common reasons why people can’t or don’t exercise at work, and ways to easily overcome them.
I don’t have time. Sure you do. It may take you 15 minutes longer than a normal lunch hour (maybe even 30 if you have to go a little farther to get to a facility), so work 15 (or 30) minutes later. Chances are in those extra 15 minutes you’ll be more energized and productive than if you hadn’t exercised in the first place.
My boss won’t let me. Tell him or her (nicely) to get with the program. Note info above – data shows exercise enhances productivity, reduces stress, and improves collaboration. Ask for a chance to demonstrate the results, and be sure to over-deliver when providing them.

We don’t have a Fitness Center. It’s great if your company has one, but no knockout if you don’t. Sometimes all you need is a shower. Or you can go to a nearby gym or club. Often your company can get a corporate discount, a trade that helps both teams.
I won’t have time to eat lunch. Nonsense. Eat lunch at your desk while working following your workout. I did it productively for decades. I ate a cheese sandwich or a peanut butter sandwich (fortunately I have a limitless capacity for monk-like culinary boredom), plus an apple or an orange. The main criterion for my lunch was that it could be prepared literally within one minute – no kidding – at about 9 p.m. the night before.

My hair will be a mess. Don’t be too hard enough on yourself. I’m sure your hair actually looks a lot better than you think it does. Note to employees: Of course you’ll use common sense here – no triathlon workouts right before Board presentations. Note to managers: Offer (as appropriate to your environment) flexibility of casual dress and appearance. Your employees will appreciate you for it and likely reward you with loyalty and diligence.

My CEO doesn’t believe in exercise in the workplace. Hey, this is 2012. I’m as old school and dinosaurish as they come and I’ve been exercising at work since the 1970s. Note to CEOs: You’ll gain in employee engagement. You’ll gain in recruiting. You may gain in reduced absenteeism and health care costs (though that’s usually harder to document). Plus, dedicated exercisers/athletes tend to be highly disciplined individuals and fine employees. It’ll make your company a cooler happier place.

One final thought: The ability to exercise at work is a benefit and privilege, so you can’t abuse it – all expected work still has to get done. Otherwise, any straight-thinking manager will – and should – pull the plug quickly. But it shouldn’t come to that. Well-managed exercise programs improve the quality of worklife for employees and management alike. And that’s the bottom line. I’d write more, but I’ve got to go for a run.