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Getting Inside the Male Mind: Lessons from ‘The Male Factor,’ by Shaunti Feldhahn

In her new book 'The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace,' author Shaunti Feldhahn asserts that in order for women to really get ahead in the workplace, they need to think like a man.  In a recent interview with Canada's 'The Globe and Mail,' Feldhahn walks readers through the major points of her theory:

1. In fields that are still male-dominated, where men tend to be gatekeepers for upward career movements, there is a significant impact on women if they do not understand the internal male culture.

2. Women need to recognize that there are certain things that men are privately thinking and expecting from their colleagues.  Because these things can be different from what women are privately thinking, women have to actively look for these private expectations.

3. While women's brains are specifically wired to process a strong emotion and to think clearly at the same time, women have to keep emotions in check.  This is because the male brain is not so wired, so men assume that the presence of an emotion means a lack of thinking.

4. Give men the bottom line up front - it then becomes easier for men to think about what the other person is saying.  This is important for women to remember, because they tend to process thoughts externally more often than men do.

5. Women have the same capacity to 'suck it up' in the workplace.  The difference between men and women is that women tend to be more aware of how their actions are impacting both the personal and the professional in their lives.

6. If a woman is in a management position, assume that she has a reason for every single thing that she is doing and saying.

Feldhahn admits that one of the dangers of her theory is that it may provide an excuse for dismissing the actions that women take in the workplace as 'random' or 'typical of a woman.'  This could, according to her, be used to perpetuate certain stereotypes about both women and men.  Still, she asserts that understanding the different ways in which men and women think and approach their work and their lives can help make for a more productive workplace.

To read the complete interview, click here.

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