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Stereotypes Of Men That Everyone Should Abandon

Stereotypes Of Men That Everyone Should Abandon

Every Sunday evening on Italian TV, a female comic, Luciana Littizzetto, makes fun of men and repeats incredibly funny and ridiculous stereotypes. She mocks men as being incapable, hopeless at domestic tasks and in bed as well as being hypochondriacs. What is more, she gets away with it and has done so for several years. She also mocks ridiculous TV commercials, politicians and anything else that she finds absurd. The only thing is that her male stereotypes are repeated again and again. Imagine a male comedian spouting stereotypes about women. I doubt if he would get out of the TV studio alive!

What is the problem with stereotypes of men or women? They are usually simplistic, untrue and are based on certain assumptions we make which are shakily based on gender. They assume that men and women will behave according to the gender role. They forget one key fact which is that each person is an individual. These stereotypes are “sweeping generalizations” as my father used to say. He was right.

Now that gender differences are less rigid and women start to gain equality, isn’t it time to abandon some common stereotypes about men and lay them to rest for good? Here are the top 7 that I want dead and buried!

1. Men don’t cry

Unfortunately, when a man cries, it is still regarded as a weakness. But this is changing and a caring man is not so rare nowadays, thank goodness. A man who can deal with emotions is not weak. He is simply mature and is not a robot. He is in touch with his feelings, emotions and will ask himself whether he is a caring partner, friend and parent.

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“Boys don’t cry, but men do.”- Malorie Blackman, Boys Don’t Cry

2. Men never notice how women look

It would seem that men never notice when a woman gets her hair done. The truth is though that many men really do notice and that they will get real pleasure in telling their partner how great she looks. But split ends and botox injections might go unnoticed. I love the joke,

Husband: “Honey, you seem strangely unmoved by the fact that the dog just ate a carving knife.”

Wife: “I’m furrowing my brow with concern… on the inside.”

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3. Men are aggressive

If the stereotypes are right, they are likely to follow the trend and abuse their partners emotionally and physically. After all, that fits in with the myth that they are demanding, hard and physically strong. Wife batterers often justify their actions by saying, “she wouldn’t stop nagging me,” another stereotype, according to one research study on why men abuse women, published in the Harvard University Gazette. Fortunately, there are millions of loving, caring men who never need to resort to bullying and violent behavior.

4. Men don’t do housework

How many men still feel that housework is beneath them because that is women’s work? Start counting in billions and trillions. The stats here are pretty damning in that 83% of women compared to 65% of men are actively doing all the household chores. But look at the 2010 figures on how many women are breadwinners – 60%!

Now look at all the stay at home dads who are doing an awful lot of housework and child minding. Latest figures show that the number of househusbands has doubled since the 1970s and is now estimated at 550,000. Some things do change, albeit slowly. Stay-at-home dads are the pioneers of gender equality and Anne Marie Slaughter’s husband, Andrew Moravcsik, has written convincingly about this in the article, Why I Put My Wife’s Career First

“A female executive needs what male CEOs have always had: a spouse who bears the burden at home.” – Andrew Moravcsik

5. Men decide and tell women what to do

“You’re a man. Whoever the woman is, it’s their responsibility to listen to what you say.”- Quote from MenEngage.org

This is so widespread that the MenEngage.org have joined forces with over 600 organizations worldwide to enlist the help of men and boys because this is the key to equality. Watch the video here about what male stereotypes are still floating around. Long way to go.

6. Men don’t do girlie things with their daughters

Dads will play soccer with their boys and will not be bothered with playing with their daughters. Playing and bonding with kids should not be based on rigid gender lines. It is reinforcing gender stereotypes from a very early age.

Nathan is a single dad who lost his wife to cancer last year. He has decided that one of the best ways to bond with his daughter is to let her paint his nails and also help his daughter with hers. Watch the touching video here of a great dad who is not afraid of stereotypes and is perfectly happy to go against the tide. An awesome dad teaching his daughter a wonderful life lesson.

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7. Men love sports

I hated school sports and spent many an hour inventing excuses to escape or praying for heavy rain. But I still grew up to be a balanced and happy person. It is comforting to know that there are men who are not so addicted to sports as society would have us believe. They can gainfully use their time doing things they are really keen on, such as writing. Milton James, the Man Booker winner for 2015 has remarked:

“I was the nerd. Because I was reading. I wasn’t into sports. I was really into art. Very geekish about comics. Assumed gay.”- Marlon James,

He was bullied of course because he did not fit into the male stereotype. In order to cope with that he started to read more and more and write.

“I’m tired of stories that use race to define someone’s character—that help brew suspicion, contempt, and anger among people. How long is it going to take for all stories to be told without a color bias? In the end, aren’t we just human beings under the same skies?”- Shalita Grant

Just substitute the words ‘race’ and ‘color’ with anything like ‘age’, ‘sex’, ‘men’, ‘women’, and you will see that we still have a long way to go!

Featured photo credit: Househusbands on the morning jog/Matthew Rutledge via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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