SHOW DATE: DECEMBER 18, 2013
Last week, Beyoncé got the world in an uproar by releasing her new album. She did it without any marketing, any fanfare or any promotions on iTunes. The ballsy move has redefined the music world and launched a thousand round table discussions about girl power. Everybody is dissecting girl power.
Somebody on the Melissa Harris-Perry’s show said that it launched a thousand women’s studies papers. We saw the show. All the women were high-fiving each other while the male pundits just sat there.
All these guys are thinking is, “I have to check myself now, make sure I don’t say something so offensive it gets me in trouble.”
We’re all about woman at Job Talk. Girl power is awesome, but that’s last week’s expression. Women have been victims of prejudice for hundreds of years. We get it. We’re not denying that.
What’s happening in offices is that men are scared to talk freely in front of women. We’re not doing the, “Oh, poor men” bit here. The bottom line is, men feel scared and emasculated. Of course, women should not change the way they operate to keep men from being held back and anxious. Here’s an example of our point:
A month ago, Auntie Evan was sitting in a meeting in a school where his organization helps get underprivileged kids into college. It was Auntie Evan and eight women around the table. Normally, Auntie Evan is highly integrated in this sort of settings. They’re all brainstorming how to make a better college-bound program, and Auntie Evan is jumping in with all these ideas. And then someone says: “Evan, calm down, let other people speak, you’re overdoing it.” Auntie Evan wasn’t not calm, he was just passionate. So he watched all the women brainstorm as he sat shut out.
And when Auntie Evan saw the Melissa Harris-Perry show, he felt the same way. He felt that if he or any of the guys on the show would open his mouth, they’d get in trouble or get shut down.
We acknowledge the power of women and their ability to be heard. But the way this conversation is going now, the victim is victimizing. This is hard to deny and it is what it is. Girls should not minimize themselves so the “poor, little boys” can have their egos built up. That’s ridiculous, and this is not what we’re saying.
We’re saying we need to start a new conversation, and get powerful in a wholly different way. Men and women see the world differently. Women believe in growing the pie: they can get more power and men can keep having power. But men see the world in zero sum: when something gets added, something else must get taken away. Thus men feel diminished.
But there is a way to lift this layer of binarism and have people power. We’re going to tell you how to be heard as a man, how to get promoted without offending, and how to live in a woman’s world.
Usually, there are two ways men go when they’re in a female-dominated office with a female boss: they wither get angry and bitter and tell themselves that she got to that position just because she’s a woman, or they have the male wimp syndrome and are afraid to say anything. Neither of these will get you promoted. You don’t have to be the angry guy or the wimpy guy.
There are a few things guys can do to keep their part of the power and be a man in a woman’s world. It’s not an us or them situation anymore. It is not a zero sum game were if they win you lose, where the winner takes all. This goes for both sides. Here are a few steps to reach a people power threshold:
- Stop the winner-takes-all mentality and start thinking in the team-takes-all mindset. The rising tide causes all boats to rise. Consider the team and how to make it better. When you do this, you’ll be noticed as the go-to person. A female boss will be looking at a male job candidate to see if he’s team oriented and not just looking out for himself. (Any boss is looking for this quality.)
- Be solution oriented. Don’t just talk about the problems. There’s paint chipping on the wall, what do most people do? They complain that the paint’s chipping. Solution-oriented employees figure out who’s going to get the paint, who’s going to get the brush, who’s going to fix the chip. They create a team atmosphere. Don’t complain, do. This is what makes you into a leader.
- Like a scholar athlete, you must have both brains and brawn. The straight-A jock. Guys should reveal their scholar side, not just jump into a conversation and take it over. It’s not high school anymore—the high school star quarterback is not king anymore.
You win when everybody wins. This has been proven countless times. This is the reality in a girl-power world. You must be team oriented, not self-oriented.
We all have power; power in life and power on the job. Let’s focus on people power.