The Man’s Guide to Corporate Culture: A Practical Guide to the New Normal and Relating to Female Co-Workers in the Modern Workplace by Heather Zumarraga

The Man's Guide
The Man’s Guide to Corporate Culture: A Practical Guide to the New Normal and Relating to Female Co-Workers in the Modern Workplace by Heather Zumarraga explains how the modern workplace has evolved over time and how men (and women) can navigate it while staying out of trouble. Things like accusations of sexual harassment or worse can be real career enders so take Heather’s advice if you want to stay afloat in what can seem at times like a tsunami.

Who is This Book for and How to Read This Book/Introduction

  • This book is for men who work with women, corporations, small business employers, human resources departments, college students, and men and women couples. Here we find the chapters intended for men, corporations, and both men and women so you can skip around if you choose.
  • Sionce the national discussion of sexual harassment in the workplace has gone to a whole new level, many men have become fearful of the perceived power that women have. The big change is that women are no longer afraid to speak up and are often encouraged to do so. This book is designed to help men learn to collaborate and find synergies with female colleagues so that they can take advantage of the skills and qualities that women offer. You can only do your best if you feel comfortable and this book should help. It’s based on the author’s experience along with hundreds of interviews.

1. It’s a Woman’s World and You Are Just Working In It.

  • Women hold more jobs in the US than men and earn more college degrees at every level, which strongly correlates with higher incomes. Heather sites a number of successful female CEOs of some of the country’s largest companies. Yet 60% of male managers are not comfortable participating in normal workplace activities with women, such as mentoring and socializing. This serves to deprive their company of the talent of half of the population. The modern trend is for organizations to forbid romantic relationships in the workplace and even with customers and suppliers employees. Relationships that result in ex-lovers working together can create a hostile working environment. Many top-level executives have lost their jobs for inappropriate behavior and this list includes some women. The trend is finally toward a more ethical corporate governance.

2. How Did We Get Here?

  • In 1986 the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that sexual harassment that was sufficiently severe or pervasive created a hostile or abusive working environment. Prior to that women were limited to lawsuits when the harassment was part of a quid pro quo for promotion. Now the simple act of pervasive harassment is enough to sue in federal court. Derogatory remarks about physical appearances, unwanted flirtation, and touching are possible allegations. Courts use the reasonable person standard when deciding if the behavior amounts to sexual harassment. The genders of the people involved are not relevant.

3. The Pendulum Has Swung Too Far

  • As a result of this situation, many men worry about giving negative feedback to women. The media has created a world where some women are comfortable believing men are the enemy. The negative bias against men results from the movement going overboard. There are so many accusations it’s hard to know what to believe. A critical mass of accusations, however, makes it obvious that there is some truth to it as some recent high-profile cases have shown. False accusations or even misplaced suspicions, now have absurdly powerful repercussions. If you ever have to be deposed as part of a legal process, bring an attorney. Unfortunately, almost any behavior such as a shoulder pat can now be stretched into harassment. As a result, many men are reluctant to hire attractive women or hire women for jobs involving close interpersonal interactions. Also, the incarceration rate (90%+), the homicide rate (67%), and the homeless rate (70%) imply that men have a major crisis.

4. Let Mars Be Mars and Venus Be Venus.

  • There is an agreement in the literature that men and women are different. Women tend to have better verbal abilities like reading comprehension and writing. They are also better at retrieving information from long-term memory. Men are better at juggling things in working memory and have better visuospatial skills. Men are more visually oriented and have stronger responses to sexual stimuli. The advice here is that you have a frontal lobe so use it to self-regulate. Think of it as the brakes for your brain.
  • Women demonstrate more facial expressions than men and are better at reading them. Men will be distracted by bare skin, short dresses, and high heels. The lesson here is look at her face. You can compliment apparel but not physical appearance. Pay attention when women are talking and consider turning off your phone. Maintain eye contact, don’t interrupt, and paraphrase what is said. You really don’t have the luxury of not liking women or other men at work. If you do you will give it away somehow. Demonstrate you care by showing an interest in their personal life.
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