Since we are in a blog series based on a recent research study I completed at Southwestern Consulting™, I thought I would share another interesting statistic this week.
When our research participants were asked about their ease of communicating with both the same sex and the opposite sex, we unearthed some startling information.
We asked 100 individuals (51% male and 49% female) to rate the ease of communicating with the same sex versus the opposite sex on a scale of 1-10 (1 being highly difficult and 10 indicating a high level of ease). We expected women to report that it’s easier for them to communicate with other women and men to report that it’s easier to communicate with other men. Was our hypothesis right?
We were wrong! In fact, the majority—26% of respondents—reported a 10 when asked about their ease of communication with the opposite sex, indicating a very high level of ease. When asked about their ease of communicating with the same sex, the majority—28% of respondents—only reported an 8.
At first, I was really surprised about this! Naturally it got me thinking what would cause this type of reporting.
Here are my initial thoughts:
- Women are not direct with each other, which causes a lot of confusion and unnecessary tension due to unknown and unresolved issues
- Men tend to have an ego with each other, causing one to discredit the other in public and private
- Women tend to talk about people more often than not, lending toa more gossip-rich environment
- Men are not as interested (generally) in getting to know their male counterparts or colleagues, causing a more competitive environment than necessary/wanted
- Women don’t address issues they are having with others directly, thus creating another gossip-rich environment
- Men address things too directly sometimes… Coming off as arrogant, in charge and domineering instead of cushioning the conversation with a more well-rounded approach
- Women can be more sensitive which results in more opportunity for hurt feelings (that they don’t share)
- Men don’t realize when they come off as insensitive, which causes some hurt feelings and they never even know it… Then they do the same thing again, and again, and again
Long story short… It actually makes sense that same sex communication was more poorly rated than that of opposite sex communication!
We have lots to learn!
What about you? Do you find it easier to communicate with your same sex or opposite sex? Why do you feel this way?
Would you like to download my research on men, women and communication in the workplace for FREE? Click here to download.