How Androgyny Works (Part 2)

Getting Around a Binary Concept

Posted Jan 30, 2017

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You have heard the saying, ―Our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness.  This is particularly true when we rely on it in the wrong place or at the wrong time and fail to develop other strengths that are more appropriate.  This is a man’s job, we say, or that’s women’s work. When Abraham Maslow pointed out that everything looks like a nail to the person whose only tool is a hammer, he could have well been talking about one-sided masculinity or over-played femininity.  Learning from each other, women and men acquire more tools and organizations become more effective when they apply both female and male strengths to reach their goals.   Today’s workplace is forcing women and men to adopt each other’s strong points.  Not everyone sees this yet.  Have you heard of a strong, focused and energetic woman characterized as pushy and demanding?  Or, seen a nurturing and empathetic male characterized as soft or wishy-washy or called a wimp?  Most of us have.   Today our old roles are becoming blurred both in the workplace and at home.  Many functions commonly performed by only one sex are now done regularly by both.  Both men and women are “expected” to be partners at home and teammates on the job.  Often both contribute equally to the family economy.  Without sharing strengths, this would be impossible.  

The inclusive or androgynous style works to respect the strengths of both sexes’ traditional styles, and wide variations are allowed in fitting behavior to circumstances.

Here is a list of considerations:

  • Learning and practicing new ways of responding do not imply that women or men need to suppress their “natural strengths.”
  •  A woman may develop assertive skills and still be characterized by her sensitivity.
  •  A man may develop interpersonal skills and still be characterized by his ability to demonstrate and exercise power.
  •  Men must understand that a woman’s less forceful style does not imply a lack of competence or conviction.
  •  Behavioral flexibility is the key to effective communication strategies in all organizational settings.
  •  Both men and women must expand their communication strategies so they can be effective under a wide range of circumstances.
  •  There are many ways to accomplish a goal, and adjusting your communication behavior will change the way others respond to you.
  •  The ability to self-monitor – to assess accurately the impact your behavior has on others – is essential to successful behavior change.