Breedlove's Briefing: How Men are Faring in the Workplace

August 19 - Stephanie Breedlove
 

Hi! I’m Stephanie Breedlove, Co-Founder of Care.com HomePay, Author and Angel Investor.

I absolutely adore taking an idea and giving it life in the form a business, then leading it to its full potential. Nothing is more fun. (Seriously!) I’d love for every woman who wants to start her own business to say the same thing, so here I am, mentoring millennial entrepreneurs. When I’m not working, I like to recharge and head outdoors to hike, bike, or stand up paddle board!

Is that list of business news and trending articles you’ve tagged still unread? I get it. Allow me to help. Take a couple minutes to read my summary of articles serving the most pertinent, actionable business topics. Or, take 10 minutes to read the full article, and put another brick on the foundation of your growing career.

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How Men Are Faring in the Workplace

Who it’s for:

Everyone. Improving the workplace for everyone is the goal after all.

Why it’s important:

The past few decades have seen an avalanche of reports on women in the workplace as we try to piece together how to achieve gender equality. Recently, a team of Deloitte consultants decided to take a different tack: They looked at men, who are rarely studied, to understand how they are faring, again in the quest of gender equality. Holistic approach. Smart. Useful.

Workplace culture tends to reflect masculinity, given that both the workplace and world tends to be dominated by male leaders and a patriarchal culture. The report, The Design of Everyday Men, offers a broader perspective of men struggling with both masculinity and corporate culture. Men want to expand their gender roles. The still feel they have to be the breadwinner and hold to that role, but they are being asked to show up at home as well. They are trying to carry both roles and are struggling. Indeed, in dual-earner households with children under 18, 60% of men reported work-family conflict compared with 47% of women. Men are affected by this struggle that is often viewed as primarily faced by women.

The essential element of corporate culture they fumble with is the need to always be available. That increasingly seems the crucial component for advancement – more important than skills and competence – and is a barrier to being a devoted family man.

At the core of masculinity is the need for status – men are biologically and culturally more inclined to seek status than women. As a result, researchers found that men are ‘never secure,’ constantly needing to prove themselves and concerned with what other people think.

The report sets out four themes that characterize the experiences of men in the workplace:

  1. Men place enormous pressure on themselves to handle work and family responsibilities as individuals. They believe “it’s all up to me.”
  2. Men are afraid of failure, which leads them to overcompensate with hypercompetitive behavior.
  3. Men feel they can’t turn to anyone.
  4. Men are afraid to step outside the norm on their own and so they look to leaders and peers for acceptable approaches to their work other than “always on.”

These led to five actions they recommend that you can take as a leader to counter these pressures of corporate culture and masculinity:

  1. Start all meetings with a thoughtful personal story. Show you are a vulnerable human being.
  2. Put your own imperfection on display. Show that you make mistakes.
  3. Have one-on-one conversations with people that go beyond workplace formalities.
  4. Check in on people who seem like they need it the least.
  5. Take vacation and parental leave – fully and completely. Don’t send emails from afar.

Top Take-Away: Valuable to have knowledge of the challenges facing men in the changing workplace, and more valuable to have recommended actions that are practical and tangible. We have to focus comprehensively on both women and men to bring about smart progress.

Not much available on this topic. Here’s what I scrounged up:

Men Struggle as Much as Women to Maintain Work-Life Balance

Challenges for Men: The Expectation to Lead and Succeed

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