Men may be from Mars and women from Venus but in the workplace, men and women must work together to survive in the business world. Healthy workplace relationships between male and female workers are based on mutual respect and common goals. Even though men and women have different strengths and weaknesses, work is the ideal place to find common ground and build solid relationships founded on trust and professionalism.
Men and women can establish healthy workplace relationships by understanding and accepting their differences. Legal columnist Susan Adams says that men and women must learn to empathize with each other and embrace differences to create an amiable workplace. Women tend to have a more emotional and team-centered approach to accomplishing work assignments; men tend to focus on individual responsibilities and problem-solving strategies. However each should appreciate what the other brings to the table. Diversity strengthens the workplace.
Respect is the glue that bonds male-female workplace relationships. When men respect the intelligent ideas and well-rounded perspectives of female colleagues, and women respect men's assertiveness and confidence, success happens. Healthy male-female relationships are built on mutual respect -- one gender doesn't feel or express superiority over the other. Respectful men listen and accept suggestions from females because they offer valuable insight. Respectful women appreciate masculine values and ideals that bring balance to the work arena.
Genuine friendship leads to healthy male-female workplace relationships. Compassion, concern, empathy, gratitude and appreciation are traits that help men and women build strong non-sexual workplace relationships. A cultural shift away from stereotypical roles has made it possible for men and women to develop workplace friendships. Learning to give and take, give credit where it's due, maintain objectivity and communicate with kindness can help men and women build friendships, just like they do with same-sex co-workers.
Don't Get Too Personal
Intimacy can result in unhealthy male-female relationships, even if both parties agree that their relationship is purely based on friendship. Lengthy discussions about previous or current relationships, alone time, late nights at the office, and platonic business dates encourage intimate interactions that could lead to romantic feelings. Healthy male-female workplace relationships require boundaries that support professional behavior and encourage appropriate interactions. If you're single and discover that you're romantically interested in another single co-worker, consult your boss or the company handbook to make sure dating doesn't violate company policies.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.