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Paul Mckay, D’Cruz, Sheeba Pius, Dalal Al-Janaei, Rose William, Mrs Shridhar, Fathima, Mario Fernandes.
BBF holds gender leadership forum Women play more active role in global business: chairman

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 17: The theme for this month’s British Business Forum February members meeting was ‘Gender Intelligent Leadership’. The guest speaker of the evening was Dalal Al-Janaie — a popular speaker on the national and international circuit and often appears on television and radio programs including a daily morning segment entitled Sa’at Thaha on KTV 1. Paul McKay, Chairman introduced the theme by remarking gender balance has become more relevant today as women take a more active role in the business world causing leadership to be redefined. He said, the battle between the sexes (as it used to be called) is in reality no battle at all. It’s simply a natural biological difference in the functioning of the brains of men and women. Without the awareness that we are supposed to be different, men and women will be at odds with each other becoming angry or frustrated with the opposite sex because we have forgotten this important truth.

Addressing the BBF members and their guests Dalal said, the most frequently expressed complaint women had about men is that men do not listen. A man will either completely ignore her when she speaks to him, or if he listens for a few moments, assesses what is bothering her and then offers her a solution to make her feel better. She wants empathy but he thinks she wants solutions. The most frequently expressed complaint by men about women is that women are always trying to change them. She thinks she’s nurturing him while he feels he’s being controlled. Instead he wants her acceptance.

y validating and accepting the differences, creative solutions can be discovered whereby we can succeed in getting what we want. And more importantly, we can learn how best to support the people we care about, she added.  Dalal has a clear passion for inspiring people to achieve their full potential. With plenty of interaction from the male and female business professionals in the audience she explained how men’s and women’s values are inherently different. The most common relationship problems at work between men and women are a result of fundamental psychological differences between the genders which she exemplified by means of the eponymous metaphor: that men and women are from distinct planets — men from Mars and women from Venus - and that each gender is acclimated to its own planets society and customs but not to those of the other.

One example she gave — Martians value power, competency, efficiency and achievement. Their sense of self is defined through their ability to achieve results experiencing fulfillment through success and accomplishment while the Venusians have different values. They value love, communication, beauty and relationships. They spend a lot of time supporting, helping and nurturing one another. Their sense of self is defined through their feelings and the quality of the relationships. They experience fulfillment through sharing and relating.  Dalal explained how Martians and Venusians would approach a problem or business goal. Men’s complaint was that if they offer solutions to problems that women bring up in conversation, the women are not necessarily interested in solving those problems but want mainly to talk about them.

Martians are solution orientated. Because proving one’s competence is not as important to a Venusians, offering help is not offensive and needing help is not a sign of weakness. Without this insight into the nature of the men and women, it is very easy to unknowingly and unintentionally hurt and offend.
Whether it is a formal business meeting, negotiating, delegating, those differences emerge quickly. Recognizing and understanding those disparities leads to a significant advantage for the sophisticated leader. As women now share equally important roles in the workplace, it is imperative that leaders understand the variations in mental makeup of each gender. Yet understanding the differences is only part of the solution: gender interplay can quickly become highly complex when leading mixed gender teams.

Understanding these gender differences will help a leader generate greater acceptance from the different genders in their teams and greatly influence the success or lack thereof in companies. As business becomes more complex with globalization, new generations, and the gender integrated work environment, leadership with play a vital role in every company’s success. Whether you are a man leading women, or a woman leading men, these biological differences form a barrier to leadership. Simply put, men and women lead differently and additionally men and women want to be led differently, she said.  The gender balance is becoming more relevant as females take a more active role in the business world causing leadership to be redefined. Everyone knows that men and women are wired differently, she added.

Dalal was clear to point out that men and women each have Martian and Venusians sides and not every idea will apply to everyone but paying attention to gender styles in your office was important. As for practical tips: Take one week and work on even one of the differences in a concentrated manner and you will discover that your effectiveness as a communicator and as a manager and leader will increase, she stressed.  If you are a woman perhaps for the next week practice restraining from giving any unsolicited advice or criticism, the men will not only appreciate it but will also be more attentive and responsive to you. For a man, practice listening whenever a woman speaks with the sole intention of respectfully understanding what she is going through. Practice biting your tongue whenever you get the urge to offer a solution or change how she is feeling, you will be surprised when you experience how much she appreciates you, she summed up.

The evening ended on a quote from John Gray ‘If you seek to fulfill your own needs at the expense of your partner; you are sure to experience unhappiness, resentment and conflict. The secret of forming a successful relationship is for both partners to win’. Dalal was personally trained and certified by Dr. John Gray (author of world best-selling book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) and his team in Mars/Venus philosophies surrounding relationships, life, and business. She is the Mars Venus Coaching’s Master Franchisee for Kuwait and a certified Mars Venus business/executive and life success coach. Dalal mainly works with business owners to help them grow their businesses and own a business which achieves their desired lifestyle instead of a business which is just a job.

By Paul Francis X. Fernandes
Arab Times Staff

By: Paul Francis X. Fernandes

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