Numerous studies on gender differences in syntax, semantics, non-verbal behaviors, the use of particular words and other aspects of communication, have identified that men and women differ in their communication styles. Simma Lieberman, in his article, “Differences in Male and Female Communication Styles”, describes men’s communication style as more of a report-oriented one, which asserts male status and authority, whereas women’s conversations, adopt a rapport oriented style that maintains the social connection. In addition, Barrett et al (2006) stated that research on gender effects in communication, revealed assertiveness, dominance, and negative communications by men. On the other hand, the women’s communication style was characterized by warm, supportive and collaborative communications (p.70). The conversational analysis provides evidence of men interrupting women more often, and the use of tag questions and other linguistic conventions by women, which is an indicator of women’s reluctance to make assertions and their attempts to involve the listeners (Barrett et al., 2006). The diverse communication styles between men and women, significantly affect our relationships with friends, bosses, co-workers, teams, and customers.
The existence of a wide range of working styles, including those characterized as both masculine and feminine creates an opportunity to enrich work organizations if the female styles could be appreciated and tolerated. Tennen, notes that most of the women she spoke to, recalled saying something at a meeting and being ignored. However, when the same thing was repeated by a man, it was taken seriously (Tischler, 2006). With regards to leadership styles, there exist differences between female and male leaders. The female leaders, promote more democracy, encourage collaboration, and often involve the subordinates in the decision-making process. On the other hand, the male leaders display a more domineering style and discourage participation by the subordinates, as they want to assert the leader’s control and authority (Barrett et al. 2006, p.70). According to Ronsenser, “a study of 456 women executives, found that women preferred to manage interactively, sharing power and information, and empowering subordinates” (Chaftez, 2006). In addition, women, exhibit higher levels of transformational leadership, compared to their male counterparts, who exhibit higher levels of transactional leadership. Since the transformational leader emphasizes mentoring, empowering and encouraging subordinates, there is greater communicability throughout an organization. Therefore, a high performance, well connected, and the effective team can be easily realized. On the contrary, male leaders, rely on enforcing authority through reward and punishment of subordinates. This form of communication style may lower the overall staff morale, and thus resulting in poor staff performance and output. Reardon claims that studies exploring gender communication, acknowledge that male-female interaction in the workplace, negatively impacts women by causing them to be ignored, excluded, and patronized (Chaftez, 2006).
Managers, who employ a little level of mitigation at the workplace, are likely to have a more satisfied staff than those who do not embrace any mitigation. Every individual has a distinct communication style that he or she feels is the most comfortable. Strong interpersonal skills do not only contribute to the success of a business, but they also help to develop our personal lives. To make any relationship work, we need to be aware of the expectations, the reciprocal nature of relationships, and trust. The communication style adopted will depend on how often the elements of feedback and disclosure are used. Both elements should be regulated as an extreme for both elements, which can inhibit effective communication. When a decision has to be made, the input from others will be essential as it helps an individual to make an informed decision irrespective of whether its effects are personal or professional.
Barrett, M., & Davidson, M. (2006). Gender and communication at work. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate Pub.
Chafetz, J. S. (2006). Handbook of the sociology of gender. New York: Springer. Lieberman, S. (n.d). Differences in Male and Female Communication Styles. New York: Springer.
Tischler, H. L. (2006). Introduction to sociology. Fort Worth: Cengage Learning.