Search
Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Dealing with Differences at Wor ...
Dealing with Differences at Work

Dealing with Differences at Work

By Michael Kimmel, Courtesy of Just for Men

The workplace of the 21st century hardly resembles your father’s workplace. Diversity is the new calling card of corporate America, and men who learn how to navigate this new workplace most effectively today are likely to be the corporate leaders of tomorrow.

The dramatic demographic shifts in American society have led to an unprecedented entry of different groups of men and women into the workplace. Each new ethnic group changes more than the group photo at the corporate picnic -- they change the workplace.

Put most simply, men are different from each other. Popular wisdom that we’re all from Mars hasn’t considered the remarkable diversity of men in the workplace here on planet Earth. And getting through those differences, understanding different groups of men, is what will enable some men to emerge as real leaders in their companies and communities.

Diversity in Today’s Workplace

Men differ from each other by race, class, sexuality, age, religion and more. In the past, management often viewed those differences as dangerous, a source of conflict.

In the workplaces of the 21st century, management understands that these differences -- when managed properly -- can be a wellspring of significant innovations.

Those companies that successfully embrace diversity within a context of equality are those companies best positioned to be successful in the new global marketplace.

Consider this recent bit of research on workplace productivity. A study examined two dimensions of workplace culture: level of conflict among employees (disagreements about strategies and corporate policies) and level of respect among employees. You might think companies that are thriving are those with high levels of respect and low levels of conflict, places where everyone gets along and agrees about everything.

You’d only be half right. True, the companies that do worst are those with high conflict and low respect -- no one gets along with anyone else and no one feels respected. But companies that exhibit low conflict and high respect do modestly well, but they don’t soar. People are, it turns out, too similar in their perspectives, and while everyone feels valued, they feel valued for how alike they all are.

The most successful companies turn out to be the ones with the highest levels of respect and moderate to high levels of conflict. In those companies, people feel freer to argue, to disagree and know that they are respected as equally valued members of the team. Diversity, only within a context of respect, turns out to inspire the highest levels of productivity.

What You Can Do

So how can you succeed in this diverse corporate America? Keep these three points in mind:

  • Be Informed: Obviously, you need to become aware of the differences among different groups of men, as well as the differences between women and men. The Internet and your local bookstore are overflowing with material on how race, ethnicity or sexuality “work” in our society. 
     
  • Be Self-Aware: Even if you are white, straight, middle-aged, middle-class and Protestant doesn’t mean you have no ethnic identity. Where are your people from? What ethnicity are you? 
     
  • Be Aware of Those Around You: Does anyone in your family have a disability? Do you know someone who is gay or lesbian? Are any close friends from high school from a different race or ethnicity or a completely different background than you?

The key to successfully dealing with difference is understanding that the world is not divided into them -- those who are different -- and us -- those who are not. We’re all them.

[Professor Michael Kimmel is a sociologist who is among the leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity in the world today and the author or editor of more than 20 volumes, including his latest, Guyland.]

Articles in This Feature:

Latest Jobs

Ameritech Staffing
Posted: 07/25/2014
Houston, TX, 77043
Ameritech Staffing
Posted: 07/25/2014
Houston, TX, 77043
Ameritech Staffing
Posted: 07/25/2014
Houston, TX, 77043
Ameritech Staffing
Posted: 07/25/2014
Houston, TX, 77043
John's Incredible Pizza Company
Posted: 07/25/2014
Roseville, CA, 95661

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.35.44-307
eTrustLogo