Men will be heard; women will be appreciated
Karsten Bundgaard | Partner | Motivation Factor Institute | Copenhagen | Denmark
Men will be heard; women will be appreciated, is it that simple? No not quite, but recent studies have once again shown significant differences in the needs of women and men – among other findings.
The research is based on anonymized data from 4,600 assessments completed in Europe using the Motivation Factor Pin Pointer – an individual measurement tool for identifying what to pursue and what to avoid in order to remain highly motivated. The comprehensive study uncovered or confirmed many interesting discoveries but for now let us focus on the differences in needs, bearing in mind that motivation factors (needs and talents) are both individual and situational.
Women vs men
The absolute Top-3 needs among respondents in this sample is:
Honesty (The need for honesty can mean that you feel comfortable in an open, loyal and frank atmosphere. Dishonesty drains your energy and behaviors you dislike can include lying, not telling the whole truth, or being disingenuous).
To succeed (The need to succeed can mean that setting and reaching goals is an important driver for you and a measure of success. When you have a goal, you go for it. You may feel unfocused without a clear objective).
Respect (The need for respect can mean that you are most comfortable in an environment where mutual respect is highly valued. It might be important for you that others care about your opinion and contributions and you may have a strong aversion to being discounted or diminished). Significant needs. Male vs female respondents
The Top-3 needs in this study are very similar to those identified from other samples in both Europe and the USA. In this sample, 64% of respondents are women and 36% are men. If for a moment we focus on the differences in gender-distributed needs, we find some surprising results.
The Dutch Professor Geert Hofstede, who conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture, used the terms: Masculine and Feminine culture.
Masculine culture indicates that society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner / best in field – a value system that starts in school and is sustained through organizational behavior.
Feminine culture means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A feminine society is one in which quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable.
According to Professor Hofstede, the fundamental issue here is what motivates people; wanting to be best (masculine) or liking what you do (feminine). This makes sense when looking at the differences in needs by gender.
|Women – The women’s Top-5 needs are:||Men – The men’s Top-5 needs are:|
|5||Be appreciated||5||Be heard|
The most interesting findings concern the differences between women and men’s needs below the Top-3 (which are more or less the same). Women’s needs #4 and #5 are not found among men’s needs and vice versa. So women’s (and the absence of men’s) need for balance and appreciation is most likely reflected by history and culture.
Men’s needs for Personal power and Respect are typically connected to Masculine culture and cannot be found among women’s Top-5 needs.
So now we have studied the differences in needs between genders but perhaps the similarities are even more interesting than the differences? The needs Honesty, Respect and To Succeed are very strong for both women and men. Honesty is connected to Hofstede’s Feminine culture, while Respect and To Succeed are connected to Masculine culture. The good news is that Honesty scores very high among both male and female respondents.
“Truth is king – Personal integrity and honesty – Truth is the only option – Always tell the truth – Honesty needed and required – Openness in management and among colleagues”, are some of the phrases connected to the need for Honesty in the Pin Pointer assessment – and Honesty must be considered as a universal basic need for a working person.
Manager vs non-manager
The fact that 25% of respondents are managers may explain why To succeed and Respect are strong needs for both men and women. To succeed and Respect are masculine – yes, but also two of the needs often seen among managers and leaders of both genders. Perhaps the common perception of management and leadership is still synonymous with typical Masculine culture. When we look at manager’s needs compared to non-manager’s needs, we find a strong need for Personal Power among managers. This need is not even listed in the Top-5 non-managers’ needs.
The managers’ Top-5 needs are:
The non-managers’ Top-5 needs are:
|3||Personal Power||3||To succeed|
The need for Personal Power is replaced by the (feminine) need for Balance among non-managers.
Male vs female managers
On the other hand, studying the results of male and female managers, we did not find differences in needs according to gender. To Succeed | Honesty | Personal Power | Respect | Be heard, are the – male or female managers – significant needs. Except from Honesty, which is the overall need #1 – all the managers needs are typical connected to Masculine culture.