Men and women are not the same. We can admit that. But fighting over which sex is better is getting us nowhere, so let’s instead look at how we can put these differences to work.

These are the facts:

On average women understand nonverbal communications better than men, express emotion more comfortably than men and are more trusting and nurturing than their male counterparts.

On average men are more assertive than women and have slightly higher self-esteem, are better at visuospatial tasks (relating to visual perception of the spatial relationships of objects), and let’s face it, they do most of the heavy lifting, but how can you use this information to your advantage as a manager or team leader?

According to Best People Practices For Managers and HR by Robert W. Eichinger, Michael M. Lombardo and Dave Ulrich, there are various ways you can apply the knowledge of these differences for better results in the workplace.

“Men and women,” write Eichinger, Lombardo and Ulrich, “on average and in general, have slightly different skills sets in different areas. Knowing what the differences are and taking them into account in human capital applications is more intelligent than believing there are no differences.

“It might mean that when very specialised skills are needed to do a job – very fine motor skills or reading nonverbal communications – that the gender with less of that skill might be offered more training.”

However, Eichinger, Lombardo and Ulrich warn not to let gender be the only or overriding factor when assigning tasks.

“While there are average differences between genders, there are clearly distributions of skills for both men and women. On average, women are better at relationships than men, but the normal distribution would suggest that some women are worse and some men are better. Don’t overgeneralise mean scores and apply them to all people.”

Staff Training is a soft skills training provider. Contact us at (021) 839 3021 or