Are Men Better at Business?

      The sad fact is, there are still a lot of misogynistic jerks out there who think women aren’t cut out to be really successful in business.

Sadder still, is that a lot of women agree with that sentiment, and they run and hide from opportunities to shine as an entrepreneur. And then you have other women who try their damndest to act like a man so they can be successful, which they interpret as being domineering, nasty and cutthroat.

The truth is that you can be a woman and fully embrace your feminine qualities, as you lead your business to greatness. And there are a lot of fantastic men in the business world who will appreciate this, and ask you how they can incorporate some of your natural-born tendencies into the way they do business. I am surrounded by wonderful men like this, and some of them are currently paying me for my business insights.

Here is the very un-politically-correct way I see it: men and women are different, and they have different strengths. To pretend otherwise is silly, and it prevents us from learning great things from each other.

What can men gain from female entrepreneurs?

  • More finely tuned emotional intelligence. Women tend to be better at reading facial cues and body language, and understanding the motivations of others.
  • Prioritizing life balance and community contribution, rather than thinking solely about profit. I’m all for making money (and lots of it!) but as I’ve said before, true success is measured on multiple bottom lines.
  • Vulnerability and empathy. Women are more easily able to tap into their emotions and be authentically warm and empathetic. This draws people to them, and naturally builds trust.
  • Collaborative approaches. Whereas men might tend to lead by controlling with a strong, single vision, women are more likely to appreciate the different strengths brought together by a team, and encourage new ideas.

And women can learn a lot from successful men in business:

  • Focus. True multi-tasking is a myth, and while women can be great at juggling a lot, your business will benefit from developing a keen sense of focus on the task at hand.
  • Thinking big. While women are starting more businesses than men these days, they tend to keep them small, either being solopreneurs or only having a few staff. Men are more likely to have visions of changing the world.
  • Efficiency. Women love giving context, sharing long-winded stories, and enjoying lengthy conversations about new ideas. Men like to get to the point. Both approaches have their place, but in a business meeting, efficiency is the way to go.
  • Confidence. At a training event a year ago, I got feedback from people that I didn’t come across as being particularly confident, which surprised them because of the success I’ve had. To be honest, it surprised me too. But I’ve been working on that, and have come a long way. Men tend to exude more confidence, even when they don’t have as much to back it up.

Of course, these are massive generalizations. And there are a lot more than what I’ve listed here, but these are just a few of the important ones I’ve noticed. How about you–what do you think the big difference is between men and women when it comes to business?

31 Responses to Are Men Better at Business?
  1. Angela C.
    September 25, 2011 | 2:38 pm

    I love your points. I have worked with men and women in business and I think all of the generalizations you made are rooted in truth. The biggest difference I have noticed through the years has to do with emotionality. I have see many women executives go into their offices and cry after not getting what they wanted or getting into some kind of heated discussion. When they don’t allow this to negatively impact their relationships or work I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. Just a cathartic “break” I guess. :) Men can be more level-headed at times. However, I think you’re absolutely right that the compassion and warmth of women can draw others in and bring about trust and teamwork. Men and women are different in so many ways and both bring about positive and negative aspects to any life situation. We complement each other well.

    Angela :)
    Angela C. recently posted..Day 9 – Live like cheeseMy Profile

  2. Heather Stephens
    September 26, 2011 | 3:55 am

    Hi Natalie,

    I have learned so much from the men I’ve been working with for the last 3 months. As a work at home mom, I didn’t have the benefit of the male perspective until I decided to take a position that put me on a coed marketing team. It’s been such a fun experience and I do think that men and women have different strengths to bring to a company. I love the guys’, get to the point, attitude during meetings. It’s helped me to clarify my individual goals and stay focused on the outcome I want to see for my efforts.

    Heather Stephens recently posted..Creative Writing Made Easy: Networking Times ArticleMy Profile

  3. Jayne Kopp
    September 26, 2011 | 6:53 am

    Hi Natalie, I feel we all have qualities in different ways. There are still some men who have he chauvinistic beliefs that women don’t possess the same business qualities but thankfully, from my vantage point that is changing.

    I feel women bring more approachable qualities to business. We can be softer and exude trust in many cases although as you say, there are those women who try to imitate men by being hard and aggressive.

    I am glad to be in business in a time where women are climbing the ranks and being recognized for our abilities.

    As far as you not coming across ‘confident’… I say hog wash. I don’t think we have to walk around with a ‘confidence’ banner to be confident. I am sure you are just perfect the way you are!

    Jayne Kopp recently posted..Did You Know Success Has A Thermostat?My Profile

  4. Radu
    September 26, 2011 | 10:01 am

    Hi Natalie,
    Great post here:) Men Vs Women, it’s still a delicate subject for many people but it’s worth being discussed and understood.
    It’s crazy to think that only men can run a small business or even a global one. But women proved that they can do it with great success: Sheryl Sandberg who is COO of Facebook or Safra Catz, president of Oracle.
    I believe men and women have equal chances to succeed and more if they combine their strengths (as you noted them above) the results will be without a doubt fantastic.
    Men are capable of going very far with their imagination but manifest some rigidity that slows them. On the other hand women are more flexible in almost every social environment.
    As I said, collaboration and understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses is key :)

    Thanks for sharing your insights!
    All the best,
    Radu recently posted..3 Tips To Improve Your Facebook PresenceMy Profile

  5. Ian Belanger
    September 26, 2011 | 11:20 am

    Hi Natalie,

    I agree with your generalizations. Men and women are very different and we can both learn from each other.

    I believe that we all need to keep an open mind when it comes to business and listen to ideas, no matter how smart we might think we are. We only see the world through our own eyes and in my experience, that can be a very narrow view of how things really are.

    Thanks for sharing Natalie and have a great day!
    Ian Belanger recently posted..$20 per Referral, Paid Daily, Free Training and Free To Sign Up | Can This Really Be True?My Profile

  6. Easther
    September 26, 2011 | 5:46 pm

    Hi Natalie,

    You made a good point here on generalisation!
    I agree with, both are different and we can learn from each other. Men are more to the point, whilst women are more sensitive.
    Easther recently posted..10 Virtually Instant Ways to Improve Your Google RankingsMy Profile

  7. Diego Ortiz
    September 28, 2011 | 12:17 am

    Hey there Natalie, I just got one thing to say: “Girls rule and guys drool”. ;-) . Now in all seriousness, I run 12 companies and all of my CEO are women, because when it comes down to it, my team does an amazing job better then any other guy in any of my companies. I completely agree with all your points.

  8. Hi Natalie,

    I agree wholeheartedly with your points. Men were made a certain way, and women another way. They should complement each other, not compete with each other. Ideally, if you’re in the same company, you should be working together for the common good. Of course, you could say the same thing about a family. A mother has a certain role to play, and a father another. Neither can do the other’s part, and they should also complement each other.

    Lou recently posted..Lady Dowdy “Buys the Farm”My Profile

  9. Joseph J Young
    October 7, 2011 | 12:19 pm

    Hi Natalie,
    Love the post. As others have stated here it is great when both men and women are focusing on their strengths instead of who’s best or better. Zeroing in on these differences and utilizing them demonstrates a great understanding on the part of the leadership in a company.

    Joseph J Young recently posted..Liabilities Are Like FatMy Profile

  10. Ted
    October 14, 2011 | 1:05 pm

    Awesome topic Natalie.

    Men are probably better arm wrestlers than women. And even then there are exceptions. But,I don’t think that men are any better at running a business than women are. It is more about the person. Two women come to mind- Meg Whitman former Ebay CEO and Carly Fiorina – former HP CEO (might have spelled those wrong.)

    I think that you are going to start seeing an even more massive shift to women running large corporations. Women are better organizers than men on average and that makes them more qualified.

    Men tend to rise to leadership more naturally. I do think that there is some basic human instinct and basic human nature at play that is at least partially responsible for that. But it is not something that can’t be overcome by any woman who really desires the position.
    Ted recently posted..Free Content For Your Blog or WebsiteMy Profile

  11. Claudine Savage
    December 7, 2011 | 10:21 pm

    When they don’t allow this to negatively impact their relationships or work I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. A mother has a certain role to play, and a father another. I don’t think we have to walk around with a ‘confidence’ banner to be confident. Thank you Lou – it feels so good to cooperate with men, rather than compete with them!
    Claudine Savage recently posted..Many CuresMy Profile

  12. Genius
    January 31, 2012 | 11:01 am

    There are people who are not good at business. They can be either men or women. Every person has something which is good at. There are people who are good at teaching or good at cooking, but they are not good at business. And there are people who can do business, but they are not good at cooking for example. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say… The idea is that doesn’t matter what your sex is. The most important is what you like to do (because if you like doing something you will become better in doing that with time)and also what your talent is.

  13. Queen
    January 31, 2012 | 11:18 am

    Men aren’t better than women at business – that much is clear. I’ve seen a lot of women kick ass in the corporate world, and the only reason we don’t see more of them is that the system is still rigged in favour of men.

  14. Will
    January 31, 2012 | 12:01 pm

    An uncomfortable conversation to have, perhaps, but a necessary one to revisit from time to time. I hope my daughters will have the same opportunities as my sons when they enter the work force, but as things stand right now there is definitely still a difference in how men and women are perceived in many lines of work. sad but true!

  15. Elliot
    January 31, 2012 | 12:11 pm

    I’m pretty sure there are many women who are good at business. And these can be even better than other men. Why is gender so important?

  16. Raluca27
    January 31, 2012 | 12:49 pm

    I definitely agree with you. And I’m sure many people agree with this. Women can be as good as men at business.

  17. Tatiana
    February 1, 2012 | 8:50 am

    Women have become more and more interested in business. There are many women better in this domain than many other men. So, I too think that the gender is not important, because any of us can be good at anything if he/she wants to.

  18. Yanna
    February 1, 2012 | 9:13 am

    “Women tend to be better at reading facial clues and body language”. This factor is essential when doing business. You must be prepared to understand people’s reaction. Their reaction is more important and value much more than their words.

  19. Umberto
    February 1, 2012 | 10:17 am

    Women have one more thing that men don’t: they can use their sexuality to attract men. If a woman knows how to act, she can obtain everything she wants. Men become sensitive when a woman is around.

  20. Ingrid
    February 1, 2012 | 10:42 am

    Congratulations for this article! I hope men see this. They must understand that women can be good at business too.

  21. Oanne
    February 1, 2012 | 11:31 am

    Lou Barba is right. Men and women should not compete to each other. They would form a very good team if they worked together, because, as Lou said, they can complete each other.

  22. Paraschiva
    February 1, 2012 | 2:17 pm

    Both men and women can learn from each other. So why are men acting like this? Why they do not understand that women can help them and they can learn a lot of things from women?

  23. Alina
    February 1, 2012 | 2:46 pm

    I like what you said. Your words have made me feel stronger. Thank you!

  24. Sophie
    February 1, 2012 | 3:04 pm

    I like this! I like how you support womanhood. And I like your points, they are strong and true! Well done, girl!

  25. Denisa
    February 2, 2012 | 8:45 am

    Are men better than women at business? How can we discover this? There are many men better than some women at business, but there are also many women better than other men at this. So, we cannot measure this.

  26. Favorit
    February 2, 2012 | 10:07 am

    I really like one of your ideas: men and women are different, and they have different strengths. That is so right. But this fact makes your question invalid, because we cannot measure two things which have different types.

  27. Gheorghe
    February 2, 2012 | 11:27 am

    I too think we do not have an answer for this question. As you said, both men and women have their strengths and weaknesses. But I know that they are equal, and if a woman or a man wants, she or he can become good in this domain.

  28. Hunedoara
    February 2, 2012 | 11:49 am

    I’m so tired of seeing women hit the glass ceiling in business… there is still such a huge percentage of women in the corporate world who can’t make it to the top. This is why I love your message about being your own boss and calling the shots – because then sexism is irrelevant. Oh, except you usually have to get bank loans to start businesses… and hope you don’t get a sexist jerk making the decision about your loan!

  29. jamie
    February 2, 2012 | 12:19 pm

    Let me tell you one thing: Behind any powerful and notorious man, stands a strong woman. Didn’t you know that?

  30. udrea
    February 2, 2012 | 12:39 pm

    This is a fun but ultimately silly conversation, as many people here have pointed out – men and women can both be good at business, and gender is besides the point. I look forward to a day when we don’t have to talk about these things at all because it’s no longer an issue.

  31. Jackline
    February 2, 2012 | 1:20 pm

    Love this discussion – amazing that there’s still so much debate about it! I admit I feel like I have more emotional intelligence than business intelligence right now, but I’m learning… slow but steady :)

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