Category Archives: Gender & Communication Styles

Ladies get your heads above the parapet!

What are you doing to become visible?
One of the strongest comments made about the average professional woman is their reluctance to step up, engage and make themselves visible. The creativity required to dream up the excuses I hear from these ladies alone, suggests their inner capabilities. They are first class.Women are long-term relationship builders so this is an area in which they should excel, but yet they still hold back. This of course means that there are a reduced number of visible female role models to emulate at all levels, not just at the top. According to a recent corporate study by Mercer, only 5% of respondents indicated that they provide a “robust programme” to develop female leaders. So although there is much talk about what governments and organisations can do for us women, there is so much more that we can do for ourselves. We cannot hang around waiting for other people to take care of us!

On-line
All women should create one or more on-line, comprehensive, professional profiles. And then engage. This sends out a message that you take your careers and professional activity seriously. They must include a professional biz photo. Many women are not keen on this for any number of reasons, but mainly I have found it is related to confidence issues and insecurities regarding their appearance as well as concerns about wide internet exposure. As a lady of a certain age I can empathise with both concerns. But women understand the power of appearance and should use that to their advantage, even if it means an extra trip to the hairdressers, perhaps more makeup than usual and a good photographer. This is head and shoulders only. If it was a bikini shot I’d be with you!

Professional platforms
OK, firstly professional platforms are not dating or “adult ” friendship sites, or super model contests and although I do know one woman who has received any number of marriage proposals, I think that is the exception rather than the rule. It also depends on the way women individually conduct themselves and of course, there are many filtering possibilities for any unwanted, inappropriate behaviour. Today, women have to network with people they may not know personally. This of course could expose them to that general vulnerability that the internet facilitates, in the way that walking down a street can expose any women, anywhere, to any number of weirdos. It is always possible to block or report the offending person. For those who are really concerned I would suggest starting in an environment in which you feel comfortable, perhaps a women’s group and build on from that. Create a separate email account specifically for networking if it’s a clogged inbox that is a concern. I drank two (large) glasses of wine before I pushed the publish button on my first blog post, so it’s something I can relate to.

Making time
Women often say they have no time to network or take on anything extra. Getting out there and participating whether on-line or IRL ( In Real Life) is vital. The reluctance of women to network strategically puts them at a significant disadvantage. Don’t forget there is no such thing as time management – it’s you management and about the allocation of priorities. Give yourself priority. Strategically select the networks which will be most useful to you and be active. Engaging online is also something that can be fitted in with other responsibilities, so is a perfect instrument for women and is entirely self scheduling.

Waiting for the perfect moment
There can be a tendency with women to get caught up in the “getting it right” rather than ” getting it done”, even in very low risk situations. This is a good moment to ask that time-honoured question ” What is the worst thing that could happen?” The realistic worst case scenario is usually far removed from the anticipated catastrophe.

Self advocate
Women very frequently wait for recognition. We wait to be invited, endorsed and promoted. This is the time to find your personal power and exercise it. Self promote and give yourself the award. Some inner work examining skills and challenges will help build up that much-needed confidence, so that elevator soundbites can be delivered with the words “I successfully + verb…”, ” My strengths are..” If you struggle with this, please find a mentor or a coach to support you. And yes, you have incredible skills and talents, but if you don’t know what they are how do you expect anyone else to?

Change your Christmas List
This brings me neatly to this point. Women seem reluctant to invest in personal professional development. This was eloquently developed by Anne Perschel of Germane Consulting in her post ” Ditch the Glass Slippers and Power up the Ruby Reds..” Women make up the world’s greatest emerging market and although we will spend money on any number of luxuries, we tend to invest less in our careers and professions which seems incredibly short-sighted. Who else is going to do that? Brian Tracey suggests that we spend 3% of our income on personal development. It was a gender neutral statement. So ask your friends/ family/Significant Other to dump Dior, or bin the Michael Boublé Compilation CD for Christmas, Valentine’s or your birthday, to give you a subscription to a professional journal, a business book, an appointment with a professional photographer or a workshop. Better still, treat yourself!

Become a mentor
Women of any age and position in their professional life, even entry-level can mentor other women. Be active in connecting and endorsing women who can support each other, or have some other mutually beneficial relationship. Until women step up in the way that men do, we will always be one step behind. We have to pay it forward.

So what are you doing to become visible, today?

For women who would like to get their heads above the parapet join the LinkedIn group
3Plus International. or follow @3PlusInt on Twitter! Check it out to see why! Then join and make a difference!

Trapped! Women and the smiling myth


Or why does no one write books about men not smiling enough?

A few weeks ago I wrote a post “10 ways women supposedly sabotage their careers“. It sparked some heated discussion. The 10 ways were lifted somewhat unceremoniously by Citibank’s Diversity Department, from the book Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois Frankel (sales of 27 million) and converted into dubious “bumper sticker” phrases to support women in the organisation (+/- 330.000 employees globally).

One seemed to attract more attention and curiosity than the others – women seemingly sabotage their careers by smiling inappropriately. This I thought merited closer inspection, because that’s a helluva lot of women believing they smile at the wrong time in the workplace. But what constitutes inappropriate?

Some basics
A spontaneous smile is defined as ” a facial expression formed by flexing those muscles most notably near both ends of the mouth. The smile can also be found around the eyes ..” known as the Duchenne Smile. A smile is deep within our primate nature. It depicts positive social relationships and confirms anthropologically that no harm is intended. Combined with eye contact a smile is perceived to be the sign of a confident person, but most importantly, it suggests energy and vibrancy to the recipient. How can that be damaging?

Some research
According to Daniel McNeill, author of The Face: A Natural History, women are genetically built to smile in order to bond with infants. “Smiling is innate and appears in infants almost from birth….The first smiles appear two to twelve hours after birth and seem void of content. Infants simply issue them, and they help parents bond.”

Although women apparently smile more than men, this statistic changes when other variables are factored in: culture, ethnicity, age, or when people think they are being observed, according to the study funded by the National Science Foundation.

It would be interesting for social psychologists and anthropologists to look at these data because the wide cultural, ethnic and other differences suggest that the sex difference is not something that is hard-wired,” said Marianne LaFrance, professor of psychology at Yale and senior author of the study published the journal psychological Bulletin. ” This is not a function of being male or female. Each culture overlays men and women with rules about appropriate behavior for men and women”

Minimal differences
The cultural variables were also interesting, with women in the United States and Canada smiling more than in other parts of the world, (England and Australia) African-American men and women smile equally, while there is indeed a gender difference amongst American Caucasians. They also noted that when occupying similar work, power and social roles, the gender differences in the rate of smiling disappears or is minimal. Here, LaFrance surmises that the sex differences are overridden by smile norms for the position one is in, rather than by gender.

Perceptions
As they rise up the career ladder, the rate at which women smile therefore is line with their male counterparts. This is why Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel and any other senior professional woman would conduct themselves correctly! The converse then should presumably apply and men working in service roles should be motivated to crank up their own smile levels a notch or two. Speaking from personal experience, I would suggest some French waiters or male railway personnel (Platform 5, East Croydon to London Victoria) might be a good target market for any future books on the appropriateness of the male smile.

Assigned roles
Research also shows that the facial expressions of men when stressed become fearful and angry, while the incidence with women is less. So in male dominated stressful business environments are we just conditioned to expect this type of reaction from our leaders than anything else? Do we simply expect our leaders to look fierce? Perhaps this is the reason why according to Management Today trust in CEOS increases when a woman is in charge in difficult times.

Imprecise vocabulary
What sort of situations would therefore merit accusations of smiling inappropriately, or is it simply poor word choice? Delivering bad or sensitive news with a wide grin perhaps? Smiling when anxious, more accurately called grimacing. A sarcastic smile – known as a smirk? As women are recognised as having superior qualities of empathy, then the same research would suggest that they are actually less likely to react inappropriately. LaFrance says women are more likely to smile to defuse tension doing what she calls ” emotion work” – but as creativity tends to go out of the window when tension exists why is this negative?

Trap 1
Perhaps the smiling quotient (and herein lies the first trap) is related to the fact that women have traditionally carried out service functions and men have been assigned ” warrior” roles. Their smiles are therefore perceived (no matter what they are achieving) as being an indication of deference , and therefore self sabotaging, in leadership roles. This myth is now even being perpetuated by women themselves.

Trap 2
What is even more worrying that countless women now believe that in order to succeed they must modify a key and instinctive part of their behaviour to conform to male norms over and above what they do naturally as their careers progress up the male hierarchy. That will lead to that age-old fall back of course, the second gender trap: accusations of PMS in the corner office.

If there is to be any levelling out of smiling ratios, the next slew of books should perhaps focus on men smiling more.

What do you think?

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10 ways women supposedly sabotage their careers!

Citibank’s career advice for women! ( updated September 15th 2010)

My good friend Silvana Delatte sent me this link from Business Insider about a laminated sheet supposedly issued by the HR department of Citibank on how women sabotage their careers. If this is not a spoof (which I suspect it might be) then it makes interesting, if not incredible (as in unbelievable) reading.

Nowhere does it mention doing a bad job, so perhaps good performance isn’t necessary to advance a career in Citibank! This list would be infinitely less risible if the almost all male board had not been part of a group of testosterone driven mis- managers which brought global economies grinding to a halt. The subsequent government bail out was at great cost to the tax payer and impacted the lives of millions. Perhaps some of that money could be used to invest in constructive gender based management training, clearly sorely needed. I can make any number of excellent recommendations, so please contact me Citibank!

So let’s look at this list and analyse it!

  •  Women tend to speak softly – you are not heard. Anyone speaking softly isn’t heard, especially in the company of people who talk too much and don’t listen! Good managers listen! Being heard is also not about the volume of the voice but the pitch. Women could be advised to reduce the pitch of their voices by half a semi-tone.
  •  Women groom in public – it emphasizes your femininity, de-emphasizes your capability: Grooming in public is a no no – for anyone. That’s why companies have bathrooms!
  • Women sit demurely – the power position when seated at a table is forearms resting on a table and resting forward. Good posture in business meetings accompanied by positive body language and facial expressions with head tilted to one side, indicating engagement is a given. Nowhere, even in AskMen, have I seen any suggestions that leaning forward and appearing aggressive is a bonus.
  • Speak last in meetings – early speakers are seen as more assertive and knowledgeable than late speakers. Thinking before speaking and measured contribution is never to be under estimated. This is probably because the people who are making this judgement are poor listeners and have the attention span of pre-schoolers.
  • Women ask permission – children are taught to ask permission. Men don’t ask permission, they inform. I actually agree with this one. However polite deference is not to be confused with approval seeking and definitely preferable to arrogant bamboozling.
  •  Apologize – women apologize for the smallest error which erodes your self-confidence. Men tend to move into problem solving mode. I agree with this one too. But having said that for many the word “sorry” is missing from their vocabulary. Problem solving is not the same as admitting a mistake and dealing with it. Problem solving can be aka covering up. and /or reactive management.
  •  Women tend to smile inappropriately when delivering a message, therefore you are not getting taken seriously Well I did some quick research on this little gem and would be interested to see the metrics on that. Women do smile more than men, mainly to soften situations that is true. Smiling would only be inappropriate when delivering extremely bad news. I seriously doubt if a woman would do that unless she really disliked the person. Then she might well do.
  •  Play fair – women tend to be more naive. A women might assume the rules have to be obeyed whereas a man will figure out a way to stretch the rules and not be punished. So is the message here ladies, playing dirty is fine? May I suggest that stretching the rules was what got Citibank into its little pickle. There is surely no substitute for professional integrity. Besides the activities of the mascara mafia have been well documented. Women can and do play dirty, but target mainly other women.
  •  Being invisible – women tend to operate behind the scenes and end up handing credit over to the competitor. This is a fair point – women have to stop waiting for recognition and step up. But then whoever is stealing their thunder should have a little more professional integrity (see above). Good managers recognise and reward.
  • Offer a limp handshake – one good pump and a concise greeting combined with solid eye contact will do the trick. Agree with this too except this isn’t an arm wrestling contest. I would suggest that firm contact would be infinitely preferable to “one good pump” which implies a potential dislocated shoulder.

So ladies, what advice would you give the gentlemen of Citibank?

Apart from ” Do try not to bankrupt anyone today, darling.”

Written with a smile! Please see also follow up post “Trapped! Women and the Smiling Myth

September 15th 2010 -Update! An interesting post came across my screen today, which now makes some sense of the aforementioned problem-causing laminated sheet issued by Citibank. It isn’t a spoof , although it seemed that way. I was right to apply some cynicism.

Writing for The Thin Pink Line Blog, Lois Frankel says that this sheet has taken points from her book ” Nice girls don’t get the corner office ” completely out of context  and she tries to set the record straight in her post .

I did read the book some time ago and will have to revisit it. Condensed to bumper-sticker style homilies these points seem dated and Lois was right, taken at face value they don’t make a lot of sense, so they need to be evaluated in context, which I will certainly do. On her own admission the title including the term “nice” was forced upon her by her publisher. Some of the most successful people ( corner office holders) I know have been simply all around “nice” ( male and female).

That sheet certainly aroused a good discussion!

Women and communication: a salutary personal tale

Wanted for White Collar Fraud

Dorothy and the suspect search consultant
On average, women use twice the number of words per day than men. Women maintain eye contact while speaking for twelve seconds vs. a man maintaining eye contact for three seconds. Women supply detail to build rapport , men speak directly in short sentences going straight for the bottom line, supplying detail as a necessary illustration to their focal points. Women need to deliver their story (as I am doing now , otherwise this post would be one sentence and how much fun would that be?) in order to get to their bottom line. We build relationships. Generally we don’t need solutions ( although perhaps exceptionally I like that) and we also need to be heard! A lot!

Communicating like a female: the story!
I was recently contracted to support an executive search consultant on a global  project. He had worked for one of my major clients and had now set up his own business. In my female brain he was already someone I knew,  so  I didn’t make even rudimentary background enquiries before starting on the assignment.  I know…I know ..big mistake.

The sting
Even the most basic research, which is something I carry out on a daily basis for other people and would certainly advise any coaching client  to pursue, would have revealed a sub-text of  erratic professional performance. This should have raised a number of  brightly coloured red flags, complete with their  poles.  After some extremely inconsistent and suspect behaviour during the course of our collaboration, leaving me feeling profoundly uncomfortable, I realised that now he ran his own company, we actually had divergent business models and professional standards.  

How did this even come about because as you know I’m not a shrinking violet ?  After much reflection I finally wondered that it was possibly because he had always communicated with me in a female way! I was going to say like a woman, but was strongly reprimanded by Marion Chapsal. This is not a derogatory comment, but just a different style that we women seem to connect with.

The detail
My ex – associate ,   I suspect not unintentionally either, successfully focused on building a rapport with me over a long period, until I perceived him as a trusted contact and foolishly believed that we were in an ongoing business relationship –  when actually this wasn’t the case at all!  The relationship was with his previous company, so nothing concrete had been done to put him personally into that category.  With 20/20 hindsight (what a gift!) I could see that in many of our networking chats over the years,  initiated on the pretext of staying in touch,  I had essentially provided a free consulting service.  When in typical John Gray  style my generosity wave came crashing down with the force of a tsunami ( I even coached him on Twitter!) I finally supplied a fee schedule.

No communication
Where are we now?  He is MIA owing me a reasonably large some of money! Emails are bouncing, business addresses no longer exist, telephone numbers have been discontinued. He has even blocked me on Twitter (go figure… is there NO shame in this world? ) Lawyers and debt collectors have been consulted and a police report filed. But no doubt …  I have been conned! It would appear that it’s illegal to smoke in a public place, put makeup on in the car while in a traffic jam (true… I was fined for such an act! ) – but it’s not illegal not to pay your bills.

Moral
The moral of the story is that all business relationships have to be scrutinised and thorough due diligence carried out, regrettably even with people you think you might know. My instincts are now sadly blurred. Today I’m going through a phase of viewing everyone with suspicion and caution. An acquaintance emailed me to ask me how I was doing and my first instinct was to wonder why they wanted to know. I even asked someone I normally work with on a basis of trust, to confirm a proposition in writing. Last week his word would have been sufficient. I know I will get over this reticence and revert to openness and trust, but perhaps not on the same level. It’s been an unpleasant lesson, but one I intend to learn from.

Is this all as much fun? No sadly it isn’t .

What do you think?

A case for gender related management training

Mars and Venus

 

This post was originally written as a guest post for Tanveer Naseer, a business coach who works with small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop new strategies for growth and development

Let’s stop being trapped by political correctness. Do men and women need different types of management training? I think so

A number of spin off issues came from my recent research on bullying by women in the workpalce – but several were particularly interesting.

Workplace Mars and Venus
One of them was that both men and women alike, shared the need for management and organisational training with a specifically gender related thread. A sort of Mars / Venus for work place skills. This wasn’t specifically just about sexual harassment, but basic communication,conflict resolution and managing expectations. This flies in the face of the common corporate gender-neutral, one-size-fits all management training, that exists in most organisations today.

Many would view this as a backward step. But is it really?

Jane Gunn, The Corporate Peacemaker author of the book “How to Beat Bedlam in the Boardroom And Boredom in the Bedroom suggests that “ difference is the starting point for adding or creating value. What is needed most is to understand the value that each gender brings to the workplace and how each gender can learn from, rather than feel threatened by, the other”.

Differences are not negative. They’re just different.
Shouldn’t we just be acknowledging the existence of gender differences and recognise that we all need training on how to deal with them, rather than assuming as we do now, that we can all slip into business (gender) neutral on our own.

Or worse, assume that the traditional training methods found most successfully in male dominated environments work one hundred percent across the board, when all evidence indicates to the contrary. This is amusingly and somewhat extremely illustrated by a bemused Professor Higgins in the song , A Hymn to Him, when gender differences were clearly not perceived as positive!

Historical perspective
It would seem from the people who contacted me at least, that there are indeed issues in all gender combinations in the work place, except almost predictably, in male dominated environments ( men managing and being managed by men). This actually shouldn’t surprise me. Men have had centuries of experience. Outside a domestic situation, all male teams and organisations were historically and culturally the norm : military, sports, male clubs, politics etc, where clearly defined structured hierarchies were in place and communication lines were usually prescribed and evident.

In a historical perspective, it was only comparatively recently that women have either been included or allowed full access to most business environments. So it’s hardly surprising that no one is used to dealing with women in these situations. And as they join the corporate world in ever increasing numbers, equally women are not used to dealing with each other either! There simply is very little historical precedent to call upon. In brief, men and women lack practise in dealing with each other at work which is intensified as women climb the career ladder and assume positions of responsibility .

Blurred expectations
So when I think about it, it’s almost to be expected that there should be some blurring of both expectations and behaviour within organisations. Perhaps the real surprise should be that any of it comes right at all, given this real lack of experience in the overall scheme of things.

Both men and women enter the workplace with their academic and professional qualifications and experience, but also with engrained behaviour patterns and expectations derived from their separate chromosomes, personality types and relationship role models developed in lives and interaction outside a work situation.

Many women claimed that men needed special training relating to them in a business neutral way, believing that men are used to dealing with women as mothers, sisters, partners, daughters and less often as business peers and even less frequently as superiors. But conversely the same was said by the men about women! Jane Gunn also amplifies “Almost every instance of conflict or dispute at work is the catalyst for, or is mirrored by, conflict at home. In the same way relationships at home have a dramatic impact on our ability to create a productive and harmonious work life.”

Real issues
The real issue is perhaps how do we all let go our socialized gender stereotypical behaviour and communicate in a business neutral way when we enter organisational life, when they can be so removed for many from the roles we play in other areas of our daily lives? The answer seems to be with difficulty. Every indication would also suggest that support in coping with this dichotomy would be useful. But recognising differences doesn’t mean unequal treatment as it once did.

Other differences
Much is written about dealing with other types of differences in an organisational setting: cross cultural, personality ( extrovert vs introvert) high achievers for example. So why is it now de rigeur, or worse still, politically incorrect, to acknowledge that gender differences require special attention in an organisational context?

Challenges
Ashanti A, Change Manager in the Hi-Tech sector in Los Angeles, shared this ” As a female manager the biggest challenge in managing men is gaining the same respect and willingness to be a direct report that would be given to a male manager. As basic as it sounds- by nature no man wants to be told what to do by a woman ”

Ashanti also suggests that women need to be mindful not to fall into the “subordinate female co- worker role”. So women instinctively pour coffee, arrange parties, bring cakes and act as the “carer / facilitator/plactor” Ashanti elaborates. “Oftentimes because these statements aren’t aggressive or sexual in nature, they’re not deemed offensive or inappropriate- yet I would argue the latter

For me,as women enter organisational life in greater numbers than ever before, there is a clear need for a reveiw of current training practises.

What do you think?
Selected by Wally Bock for Top Independent Business Blogs ” Dorothy Dalton is one of the best writers on the web when it comes to raising and analyzing gender issues in the workplace. Don’t read this post to find an answer. Read it to gather ideas for the answer you will develop for yourself“.

Cleaning up workplace language

The impact of swearing on the %!@x* job!

I am no stranger to the odd expletive. I was recently defrauded by a client and I have to confess that my vocabulary was related to the legitimacy of his parentage, rather than “dash and oh dear”. Generally bad language is not an integral part of my descriptive daily vocabulary, although it would seem, if the media are anything go by, it’s on the increase everywhere, even in the workplace.

But what is the impact of that trend?

Cultural shifts
All languages have swear words, many of which are as old as the languages themselves. Their evolution is cyclical and words which were previously considered acceptable, are now perceived as pejorative. And vice versa. In western society swearing has previously been associated more with men than women.When I first started working in the steel industry, men complained about women being in meetings because it would mean restricting their language. It was considered inappropriate to swear in mixed company and if that happened it was quickly followed by an apology. Women who swore have always been viewed more harshly than men, simply because they were perceived to have violated more societal taboos which proved to be a deterrent, at least publically.

However, times seem to be a-changing. Bad language is moving away from building sites and fish markets to professional arenas and used by more women. Laura a lawyer in an international law firm confirms that view “ A number of things are going on. Words that were at one time considered to be strong swear words, no longer carry the same taboo as they used to. The “F -word ” is now used quite routinely in my office. It’s common place at a senior level and used in front of and by women. It is no longer considered shocking for a woman to swear” Whether it’s because they are enjoying freedom of expression, venting , asserting themselves, mimicking male behaviour or the growth of a “laddette” culture she was unable to say.

Mini poll
I did a straw, mixed gender and generation poll amongst a group of friends and associates and this was the general feeling. Light social swearing in many contexts is now very normal practise and considered acceptable in the workplace by both men and women alike, but accompanied by some strong unwritten protocols.

Caveats
These were closely related to the relationships of the people involved and the situation or environment. They also identified a hierarchy of swear words ranging from mildly profane to vulgar and abusive at the other end of the spectrum. It was the final category which my mini poll felt crossed the line into dangerous territory, with the women reacting more strongly than men to specific words. It was interesting that the younger members of my poll of both sexes had a more tolerant attitude than the older members.

Positive impact
However , some studies suggest that swearing at work is not always abusive and can actually have a positive effect helping employees cope with stress, facilitating camaraderie and effective team building. The study into leadership styles, carried out by academics Yehuda Baruch and Stuart Jenkins at the University of East Anglia, warned that attempts to prevent workers from swearing could have a negative impact, although their case studies related primarily to men.

Decline in civility
But there is also a very strong concern that an increased tolerance of swearing in organisations is becoming part of a general decline in workplace communication.  This behaviour and can even contribute to bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment.

Susan in her mid 30s, with a cross generational perspective works in an investment company where 80% of the department is female, considered both points “My female boss and colleagues are just as likely to swear as the guys and do so frequently! The number of no-go areas particularly amongst younger employees are much fewer than previously. Women feel they can now freely express themselves in the way that men do, but although no one feels harassed or discriminated against, oftentimes it creates an impression of a lack of basic respect which permeates through the department leading to ill feeling and stress.”

So I asked, while I tried to figure out that double standard, can I conclude that although women swear more than before, they don’t actually like being sworn at? “Yes, that’s pretty much my observation. They don’t shrug it off like men do. It’s still not an integral part of our female culture as it is with men, so in certain circumstances it goes down badly and is considered offensive and upsetting.” Susan responded.

Ava Diamond drew my attention to The Cost of Bad Behavior by Christine Pearson and Christine Porath, where they suggest that the lack of civility in the workplace, it is far more widespread than people realize and is having a profound negative economic effect to the tune of $300 billion.

With an increased incidence of women openly swearing, and the taboo of men swearing around women disappearing, to what extent does this increased tolerance of bad language contribute to the existence of stressful and hostile working environments? The CIPD suggests “Employers can ensure professional language in the workplace by having a well drafted policy on bullying and harassment that emphasises how bad language can potentially amount to harassment or bullying.”

But will a workplace handbook be enough? This culture comes from the top. With swearing becoming more socially acceptable across the board in both men and women, how do senior managers define limits, especially in culturally diverse organisations? Or is setting a zero-tolerance policy the only workable solution?

Part of it comes by leading by example from senior men and women alike.

What do you think?