Hold on to your seats folks. I’m about to dispel a popular held myth!
- Men can multi – task!
- Men do multi -task …..every day!
- Men choose to keep their multi- tasking abilities a secret because it suits them to!
Multi tasking, according to the Oxford English dictionary is the ability “of a person to deal with more than one task at the same time and concentrating amid distractions”. This definition means that multitasking can occur in any environment – work or home.
So with this in mind, which activities or tasks do men excel in their ability to concentrate on more than one activity at a time? In no particular order, these are the popular responses I received:
- Watching sports, being an armchair commentator and ignoring the screaming baby!
- Being assertive, arrogant and likeable in the workplace
- Dating various girlfriends at the same and never mixing up their names
- Building powerful careers and maintaining powerful seats in their homes as the head of their family
- Espousing the ethos of equality in the workplace whilst managing to maintain disparity in the workplace.
And speaking about building powerful careers, men continue to excel at this in spite the changing times when the ability to multi task in the work environment and have many strings to your bow is one of the critical criteria for success.
So why on earth do we continue to believe the popular myth that men can’t multi task?
My observation is this. Women have been programmed to believe that multi tasking relates primarily to doing tasks in the home or outside of the business environment e.g. parenting skills. As such, women, as the primary care givers are the supreme multi taskers. Men, on the other hand have been programmed to go along with this limited definition of multi tasking and indeed given a duty to uphold it, as it exempts them from undertaking additional and often mundane tasks which do not generate the sexy rewards or recognition as the ones tailored to furthering their careers.
Ladies, we’ve been conned! But more importantly, we’ve allowed ourselves to be conned and by so doing, we’ve inadvertently limited ourselves. For although it is widely recognised that women are blessed with invaluable multi tasking competencies and emotions (e.g. relationship management, communications, empathy) we have not fully exploited the wealth of these skills to the extent of comfortably transferring and applying them to the work environment.
This needs to change.
It starts with us retraining the way we view our skills, then aligning them with the core competencies and skills required in business today and follows on with a rebranding and repositioning of our worth and value- add to any Manager and employer, just like we already to in our families. When this is done, it is quite easy to see that virtually all tasks and roles in the workplace are a continuation or version of the activities, tasks and roles that we undertake everyday in our private lives unconsciously. So:
- Project Management – becomes just a fancy term for running our household of husband, partner, children, pets, friends and extended family and planning all their individual activities, remembering all birthdays and anniversaries, and planning the family holidays!
- Performance Management – becomes just a sub task of Parenting …and much less scary!
- Stakeholder & Relationship Management – is just about identifying the key people whom you need to keep on side for your sanity and the smooth running of your life (e.g., in-laws, your teenage kids, the builder, the neighbours , school teachers and your Manager) and developing appropriate and different ways to communicate and influence them to support you
- Financial Management – is akin to managing the family accounts.
- Developing People – equates to Parenting , massaging the ego of your significant others (alias “Motivation”), encouragement, coaching and mentoring (alias “Talent Management”)
Do you get my point? It’s all about reassessing and re-evaluating your transferrable skills. If you can do it and already do it in one environment, you can do it to meet the requirements of a changing landscape at work
If you need support with this, either for yourself or for any member of your team (male or female), we can tailor the Facilitate4Me Coaching and Mentoring Programme to your needs.