When women entered the workplace it was very male. We assumed that the way men conducted business was the right way, it was the best way. We had to fit into their way of doing things – after all that IS how business is done.
That is the mistake women made – thinking that we had to play by men’s rules. We were led to believe that we have to go into the Blue Zone in order to succeed in business. As I keep saying in my articles, even today we are still told we have to act like men, engage men like men in order to climb the corporate ladder.
But the one thing I have learned in over 30 years of working with men is – STAY OUT OF THE BLUE ZONE!
The Blue Zone is as male as a business environment can get. It is characterized by men battling for dominance and status. Intimidation thrives in the Blue Zone.
Fortunately most baby boomer men will not engage a woman in the Blue Zone. The stereotypes and values they were raised with, gives them boundaries and they just don’t go there with us – they believe they should treat us with a certain level of respect. Even though we want to be treated as equals with men, when men show us that respect by doing things such as apologizing for cursing in front of us, we need to accept it and thank them for it. We need to allow them to be gentlemen.
Younger men on the other hand, seem to be more willing to engage us in the Blue Zone. Maybe they have watched too much reality TV. A woman engaging a man in the Blue Zone is not attractive or professional! On TV we see them cursing like sailors or becoming overly emotional which is why we should not go there – men know exactly what buttons to push in order to get us to act like that. It discredits us and feeds into the negative stereotypes of the irrational woman.
I used to work with a couple of men and a woman who routinely engaged each other in the Blue Zone. It was beyond ugly! We used to joke that they missed the opportunity to make a fortune in their own reality show. Fortunately the woman eventually learned to not engage no matter how much the men baited her.
And that is what we need to do. When men try to draw us into the Blue Zone, we need to decline. We need to entrench ourselves in Purple Zone behaviors that render Blue Zone behaviors powerless. In my article category Tricks of the Trade, you will find Purple Zone behaviors such as Using the Power Seat. The idea is for us to empower our female traits and naturally neutralize Blue Zone behavior so we never have to go there.
Now some women may be thinking they have to engage men in the Blue Zone. No! In 30 years of working with men, I have only had to engage one man in the Blue Zone. The other times I went there, I chose to but didn’t have to. I didn’t learn yet to just say “No, I’m not going to that level.” If you go into the Blue Zone and it unfolds like a Reality show, if you become too emotional then the man was just toying with you to discredit you. That is why you stay out.
I will write an article about the one time I had to go into the Blue Zone and actually battle a man for dominance. I more than held my own without being emotional. I was strong because I drew upon my female traits, the correct female traits!
The bottom line is that to get ahead in the corporate world you don’t need to act like a man. Stay fully engaged in the Purple Zone and bring the men you work with over there with you. That is the key to success. That is what men want us to do!
Men have a big secret – they dislike the Blue Zone as much as women! Maybe more! The only men who like it are the few that dominate in it and those who expect to rise up and dominate in the future. The rest of the men you work with will gladly leave it behind.
Up until women entered the workplace men were trapped in the Blue Zone with no vision on how to get out of it or change it. All of their life experiences fed their male hierarchal perspective where one rose to the top based upon strength of personality and dominance. They knew nothing else.
So, our job as empowered women in the workplace is to introduce the new Purple Zone perspective. This perspective needs a creative flair, a certain amount of thinking outside the box and a sense of humor. As you read my articles and advice you will notice I always try very hard to lighten things up.
This is because the Blue Zone can be so dictatorial. Men who only know the Blue Zone constantly expect an authority figure to get in their face and tell them what to do. Men keep other men in line by dominating which causes the men to shut down – just like it does us! We then need to get the guys to open up, give them permission to have fun, to think and to express themselves. As empowered women we provide an alternative culture that is much more attractive, a culture men truly want!
When we empower ourselves to deliver on the new perspective men will follow. In the Purple Zone, both men and women thrive and find success based upon positive qualities.
Men have been waiting a long time for empowered women to enter the work place and make it a better place.
Give it to them!!
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