What do I mean by Abstracts in Action and Abstracts in Action?
When we discuss what men and women do when assigned a task, we hear that men take off into action while women start talking and building relationships. We get to action later.
We learn to associate action and getting things done with men. Men do tangible things and women – well, we have nebulous abstracts whose value is difficult to measure and quantify.
But don’t women also act? The women I know work, they work really hard. They get things done better and faster than their male colleagues. If I need three things done well in the next hour, I will assign it to a woman, not to a man.
What Abstracts in Action means is that women forget about our action. Instead we identify with ideas that are abstract in the workplace – talking, building relationships, nurturing, feelings and empathy. We became associated with making everyone feel good not with getting things done. As a result, the male-dominated workplace didn’t see our value.
For years women were associated with Kumbaya moments because ironically, we couldn’t communicate how when we put abstracts into action we got big results.
The two abstracts I put into action the most in the workplace are communicating and relationships but I use the active version of those terms.
Instead of “communicate,” I use “coordinate.” I don’t just talk to Bob and John, I coordinate what Bob and John are doing. If I don’t coordinate their tasks, Bob goes off in one direction, John in another. By coordinating their work, they each know what they have to do so the bigger task comes together properly.
Instead of “relationships” or “building relationships,” I use “integrate.” And this is so powerful! Tom is working on a task and when he is done he will pass his work to Marie who will use it to complete her task. But what typically happens? Tom formats his work according to what works for him and Marie spends a day reformatting it before she can do her task. She is then late getting her task done. The male-dominated workplace looks at Tom’s and Marie’s task as two individual activities but they aren’t. There is a relationship between them. Therefore, Tom’s work has to be integrated into Mary’s. Tom must do his work so it can slide perfectly into Mary’s.
Men can identify with coordinating and integrating work because it is similar to their “directing work” which they see as taking charge. So even if we don’t interpret coordinating and integrating work as taking the lead, men do. They see it as tangible action that gets things done.
Did your workplace go through a period where “synergy” was the buzz word? Did the idea come and go? If so, it was because there weren’t female abstracts in action to keep it going. Synergy requires coordination, integration and two other abstracts in action – collaboration and teamwork.
It is up to us as women to decide how we perceive ourselves in the workplace.
We can put our Abstracts in Action with talking, building relationships, nurturing, feelings and empathy.
Or, we can put our Abstracts in Action with collaboration, synergy, teamwork, coordination and integration.
But it is only when we put our Abstracts in Action that the male-dominated workplace will recognize us for making things happen.
Empowered Women Put Their Abstracts into Action
Leave your comments and share on Facebook and LinkedIn – Let’s spread the word about who empowered women really are!