I recently chaperoned a 6th grade retreat for my daughter’s class. A key part of the retreat was “Team Building” and the exercises required the group to work together collaboratively to solve challenges.
As I stood watching the interaction, a common pattern emerged. With each challenge, the boys quickly asserted their leadership and jumped into deploying solution after solution until they ran out of them. The girls on the other hand, asked many questions, discussed options, then proposed solutions. Unfortunately, each time they shared one with the boys, it was quickly dismissed and they would go silent.
It was maddening to watch! Both groups were unsuccessful on their own, but it took them a long time to learn how to work together effectively. As I stood there observing, I realized this was a real life example of the challenges gender differences pose in the business world as well.