Problems & Solutions


I'm sure it happened to you, too. Your girl friend was explaining her problems and instead of just listening to her you kept coming with solutions. I used to just wave away this as an example of gender differences, but I've become more cognizant about it lately. Namely, my colleagues are (unfortunately) almost all male and even when talking with each other they keep defining problems by proposing solutions, instead of plainly describing what the problem is about. It seems we, the men, are incapable of thinking about problems per se, but we can only grasp the problems in terms of possible solutions. I'm sure such characteristic of males had some evolutionary advantage (or at least wasn't a disadvantage) when we lived in the woods surrounded by wild animals, but it has several disadvantages in modern office environments. Most importantly, by specifying solution you are not delegating problem but you are delegating implementation instead. This might have worked in the old days, when problems were simple and solutions strenuous, but it fails miserly today when problems are complex and there are multitude of possible solutions and we prefer those which are  simple.

Unfortunately I have very few women around me at work, so I cannot really tell if their mode of operation is different also at work and not just in personal communication. If you happen to work in gender diversified environment, it would be interesting to hear about your experience in the comments.