November 18, 2020

129: The Shifting Role of Men and Masculinity with Neal Conlon

When most people think about gender in the workplace, they think about women. But men’s roles and expectations of behavior are quickly shifting, leaving some men confused or frustrated. Instead of focusing on the impact of gender on women, let’s consider preconceived notions about masculinity. When we open the conversation to include men, we create space for them to evolve into better leaders, managers and colleagues.

Today’s guest is Neal Conlon. Neal is a conscious and mission driven Marine veteran with a goal to empower 1000 men to empower 1000 men. He’s coaches, consults, and conspires.

Neal and I talk about the changing role and perception of men and masculinity. We get into how men show up in the workplace, how they can start to find their place in the new reality of #MeToo and 3rd wave Feminism, and how we can help shift unhealthy male stereotypes so everyone wins.

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Read the related blog article: What Men Need In Today’s Modern Workplace

Key Takeaways:

  • Think of “femininity” (nurturing, energetic, open) and “masculinity” (pragmatism, safety, security) as natural inclinations towards behavior rather than sexual orientation or biology.
  • Every person contains both aspects of femininity and masculinity inside of them, but life circumstances and individual choices cultivate what we express.
  • The Blueprint for much of civilization gave men and women distinct roles and expectations. As society’s expectations and opportunities for women shifted, the Blueprint crumbled. This caused men to lose their place of privilege, security, and power, resulting in many men experiencing a sense of confusion and loss.
  • The workplace has experienced major shifts as women have increasingly taken on higher ranking positions and movements like #MeToo have exposed inappropriate male behavior. This has left men (1) unsure of what is acceptable, (2) seeking to become feminist allies, (3) holding onto the past, and (4) everything in between.
  • There are many things men can do to adjust to a healthier, integrated self, including maintaining a mindful practice of examining different expectations for men and women, attending masculinity events to explore unhealthy attitudes, and being conscious of not overshadowing women’s voices.
  • Managers have the power to commit to inclusivity by maintaining a diverse team which includes supporting men to find their place in the changing environment.
  • If a man is struggling to understand why or how his behavior needs to change, talk with him. Rather than silencing men at meetings, managers can discuss with men why their behavior may be affecting their female colleagues, and how they can adjust accordingly.


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