Tip #1: Recognize that (contrary to what you may have heard) men don’t actually like blunt directness
Months after that project, I came to find out: Ryan thought I was constantly challenging him. I had heard that “men appreciate directness” and had never noticed that, no, actually, men appreciate respectful directness. He was taking all my “direct” information-gathering questions (“What about this? What about that? Why did you do that?”), as challenges to his decision-making.Even worse, I was often asking those questions in front of other people in the office. He wanted those people to think he was good at his job–and felt I was questioning his judgment in front of them. And I was clueless that I was coming across as someone no male colleague would want to work with.
Thankfully there are some very easy ways to ask questions and communicate in a way that honors how guys process things – and delivers better results for us as well.