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Work with Me: The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business
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Work with Me: The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business

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by Barbara Annis, John Gray

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Work With Me is the timely collaboration of two of the world’s foremost authorities on gender relations. Barbara Annis, world-renowned expert on gender issues in the workplace, and John Gray, author of the number one relationship book of all time, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, team up to resolve the most stressful and confusing


Work With Me is the timely collaboration of two of the world’s foremost authorities on gender relations. Barbara Annis, world-renowned expert on gender issues in the workplace, and John Gray, author of the number one relationship book of all time, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, team up to resolve the most stressful and confusing challenges facing men and women at work. Annis and Gray reveal, for the first time, survey results of over 100,000 in-depth interviews of men and women executives in over 60 Fortune 500 companies. Readers will discover the Eight Gender Blind Spots, the false assumptions and opinions men and women have of each other, and in many ways, believe of themselves. Through research, science, and stories, Annis and Gray expose the blind spots that cause our misunderstandings, miscommunications, mistrust, resentment, and frustrations at work. Readers will discover the biology and social influences that compel men and women to think and act as they do, and direct how they communicate, solve problems, make decisions, resolve conflict, lead others, and deal with stress, enabling them to achieve greater success and satisfaction in their professional and personal lives. Work With Me is the definitive work-life relational guide, filled with "ah-ha!" moments and discoveries that will remove the blind spots and enable men and women to work and succeed together.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this must-read, Annis (an expert on workplace gender issues and chair of the women’s leadership board at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government) and relationship expert Gray (author of the bestseller Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) examine how and why men and women think differently at work, and what we can do about it. As the authors write, “In pursuit of gender sameness, we’ve painted ourselves into a corner.” By exposing and eliminating our blind spots, Annis and Gray argue, we can improve our gender intelligence and therefore our individual and organizational effectiveness. In the first section, the authors examine eight gender blind spots that emerged from their own research, and that are supported by data and research from outside institutions. The blind spots are humorous, but the examples of how we misinterpret each other will hit home. Compelling stories from individuals bring the data to life, and facts on gender are included throughout. Even more useful is the book’s second section, which offers examples of gender intelligence at work, plus practical advice on how to build trust and improve communications. Pragmatic and timely, this joint offering by two complementary experts—one from Mars and one from Venus—promises to be a game changer. Agent: Carol Mann, Carol Mann Agency. (May)
From the Publisher

“In this must-read, Annis and Gray examine how and why men and women think differently at work, and what we can do about it... Pragmatic and timely, Work with Me promises to be a game changer!” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Work With Me is a lucid, evidence-based guide for a comprehensive and immensely useful understanding of the unique, sex-specific features of the human brain. Barbara Annis, an articulate and intelligent advisor to corporations, has taught us how to meld the talents of men and women into an effective whole. She collaborates with John Gray, who was the first to engage the public in understanding the differences between the way we think, plan, and communicate. The book exemplifies the fact that gender-specific science is not an emotion-laden pursuit, but an ever-expanding, evidence-based exposition of the extraordinary-and for the most part completely unexpected-sex specific features of the human brain. This ought to be obligatory reading for every person who wants to fashion and maintain productive relationships.” —Marianne J. Legato, M.D., F.A.C.P, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University, Founder, Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine, Inc.

Work with Me is a landmark work that examines today's workplace opportunities and challenges through both an economic and social interaction lens and demonstrates why gender intelligence - not gender equality - will inspire a culture of inclusiveness and create a sustainable source of economic advantage for, individuals, leaders, and their organizations.” —Lara Warner, Chief Financial Officer, Credit Suisse Investment Bank

“No doubt about it. Group intelligence is highest when both genders problem solve together. Now Barbara Annis and John Gray show us how to get the job done! If this book doesn't make you think, you are brain dead!” —Dr Wendy Walsh, Human Behavior Expert, CNN and The O'Reilly Factor

“It's time to get smart about Gender Intelligence. If anyone on Earth – or Venus or Mars – can sort out these complex relationships, John Gray and Barbara Annis can. "Work" your way through this remarkable book!” —Harvey Mackay, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

“I firmly believe that for all high performers, the end goal is the same: to work and communicate as effectively and successfully as possible. This insightful and well-researched book shares valuable guidance for executives and employees at all levels, all of whom face challenges with different styles, expectations and approaches. Work with Me is an engaging and impactful read for men and women alike.” —Janet Wood, EVP Global Strategic Service Partners, SAP

“As a boss myself, working alongside my business partner and husband for the past 35 years, this book would have helped us so many years ago to avoid the misunderstandings and hurt feelings that took so much time away from the real object, which was creating success together and utilizing our combined strengths. Work with Me clarifies our gender differences and gives the tools for successful collaboration.” —Suzanne Somers, Actress, author

“It seems that most books written on gender relations implore women to act more like men and deplore men for acting like themselves. Men and women want to find ways to work and succeed together, and to do so by being their authentic selves. Work with Me shows us how, with equal learning for women and men. It is refreshingly non-judgemental - neither gender is to be blamed or "fixed". Annis and Gray reveal that gender differences are not weaknesses but strengths that are often misunderstood and undervalued by both genders. Work with Me is an enjoyable and enlightening read, filled with practical information supported by empirical data, scientific explanations, and dozens of anecdotes that skilfully and warmly reflect gender interactions in our professional and personal lives.” —Valerie Sorbie, Chief Administrative Officer, BMO Capital Markets

Work with Me is the perfect blend of Annis' cutting-edge research and insights into the minds of men and women at work, and Gray's enduring contribution to our understanding of male-female personal relations. Together, Annis and Gray provide the perfect relational guide for men and women looking for happiness and success through greater understanding as colleagues, partners, and parents.” —Jack Canfield, author and co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series

“What a concept! Men being men and women being women. It's about time we put to rest the failed notion that we are all the same. Annis and Gray introduce an entirely new way to think and talk about gender equality in the 21st century. Work with Me is a perfect blend of work-life and personal-life messages. No other book tackles the issue of men and women working and winning together.” —Raymond Aaron, New York Times bestselling author of Double Your Income Doing What You Love

“Annis and Gray bravely reveal the blind spots that perpetually prevent men and women from understanding and appreciating their gender differences, not hiding or suppressing their authentic natures, and as a result, finding greater success and happiness in their professional and personal lives.” —Dr. Fabrizio Mancini, bestselling author of The Power of Self-Healing

'Work with Me is the definitive relational guide for the workplace, bringing insights and solutions to help both men and women eliminate their gender blind spots, powerfully complement each other's natural strengths and efforts, and together achieve extraordinary levels of performance.” —George H. Labovitz, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Organizational Dynamics, Inc.

“Annis and Gray confront, head on, the elephant in the room. Men and women are not the same, are quite different, and actually complement each other perfectly. It's about time we begin to understand, appreciate, and value each other's ways of thinking and acting. Work with Me bravely illuminates the path to greater understanding.” —Jane Allen, Chief Diversity Officer, Deloitte Canada

“We all know in our hearts and minds that men and women are different. We see it in the natural behavior of children. The reality--and beauty--is that the authentic person within is the perfect counterpart of the other. Work with Me opens our hearts and minds to that genuineness. This valuable book will unsurprisingly make an uplifting difference in your personal life and perhaps surprisingly a significant financial difference in your business life - highly recommended.” —Stewart Emery, bestselling author, speaker, and teacher

“It's not out of our reach or idealistic to think that men and women, seeing the world through each other's eyes and valuing each other's line of sight, can make the world a better place. Work with Me is a sensational book filled with absolutely marvelous insights into the thought and actions of men and women. This book will certainly enrich and impact many lives.” —Tony and Randi Escobar, founders of the Share IT Forward Academy

“Men and women are individually creations of wonder, yet when engaged in unison, a harmonic is achieved. Our whole is more than merely the sum of our parts. Work with Me is not about tolerating the other gender, modifying our behavior, or learning new behaviors. It is about understanding and appreciating the genuineness within each of us and embraces our differences.” —Janet Bray Attwood, co-author of the New York Times bestseller, The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose

“I loved Work with Me--it is a vital read for anyone aspiring to lead and influence. Invisible to the offender (yet glaring to everyone else), gender blind-spots dangerously erode trust--THE critical foundation for unleashing performance and drawing out the best in every employee interaction and in every transaction--with all stakeholders. Who better to clear our vision on this murky subject than John Gray and Barbara Annis, whose authoritative insights span decades? What's your Gender Intelligence quotient? Can you afford not to know? Trust me, you can't. Read this book!” —Greg Link, co-founder CoveyLink, co-author Smart Trust

“Based on decades of impeccable research and worldwide practice, Work with Me is without a doubt one of the single most important books of the year. The practical techniques offered within these pages outline powerful solutions for challenges arising from gender differences and allow men and women alike to succeed in creating more valuable, meaningful relationships by genuinely learning to understand and bridge their differences. To read this book is to invest in building better relationships throughout every area of your life.” —Ivan Misner, Ph.D., New York Times Bestselling author and founder of BNI®

“Barbara Annis and John Gray team up to make a winning combination. Can every man and woman expect to work so well together? They can if they read Work with Me! With sensitivity, insight, and real-life examples, this book unlocks the secrets of successful mixed-gender workplaces, helping both men and women play to their strengths, and appreciate the strengths of the other.” —Scott Haltzman, MD, psychiatrist and author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men, and The Secrets of Happily Married Women

“Men and women are individually creations of wonder, and when engaged in unison, a symphony of greatness is achieved – an elevated sound from the blending of our notes. Our whole is more than merely the sum of our parts. It is not about tolerating the other gender, modifying our behavior, learning new behaviors, or learning to accommodate each other's differences. It is about understanding and appreciating the other gender, an inclusive mindset that respects, and actually seeks out and embraces our differences.” —Graciela Meibar, Vice President Global Diversity, Mattel, Inc.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
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6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Work with Me

The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business

By Barbara Annis, John Gray

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2013 Barbara Annis and John Gray
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-137-35603-1



LORENZO, AN INVESTMENT BANKER FOR OVER 20 YEARS, MANAGES a profitable branch office in Dallas, Texas. He has a great team of dedicated employees who enjoy working together. Judy, one of the two women on the team, has always felt a little uncomfortable with Lorenzo's occasional and slightly off-color jokes during team meetings as well as with his compliments on her attire, but she considers him a good boss to work for. She doesn't know how to give him feedback, though. She doesn't know exactly how to say it, nor can she predict how he'll react. "That could change the course of my career," she thinks.

Judy e-mails her human resources department in Houston, asking for guidance, and HR does its role by filing a report on Lorenzo and contacting the legal department. Legal along with HR meet with Judy, and in their effort to come to a by-the-book solution, relocate Judy to another branch — an outcome she didn't expect and Lorenzo certainly didn't want, as Judy was one of his top performers.

Judy's 15-minute drive to work is now a two-hour commute — plenty of daily drive time to reflect on what happened and why it all unraveled so quickly.

Needing to vent, she shares this story with her attorney friend. He suggests that she has a great case against Lorenzo and encourages Judy to sue the company. She takes his advice, wins the case, settles for an undisclosed amount of money, and retires.

Lorenzo is blind-sided by all of this. "I didn't know I was doing anything wrong. I didn't mean any harm." The company does the only thing it could do and fires Lorenzo. His chances for getting another job are impossible now with this sexual harassment charge on his record. His career is toast! He asks his personal lawyer if he has a case and ends up suing the company for not providing adequate training in sexual harassment. Lorenzo wins his suit and retires.

Lorenzo didn't know his words were having that kind of effect on Judy. It wasn't his intent to insult or "sexually objectify her," as was claimed in court. "I thought I was flattering her, making her feel good about herself!"

Judy knew Lorenzo never intended to harass her. She wanted to preserve the relationship and her job and not offend Lorenzo, but it just made her feel uncomfortable and she didn't know how to talk to him about it. Her request for support from HR set in motion a litigation machine that resulted in a costly settlement to the company, Lorenzo out of work, and Judy stuck in traffic.


Considering the cost, many companies have every reason to fear a sexual harassment lawsuit. Complainants today receive, on average, $250,000 if she or he wins a trial. In addition, the defendant company has to pay all attorneys' fees. Settlements themselves can cost a company tens of thousands of dollars, but verdicts against a defending company can cost millions!

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has received an average of 12,000 sexual harassment complaints every year for the past ten years. Considering the pervasiveness of diversity training programs since the 1990s, you would think that number of complaints would decline. Each year, about half of the charges are dismissed with "no reasonable cause." The ones that do stick cost employers approximately $50 million annually.

Then there are the personal costs. Companies adopt policies to prevent any chance of misconduct, such as prohibiting male supervisors from having closed-door meetings with women subordinates. Men are uncomfortable traveling or even having a business lunch with a woman colleague. They don't want any behavior on their part to be misconstrued. The sad irony is that the inability to meet privately or travel with the boss or other male colleagues can limit a woman's chances for developing her career.


The story of Lorenzo and Judy is real, although the names and locations have been altered to protect the truly innocent. But it pinpoints how truly blind men and women are to each other's intentions and expectations in today's workplace. There is no doubt that inappropriate behavior exists. Yet, so much of it is unintended — the result of misinterpretation and miscommunication between men and women, who have little idea why the other gender thinks and acts as it does.

In our gender intelligence workshops and through in-depth surveys of over 100,000 men and women on gender issues in the workplace for the past 25 years, we've learned it's not that men don't want to understand; they simply don't know how to read women's thoughts and actions. The same holds true for women. They tend to misread men's intentions and actions but believe they understand what causes men to think and act as they do.

In reality, men and women are often uncertain how to act with each other and how to react to each other. Many men admit they don't understand women. Male behavior is more predictable, but not understanding or not trying to understand can lead to avoidance and not working well together. Both men and women are often hesitant to speak their minds or act in ways that feel authentic for themselves.


• 9 percent of men say they "understand women."

• 68 percent of women say they "understand men."

In our workshops, women often say:

• "Men tend to make quick decisions. I'd rather we discuss the issues more."

• "He can't look away from his computer when I'm talking with him."

• "I like to ask questions. It doesn't mean I'm uncertain or uncommitted."

Men often say:

• "I'm often at my best when I can think and work alone."

• "The women on our team ask a lot of questions that often slow down progress."

• "I tend to hold back on giving women critical feedback."

One major problem is that we're trying too hard to be "equal" to each other, which, over the years, has grown to mean "acting the same." Since the equality movement that began in the early 1970s, we have been conditioned to believe that men and women think and act alike — but after 40-plus years, it's clearly not working for us. We don't feel valued or appreciated for who and what we are. We have difficulty getting our point across. We may mean well, but we're often misunderstood.

We are suppressing our true natures and trying to act the same instead of acting as ourselves. We've been encouraged to compete with each other rather than to find ways that complement each other, and this is creating unnecessary stress and unhappiness in our work life and personal life.

The fact is men and women are different. We do almost everything differently. We communicate, solve problems, prioritize, make decisions, resolve conflicts, handle emotions, and deal with stress differently.

One of most insightful sessions in our workshops is when women and men break into separate groups and identify their top challenges in working with the other gender. There are seldom any challenges mentioned when they're together, but separate them and in short order the list begins. The interesting thing is, regardless of the country, the challenges that men and women have in working with each other are virtually the same. Men and women the world over share similar patterns of attitudes and behaviors, notwithstanding their upbringing, education, or culture.

This idea of gender equality is not working anywhere — not even in gender-progressive Scandinavia, home to some of the most advanced, gender-equal countries in the world. Norway, for example, was an early adopter of legislation to force companies to recruit women for the boardroom. Since the 1980s, these countries have led the way in gaining more rights for women, including the option of the most flexible work schedules of all other developed nations. Yet, Nordic countries are today below the global average in percent of women in senior management.

It's easy to proclaim that "we're all equal" and go about treating each other the same, but when the dust clears, men and women are still misunderstanding each other and being misunderstood. We're not valuing each other and we're even further away from finding the complement in each other.


Since the 1990s, researchers in neuroscience have made great strides in identifying gender differences in human brain anatomy, chemical processes, and functions. Brain studies of more than a million participants in over 30 countries have shown conclusively how physiological differences in the male and female brains influence language, memory, emotion, vision, hearing, and spatial orientation.

Although we are biologically different, this does not mean that one sex is superior or inferior to the other. Yet, even in the face of so much scientific evidence, there are many who firmly believe that, aside from physical appearance and reproductive capabilities, males and females are the same. They maintain that gender differences in attitudes and behaviors are purely the result of socialization in male-dominated societies, and that this oppressive domination over the generations has relegated women to specific caregiving roles. It's as if being biologically different than men can only mean being weaker or inferior. In their manner of thinking, science is being used to justify keeping women in lower-value, or "care-giving" roles.

We agree that there has been and still is oppression in the world — from the subtle to the brutal. Consider this: more girls have been killed in the last fifty years — particularly in China, India, and Pakistan — simply because they were girls than the number of men killed in all the wars of the twentieth century. We believe that a great deal of the undervaluing of women in this world exists because of the lack of "gender intelligence."

Gender intelligence is an active consciousness that views gender differences as strengths, not weaknesses. It is an understanding that both nature and nurture play a significant role in a person's life. The extent to which our differences are informed by our biology or by family, education, and culture is not a question that can easily be answered, simply because there is no general formula that can be applied to everyone equally. The balance of biology and social influence is unique to every individual and situation.

By continuing to believe that gender differences are all or even predominantly due to social influence is to deny our nature. We've been conditioned to believe that men and women are the same. We often over-expect the opposite gender to think and act the same, and we often undervalue the differences when they show up.


Of the eight gender blind spots in this book, the belief of "sameness" is the greatest obstruction to our improved vision of each other. It's the foundational assumption underlying most of the false expectations men and women have of each other and the source of nearly all of our misunderstandings and miscommunications.

Despite the fact that today women make up half of middle management in pretty much every industry, the working world they've entered has been designed — for the most part — by men for men. Men are, by and large, very comfortable in this environment and generally don't see any need for change. It's often uncomfortable for women who have little choice but to adapt to the male style of work.

Men didn't intentionally plan this as a way of keeping women out. It's just that when the corporate structure was developed generations ago, the majority of the workforce was comprised of men. As a result, men have written the basic rules of engagement in business and made them more effective and efficient over the years — from leading teams, to conducting meetings, to prioritizing issues, to making decisions. Even how and where to socialize after work — from golf outings to gentlemen's clubs — is based on men's preferences.

During our workshops, men are often asked to reflect on and share their unspoken rules, the policies and procedures they would never think about if not asked. Here's a composite of what men tend to identify as codes for their behavior. Further, the rules of engagement at the workplace are virtually the same, whether the workshops are held in Denver, Denmark, or Dubai.

• "The effort of everyone working together is important, but it's the results that matter most."

• "To offer a man support is to suggest that he's incapable. To let him work it out by himself makes him stronger. If he needs help, he'll ask."

• "If a man is sitting quietly in meeting, don't put him on the spot by asking, 'What do you think?' If he has something to say, he'll say it on his own."

• "Don't show emotion. It means you're weak. Remain calm and confident."

• "Business is business. Don't make it personal or take it personally."

It's hard for men to want to improve on their rules. Why would they want to? They feel authentic and motivated in their environment, which reveals another big rule with men: "If it isn't broken, don't fix it."

Women, entering this workplace, struggle and find it hard to adjust. They would rather the workplace adjust to them so they can feel authentic and motivated:

• "The journey is as important as the destination. Improving performance achieves the goal."

• "To offer a woman support makes her feel included and allows her to give back."

• "Women want to be asked, 'What do you think?' It invites them to share their ideas."

• "A show of emotion is not a show of weakness. Emotion is a source of strength and often passion."

• "Women tend to take it personally and internalize the issue: 'What could I have done better?'"

Men know the rules, they live by them every day, and they generally expect women to play by the same rules. Men aren't being intentionally exclusive or indifferent, they just don't know what they don't know.

For far too long, the "we're all the same" solution to this has been that women adopt male behavior to fit in and advance in the male hierarchy. The majority of training programs, workshops, seminars, and books have been devoted to training women to think and act like men in order to succeed. Examples of these male-behavior training activities are shared in the chapters to follow. One describes a series of assertiveness training programs designed for women executives in Silicon Valley in California in early 2000, training that brought out their aggression instead of their assertiveness.


A woman CEO candidate for a Fortune 100 company attends a very expensive four-day leadership training course offered by a prestigious university in the northeastern United States. The course has been offered to executives in business and government for over 30 years and over the years has made slight updates to the materials with new case studies and leadership traits development.

The CEO candidate and instructor are talking before the first day of classes begins and the woman says, "I've noticed that the men and women on my staff practice their leadership differently. Will we be exploring gender differences in leadership over the next four days? Almost half the attendees are women. I see only one model of leadership here. And there are more individual than group assignments."

The instructor replies, "Our focus will be on the principles of sound leadership, such as having a vision, showing integrity, taking responsibility, building trust, and being goal driven. These principles are shared by men and women alike."

She thinks to herself: "I show my integrity and build trust in different ways. And being goal driven is not my only focus. I share my leadership. These four days are not designed for that."

And she's correct. McKinsey & Company's recent survey of 9,000 leaders from around the world, measuring the frequency of use of the Nine Leadership Behaviors That Improve Organizational Performance, revealed that women and men show different though complementary leadership strengths:


The five behaviors that women apply more or slightly more than men — people development, expectations and rewards, role modeling, inspiration, and participative decision making — have become increasingly critical in attracting and retaining talent and in creating an ensemble form of leadership to succeed in a global and diverse marketplace.

Seventy percent of the CEOs of the companies surveyed in the McKinsey study admitted that the senior executives in their firms lacked those five specific traits. This stands to reason seeing as only one in five of those executives were women.


When we present brain science research in our workshops and give examples of how and why our brain biology plays a large part in informing our thoughts and actions, it comes as a huge relief to both men and women alike. Their sense of relief is in the realization that there is no wrong in their nature.


Excerpted from Work with Me by Barbara Annis, John Gray. Copyright © 2013 Barbara Annis and John Gray. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Barbara Annis is a world-renowned expert on Gender Intelligence® and inclusive leadership, advocating the value and practice of Gender Intelligence in over 60 Fortune 500 companies, ten governments, and numerous organizations across the globe. 

 John Gray, PhD is the leading relationship expert in the world and bestselling relationship author of all time. His book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, is ranked by USA Today as one of the top ten most influential books over the last 25 years. His 17 books have been published in 50 different languages and he is a popular keynote speaker for international organizations and Fortune 500 companies. He is the founder of Mars Venus Coaching and has personally trained over 500 coaches in 27 countries to bridge the gender gap in business through gender smart leadership, sales, and team-building trainings. 

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Work with Me: The 8 Blind Spots between Men and Women in Business 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book contains a lot of good information and ideas, with support from a vast array of personal observations, surveys, and scientific data. It seemed that the authors had about 125 pages of data to support their ideas and needed to get the book to 250 pages. If/As you read this book you will see the same concepts and ideas are repeated again and again as you finish the last half of the book. The book is worth the time to read. Many of the ideas and concepts move beyond the work place and can help you understand the motivations of the sexes in a variety of applications.