Supporting Men Through Change

If you failed at your job more than 50% of the time would you still have a job?

Imagine a Surgeon who failed half the time. Or a pilot. Or a production line.

Now look at the divorce statistics.

More than half of our most commited relationships, marriages, end in divorce. Ok divorce isn’t necessarily failure. But we bond together to have something that lasts.

And at work, we have the same problems where relationships struggle.

This creates divisions, power struggles and personality problems.

When failure is this widespread it’s not down to an individual, but to the model we operate from.

Divorces started to skyrocket about 60 years ago. As the world became more equal, some men are struggling to adapt to the changes. Those struggles affect women in their relationships and interactions with men.

Last week, I discussed with Clark and Tony how we as men saw the challenges of being a man today.

This week, I discussed with an all-female panel. We discussed how women can support men through a changing world. So we can all get to a world where each thrive.

On the panel were:


Lisa Cunningham




Supporting Men Through Change

Rob: [00:00:00] The inspiration for this was we had a talk a couple of weeks ago in the football group.

Rob: I thought it would be really interesting to, to get a group of people together to discuss it with different aspects. So Branko deals with emotions understanding emotions, emotional intelligence being able to regulate and understand and use your emotions and Lisa is a change management person.

Rob: Originally with organizations and but also branching into personal change now and understanding cultures. There’s a lot that Lisa does, but it’s, it started with change management. Still do change management, but now bring it into personal change. And also understanding cultures.

Rob: I thought it would be really interesting to look at the emotions and also Lisa’s experience in making change in organizations and also in personal is how do you bring people along, the people who are left out, the people who lose out because from my [00:01:00] framing of the situation is we’ve lived in patriarchy for thousands of years.

Rob: Men have had power. A man had a clear path. You just go out, you do your work and your family basically do what you say. You control everything. And about 1950, 1960, suddenly women started having more independence, suddenly didn’t need a man and started divorcing in droves because marriage wasn’t working out for them.

Rob: Now we’ve got a situation where marriage is no longer an economic unit and people are wanting emotional satisfaction from their relationships rather than, as it used to be. Mostly by inertia, you’d marry someone and stay together because of shame and financial reasons and lots of different reasons.

Rob: The world has changed and many men are stuck. So now you have the whole red pill thing, you have the incel movement of men who have never had success and don’t understand the new dynamics. [00:02:00] The working world has changed from a logistical world that was manufacturing a lot of blue collar work, a lot of physical work, to a world of where knowledge work, where emotions are more and more important.

Rob: Where teams and collaboration are more important and where for example, Google project, Aristotle shows that it’s better have to have women on the team, it’s a benefit because of the emotional intelligence, because they work together better. So many men are losing in industries. And those that aren’t so emotionally developed are struggling, I think, with relationships, with understanding the new dynamics and how to function in the new world. So how can we in the workplace and personally, those men who are struggling, what do they need? 

Lisa: I think it’s a huge and complex set of questions, isn’t it? And personally, when I journey to work with anyone on change, whether it’s in a team or [00:03:00] individually, I would always try to look at people as individuals and not look at their gender and try not to be judgmental about anything or have any preconceived ideas, because I think that doesn’t help, because every single change is different for every single individual and also for the same individual in a different situation or in a different team, all the dynamics change.

Lisa: So that’s the first caveat. So I would always be cautious about making any generalizations. Having said that, I think, obviously put your finger on the button there with the two things that, two areas that really We can’t get away from, even if you start with a blank sheet of paper and no assumptions, which are the systems that we live in, the societal systems, and they have been, traditionally, as you were saying, Rob for certain roles, for certain, for one gender and not for others, and then there has been change, but the change has been changed in [00:04:00] certain areas, in certain companies, in certain national cultures, and then just at community level, at individual level it’s not across the board. So again, you can’t make any assumptions. It’s very complex. And the other one, yeah, as I just mentioned, the culture, organizational culture and national culture.

Lisa: They both play a part and they can both be, because cultures based around norms, it can be very hard to unpick because they’re actually beliefs and norms that we’ve mostly accepted from a very early age and aren’t even conscious that they exist. Yes, some of the more obvious ones you can say, oh, yes, they exist.

Lisa: We grew up in a society where men were supposed to be the breadwinners, women were supposed to stay at home, but that’s all changed. But there’s so much under the surface, so many layers to that, that, that’s not enough. The short answer to where do we start is I think you have to start as far as possible with the blank [00:05:00] sheet and really dig into what an individual wants what their values are or what a team’s values are, what you want to achieve and what your situation is.

Lisa: And then from there move into digging into the emotions. What you’re feeling and what you’re likely to feel going through the changes and try to map those out. And then also the actions which you need to take rather than just thinking about it. But yeah, there’s so much folded up in there.

Branka: I really liked what you outlined because Like you said, there is a lot of different factors. I also believe that we need to include in order to even have a proper discussion around it. After all, so many different elements of life affect how we perceive situations and even those changes that came, and also this aspect of where layers beyond.

Branka: I would touch this for the start because I would say that, like Rob [00:06:00] mentioned, this patriarchal system that has been in place for so long had certain benefits we can say for men. As it was basically a lot of focus, a lot of performance, a lot of achievement, a lot of, we can say relying on outside power.

Branka: And if we go way back in the history, we can understand why so many were there to protect family. They were there to provide the family. And yeah, that went like some kind of tradition and as women are more empowered, this kind of break down. But at the same time, those biological systems we have, emotional mechanism we have, it’s wired in certain ways through generation, certain elements are still passed by, despite the fact that we are not living in cages. It was way harder for women to keep [00:07:00] up with all of this because, we were competing basically with the man world and man of power and such. But now, as women entered more and more spaces in the world and are present, This gap between emotional intelligence being present or not has become more relevant.

Branka: On one hand, it’s challenging for men to see women come onto their positions and lead in a different way because there is a feminine way of compassion, of caring, of collaboration. They come with some kind of naturally. Because as women we basically combined in groups. We talked along the way basically support this family and we can say there is a certain level of biological aspect of it, and it’s an important aspect, but on the other hand like it was also mentioned, the system and values and culture hasn’t been updated. So there is no [00:08:00] support for young men to learn about emotions. We are still seeing that Anger is a predominant way of boys standing up for themselves, that it’s not okay that they are very expressive.

Branka: Young men don’t even feel safe to express because, on the other hand, we have women who are Many times traumatized from the past and are now using strong manipulation techniques and strong way to basically get what they want. And they learned from the man of power. So we have a big confusion. And the biggest aspect that is now becoming a big challenge for men is that.

Branka: Despite the fact that we have this manipulation more on the women’s side, but it’s, I don’t like the stereotype for gender, but as we are talking about men, I would like to outline this dynamic. So women proceeded with this ladder of external power, [00:09:00] and they still have Many times better emotional skills.

Branka: So men are left not only with this deep sense of I’m not enough. I don’t know how to, I don’t even know what they feel because nobody ever asked me how I feel. And on the other hand, there’s a big struggle because times are moving fast, things are changing in business. The need for creativity and collaboration and innovation is more important than ever.

Branka: There are a lot of changes as Lisa is specialized in, and when we wanna implement effectively any change, we first aware of the work with it, address it in order to go further. So it may be in business change, personal change, or basically gender change. It has to be supported with it was mentioned.

Branka: So rewiring those beliefs and actually get this perspective a little more aligned with what it means [00:10:00] to be human.

Lisa: Being human is really what we want to get to, isn’t it? And to be able to use all your skills and attributes and develop them in a way that’s beneficial to yourself and to others. And I think what that point you made, Branka, about, boys, it starts with education and with at school and in the home as well, but in society.

Lisa: But it’s really hard. to do it alone, even if in the family, which is really focused on not having having stereotypes and types and allowing boys to express themselves. It’s still really counter cultural in a way. And I also agree that, women, a lot, some women have found a way to be at the same way as the traditional male role and to be bulldozing through to get success Because that’s coming back to the system and success is normally based on money and power above everything else. I think it is changing. And again, what you said about, the world of work changing or the world anyway, [00:11:00] with lots of AI coming in, how do we use technology?

Lisa: Technology has been around forever, but it’s been getting faster and faster. And how do we have that interface where we know what makes us human and what we can do better than a machine? And what a machine can do better than us? That’s always been a challenge in change management. 

Lisa: I can see the answer. It looks good on paper, the figures are right, logic’s right, but then it doesn’t work. Why? 

Lisa: Because you’re dealing with people and that’s people of both of, any walk of life, both genders, all different generations. Because I think a generational aspect can come in as well.

Lisa: But really, if you try to look at it as an individual, that’s helpful. But, it has to start with education and I don’t know what the answer to that is because it’s not about telling people stuff really it’s about experiencing things, but about dismantling assumptions in the system which is really difficult stuff.

Lisa: And the other thing I was thinking about was the way we could say future of work but [00:12:00] it’s here now. the way people relate to the company that they work for, the team that they work for. What is a company now? People want more from a company or they want a different kind of contract.

Lisa: They want more respect, more freedom, things like working remotely. And this is a big battle that’s going on as well. And so how to engage people, again, going back to Emotional intelligence. How do you actually engage people and find out what they want? In some cases, people don’t really even know what they want.

Lisa: And maybe that is more men than women. I don’t know. But people definitely in general, just being on the track to finish school, to get training and then to go to work. They’re starting to more and more people are starting to question what is it for? And what do I want? So those layers as well, I think to move forward, there should be a lot more digging deeper to start with.

Lisa: This is always a case in change, and it’s always resisted. Because it takes a lot longer, it’s uncomfortable, it takes a lot of energy, you’re going to have to [00:13:00] question things that you had actually just internalized or thought were normal, or yes, why do we need to question that? So it’s a big challenge for the whole of society.

Branka: I would just add that is the point you outlined. Now it’s really a big one. For many years men were basically celebrated to be all focused on work and they dedicated their lives to the company they were working if they were ambitious to plan that letter, they were overworking, they were focusing all of their energy to this company.

Branka: They were living for it. And now we came to the time when we are asking them, what do you like to do outside of work and what inspires you in life? And for many, it’s a big struggle to look around and see that they do not even know what to grasp or what to touch because their lives and values were built on this corporate world.

Branka: And [00:14:00] helping them see that it is important to invest also in other areas and how beneficial this is. If we can slowly achieve that as a humanity, I believe we will benefit in so many ways. 

Lisa: Maybe it’s going back to those principles of values and interests. And that is where you could do something at school.

Lisa: And instead of putting people on the track and showing one future that you could really allow children to focus in on what actually sparks their interest and where they’re interested in. I was just thinking as you were talking there, , but, and yeah, it’s interesting from point of view of different cultures, Japanese society has gone through that. Perhaps faster, but they’re still going through it. So we can’t really see the answer, but instead you can definitely see the issues there and also where women have then said, a lot of women said, okay, I’m going to do this.

Lisa: I’m not going to take the route of staying at home and doing flower arranging. I’m going to be successful at work, but I’m also [00:15:00] going to deny other aspects. So yeah, there’s no real solution. Yeah. But it’s interesting to see the change.

Rob: What I really like is the idea the frame has changed. When something changes, not everyone is on board with that change. And because people tend to get on board with a change that they have something to benefit from.

Rob: And so there’s always going to be some people who are going to gain from a change and who are eager to change, and then there’s going to be some that don’t want things to change, which is where the resistance comes in. So what I found really interesting you mentioned different levels of change Lisa with norms.

Rob: And I think that’s really interesting when you look at how society has changed in terms of political correctness like TV shows, that they can’t show now because they were racist or they were sexist or whatever. And what’s happened is people have learned the things to say.

Rob: But they haven’t necessarily changed. And I think that’s what Trump and [00:16:00] Boris Johnson brought out in their quite xenophobic kind of campaigns. So I’m thinking about what, what’s changed. And I think from a perspective, you talked about men having once been the provider, I don’t think they know what they are now.

Rob: I don’t think they know the new frame. So if they’re not the provider. And I think what’s lost is what they haven’t been given a narrative for what that change is. I think change is moving. I think once we sought power and now I think what’s happened is we don’t have a clear narrative for what that is.

Rob: And maybe it was, I think for me, I think it’s going to be a move from. From the old hierarchy of power to personal expression. And where you were a provider now, you’re valued for who you are. 

Rob: Men are being told to be vulnerable. So this is a lot of where the conversation originally started from.

Rob: But then vulnerable means to a man who hasn’t been getting [00:17:00] any other narrative, means that they cry and tell their partner or people about their problem. And then people say like you’re just a cry baby, stop whining and, deal with it. And I think it’s not understanding what their role is where they’re like, what’s replaced power and how do you express your emotions?

Rob: On the one hand you’re very stoic and you don’t say anything. You just put on this stiff upper lip and you just do it and then on the other hand there is crying and not taking responsibility for your own life and responsibilities, but you’re just hoping someone will take that off your plate.

Lisa: With any big change with transformation, you need a vision and you need it to plug into your values and why it’s important to you. And if somebody’s just telling you, this is what we say now, this is how we’re doing it now, that doesn’t do that, does it?

Lisa: Any change, even if it’s one that you know is going to be good for you, you have loss in there. And that fear of loss, [00:18:00] especially when it is connected to how you feel about yourself as a person, is, why are you going to do that? So that’s not clear to a lot of people.

Lisa: There’s a huge backlash really to say, no, we don’t want change. And some politicians have plugged into that because there is the grain of truth in that, which is, what am I letting go of? What’s going to replace it? Why am I doing this? This is somebody else has told me that this is a thing to do, but I don’t and I don’t understand it.

Lisa: It’s just being imposed upon me, and that’s the worst kind of thing.

Branka: I would agree and I would like to touch one aspect that opens up a lot of this confusion around, may it be change, may it be resistance, or may it be not adopting, knowing but not adopting. So if we just look at how our brain works and how our emotions are, Forming and coming up.

Branka: Our brains are emotional first and whenever we are faced with certain change the fear will kick [00:19:00] sooner than the logic. And this fear is a blockage and it’s normal that our brain and our ego will basically do everything in its power to get us back into the safety and get us back into this comforting zone we know we feel certain sense around.

Branka: And this is why every change or every adaptation is struggling, like Lisa beautifully said, we need to adapt our perspective, we need to understand what is this for us. So having a certain sense of value with this change. But I would say from this maybe corporate aspect, it’s maybe even more important than just knowing what it brings to me.

Branka: It’s also knowing that I am a part of this new solution. So getting people aboard, knowing what they value, and actually [00:20:00] letting them know we’re all in this together and we’re going forward. So when looking in the men’s world there is a lack of deep connection between men and women. So many don’t have even one trusting friend that they can talk to.

Branka: They are joking. They have those football talks or so on. But when it comes to real vulnerability, they, yeah, they are left alone in it and they’re looking for a way. And I would say for a man can be confident, vulnerable, and honest to the Many people, so not just one, but two other, maybe with team, maybe with partner or whatever.

Branka: There is a certain period that needs to be taken place in one safe relation. So every wound is healed within relationship. Just like it’s formed, it’s healed. So having one, it can be a coach, it can be a [00:21:00] therapist, it can be a trusted friend you can be open to. And yeah, it’s normal that if a human hasn’t been in contact with emotions for such a long time, we can say 20, 30 years, of course, when the emotion will be first when the emotion will have permission to be expressed, it will be a lot of sobbing.

Branka: It will be a lot of crying. It will be intense. And this intensity can decrease. Only if we give it space to be even expressed, heard and seen for what it is. And those moments are crucial for a man will he dare to go forward. So he needs someone who can hold that space. Maybe just crying, may telling, may crossing all over the place.

Branka: But learning how to express it and how to feel safe with it so that then can be a balance of being [00:22:00] vulnerable enough to inspire others, empower others, but at the same time standing confident and with clarity so that people still trust you. And now you have their back and you are standing there for them.

Rob: What I really loved what you picked out there. Branka right at the beginning was about the problem of men not having anyone to open up to. I used to have I used to do dating groups. And I realized that when there weren’t any women in the room, Men would talk differently as soon as there was a woman there They would moderate what they said and even though they would say, oh, no, i’m quite happy to open.

Rob: No, they wouldn’t. So I started to have just men’s groups. And Men would talk more openly, but what they got to is They said, I don’t really want a girlfriend, i’m not even really that bothered about a girlfriend, I just want a friend. They say I have Friends that I play football with, but all they do is do football.

Rob: I have friends I go to the pub with, and then all they do [00:23:00] is drink. I have friends that I’ll go out and do whatever with, but that’s all they do. So they have it’s based around an activity and it’s not really based around sharing. So yeah, there is that lack of connection and when it’s seen in men’s health statistics that when a man isn’t in a relationship so a heterosexual man isn’t in a relationship, then he really doesn’t have a network.

Rob: That is at the core of it. And as you say, I think the whole frame of relationships, that’s my whole thesis. The whole frame of relationship is wrong. We’re also in an environment that stresses us because we’re in an unnatural environment. So we start from a stress place as well.

Rob: That’s two of the keys. I going back to Lisa when you were saying about the gain and loss, I think that’s really important to what people gain and what people lose. Whenever you talk about men, I remember, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Joseph Campbell but he used to talk a lot about different cultures and [00:24:00] how important the rites of passage were.

Rob: And that in our society, we don’t have a rites of passage that, how do you know when you’re an adult? And when I’ve asked people that question, most people will say when they had a child or when they had, when they married or something like that.

Rob: But we don’t have that narrative and what he also used to talk about is we, the spiritual narrative that we have so that as in religion or whatever, the spiritual narrative and our religion, and he’s say, the spiritual narrative should be based on the science of the day. And we have a 2000 year olds spiritual narrative that doesn’t match with the science of the day.

Rob: And so it should be updated. Think that some of that plays into what we’re talking about.

Branka: I would say something about this your comments around those texts, all texts that are that were written and should be updated. On one hand, I agree that Certain elements, for sure, have changed and cannot be [00:25:00] totally applied to today’s world. But I have been, for quite a while very interested in different religions.

Branka: I was exploring different sects that were addressing those human struggles, human experiences we have. And I would say that when we read those texts without our predispositions and assumptions that are formed from the modern world, but read them with curiosity to understand the meaning the texts could be.

Branka: For me, it was a bigger elevation around how beautifully, in fact, those old Asian texts. Outlined the importance of connecting feminine and masculine energy because the both have certain rules, certain characteristics that are unique to one or the other. We forget or didn’t learn that we, [00:26:00] we all have both, but are expressed in a different way.

Branka: And many of those messages are really on the first side, they are seen as outside power, outside conquer and such. But when I dive deeper for me, it was truly an inner journey of inner power. So this backbone of what it really means to act and what it really means to build up some journey was more expressive in the inside than outside, but told in a different way.

Branka: I don’t know, but this was my perspective and I wanted to share because you mentioned this because I was fascinated that those deep truth about human psyche and human heart and brain were actually written so many years ago and known so many years ago and even used a lot better than we use it today with all the information and technology and [00:27:00] resources we have.

Sarah: It’s interesting about feminine and masculine energy this particular topic because I was always a, Women in a man’s world. So if you imagine the only software engineer, I joined computer science engineering in the late nineties. So I was the girl in the room.

Sarah: Also before that when I was in school early on, I was the girl that played with the boys. So I was a tomboy. And when I was very young, so a young girl, I preferred playing with tools and things that involve sports over playing with dolls. I was a female which had, I think, a lot of masculine energy which made it quite easy for me when I did join the software engineering field to join working with all men.

Sarah: I never felt uncomfortable in an all men environment. I even feel more comfortable sometimes in an all men environment than I do in an all female environment. What’s interesting, being that female with all [00:28:00] males, I also saw men be men. So they usually didn’t have a problem being themselves with me in the room.

Sarah: Because if you imagine, I have quite a masculine energy, so I could keep up with them or talk around the same topics or just be one of the guys in a way, a. And what’s interesting is I had sometimes the similar issues and problems that males do when I would be in an environment with females.

Sarah: So you put me for example I went on a speaker retreat a couple of weeks ago and it was almost all females. And there was like one guy there. I felt very uncomfortable. I felt insecure. I felt a little bit like out of place or not really maybe even slightly confused about what was normal or what, in a way, more vulnerable than normal in an uncomfortable way that didn’t bring out my power. So it even made me feel not able to be vulnerable. And I am a [00:29:00] woman of vulnerability. Like I even teach people how to be vulnerable. It, I was putting up more guards in a way and protecting myself from this group of females.

Sarah: Because I couldn’t quite understand, let’s say in full their way of communicating or what they mean behind things or what’s going on there. I just wanted to bring that up because we’re talking about feminine and masculine energy. In a way, I feel like because I have been a woman in a men’s world, I’ve been able to interject the femininity that exists within me.

Sarah: That’s a little bit more than the men in the room in the right level so that they feel safe with it. And they’ve been able to get very vulnerable with me, rather than throwing them into a space, which is having so much feminine energy that it can even make a person feel quite insecure and close up and go almost on the opposite side of vulnerability.

Sarah: And because of that, I’ve been able to really help men grow [00:30:00] in crazy ways since I was a very young female, in my early twenties, helping them see how they work and how they act in a completely different way because it was on the smallest level. 

Sarah: I wonder. If there’s something to it, Rob, when you were mentioning that you work with all men groups, that, it’s not that men cannot be vulnerable. It’s just feeling very unsafe when you are entering a space that has a lot more of a different hormone or a lot more of a different energy than you do that you feel so insecure, you feel very unseen in a way or even scared about it because it’s just different. 

Sarah: And maybe Rob, you have on the opposite side, because I’ve watched your profile for quite a while, we’ve been in touch for a while, a little bit more feminine energy.

Sarah: So you could even compare it to me, if you imagine me having more masculine energy being in that environment. So being able to slowly interject this way of getting to our core and what vulnerability really means. 

Sarah: It doesn’t mean crying, by the way. Men show [00:31:00] vulnerability differently. It’s really about, if you’re going to talk with a man in general, and you start talking about too many feelings and, like you have to be crying or you have, It just doesn’t, that’s not how they get to it and getting them to maybe be a little bit more in the head and logical in the way that we talk about okay, can we think about that maybe everyone in this room might have a different conviction of what’s happening in the space.

Sarah: That’s logical. That’s what the mind, And when you start to talk, let’s say in the men speak or the way that they talk, they can start going into it in a logical way to the point where they can start seeing their own schemas and things that are going on there. And they’re very capable of being vulnerable.

Sarah: It’s just a different language. It’s like a different approach. 

Rob: That’s really interesting. Thank you, Sarah. So I’ve done a lot in relationships and many people talk about the masculine and the feminine. And for me, it’s never had any [00:32:00] concrete, I just think there just is. 

Rob: I’ve never considered myself as having a feminine energy.

Rob: Having said that I’ve worked predominantly women friends with women. And because of the nature of what I’ve done, it’s 70 percent women, less men because it’s been individual growth. It’s been in relationships. There’s a couple of things that I think are really interesting that you brought up that might be worth looking at.

Rob: The first is, I think there’s a problem, men and women communicating. And that problem is traditionally, and this is my stereotypical biased idea of how I pigeonholed, but patriarchy said, man is the boss. If your wife and your children don’t listen to you and don’t do what you say, You’re not a real man.

Rob: So the man had to be the leader of every household. What that meant is that men feel a pressure to know what to do. 

Rob: They feel a pressure. This is what we’re doing. Whereas women can’t overtly challenge. And because they can’t [00:33:00] overtly challenge, they tend to have to put it softer in a way that always was pandering to male egos.

Rob: And they need to say as if it’s the man’s own idea. So I think women communicate in a way that comes across as very manipulative because they’re not direct. They don’t just say what they mean. And it’s it’s veiled and it’s confusing to a man, to a simple man like me. 

Sarah: It’s funny you say that I don’t want to interrupt you, but that is the problem that I have with of communicating with females versus men.

Sarah: I love it when people just say what they think and do what they say. It’s something which I find easy and to handle and to be around. But when there’s all of this levels of communication that’s happening below the words, that’s when I start to feel quite insecure and quite stressed out.

Sarah: What’s really going on here? They’re not saying what they really want, that they’re not saying what they really need, and then you start to feel this kind of like insecurity of, what do they really need or want? And I totally [00:34:00] get that.

Lisa: On that note, that’s also cultural as well. So it will be so it’s much more when I was working in Japan, there’s so much more of that. And it also made it easier for me as a British woman, maybe. To start to understand that there’s some of my American or Australian friends who wanted to be very direct.

Lisa: Yeah. That’s why I like the Netherlands. It’s 

Sarah: very direct in the Netherlands. Yeah. And I struggle a little bit with the UK culture because it’s so indirect. 

Rob: So we have the masculine and feminine and going back to the groups I don’t feel it was so much that the presence of a woman in the room as a feeling of being judged and what men were saying.

Rob: So in the men’s groups or whatever, men will come in and they go, what do I do? And they want direct, tell me exactly what I do. Okay. And so for example, this guy said, give a scenario, what should I have said? 

Rob: I go you say what you feel. Yeah. And maybe I think maybe a male energy, if you’re talking about masculine energy and [00:35:00] masculine energy is get it right is what do I do? Is make the decision. 

Rob: Whereas a female energy is maybe what do I feel? Because men put so much pressure that they feel that if a woman is unhappy, it’s their responsibility. They’re not doing something right. And because they’re not doing something right, they feel that they are failing.

Rob: So it could be that the, their partner is depressed. They take it personally, like they have caused 

Sarah: your discomfort or your bad feeling. 

Rob: Yeah and They’re trying to get it right and the woman, I think women generally are trying to engage with them and they want an emotional engagement and it to develop not with any certain outcome.

Rob: But just to understand how they feel and to connect. I’ve 

Sarah: seen it already in young children. If I look at my children. Boys, or my son and his friends, they hit each other on the head or they have a little like fight and get it out and they’re all finished and there’s no problem anymore where the girls, both of them because I have two, it’s all more about [00:36:00] emotions and what they feel that someone might have said and what they think of them and it’s so much more complex there’s so many different players and they’ll hold more grudges and like you said there’s some more judgment, I think, where if I asked my son, so how is it with your friend?

Sarah: Oh, we’re good. We’re fine. Everything’s they may have a tiff, but it’s very direct. It’s very physical and then it’s done, and I think that interaction between that masculine and feminine energy can be quite stressful. If you’re used to being able to hit someone on the head and just fix it or whatever, and the other one might be holding a grudge, then you may start to think, is this person judging me right now?

Sarah: Because I can’t rely on that. That’s that we could just, duke it out and we’re finished and we’re done with this. And I think That’s the reason at that retreat two weeks ago, I felt uncomfortable is I felt that I could possibly be judged where when I’m hanging out with men, I don’t feel judged.

Sarah: I feel just they don’t [00:37:00] like me, they’re going to say it and we’re going to have a bit of a tiff, we’ll have maybe a little exchange of words and I will most likely use my feminine energy to make sure it’s not a real fight. I’ll get them to think maybe differently about the situation, but it’s finished and we move on and I know that we’re colleagues and we’re friends and we’re okay.

Sarah: Where sometimes I feel like people with more feminine energy, they’re holding something in there, but they’ll smile and they’ll say it’s okay. And so then my brain starts to go are they really okay? Or, are they bringing this into every interaction from this point forward? 

Lisa: I’m just starting to think about if we could do something again in schools or I don’t think necessarily having to say masculine or feminine energy, but just different strategies and different ways of being because I can recognize it myself.

Lisa: It’s interesting what you’ve been saying, Sarah. I wouldn’t say I had the same experience as you at all, but I have mostly worked with men and I find it more comfortable often than with exclusively women, but I [00:38:00] actually think it’s just great for both if you can have a mix and if you can find out how different people Communicate and you can even if you think I don’t communicate that. You can start to understand that maybe this is what we need more facilitation of from a young age, but not necessarily with labels or anything, but just, different ways of saying how does that make you feel?

Lisa: How did they feel? How can we get to a win situation? Because, I’ll also recognize in myself, I’m really interested interested in the layers and different cultures, but also sometimes I catch myself wanting to find a solution to my child’s problem immediately. Whereas actually I know that, and I think, what would I want?

Lisa: It’s actually wanting to be heard first anyway, and they’ll probably find a solution. So I don’t know, it’s, it, we can all come at it from different different perspectives. And I think it’d be really helpful if we were not necessarily taught, but given given opportunities to explore these different ways of communicating and feel comfortable and not [00:39:00] judged.

Lisa: Now the judging again is really difficult. I know I’ve got judgmental in my profile but, logically, I really don’t want to be judgmental. Maybe that’s why I try hard not to be. Diversity and everything’s really important value to me. Yeah, just human brains so complex, isn’t it?

Lisa: But maybe if you have a, bring a certain level of awareness and consciousness to it without having to be an expert and just yeah, explore different ways of being and of talking to each other. 

Sarah: I may say something controversial on this, but do we really need to change it? Do we really need to change how a man or a female necessarily would communicate, or if they have more masculine or feminine energy?

Sarah: I feel like it’s always an addition when you have a female in a team, or if you have a man in the team, because it allows you to see things in a different way, et cetera. But I don’t think that we need to change this in order to get to a vulnerable place and get to a place of being able to work together.

Sarah: It’s more [00:40:00] about Okay, how can we, when we have feelings people in the room, how can we get them to accept and work together with people that are more physical in the room versus the other way around? Try talking, for example, with my partner. He has ADHD and you ask him a question, what do you feel? He will already feel judged in the fact that I’ve asked that question because he doesn’t talk about feelings.

Sarah: Not in the same way that I would. So just for me to make him come up with a feeling is already judging him and already putting him on the defense. So instead of me trying to force him to have a feeling which he doesn’t identify with or understand, it’s about, okay, If you don’t have a feeling, tell me what’s going on right now.

Sarah: And what do you feel like, what is your brain doing, or what is your reaction response? And then how can we get this to work together? Because where I might be triggered by a feeling, he might be just triggered by a neu neurological response, and [00:41:00] identifying that being able to talk that language with that person and be so willing to understand that they might have a different language or a different way of communicating and a different way of reacting and we can all exist in the same space. 

Lisa: Yeah, sure, getting the best from collaborating and then diversity is absolutely where we want to end up, I agree. And then thinking from a change point of view of all the projects I’ve worked on, you actually need all of those things.

Lisa: You need somebody or some person’s part of their brain who’s working on totally the logic. You need somebody who’s working on the emotions, you need all those elements, whether it’s one person or 20 or whatever, it doesn’t really matter. Yeah. But how to harness the best of everyone and get where you want to go.

Branka: I as well agree that we don’t have to necessarily change. It’s not even healthy, not supportive to address it in a way we need to change men. We need to change women. We need to change everything because with that, we are just reinforcing disbelief that something is wrong with [00:42:00] them.

Branka: I would say that nothing is wrong. It’s just misaligned between one and the other. And at the same time, I would address this aspect that I found fascinating with the last conversation Rob had with men around men. And you brought it up again here. That they are actually waiting for instructions.

Branka: What do I have to say? In this case, we can see how well trained they are to survive in a relationship with a woman. So not feeling safe to express anything. To some extent, I would say that when I was talking to different men, I saw and noticed that there are a lot of deep seated beliefs of what it takes to be a real man that are really misaligned with all that really man and human exactly is, but they are wired in their perception.

Branka: And this can be a [00:43:00] reason why they feel a lot of judgment right away, because every time a woman wants to make a step closer to them, it’s not to judge them. It’s not to attack them, but to know them. So through emotion, basically, we can better understand how someone functions, how someone experiences the world.

Branka: After all, basically, all our experiences and all our actions are based on emotion. So if someone is basically looking for instructions, so I don’t necessarily You need to say, what do you feel, you need to say what what is happening, but more of this sense, find a way to be honest with yourself. So not thinking about how to please others, not thinking about how to find the right words to make it work.

Branka: Because with this, I believe that this problem is a big space we have made between one another. [00:44:00] Because we are trying to figure out how the other works instead of talking. First thoughts, yeah, can be a little confusing, but more we let each other to share. And I have to judge this judgment.

Branka: Like you said, brain are fascinating and yeah, we are wired to judge first. It’s a natural 

Sarah: economy. Like we want to able to figure out what our life is going to be and how we decide to move forward. We all want to be heard, seen, and respected. And I think as humans. We will get to that better place when we accept that you’re going to have different people in the same space that are looking at that space differently, seeing something differently.

Sarah: It goes to what is our linking intention of being in this space together? How can we connect on the intention? Of that space and that relationship or that, that particular scope that we’re working together on. And then how can we have our own autonomy and moving [00:45:00] forward to add value to that particular intention that we all agree on.

Sarah: It’s not about changing each other or pushing each other to drive a different way or have a different even view of the room. You don’t need to have a different view of the room as long as you find a way to work together on whatever that intention is and in every space there’s going to be a different intention so taking the time to figure what that is and that we all have the same passion towards it and we all want to contribute towards that.

Rob: I think that really sums up. It sheds it in a new light. I think the judgementalism is really important. And what we need to move is from judgemental to understanding and acceptance. And then when we embrace the differences. It’s like the old adage about six blind men go and see an elephant and they all have a different part. What we’re looking for from communication. We want people to fill in the parts that we can’t see. What comes to mind there is that judgmentalism is probably [00:46:00] more dominant in men in the sense that there’s some controversial research that, you know and it seems to play out, but it’s controversial because it’s been linked with biblical ideas of relationships that men typically will choose respect over love, women will choose love over respect. 

Rob: The idea of provider and status is very important in a man in status, in the sense of what you have and not so much who you are. It’s your power or it’s your stuff rather than your personal or it might be like your intelligence or it might be your whatever.

Rob: Something that played into that and is a huge part of The problems that men have is the alpha myth. 

Rob: The idea of the alpha male was done in early 1970s with pack wolves, It was picked up by someone in the American White House and it became popularized.

Rob: It really caught on. And so everyone’s wanting to be an alpha male which is that whole Andrew Tate and every [00:47:00] kind of dating guru to men is you need to be an alpha male. And then the author put out that it was a mistake. It was flawed. The only reason that it happened is because wolves will live in a family.

Rob: But they put a bunch of different stranger wolves next in a group with scarce resources. So they fought for resources. Yeah, that that’s really enlightening what you’ve said.

Rob: Do 

Sarah: we need wait, cause you talked about respect value versus, let’s say, the love value.

Sarah: I honestly believe that you can have four people in the same space or five or whatever number it is. And we all have a different need. We all have our own values. It’s coming from our childhoods or upbringing, maybe our neurodiversity, maybe coming from our sex. But we all have a basic need. Okay, so now you have a space, and let’s say in that space, it happens to be a male, it could be a female, and to their need their basis of thriving is respect, and let’s say there’s [00:48:00] another person in that same space, and their need and their basis for thriving is love, or let’s say it’s collaboration.

Sarah: When we talk about vulnerability, it’s about knowing what our need is, and Finding a way to meet each other in that same space and make sure that person is getting what they need in our collaboration together so that we can get to that basis of what we want to work on together because we have a similar intent from this relationship or working together, etc.

Sarah: Everyone’s values in that space need to be honored in a way. Otherwise, you’re going to feel like you’re not thriving. If I’m working together, and I have many times worked in the same space with someone that has a core value of respect, then I know that, and I’m aware of that, what do you need from me to feel respected?

Sarah: Now, this is what I need from you to feel loved. And as long as we find a way to give what that other person [00:49:00] needs so that we can collaborate, so that we can get to that basis of what our joint intent is, You have a peaceful room. It’s not about taking out the respect from one and taking out the lever and the other shifting it or whatever.

Sarah: Everyone’s values in that space need to be honored. And then you’ve got a group of people which feel they can thrive and because they can thrive and they’re having their own autonomy to be in that space and choosing to work on that joint intention together. That’s when you get the magic.

Sarah: That’s when you get everyone feeling good about being in that space. 

Lisa: Yeah, because then the loss that somebody has is not a loss around a core value. It’s more of a periphery loss and it doesn’t have to be much so and it 

Sarah: could be that you’re thriving shifts over time. Maybe you are a man, let’s say with respect and you hang out with three people that have love and communication as their core values and over time, You start to also need that in your future interactions with people.

Sarah: People will change when they feel honored and they [00:50:00] feel like their person as a being is accepted and okay in that space, they will shift and change all on their own by seeing how it is to honor other people’s values in that space too. And, oh, I like that one too, and I think I might need that too in order to thrive.

Lisa: Yeah, because values do change, that’s right. But I also think, I think you’re spot on there, Sarah, but I think sometimes to get to that point of knowing what your values are, never mind what somebody else’s values are, can be quite tricky. And that’s when you would get a it that gets into the core.

Lisa: Yeah. What is that? The beginning? Yeah. That’s a massive project, but yeah, that’s where we wanna get to. Amazing. Yeah. 

Rob: That’s my model of conflict. To become a unified team you have to align your personal objectives so that they become the same as the collective, and then it’s a change of identity.

Rob: And then you can change from an individual. Because Until you change your identity to that of the collective. The reason people change their identity is because they get more from the [00:51:00] collective. And until they get that, they’re going to have divided goals because traditionally people have used shame and it’s Oh, we’d be a team player.

Rob: I’ll stop being selfish. Humans are built to want what they want and they crave something. And if you’re not going to give them what they crave, they’re not going to join because they get what they want from their individual goals. Instead of 

Sarah: saying changing identity, I believe people can keep their identity and honor their personal value, but make sure that intention is the same.

Sarah: That we all are seeking to reach something and maybe I’m getting something different out of it than you are, but I believe when we step away from let’s change each other’s identity or we have to change to the collective because that stresses me out. If I’m joining the space here and I have to change my identity in order for us to be able to work together.

Sarah: That’s going to prevent me from being able to make progress. 

Rob: Okay. It’s probably a terminology difference, but I’m 

Sarah: guessing that, 

Rob: But for me, we have levels of [00:52:00] identity. So we have ourself, we have as a couple, as a family, and as a tribe, and we identify with things that underlying we see ourself in.

Rob: And so it’s a shifting so that you still have all but without digressing too much on that. 

Rob: So we’ve covered a lot. And I think we could go on for a day, but in respect of everyone’s time, I want to be able to wrap up. So from the perspective of you’re working in a team, you’re in a team or someone is maybe struggling or for men within that kind of environment.

Rob: Thinking about all the things that we’ve discussed or maybe something out of that. i’d like to go around and think about What is what advice tips or if someone was struggling what would you suggest that they might look at? If someone came to you as a leader as a you know someone you’re doing some work with on change or Emotionally, what would be something that you would look at?

Rob: So i’ll start. What shifted for me? 

Rob: In the discussion today two things is to [00:53:00] be able to look at the judgmental thing, why do men feel more judged? And I think some of that comes, so if we, so I think some of that is maybe a biological thing. When we look around, we look at where we evolved from physically, it’s from hunter gatherers.

Rob: Typically, men, as far as we know, were hunters and I remember reading an anthropologist who went out and studied like native tribes that still live in a quite nomadic way. And he said all the men were like silent because if they made a noise that the prey would hear. So they were, men would be out for the day and they would not say a word with each other.

Rob: He went out with the women, and the women were, they were gathering, and they had the kids, and they were all chatting, and they were eating, and it was such a social occasion. So I think some of that is, is wired, is that if we look at women as being gatherers, the women went out, and they were certain to get something.

Rob: Back then there was equality, because women provided 50 percent of the food, because often the men would come back, From the hunt without any [00:54:00] food. Women always had something, but when men came back, it was a bigger haul so I’m thinking there would be being the hero. Who’s been the one who killed the animal would put a ranking system where it’s been a gatherer, everyone brought pretty much the same amount of food back. So it’s that idea off the judgmentalism where that comes from in men on the idea of that playing out in masculine feminine energies. I 

Lisa: would say, there’s a lot involved, but a really good starting point is thinking about what matters to you, what your values are, what matters to you and what matters in the project or the thing that you’re doing at the moment.

Lisa: And then from a change management point of view, this to life as well. Is look at other people involved and try to work with them to find out what matters to them and find some common ground because it will look different for everyone. And if you can try and get what your, values are straight and then find out what matters to other people.

Lisa: That’s a good place to start [00:55:00] and value everyone’s contribution. And even when there’s someone who’s very resistant or there are problems that it can be useful because there will be a grain of truth in there. There will be something that you can use there, which will make the solution or what you’re doing better.

Lisa: So it’s about small steps as well. Don’t try to do everything at once. 

Branka: I would touch to where I ended before and it goes well with what you asked. So I believe that, in certain way our brains are natural fact the judge and these judgments can come from those times when basically tribes had to judge pretty fast if someone they met can be dangerous to their tribe.

Branka: Or is it safe to let them in? So it was again survival. And today we face all of us. We face a lot of judgment. We are basically overflown with this. This is why I So regularly mentioned and support with [00:56:00] compassion because I believe that the opposite of judgment is compassion. So that we notice, like Lisa beautifully said, first of all, we need awareness and understanding that the judgment is coming and being conscious enough to stop it and try to become curious and compassionate no matter what it is.

Branka: But to the point of you what you mentioned, why there is so much judgment towards men, I would say in my work as an environment coach, I always teach that these judgments we have towards the world or we fear that are thrown on us are in core essence our self judgment we have. So it’s a projection we see and.

Branka: I would always advise that the first step is to explore why this judgment even so what is it judging and we can do that only from the space of compassion. So having enough space to admit to yourself, [00:57:00] I am judging this and maybe I don’t even know why. Maybe it’s connected with this alpha male syndrome, or maybe it’s connected with many different conceptions that were built and thrown upon you.

Branka: And that doesn’t mean that your value or worth is any decreased. That doesn’t mean that you have less power if you don’t have all those things that society told you to do. So I believe in essence, we need to find the way that a man can feel confident and enough and empowered with what it is already.

Branka: Like I often say, it’s setting your power. Yeah, that does not mean that you don’t have a power within you. That just means that certain emotions, judgments, predispositions, and such are hiding it. And you are basically shying your talent and potential away because you don’t feel quite safe to express it.

Branka: And the [00:58:00] more a man addresses this inner judgment, the easier it becomes to actually express themselves and become confident enough to show what they know and at the same time listen to others because this is another big struggle men have because like you said they were expected to know it all they were expected to have the last say they were often lead leaded by a woman in behind.

Branka: And now, instead of this leading and helping from a woman, men are often faced with maybe dominance, maybe competition and such. And this makes a man’s struggle even bigger and deeper. So more compassion less judgment, even if the judgment is noticed and remember and notice yourself. That’s You’re a human.

Branka: We are all on this journey of learning of exploring. And if we can [00:59:00] lose just a little bit of judgment, it can become a lot easier to drive in this world, maybe judgment towards others or within ourselves.

Sarah: I would say. If I were in a situation, which I needed to coach someone in this going back to the, being the mediator hat on so imagining. Two parents having a quarrel with each other. They’ve just separated and they’re fighting about nitpicky things. You care too much about this and I need this, etc.

Sarah: The mediator then says, Hey, what about the child? You both love this child, right? What does the child need? So when we’re talking about working together. What is our joint purpose? What can we all get behind and say we all care about this? Because as soon as we look at the purpose for this relationship, the purpose for us existing in this space, we are able to re think about the [01:00:00] fact that we might be different people, we might have different ways of upbringing the children in our, let’s say, different households or something, but in the end, we want happy children. We want healthy Children. We can agree on that. And that’s how we should work together. What is our joint purpose? Why are we existing in this space? You may have several different purposes, depending on which space you’re standing in. This always needs to align. And then what do we need as individuals?

Sarah: This is how we get vulnerable. What is behind the issue that we’re having? So usually if someone’s complaining about being micromanaged. It may not be the micromanaging itself. That’s the problem. It could be that they need more autonomy and what they are doing and behind that they need more trust and behind that they were abandoned as a child.

Sarah: So what is that core need? Where is it coming from? So that we can make sure that we can support each other in those needs and that we can all thrive going towards the same [01:01:00] purpose. And this has nothing to do with male and female. It has to do with just being human. 

Rob: Lovely words to end the call.

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