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01.29.10

5 Leadership Lessons: How Men and Women Lead Differently

5 Leadership Lessons
Men and women are hard-wired to lead each other differently. Understanding that the human brain is hard-wired with its gender, we can use this information to become more gender-intelligent and balanced. Utilizing these differences gives the organization a competitive advantage. In Leadership and the Sexes, Michael Gurian and Barbara Annis reveal these differences:

1  In women’s brains, there are more active sensorial and emotive centers, and better linkage of these centers to language centers; men’s senses don’t generally work as well as women’s. Men don’t process as much emotion, and men don’t tend to link as much complex emotion or sensorial detail to words. Men downplay emotion, even at the risk of hurt feelings, in order to play up performance. Men are chemically and neurally directed toward immediate rewards from performance, and they often prod—and sometimes humiliate or shame-coworkers in this direction. Women work constantly toward helping others express emotions in words rather than just in actions and search for a method for direct empathy when someone’s feelings are hurt, even at the expense of current goals.

2  In men’s brains, the cerebellum tends to be larger than in the female brain. The cerebellum is the center for action and physical movement. Thus, men tend to communicate more nonverbally, with more emphasis on movement and physicality than women’s emphasis on words. Men also often misread women’s facial expressions of frustration or annoyance—leading women to think that men don’t care. Additionally, men often listen without as much facial expression as women exhibit. Women can tend to feel not heard by men who recline away from them or listen with a blank face.

3  Men’s brains enter a “rest state,” a zone out state, more easily than women’s. This happens many times per day naturally for men – comparatively, women’s brains do not shut off in this way except in sleep. Men’s brains also enter a rest state when quantities of words become overwhelming during communication. Men are more likely to “zone out” if discussions become lengthy or wordy. In a meeting, men may keep themselves awake by what might appear to be fidgeting—clicking a pen, tapping, looking away, and the like.

4  Men’s brains circulate more testosterone than women’s, as compared to women’s greater neural emphasis on oxytocin. Testosterone is a competition/aggression chemical. Oxytocin is a bonding chemical. Quite often during communication, men will try to compete while women try to bond. The more support women build around them, the lower their stress level.

5  Women tend to be more interactive, wanting to keep interactions extended and vital until the interaction has worked through its emotional context. So much more sensory and emotive information is processed through female brain flow that female leaders tend more than men do, to seek more interactions in a day. Men tend to be more transactional in their interactions. Once the transaction of the interaction is complete, they tend to move away from the interaction and back to their more solitary task.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:12 AM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Five Lessons



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