Research tells us that the male brain is different from the female brain on the neurological level. We are all human, but our minds have unique strengths and weaknesses. Leadership ability has been synonymous with traditionally “masculine” traits, like strength and power. However, as more women rise (and thrive) in leadership roles, we are learning that there are many qualities of the female brain that are ideal for leadership.
Gender differences in the brain only lend themselves to the benefits of gender diversity in leadership. Most people will tell you that men and women think differently, and, by extension, lead differently. But how do these differences actually manifest in the brain?
Our gender plays a significant role in the physiology and functioning of our brain. While men’s brains are about 10% larger on average, women’s brains have more nerve cells and connectors that promote efficiency. Women also have a larger corpus callosum, which allows for more efficient data transfer between the right and left hemispheres.
Women also have a larger, more active hippocampus than men do. This aids in long-term memory and spatial navigation. Additionally, women tend to have more developed regions of the limbic system-- the emotional circuitry. While men are predisposed to excellence in mathematical thinking and logic, women are more inclined to process interpersonal experiences with more empathy.
The prefrontal cortex in women is larger than in men; this is the area of the brain associated with future planning, focus, and impulse control. At the same time, women have a smaller amygdala, the primal part of the brain linked to aggression and anger. This combination allows women to look ahead and keep their composure, even in emotionally agitating situations. While men tend to meet stress with preparation for conflict, women are more likely to instinctively work toward collaborative solutions.
The area of the brain that interprets signals from the microbiota, or “gut feelings,” is called the insula. This part of the brain is larger and more active in women, offering a scientific explanation for a “woman’s intuition.”
Women’s brains, while neither superior nor inferior to men’s, are indisputably compatible with leadership. According to author and psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, there are five key strengths of women that particularly lend themselves to leadership roles:
Faced with stressful situations, women are inclined to activate their relational response and take a collaborative approach. Their ability to moderate their temper and control their impulses also leads to less risk-taking behavior. When they do take a risk, it is more likely to be calculated, taking future possibilities into account. With these physiological traits, combined with skills, experience, and industry acumen, women are ideal for positions of power and influence.
Meet the Guest Contributor:
Dr. Lisa Huseboe is a Neuroplastician and the Founder of the breakthrough Cognitive Circuit Training® Program- the first of its kind, performed exclusively at Neurocity Junction, a state-of-the-art facility located in South Florida.
Neurocity Junction's Cognitive Circuit Training® Program harnesses the power of neuroplasticity, the brain's potential to create new neural pathways and repair damage caused by injury.
Developed by Dr. Lisa Huseboe, the Cognitive Circuit Training® Program integrates a multisensory approach to cognitive rehabilitation, including light therapy, sound therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, balance and physical activity. Therapies are customized for each patient, ensuring new, repeating, and challenging activity is always present to accelerate the process of neuroplasticity and promote accelerated rehabilitation.
The Cognitive Circuit Training® Program is ideal for those with acquired brain injuries such as traumatic brain injuries from accidents or falls, stroke, alcohol or drug abuse, ADD and ADHD, mood and emotional disorders relating to brain injury, and more.
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