His and Her Brains at Work

Are men’s and women’s brains different, when it comes to the workplace? The answer is a resounding YES, and more importantly, science is finding that men and women work differently. When a woman works like a man does, her health suffers.

Here are three things that are different in men’s and women’s brains.

  1. Women Are Soooo Emotional

Yes, women are more emotional than men, both on the positive and negative side. That’s because women are designed to feel emotions for intensely than men. This also makes women more susceptible to depression than men, which bears out in the statistics. The good news is, women can feel happier than men. But that doesn’t mean men are heartless creatures. It just means that women have a bit wider range of emotions than men.

On a related note, women have more wiring available to detect facial expressions than men. So women, you might have to give your man some extra clues to let him know if you are suffering and need his support. Men simply don’t have the wiring to know when you might be sad until the tears start flowing. Then they get it. The good news is, men can learn to detect facial expressions. Jobs like the police, detectives, attorneys, judges, ministers, and poker players all require exceptional people-reading skills, and men who lack these skills can go through special training to pick them up.

  1. Honey, I Don’t Need to Ask for Directions

Generally speaking, men and women navigate differently. Men take more of a bird’s-eye view to get somewhere, relying on an allocentric approach. Women rely on local landmarks and how they are related to their own physical location in order to get from point A to point B, taking an egocentric approach.

On a related note, men also perform better on a task called spatial rotation. It was on our IQ tests in school, and it involved being able to mentally change the perspective of a 3D object in our minds and identify what it would look like when it was turned.

  1. Darling, You Hardly Said a Thing All Night

Women have it all over men in the verbal department. The brain is functionally organized and there are two parts on the left side of our brains (sometimes the right if you are left-handed) that control our speech and language processing. Women’s are bigger. Women are also able to remember things better when the thing they are trying to remember can be associated with words.

Please remember, these are all generalizations, so there will be individual differences that defy the averages.

Men and Women at Work

Because of these brain differences, men and women’s differences should be honored and celebrated in the workplace. Women who try to succeed at business using men’s techniques will likely have health problems. One example is in sales: men tend to “conquer” or “capture” the prospect to close the sale. It’s like hunting. If men have fear or stress on the job, they simply force their way through it. They can do this, being testosterone-laden. Women can’t.

Women need to build relationships. They need to embrace their fears and be supported, not fight their way through things. If they fight, they will burn out their adrenals sooner or later, or they will get sick frequently.

When we can honor the differences of each gender, we can also leverage the unique strengths men and women bring to the workplace, without trying to fit into one another’s mold. It’s the differences that make it far more fun anyway.