25 Tips to Men + Women = Brainpower

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It’s no secret that women and men leaders differ, and  research now shows that’s the case even at rest. My question is: How can we capitalize on brainpower differences between men and women to raise the leadership IQ of our sinking world? Did you know for instance, that while many boardrooms include men only – new research proves that teams with more women have higher IQ?

We now know that gender distinctives span both biologically and cognitively, awake and asleep. How then, can we benefit more from that difference?

Act and Facilitate

It takes deliberate action and keen facilitation skills to mesh male and female together for mutual dividends.

25 Tips to Men+Women = Brainpower

We gain riches from offerings each gender adds when we better balance male and female brainpower. When we leverage refreshing strengths together as leaders. Conversely, you’ll soon spot weaknesses that impacts an entire group, whenever one side is blatantly missing. Have you noticed the tone change when  equal female representation comes to the boardroom table?

From boardrooms to halls of government, to higher education, blended gender brainpower trumps either side alone. Why ignore making leadership decisions jointly – when it’s obvious we’d win big with wisdom from brilliantly blended views?

Yet because we miss the magic and ignore  differences that link brilliant brains together at work, both sides tend to dismiss grand gender contributions from the other side. Visualize men’s and women’s brains as capital at your next leadership meeting, and you’ll begin to spot nuances that polish pretty much any topic. How so?

25  Gender Brainpower Boosters to Reboot Innovation IQ from Both Sides:

1. Invent solutions to a stubborn workplace problem, together. Reality is that men often tend to be better at numbers and women tend to trump language and communication – a winning combination for joint initiatives.

2. Uplift your own gender as well as the opposite one. Men traditionally dominated fields of math, science, and engineering for instance, yet that imbalance changes for better balance when women and men who excel in these fields inspire growth in females.

3. Include mental differences as assets. Women hold the lion’s share of higher education degrees since 1982, yet women do less well on standardized tests used for college entrance and graduate school requirements. The best universities are attracting more men to fill their enrollment gaps and rethinking gender bias in some required tests.

4. Research and open mentally to new and different ideas daily.   Hormones, for instance, play a larger part in cognitive operations than once realized. Research, for example, shows that when people change their genders, their cognitive patterns also change.

5. Inspire both genders to use stronger intelligences to shore up weaker areas.  Women often outperform men on tasks that use language processing, and draw on more symmetric activation across brain hemispheres.

6. Propose brainpowered approaches to ease complex tasks. Men often outperform women in tasks that call upon activation of the visual cortex areas. Help women to hook even difficult facts onto one thing they already know, and learning increases in less time.

7. Welcome diversity and expect new solutions to old problems. Research shows, through brain imaging,  that even when men and women perform the same tasks equally well, they draw on different parts of the brain to do so.

8. Thank a person of opposite gender for a personal accomplishment.  New high-tech scientific study shows marked differences between men and women under stress. Well being comes partially from and is fueled and extended by serotonin chemical hormones, while venting is bad for the brain and creates new neuron pathways to much more of the same.

9. Celebrate those who differ mentally.  In reality,  both genders use logic, which is one of  multiple intelligences people possess in varying degrees. However, men and women tend to apply and express logic differently.

10. Stir curiosity and engage others.  Studies show that women  learn logical nuances from men they respect.  In similar ways,  men learn mental dividends from observing women’s intrapersonal or emotional intelligence in action. New research shows hunches that power both men and women’s brains, mental triggers that save lives through fast decisions and skilled action.

11. Create rather than criticize. Cynical or critical mindsets literally block creativity, limit talent in you or others, and stomp out innovation. Can you envision both genders creating and navigating far bigger pictures together?

12. Act the person you want the other gender to see in you, and that you’ll become. Dendrite brain cells use the outside world and  take shape, or grow based on what you do. Einstein said it best: Vision without execution is hallucination.

13. Integrate from ideas and people across many fields.  It often takes an integration of  hard and soft skills to solve problems with the brain in mind. Successful people craft insights with their emotional intelligence, and then add logical action plans for mind-bending results.

14. Communicate with care, openness and honesty to both genders. Meta messages destroy relationships through implications different from message spoken. Stress literally shrinks the brain, and tone in communication acts as a silent killer.

15. Encourage your own gender and the opposite gender -often.  Encouragement literally changes the chemistry of a brain through raised serotonin, and ratchets up tone for profitability and appreciation of differences.

16. Give somebody the gift of forgiveness, and let go of any grudges from either gender. Anger, fear, and frustration  are fueled and extended by cortisol chemical hormones, and keep the genders divided in areas where they could both grow through the generosity of forgiveness.

17. Change on regular basis, by interacting more meaningfully with both genders.  Your brain’s basal ganglia stores old facts and creates ruts, while working memory holds few new facts and leads change. Try alternatives to an observed annoying habit.  Facilitate people’s talents, for instance, rather than give lectures or talks that tend to work against listener brains.

18. List key similarities as guides and reminders to appreciate what genders hold in common.  By the way, memory can be outsourced (through jotting down a few reminders on a list) to help you remember more reasons to value differences, and to free your mind for  focus on the moment.

19. Risk innovation with the other gender, one step at a time.  Inspire creativity and invention through teaching others at the same time you also learn and create yourself, so that differences become assets.

20. Capitalize on diverse approaches that people who differ can teach you Women’s and men’s brain differ biologically and intellectually, for instance,  in ways that few optimize from either gender.

21. Collaborate to propose cross-gender solutions. Create new neuron pathways collectively across genders and cultures and add  joint solutions to workplace  problems  encountered by both men and women.

22. Seek genuine and lasting relationships with both men and women. Greet  colleagues through speaking people’s names, to offer spike in well being or awareness in person’s brain.

23. Vary your background sounds and add music for more motivation for men and women. Music changes brain wave speeds in ways that impact moods and alter productivity.

24. Survey and engage more unique strengths of both men and of women. Multiple intelligences are common to all, used by few, and can be cultivated daily with regular use as mental tools.

25, Shift up routines daily. Hebbian workers rewire their brains to kill incentives, limit focus or even shrink their brains with sameness. Plasticity enables people of all ages and backgrounds to rewire the human brain in ways that keep it younger and more agile.

Imagine the fine future we’d all enjoy, if we each tried one or two brain friendly tactics daily, to engage, listen to, and learn from the opposite gender.

Do any of the above  and literally change your leadership DNA!

Did you know that research shows how you can also change your personal DNA so that it should be possible to change an organizations to benefit more from both genders. Let’s add more female voices in HSM best inspired ideas for 2011, rather than 19 men and one woman’s offering that made it into print – and more female views begin to emerge as dividends, for instance. It takes such an action to rewire for value in both genders. How so?

Dr. Norman Doidge (MD) shows in his 2007 book, The Brain that Changes Itself, how plastic change, caused by our experiences travels deep into the brain and ultimately  enters your genes, molding them.

One of two gene functions can change. The first, or template function, allows your genes to replicate, making copies that you pass on to next generation, and that does not change.

The second, or transcription function, however, can change your DNA. You likely know how each cell in your body contains all your DNA. Doidge shows how genes make new protein when turned on or expressed, and that protein (kinase A) alters the structure and function of the cell.

This process also causes working memory where we create and test new practices – into long-term memory where new approaches become habits.  The protein kinase A moves from the body of the neuron, into its nucleus which holds genes. Protein tackles a gene – turning it into a protein, that changes the nerve endings which helps it to grow new connections between neurons.

Simply put – neuroplastic changes can raise our IQ and can set us in more powerful directions, just by the actions we take that set plasticity into motion. Your amazing brain does the rest, to remap itself for specific changes reflected in your actions.  See why we need to act more on what we hope to become as leaders? Yes, both genders can win, and collective we’ll win far bigger!

Key here is that to alter your leadership DNA, you have to first act to engage those genes that kinase A protein can tackle and reshape.

How could these few applications taken from facts about the human brain increase workplace brainpower across both genders and toss more innovation into 2010 because we grew together?

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Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset

13 thoughts on “25 Tips to Men + Women = Brainpower

  1. Pingback: Target Differences between Gender Brains – Brain Leaders and Learners

  2. Cherry Woodburn

    Nice to meet up with you via NOW Leadership. I enjoyed your post and learned several things, which is always great.
    ~venting is bad for the brain and creates new neuron pathways to much more of the same. I never knew new neuron pathways are created; And can you describe the difference between venting and simply talking about something negative. Or are they both bad?
    ~Music changes brain wave speeds in ways that impact moods and alter productivity. I always knew that music (especially the rockin’, move in your seat kind) lifted my mood. Now I know why
    ~ I went back thru the post the find the line that really resonated with me and couldn’t find it. But it reminded me of my estranged husband and me – I swear he was speaking Russian to me at times (sure he felt same way about me) – I did not understand what he was saying at all. “huh? how did you get that out of what I said.” Cherry

  3. Pingback: NOW Leadership – The Brrrrr Edition | Germane Insights

  4. Ellen Weber

    Thanks Lori, you are spot on regarding the need for respect among people.

    In the Mita Brain Center we look for evidence of what we hold significant. So we’ll look for tone skills that build goodwill across differences, for instance, and count that as tools to generate respect.

    What power tools do you associate with more respect among people who differ?

  5. Lori Goldsmith, SPHR, GPHR


    Thank you for such an insightful post. Promoting greater respect and understanding among people is what diversity and inclusion is all about. I realize that you did not write this as a D&I initiative; however the leadership mindset steps you have laid out are core to a healthy and profitable corporate culture whether you are working across borders or not.

  6. eweber Post author

    Jacqui, I find it interesting that you pointed out the very traits that are so very showcased in your communications! Thanks for the inspiration you bring to all of us.

    It’s wonderful to walk alongside folks who wear the skills that promote brainpower in all, and to see how they remain curious and caring as life learners. What a delightful combo for the boardroom and other leadership tables where decisions are made for the way this country is run!

    I rarely write on this particular topic since I work with male and female leaders who I find really run with facts about the brain that improve all our lives. But at the moment I am writing a book with Robyn McMaster – and I want to address this issue because it has freeing opportunities in places we are stuck. Also – when we lead and speak on the topic – we are finding both genders energized to collaborate with the other.

    In my work I’ve been sad to see that women are not very supportive of other women, men are not very supportive of other men – and few are winning in that game. (No wonder so few enjoy their toxic workplaces that result). So we help leaders to create brainpowered practices that get very different results.

    And since the folks I work with are all smarter than me usually – they come us with strategies customized for them – with our facilitation. It’s fun, it works, and we need a very fresh start at being human together for the sake of those who follow! Thanks for so many ways you lead the way! Stay blessed!

  7. eweber Post author

    Wow Kate – thanks for your comments and you are on the spot regarding teaching approaches. In the Mita teaching approaches – we show how to teach math in multiple ways so that it is more than a males ways of structuring knowledge. Not surprisingly – we find many of the guys also love the multiple approaches we use.

    Mita teaching and assessment approaches have won awards in many countries (for proven higher motivation and achievement at secondary school and university) but recently we are concentrating more in US and locally.
    It really is time for an inspired call to action. When we see half the table as one gender and half as another – we’ll begin to rock this country forward with decision making and inspiration from both genders.

    Similarly – when we show multiple ways of enjoying linearity in language – the men love that structure and even more exciting these genders learn to work together and to value what they can learn from the other side. It was men who taught me the value of sequence, organization and linear thinking. Not that I abandoned my own ways of knowing – but their tips made mine richer. I know that you do that well for both genders in your own

    communications! Hopefully I do it fair to middlin’ too cause it’d vital that we let new facts about the brain help us all to progress this nation jointly. I remain convinced we can do it!

    Thanks Kate, for wondering about stuff we do here at the brain center and hopefully will continue to learn to do better! Thanks for the ideas of how we can join together to break the gridlocks that still hold us all back!

  8. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Executive Resume Strategist

    Hi Ellen,

    This post is content and idea-rich; I’m bookmarking it!

    Though all the points you made are important, several that leapt out at me (and which I personalized) follow:

    #8 – “Thank a person of opposite gender for a personal accomplishment.” The idea of venting creating new neuron pathways to much more of the same makes sense (and I’ve witnessed that in my/others’ lives, as well). Though an occasional unloading of uncomfortable thoughts helps me to process a situation, I’ve found lingering and languishing in negative venting to be counterproductive. I love the idea of focusing on appreciation for accomplishments. That is what lifts, encourages and moves us “onward and upward.”

    #11. “Create rather than criticize.” Again, focusing on the positive, forward movement versus “what’s wrong” resonates. You say that “Cynical or critical mindsets literally block creativity, limit talent … and stomp out innovation.” I couldn’t agree more. The idea of both genders creating/navigating far bigger pictures together makes sense. Dwell in productivity and positivity.

    and finally, #14-15 discuss communicating with care/openness and encouragement to positively impact brain chemistry and raise serotonin. Now it all makes sense the personal reactions I feel to positive vs. negative communications. I literally feel the wind beneath my wings (pardon the lyrics) when I am sincerely encouraged and fed positive reinforcement. I see the same in others with whom I interact, whether family, friends, colleagues or clients!

    Thanks, Ellen for initiating this intelligent, relevant and emotionally charged conversation. It stirs me to further ponder the subject with my male counterpart, husband and business partner. Insights into male versus female brainpower are definitely crucial in understanding how we can better work together across genders!


  9. Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach

    Very kool post Ellen. You have combined research with a an inspired call to action.

    Regarding the points about men dominating math/science as well as standardized tests — I wonder if different teaching methods could tap the math/scientific potential in women and the language abilities in men?

    There are new methods being tried yet I am not sure of the outcomes at this point.

    Just wondering… Thanks for a great post.

  10. eweber Post author

    Thanks for your kind words, Paul, but I do have one question:-)

    How do you get to have a “read twice list” when I am a speed reader – and still racing daily to keep up with 1st time reading list that runs faster and longer than me. 🙂 🙂

    Hey, is that too yet another gender thing:-)? If so I need a lesson!

  11. eweber Post author

    Robyn, I agree with your notion that, “as a person surveys these differences as to how men and women might approach something, it becomes apparent why each gender might misunderstand how the other thinks.”

    We at times diminish the other side for using their strengths by calling me “so linear” – which happens to be a part of mathematical intelligence we all need to learn from.

    Or just as bad, we tag powerful interpersonal intelligence, as “touchy-feely” so that people step back from developing tone and communication skills to relate well to both genders!
    Like you, I saw philosophy, as theoretical ideas that were foundational to men’s ways of thinking, and not much related to how I took in or disseminated ideas.

    Even after many graduate classes in philosophy I can still fight the frustration of having to think in a way that is not natural to my own reasoning approaches. I am sure that is similar for men in some language-related courses that discount male ways of knowing language.

    Thanks Robyn, for the ways you model brainpowered approaches that men and women both leap to! Like you, I am still learning, and yet loving the journey – because of all the great men and women who’ve tossed me lines for support when I needed them most!

  12. Paul (@MiNutrition) McConaughy

    Thanks… this is a really useful and helpful post. It is definitely on my “read twice” list.

  13. Robyn McMaster

    Ellen, as a person surveys these differences as to how men and women might approach something, it becomes apparent why each gender might misunderstand how the other thinks. We are so used to approaching life through the lens [way of thinking] we are accustomed to that we somehow assume the other gender thinks this way, too. I’m sure that’s why we see so many jokes about each gender. Many times we just don’t get it.

    When I first took philosophy, for instance, it did not make a lot of sense to me and I had a hard time grasping the theoretical ideas that were foundational. Theory is best revealed when played out in practice, but people in the middle who figure out how to move theory to practice, must keep in mind that male and female brains work differently, as you show through these tips.

    Thanks for taking the time to share some strategies that will help us to take some risks and get out of the molds we are often stuck in.

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