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Different Brains, Different Behaviors: Why Women Lead Differently Than Men

You don’t need to be a scientist to recognize that women think, act, and lead differently than men. Yet science can help us understand why this is so.

Decades of research and studies have proven that male and female brains are structured differently. These structural variances are what determines how the two genders think, what they value, and how they communicate. This isn’t about one gender being smarter or thinking better than the other—studies show that men and women are evenly matched in their intellectual performance. The issue is that they reach these similar ends through different means.

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5 Strategies to Maximize Collaborative Intelligence in Any Organization

Collaborative intelligence—the collective determination to reach an identical objective by sharing knowledge and learning while building consensus—is becoming increasingly essential to organizational success. In my last post, I discussed why leaders need to understand and implement a collaborative model based on creating a culture of collaboration that becomes an integral part of their overall leadership strategy. I also shared two essential skills—moving away from top-down authority and building bridges of cooperation—that can help build a more collaborative team.

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Why Women’s Advancement Is Everyone’s Issue

I recently was a keynote at a major leadership conference in New York. One of the great pleasures of my trip was meeting a male CEO of a Fortune 500 organization, who I call Henry. We were speaking about the progress of women in leadership and what still needs to happen to move the needle. I asked him what he saw as the biggest challenge within organizations to getting more women into senior management.

“Most important is that we ‘all’ need to be in—organizations, men, and women need to play an intentional role,” said Henry. “This means organizations need to have the right culture or it won’t happen. Male leaders and executives need to understand that a balanced leadership team is essential to remain competitive and achieve better business outcomes.” Lastly, Henry said: “What I think is the biggest nutshell to crack is having women leaders truly understand the importance of helping each other.”

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How Important is Executive Presence to Executive Success?

You may or may not have heard about the recent, sudden ouster and subsequent reinstatement of the University of Virginia’s first woman president, Teresa Sullivan. The story received national attention and dominated the local news here in Virginia where I live.

As for why Sullivan was forced out, a New York Times article suggests that although she is a talented and well-credentialed administrator, UVA’s Board of Visitors (i.e., board of trustees) perhaps felt she was just that – an administrator rather than a leader. The article further infers that Board members thought Sullivan lacked vision and a strategic perspective, didn’t possess the “mettle” necessary to make tough decisions, and didn’t fit their image of a chief executive. But after numerous on-campus protests and a significant social media backlash, the Board reinstated her. I wish Teresa well in what will undoubtedly be an awkward, if not difficult, situation going forward.

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Sponsorship Matters – What Organizations Can Do

Not a week goes by that SHAMBAUGH doesn’t get a call from an organization looking for help to better prepare its leaders to advance into more senior positions. One of the most common challenges facing these organizations is identifying and advancing talented women leaders. My last two blogs discussed the importance of sponsorship in advancing more women through the leadership pipeline to create balanced, integrated leadership teams that drive better business results. And while individual men and women leaders are on the front lines when it comes to sponsorship, the importance of the organization and senior leadership can’t be underestimated.

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Change Always Comes Bearing Gifts

I was reminded of this Price Pritchett saying when I recently spoke in Paris at a global business leaders conference. The seven hundred plus international attendees had come to learn the latest lessons on leadership and how to deal with the tumultuous changes being experienced by organizations across the globe.

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