Penner Art logo

A Mind for Business: 5 Tips for Women to Capitalize on Brain Differences

Women were born for business.  Did you know that women possess some brain differences that can help them to navigate some of the challenges of starting and growing a business?  If you will bear with me for a few paragraphs, I’d like to outline a few of these differences and the significance of them.  In addition, my goal for this article is to list 5 ways you (as a woman) can capitalize on these brain differences to strengthen your business.

Did you know that nature’s default setting for fetal brains is female?  Until eight weeks old, every fetal brain looks female until a huge testosterone surge begins to change the brains of infant boys.  This surge of testosterone kills off some of the cells in the communication centers of  the male brain and more cells grow in the sex and aggression centers in the brain.  In the female infant’s brain, the cells grow more connections in the communication centers of her brain and areas that process emotion.

As a result of these brain differences, female infants (on up into adulthood)  are much more interested in mutual face gazing while their male counterparts are more interested in looking toward movement or objects (such as a mobile or toy).  Females will take meaning about themselves from the expressions of other’s faces, a look, a touch, every reaction from people they come in contact with.   This greater facial gazing (in female infants) does not indicate a neediness as previously assumed; it indicates an innate skill in observation. 

Another significant fact is that infant girls possess more ability to empathize than their male infant counterparts.  One specific study showed that typical female newborns less than twenty-four hours old respond more to the distressed cries of another baby – and to the human face – than male newborns do. Girls as young as a year old are more responsive to the distress of other people, especially those who look sad or hurt.

What are some of the implications of these differences for women in business?  You are probably beginning to see how these innate skills in observation can help a female entrepreneur tend to the important details of her business while tuning in to the relationships that are vital to her business.  Women also grow to be more talkative than their male counterparts and will use up to 20,000 words a day versus the male’s use of approximately 7,000 words per day.  This verbal ability allows  women in business to communicate effectively about ideas, concepts, feelings, and relationships which can translate into highly effective  marketing (among other things). 

Women have sometimes struggled against stereotyping (being the weaker sex, being overly sensitive, being too emotional to be able to make good decisions, etc.) that results from misunderstanding differences between the sexes.  I hope that men and women will begin to understand these differences in a new light and that we learn to value the differences in our brains and our strengths. 

There have been times when women have been influenced to try to approach business from a male perspective (the old’ boys club) and to suppress her unique feminine strengths in business.  Take heart and strength from the knowledge that the female approach is equally valid and effective.  In fact the female approach to business can give a woman an advantage simply because she is allowing herself to express her natural feminine gifts and strengths.

Here are 5 ways a woman entrepreneur can capitalize on her strengths that result from some of these brain differences:

1.  Give yourself permission to use your natural creative ability to solve problems.  Because you  tend to process equally well between the two hemispheres of the brain, you may be able come up with more solutions  (quantity) and better solutions (quality) than men who are primarily problem solving from the left hemisphere of the brain.  Having more access to both hemispheres of the brain produces  a  more holistic approach to problems and allows the best fitting solution to emerge. 

2.  View your ability to intuit as a strength and develop a relationship with your own intuition so that you can utilize this gift to help you make decisions about people, ideas, and other business-related issues.  Quite often, women are taught to mistrust their intuition because our society has typically prized logic and reason (the more typical male model) and so we lose touch with it and become unable to read our own intuitive cues.

 3.  Use your ability to “face-gaze” and make eye contact to deepen relationships and create trusting, mutually beneficial business relationships.  Capitalize on this ability to interact and connect rather than trying to force a more aggressive business approach. 
Consider this quote,  “Women CEOs are succeeding because they first and foremost value strong relationships with customers and employees,” said Aileen Gorman, executive director of The Commonwealth Institute. “Their leadership focus engenders loyalty and productivity and results in long-term business success. ” (see *footnote)

4.  Learn all you can about your business and industry from many different sources.  Female business owners and CEOs  have been shown to value learning and continue to reach out to mentors and boards of advisors to further their knowledge.  This trait of being teachable translates into growth in knowledge and wisdom which translates into business growth. 

 5.  Use your superb empathy skills to grow a business that betters the world and brings value to humankind.  Women tend to start and grow businesses that relate to their passion and life purpose while men tend to start and grow businesses for the sake of generating income and feeling powerful.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to generate an excellent income, if your business is a natural outcropping of your passion and purpose, you will feel more fulfilled.

When I began to read and sift through the research on brain differences and their impact on business, I came across some conflicting research.  While some studies seemed to show that either men or women were better at business, other studies showed that men and women who start and grow businesses have equal amounts of success.

One thing that became more clear to me than ever before is that men and women have different strengths and different weaknesses and that if men and women can seek to understand these differences and work in a complementary fashion, we will all be better for it.  Another thing that became abundantly clear is that  if you are a woman trying to do business from a male model, it will be unfulfilling and ineffective.  So go ahead and embrace your feminine strengths and allow your authenticity to lead your business to success.  You go girl!

*Footnote – Excerpt taken from the article “Women in Business:  Differences in How the Female and Male Brain Work, Literally”  By Megan Dowd  (Never send a man to do a woman’s job.)


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

facebook twitter youtube linkedinPhone: 760-445-3415     San Marcos CA & San Diego County CA