Leading with Heart: Why Women and Emotions are Good for Leadership by @timewithtammy

by Tamela Duncan | Featured Contributor 

In general, women tend to come under much more scrutiny than men for facial and verbal expression in the workplace. When a woman displays the more feminine expression of feelings, she is considered weak or “too emotional.” However, when women present with harsh or aggressive “masculine” tendencies, she is judged for that expression. And if she displays no emotion, she is considered cold and detached. It is a traditional and perhaps even accurate stereotype that women are more emotional than men, and that emotional stereotype is believed to be harmful to women in leadership.  We as a society have become comfortable and complacent about gender roles and the expression of emotion – especially in the workplace.

We now know that men and women lead differently because their brains are literally wired differently. Not better, not smarter, but different in how they make decisions and problem solve. If we simply look at the left side versus the right side of the brain, we can understand how these differences come to light. The left side of the brain is the analytical and logical, while the right brain is more creative and intuitive. And you may have guessed by now; more men tend to address and solve problems primarily using the left-brain while women tend to fluctuate moving back and forth between the left and right hemisphere of the brain. What this means is, males tend to become linear and singularly focused pushing through problems, while women will think linear – pause – grapple with, and incorporate emotion and intuition.

The upside of women as leaders is they can and will read a room. It’s important to most women to know their audience. They pay attention to the emotions of others and will incorporate input. When emotions arise, it is a women’s natural instinct to respond.

To quote the words of spiritual leader Deepak Chopra, “Women possess some of the most important traits needed to succeed in business: empathy, tenderness, and affection. Without these characteristics, wisdom cannot exist. We could dream a new world into actuality, a more sustainable, kind, nurturing world.”

Utilizing that right hemisphere of the brain could be the best thing to happen in government, corporations, communities, and homes. So, don’t let anyone convince you that leading with heart is not displaying good leadership qualities; good leadership has compassion, tenderness, and sensitivity as that creates a spirit of togetherness and makes others want to follow.

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