Samina Azad

Why Gender Intelligence Matters

Discussion created by Samina Azad on May 30, 2012

I was at a seminar earlier this month where Barbara Annis talked about Gender Intelligence. She explained why businesses should care about gender intelligence. Men and women have different leadership styles and behavioral skills. Both styles are important for the success of an organization and businesses can benefit from building a gender balanced team.


Barbara and Michael Gurian wrote Leadership and the Sexes on differences in leadership styles of men and women. Barbara’s talk was reflective of the book. She compared neurological data to explain why women work and lead differently than men. For example, female leaders network differently than male leaders. Men are transactional in interactions whereas women tend to be interactive and focus more on building long term relationships. Female leaders are participative at work and they try to find ways in which colleagues are complimentary. Male leaders tend to be hierarchical and focus on who is in charge. They usually see colleagues as competition. Men are often better when it comes to spatial reasoning and women are better at analyzing facial expressions. The benefits of such unlikeness can be a strong business case for companies to build gender balanced leadership teams. This should motivate companies to make an effort to retain women in the work force.


In the book, Barbara talks about the differences in management styles and how we can apply gender intelligence to improve negotiation skills, communication skills, and conflicts resolution skills with men and women. She also goes over how to run a gender balanced meeting and practice gender intelligent mentoring. In summary, organizations that utilize gender diversity, gain a competitive advantage. These businesses make better decisions, are more productive, more innovative, and better connected to their customers.


I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about gender intelligence.