Let’s just take the example of men and women in meetings. Now, we all know meetings are most likely to have some stress components. Knowing the differences in ways that we respond to stimuli can make the time together to problem solve better or bitter.
Here is the better: when stress is activated we all secrete the hormone cortisol. That’s all of us, male and female. And we all want to get stress and anxiety down, down, down. Women then secrete more oxytocin to bring that barometer to a stable place. Oxytocin causes women to “tend and befriend”. We like to connect and care. So, in a meeting we look for alliances, we glance around the room to see who is “with us”. We smile, we shoot looks of comfort and compliance, and we want everybody to be happy, on the same page.
Now our male counterparts also want the anxiety diminished. So, their internal mechanism secretes more testosterone. Then their brain talk says “assert yourself, mark your territory, be in charge”. Men like to dare and will stay in a war stance to get what it is they want at the moment. They are strong and focused on one thing, the goal and getting that ball across the goal.
Knowing this important information can make all the difference in how we handle ourselves in meetings. Often we need to find the balance between the “tend and befriend” manner and the “take no prisoners” mode.
In our GUTSY WOMEN WEEKEND program (the next one is November 11-13 at The Country Place Retreat Center in Pa) we offer women leaders the tips and tools to lead and participate in great meetings, making sure they are balanced and productive. We look at the cultural patterns that have been handed down from generation to generation, where many of us have taken the role of pleaser, martyr, or rescuer.
This is OUR TIME. It is time for us to both CARE and DARE as we take new and important places in our complex world.