While listening to the conversations around the table at Thanksgiving, I was reminded that there is one physical difference in the brain between men and women that affects our conversations. The bridge that connects the right and left frontal lobes is much thicker in women than in the brain of men.
Women multitask better than men. Not only can we work on one thing at a time, we can access many different points, stories and examples from the past that relate to any topic that comes up.
Men focus better than women. When we get on a roll, they often have no idea what we are talking about or they either check out or get irritated if we don’t stay on the thinking track they chose.
Evolution gave us this difference because in the old days, women had to stir the pot, listen for predators and watch the children all at once while men went out to hunt, which required patience and focus. However, in our complex world, we need to be able to compensate for this difference as well as exploit it.
TIPS FOR HIGH ACHIEVING WOMEN:
We love to be problem solvers. We know we can accomplish more in less time than anyone else. However, there are times when giving 100% to the task at hand (ultimate focus) is better than doing and/or thinking about ten things at once. Sorry…you can’t fully listen to someone and do your email.
1. Giving a focused effort may mean finding a quiet space, turning off the phones and setting boundaries for when you can’t be interrupted. Or maybe you need to let people know when is the best time they can get your attention.
2. When talking to men, be sure to stay with one topic at a time. Their propensity to focus makes it hard to follow your train of thought if you get off-track. And don’t expect them to stop what they are doing to listen to you. They can’t change the channel that quickly.
Let’s celebrate our differences, or at least laugh at them. We need to count on each other’s strengths for success.
Please share any techniques you use to stay focused by commenting on this post. I’ll collect them and share the list in the future.
And please remember that these are genetic tendencies. There are always exceptions to the rules.