Summary of Leadership and the Sexes

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  • Applicable


This pleasant book is easy to read and easy to apply. What’s enjoyable about the book, beyond the clarity of the writing, is the positive tone Michael Gurian and Barbara Annis strike. As they note, too often gender discussions are fraught with tension, and many workplaces markedly favor one sex over the other. However, the authors not only communicate the benefits of developing “gender intelligence,” they sound completely convinced that businesspeople can improve their gender understanding and relationships almost immediately, and they provide tools for doing so. That said, while the authors are careful to speak in terms of gender tendencies and not absolutes, they sometimes do generalize in ways that might excuse specific actions as biological male or female behavior. That issue aside, getAbstract recommends this book to managers, human resource personnel and anyone interested in understanding gender issues and proclivities.

About the Authors

Michael Gurian is co-founder of the Gurian Instititute and the author of more than 20 books, including Leading Partners. Barbara Annis is CEO of Barbara Annis & Associates and the author of Same Words, Different Language.



Toward a Scientific Understanding of Gender

No matter where you live or how far you travel, you’ll see that men and women act differently. Sure, some of the contrasts in their behaviors and expectations are cultural, but some are biological, rooted in genetic variances that manifest in different brain structures. PET scans confirm these different structures. Combining that physical evidence with a growing understanding of gender culled from a range of disciplines can provide leaders with new tools. Developing your “gender intelligence” equips you to lead better and to draw on the skills specific to men and women to create a more balanced, adaptable company.

To begin raising your gender intelligence, recognize two concepts. First, while social context shapes some aspects of gender, it does not affect other aspects. Gender is not as easily changed and molded as feminist theorists once argued. Second, gender differences fall on a spectrum, with male thought tending more toward one end and female thought tending more toward the other. Some individuals of each sex possess “bridge brains” with characteristics typical of both genders. Men and women tend to differ in many ...

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