IWD Special: Are women's brains really wired differently? Using your EQ for success

In the spirit of International Women's Day, this week's blog post takes a look at how our brains work and how to use what nature gave us to be our personal best.

Of course, as a successful entrepreneur or C-Suite executive, you will know that the answer to achieving the best is by focusing on character traits, rather than gender. Research shows that:

"Although there are gender differences in the brain, human brains do not belong to one of two distinct categories: male brain/female brain".

This means that when it comes to our brains, we are of course just people, possessing a combination of male and female characteristics, regardless of our gender.

So what are the feminine traits that will help raise our game and ensure exponential success?

Out of the many to choose from, I believe the most fundamental and all-encompassing trait that can be considered feminine, and exhibited in many brilliant male leaders I’ve met, is emotional intelligence.

Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and Primal Leadership - to name just a couple - first popularised the concept in 1995. His findings indicate that ‘emotional intelligence contributes 80 to 90% of the competencies that distinguish outstanding leaders from average leaders.’

As an entrepreneur, leading yourself and others is absolutely key.

Although emotional intelligence has been in the public consciousness for 25 years, its powerful impact and positive results are needed now (perhaps more than ever). The global economy is asking more from all of us, in less time and with less resources. This means we all need to play our A-game and emotional intelligence is one of the best ways to ensure this.

So what does emotional intelligence look like on the ground?

It comprises of five components:

  • Self-awareness – The ability to recognise and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others;

  • Self-regulation – The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, the propensity to suspend judgment, and to think before acting;

  • Internal motivation – A passion to work for internal reasons that go beyond money and status;

  • Empathy – The ability to understand the emotional make-up of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions;

  • Social skills – Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks, and an ability to find common ground and build rapport.

Laid out so simply, it easy to see how developing more and more emotional intelligence can only raise your game.

I would imagine a lot of this comes naturally to most of our readers. What neuroscience shows us, though, is that when we bring things to the forefront of our awareness and have a conscious intention to act through what we consider important, then the results are exponential…

Emotional intelligence also means that when it comes to mental agility, mastery and resilience, you have the most solid foundation to build on. It also means that when identifying and delving deep into who you are, and what that means as your brand, you have a clarity and authenticity that will shine through and highlight the best you have to offer.

As a very successful entrepreneur recently said at an event celebrating women business founders, she didn’t see herself as anyone other than who she was and what she was, other aspects of her life like her gender or background hadn’t even come into the equation.

Although it is said that the gender gap won’t be closing anytime soon (with 108 years as one of the more conservative estimates) there are two things to consider:

First, that the rate of change is speeding up all the time, so perhaps that estimate can be smashed out of the park, especially when we examine the stats that currently drive everything, the bottom line. A second point is that the gender gap affects everyone, we could frame it as ‘vivre la difference’ because the sexes are complimentary.

If we have both traits inside our minds, feminine and masculine energy and characteristics, then maybe it about coming together as people, and looking at what will benefit all of us as human beings…


By Maria Chase, founder of Chase Coaching, neuroscience lead and co-founder of Amplenary.


Amplenary is a unique, 5-week programme for ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs. Blending together areas of neuroscience, executive coaching, and personal branding for the very first time, this is a turbo-charged self-development programme unlike any other.

Register your interest here or directly contact Maria, Reena, or Stephanie.

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