Does gender impact upon charisma? Having studied charisma for over thirty years I define it as an authentic power that captivates the hearts and minds of others. I work with business leaders, male and female helping them to tap into what I believe is already innate within them. Sometimes I notice that women in business exhibit a tendency to become more masculine in their traits. There is a stereotypical perception that to get on in business you need to be tough, ruthless and driven. Many women perceive that to successfully compete in a male dominated environment they need to boost their masculine energy and suppress their famine energy. Many men are often working with a self-esteem that was formed in early childhood. If ‘the little boy’ didn’t feel good enough then the grown man learns to compensate by suppressing their feminine energy.
Ultimately any behaviour that does not reflect the true authentic version of who we really are inside will mute our charisma. Regardless of gender, charisma will only flourish when we are operating in alignment with who we are at our core.
The challenge with this is that as equality has become more important, the classic roles of the masculine and feminine have become blurred. The rise of the metrosexual man and feminism means that the distinctions between the genders are becoming less apparent.
Look at German politician Angela Merkel and our own Prime Minister, Theresa May. They exhibit a more masculine attitude than many men. Contrast these women to business leaders, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg who are both highly successful yet non stereotypical alpha males.
Many scientific studies show that male and female brains differ genetically. Every cell in a male brain contains Y chromosome whilst female brains do not have any Y chromosomes. The purpose of Y chromosomes is to create the male reproductive system. Given that the average adult brain contains 170 billion cells this difference looks significant and dramatic. Given that the Y chromosome is designed for reproduction, a man’s driving force, which is one of the five attributes of charisma is more likely to be stronger when compared to an average female.
MRI scans in men and women show that there is a difference in the brain between how emotions are processed. This means that woman have an ability to better express how they feel compared to men. Sensory awareness is one of the five attributes of charisma so from a neuroscience perspective women will naturally excel in this area.
There are also differences in the vision of men and women. Men have more foveal vision so tend to be more goal orientated. Women have a tendency towards peripheral vision so they notice more of what’s going on in the peripheral. This also improves their overall sensory awareness. Having a compelling vision is a key attribute for charisma so in theory men should score better in this area.
Whilst gender differences will have an impact on the different attributes that determine how much charisma an individual exudes, the main differentiator will be authenticity. The degree of honesty and openness that we are prepared to demonstrate determines our energy levels. Think about the attention a tiny baby gets effortlessly. It will cry when it’s hungry and gurgle when it feels happy. It doesn’t use up energy trying to mask what it really wants or how it really feels. If we surrender to allowing ourselves full expression then we energise our presence and start to become more charismatic.
Whether you are male or female, here are my favourite ways to develop more of your authentic charisma:
- Pay more attention to how you’re feeling. Rather than trying to resist negative emotions, notice them without forming any judgement. Emotions are a form of energy and will be continually moving in flow.
- Take deeper breaths. You will increase oxygenation in your blood, expand your awareness of how you and others are feeling, and will find it easier to connect with your emotions.
- Look for the positive in everyone and every situation. Positivity expands energy and negativity diminishes it. When we feel good we become more expansive and this boosts our charisma.
- Be clear on what is important to you. Your values drive your behaviour. When you are in a situation that is satisfying to your most important values, you will shine in your own unique way.
- Avoid blaming others for things that don’t work out. Use these moments as opportunities to grow and develop. Our conscious mind can only process a tiny proportion of what’s really going on, so make sure that your perceptions empower you rather than sabotage your energy field.
When you feel comfortable in your own skin and you are prepared to reveal your true nature, regardless of gender, you will possess more of your own compelling charisma.