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Why Do Women Work Better Together Than Men?

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One of the few encouraging things that came out of the Federal government shutdown fiasco that ended last week was that the women of the US Senate were instrumental in working together to solve it. As reported in the New York Times and elsewhere, the women of the Senate from both sides of the aisle took it upon themselves to start talking and keep talking until they figured out a way out. While the men were squabbling, the women were solving.

Which raises the question, are women better at working together than men? And, if they are, why?

recent article in The Atlantic (hat tip to Dan Pink for flagging it in his newsletter) summarizes a study released by the National Bureau for Economic Research titled “Are Women More Attracted to Cooperation Than Men?”. The answer appears to be yes “because men (generally) demonstrate more overconfidence in their own abilities and distrust in their colleagues’ aptitude.” Sounds like a finding that could have been ripped from today’s headlines.

What do you think? Are women better at working together than men? Why or why not?

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

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