By JOSH DAVIS & PRANJAL H. MEHTA
Characteristics like respect from peers, resilience, ability to inspire confidence and loyalty, capacity to make tough decisions, and the general attribute of being perceived as a leader can seem like elusive qualities. It turns out that these all can be influenced by a leader’s neuroendocrine systems (e.g. testosterone, cortisol, and oxytocin). Social neuroendocrinology—the study of hormone systems in social contexts—is showing a) that there might be an optimal hormonal profile for leadership, and b) that a person can influence her or his own hormonal profile in the short and long term. These findings hold across gender, type of organization (e.g. sports teams, business), and types of leadership challenges (e.g. negotiation, competition, cooperation).
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