Testosterone Determines if You Lead or Follow

Bob Sutton posted a summary of research done on the impact of testosterone levels on people’s behavior in groups. it wasn’t surprising that high testosterone people felt the need to be in charge. They feel a heightened stress level when they are denied the position of power that they believe is rightfully theirs. Surprisingly, the converse proved true as well. Low testosterone people felt distress when they were placed in charge of the group. Most notable though was the finding that the group could sense when the order was screwed up. When the high testosterone people were being led by the low testosterone people, the entire group had less confidence in its abilities. The findings held true whether the group members were men or women.

This puts some physiological support behind the idea of getting the right people on the bus and then making sure they’re in the right seats. We’ve found that we can often see a marked change in our group’s confidence and performance from switching roles a little bit.


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