Finance News & Insights

Left-brained or right-brained staffers? Why it makes a huge difference

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Forget about men being from Mars and women being from Venus. You’ve got a much greater divide to bridge in your finance department: Are your staffers right-brained or left-brained?

Which side of the brain folks are dominant can impact everything from the way they learn to how they should be assigned tasks.

So are you treating your staffers by brain dominance type? Do you even know whether you have a left-brained or right-brained staff?

Here’s how to find out and what to do differently once you know.

Step 1: Test them

Chances are at least some of your staffers have taken the 30 second “Brain Test” by Sommer & Sommer making the rounds on Facebook. That can give folks a good idea as to what their splits are.

But if you want a more scientific and in-depth analysis, you can direct members of your team to an online hemispheric dominance test.

Once your staffers know where they fall, you’re ready to put that info to use to maximize Finance’s performance.

Of course if you have folks with a relatively even split, you probably don’t have to adjust your approach. But for those more extreme righties or lefties, it’s well worth delving into what works best for them so you can tailor your interactions to fit.

For your right-brained staffers

Now chances are if you have more of anything in your finance department, it’s likely to be right-brain-dominant staffers. After all, they’re more analytical and rational – qualities many in the finance professionals possess.

If that’s the case, here are a few tweaks you can make to your management style that will get more out of your people:

  • Offer an outline or handout of main points when introducing something new or important. Visual cues help right-brained folks focus, even when you’re speaking.
  • Use a flipchart or whiteboard often. It helps right-brained people “see” what your point is.
  • Involve them in group projects. Right-brained staffers enjoy other people’s company.
  • Play music. This appeals to the intuitive nature of right-brainers. Key: The music should relate to the task at hand. About to “do battle” with a stack of invoice exceptions? Play a battle song.
  • Let them generate the graphs. Graphs make the most of these people’s strong visual-spatial skills.

For your left-brained staffers

If, on the other hand, some of your staffers show a left-brain-dominance, you’ll likely want to take a different tack. Here’s how to best handle these folks:

  • Don’t skimp on the big picture. Left-brainers love to think about large and even abstract concepts.
  • Don’t over-burden with group work – these folks prefer to go it alone.
  • Offer up some quiet, distraction-free time. Left-dominant people don’t like to hear side conversations when they’re focused on a task.
  • Avoid worrying you’re over-lecturing. This group is made up of avid note takers.

Info: Left and right-brained teaching techniques adapted from

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  • CM

    This was very interesting. I took the test and the results (primarily left-brained) seem to be the best match of the two for my style. I will have to try to get my office staff to try this.