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The Practical Neuroscience of Leadership

Posted by Stephen Hager

We'd like to share a recent blog post on leadership from Dr. Ada Gonzales of Logos Noesis.The original post can be found at The Practical Neuroscience of Leadership.

Enjoy!

Good leaders inspire, persuade, and connect. They create productive relationships and environments for themselves and for others. Environments in which they and the people they lead can feel safe and motivated. Environments where they use their knowledge and brain strengths to achieve performance excellence.

Applying neuroscience to leadership begins with an understanding of self. I spent the end of last week in what I called a "brain jam session" with Stephen Hager, the creator of the well validated Brain Pathways assessment system. I wanted to "pick his brain" on how knowing how we take in information and learn (our sensory paths), as well as how we process information, plan and think (our cognitive paths) can help leaders in a practical way.

Here are a few of the points we explored that have direct practical application to your leadership.

1. Knowing yourself better is the first step for excellent leadership

Every human being has a unique sensory sequence and cognitive thinking preference. When you are aware of yours, it's easier to improve:

  • Communications by understanding your strengths and limitations.
  • Learning about yourself and others.
  • Creativity, both personal and group.
  • Alignment with your job characteristics for promoting success.
  • Decision making, by understanding neurodiversity. You will then surround yourself with those that are strong where you might be weak or have a blind spot.
  • Productivity and effectiveness by better managing time and stress.
  • Relationships by enhancing the exchange of information.

2. Understanding others will increase your influence.

It's easy to assume that everybody learns and thinks the way you do. Therefore, you tend to communicate using your preferred methods. Yet, good leaders modify their methods to the preferences of their people, the situation, and the environment. When you learn to appreciate the preferences of others, you will expand your circle of influence by communicating in a way that others can receive more easily.

3. Creating a safe environment will encourage high performance.

Good leaders realize they create a safe environment with their words and actions. When you build rapport, support others to achieve their potential, and place others ahead of you, you create a high energy, high creativity, high engagement environment. These will naturally lead to high performance

You can exchange information in ways that:

  • Align with the basic sensory and cognitive preferences of your followers by employing all sensory and cognitive methods in the delivery of your messages.
  • Build rapport by playing to natural preferences and using words that resonate and make sense.
  • Engage people's minds in a way that facilitates openness to new ideas, thoughts and change. You have to model self-regulation of feelings and start looking for win-win solutions.
  • Help yourself and others put your egos aside and be able to engage with empathy, from the heart.

4. Diversity of thought enhances success.

Understanding, leveraging, and welcoming the diversity of people's minds is critical to success. Look for your team's strengths and areas that need development. Make sure you build greater tolerance and respect for each others' unique strengths. Be inclusive of everyone's thoughts. Invite them to collaborate. Minds that work together, bond together and succeed together.

Every leader should take the Brain PathWays assessment. It will also be helpful for their team to do so.

Brain PathWays™ is a powerful online neuroscience system to discover your sensory perceptual and cognitive processing strengths. If you haven’t taken it, I encourage you to do it. It's easy to take. You will need only 10-15 minutes. This system teaches you how to apply and leverage that knowledge to align your unique strengths with your leadership activities for the best possible outcomes.

If your team also take the test, we can provide you with a team report that will increase understanding and will help leverage everybody's strengths for the good of all. I can facilitate a one or two day workshop after a team has taken the test to increase understanding and practical application. People feel energized and teams perform better.

The test is short and very affordable. If interested, click here to contact me. I can give you information on how to take the test and will offer you afterward a free 20 minutes session to answer any questions about your report. Together we will explore how you can use your new knowledge in your practice of leadership.



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