Place and Setting
Standing in a conference room, preparing for the workshop on leadership I was about to conduct. Participants come in, take their seats, I begin by welcoming them all.
Next, I hold up a large image of a brain and tell them we will get to meet and understand our amazing asset: the brain
A hand goes up and the participant wants to know if this was the leadership workshop and why we were talking about the brain.
All is well. You are in the right room and right workshop. We are talking about the brain because everything starts with the brain and how we navigate it in all our processes, actions, and encounters.
Simply trust the process here.
– The kind needed to operate and thrive with approaches that befit the 21st century – is not a concept that can be treated like a label or a necessity one addresses now and then to appear on top of things.
With the needs of today, leadership requires more than only the traditional approach or avoiding the reflection or work needed to bring about true change.
When leadership is done with the brain in mind, you as a leader not only reap the rewards of your work, understanding and effort but the way you support, manage, motivate, and influence others becomes facilitated and doable with ease.
Leadership is a Verb
– it creates, contributes and is something you do.
- It is dynamic and allows energy flow.
- It makes you own your role and responsibility about ‘now’ when you aim for change or transformation as the past impacts the present and it is the perspective and approaches you adopt that determine if you break or make things. In addition, whatever is focused on today allows future possibilities (near and far) to come to fruition.
- Authentic and committed leadership understands that occurrences in our lives and business rarely have a straightforward cause-effect relationship.
- Brain-friendly leadership understands that a problem identified is never isolated but a part of something bigger.
- It is not something you summon at leisure rather it must be practised and mastered on a professional and personal basis.
- It is about having an adaptive mindset that allows you to be able to continue learning even while under pressure, but also navigating change during periods of transformation and systemic change
There are myriad things beyond our conscious awareness that need to be tackled for long-term results and are worth putting in the effort for effective leadership, a positive impact and contribution to the space one is in.
Being flexible and mastering the ability to zoom in on a problem for resourceful solutions, but also zoom out to get clarity and capture the bigger picture of all the elements within the systems and patterns below the undercurrent of whatever needs focus is a must-have, powerful skill that calls for an understanding of our greatest asset – the human brain, its importance in all and everything we humans aim to achieve.
Some Brain Facts for Reflection:
- The brain’s main task is to keep us safe and alive and whilst it does this, it saves energy and does everything possible to avoid pain and everything that appears to be a threat or danger (real and unreal)
- Survival is everything as far as the brain is concerned. The brain fears loss of Status, Connection & Belonging, Finance, Health, Safety. If you are a leader, you can imagine that a brain that feels unsafe will struggle to be productive or innovative.
- High-performance, productivity, well-being, creativity and personal mastery, self-motivation, discipline, and resilience are all possible when we learn to be CEOs of the brain by adopting a positive behaviour, carrying out actions that promote the release of neurotransmitters thus boosting the performance of the brain.
- The brain thrives when soaked in neurotransmitters like DOS – dopamine (reward, happy hormone), serotonin (worry less/feel good) and oxytocin (trust and love) and other highly needed chemicals like melatonin (sleep well), enough adrenalin for motivation and endorphins for more happiness
- The brain does poorly when exposed to a non-stop release of the stress hormone, Cortisol. In this chronic state, wellbeing and all the things needed to thrive efficiently in the fast-paced world we live in become hard to achieve in the long run
- For the brain to serve us, we need to understand the role our brain plays in all we do, how to optimize and maintain it (do all it takes to be neuro agile and able to use more of our brain capacity to excel)
Why does the brain matter in business, leadership, and life?
All you need to make decisions, plan, evaluate, negotiate is handled by the “thinking brain.”
All you need to navigate your emotions, self-regulate, and build self-awareness, tap into insights for creativity is handled by the “emotional brain.”
The brain bathed in oxytocin, for example, allows room for trust and this promotes connecting and relating well with others. In businesses and organisations alike, this is the desired state you want the brains of your people to be in for intergenerational collaboration, diversity, and inclusion to be possible among many other benefits.
When basic human needs are met and the brain feels safe, being able to focus on what it takes to self-actualize, attain mastery in this volatile world that is serving up change at a rapid rate becomes possible. Having a mission and leaving a footprint becomes a reality because leadership goes beyond theory and concept alone.
Everything is possible amidst the opportunities and challenges we face daily which is why being intentional and attentional when leading matters.
The brain is the coast of many great monuments. Your ability to exploit the power of your brain is what makes you a leader. Leadership emerges from a positive mindset!
~ Israelmore Ayivor
Picture the following:
Experiencing your hair stand on end, repeatedly, despite all you have in place, technical skills and know-how present, business wisdom, talent, and mission?
Feeling overwhelmed by the obstacles you can’t identify but may feel are there?
Well, this is no surprise because a brain in this state is reactive and will focus all energy on survival and safety as it perceives a lot if not everything to be a threat or dangerous.
Things like lack of communication, uncertainty, little or no recognition, no autonomy, management styles that come across as unfair, no sense of belonging and purpose are all things that can trigger this danger/threat response in people.
Consider the impact a triggered brain can have on your business and bottom line if the brain is not added to the equation.
No more can we ignore the fact that the world we live is one in which one brain talks and relates to another brain. The mindset and what drives the human process at hand matters.
With the insights we have today from neuroscience and growing research on the brain, we have the means to run our brains for effective leadership, great results and a life that feels good from within.
The brain – understood in an accurate manner – is the best point of departure for leadership and everything that is possible. Having a neuro agile brain allows us confidently use our brain potential to out-create, out-think and out-learn to lead the way effectively and help those we lead to be and do more too.
The great thing about humans is that we all have a brain and are all equipped with a built-in, natural capability to learn and unleash our potential to create and be more if we choose.
With nurture and clarity on what to do as one strives forward, each (aspiring) leader can self-motivate, move from surviving to becoming one’s best version on any day and thriving as CEO of the brain and all outcomes you can create.
Interested in becoming a brain-friendly, more effective leader who has long-lasting impact? There is no better time to learn, grow and lead with the brain in mind. Let’s talk.
This post was first mentioned in the Authoritti5.0 Magazine