What makes a perfect leader? It’s a great question with no defined answer – until now. Are you ready?? Perfect leadership is all in your head. Literally – it comes down to this:

  1. What’s going on inside your brain.
  2. How you’re expressing those thoughts, ideas, and beliefs to others.

It is your ability to harness your strengths and to capitalize on equally important ways to think and act that may not come as naturally to you. Sounds simple, right? Well, it comes down to brain science: it really is in your head.

So what does brain science tell us about leadership? It can be a lens that helps leaders understand how their employees think and behave.

Think back to Biology 101 and the corpus callosum—that’s the band of fibers that divides your brain into two hemispheres. This provides a framework to look at thinking in a more defined, clear way. Looking at right-brain/left-brain thinking allows you as a leader to determine in a specific way how you’re approaching your work.

Are you more left-brained? If so, these kinds of phrases may appeal to you:

  • I need to look at the logic and data behind decisions.
  • I like to question why ideas will and won’t work.
  • I seek to create logical platforms for how to move forward.
  • I enjoy putting together and following a well-documented plan.
  • I need to see how things will work.
  • I desire the process and organizational details for a plan.

These phrases are left-brained to the core – looking at Structural and Analytical ways of thinking. Does that sound like you?

Maybe you’re more right-brained…try these phrases on for size:

  • I think the ability to understand, inspire, and relate to others is central to leadership.
  • I look at things with collaboration in mind.
  • Inspiring and motivating people is high on my list of what needs to be done to get results.
  • I am a big thinker and enjoy being outside the box.
  • I like to connect the dots.
  • Innovation is important to me in my leadership style.

These phrases look at Social and Conceptual, traditionally right-brained ways of thinking…is this you?

The way you behave plays a huge role in leadership as well.

  • The way you Express yourself in conversations and in front of others is critical. Are you a one-on-one leader or more of a performing, group-centric person?
  • When it comes to Assertiveness, how do you drive ideas forward? Are you going to lead from an amiable, more open perspective or are you likely to really drive or competitively move ideas forward?
  • How about Flexibility – does your leadership manifest itself in complete focus and staying on one track or are you on the other end of the spectrum, comfortable leading from a place of greater ambiguity and open to many ideas?

The beauty about this is that every leader possesses all these traits in their brain. The key to unlocking higher performance is the ability to know yourself and learn how you best operate; and having a model can be a concrete way to get access to that information.

Whatever your framework is, know that you have the ability to be a leader – after all, it’s all in your head.

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