Creative Brain

Why the brain and the way you think can make you a better leader

I just watched this video from Dr. Deepak Chopra on how the brain is wired and how neuroscience can impact leadership. There’s clearly a link between what goes on in our brains and how we lead – the difficulty is understanding what to do with that information.

While this is just a very short primer and overview on the brain, the really interesting part is how he defines leadership. He starts with an acronym, LEADERS, which stands for Look and listen, Emotional bonding, Awareness, Doing, Empowerment, Responsibility and Synchronicity.

It’s a helpful approach to understanding both how the various parts of the brain – the cerebral cortex, the limbic system and the reptilian brain – can affect key facets of leadership.

What I find interesting, though, is how this ties in to the way we look at thinking and behavior. Let’s make Dr. Chopra’s terms a bit easier to process and understand:

  • Analytical Thinking creates a leadership approach around Responsibility and Looking and Listening by focusing on the rationale and logic for decisions, by searching out the best answers.
  • Structural Thinking defines leadership as Doing by honing in on the process and structure needed to make things happen, and make them happen successfully.
  • Social Thinking approaches leadership in the limbic fashion, addressing the needs for Empowerment, Emotional Bonding, and Awareness.
  • Conceptual Thinking is the leadership trait defined by the ability to create Synchronicity – finding new ways of solving old (and new) problems.

What kind of leader do you think you are? The Conceptual Leader? Well, make sure that you’re tapping into and working (as Dr. Chopra enjoins in his video) the parts of your brain that tie into the other key elements.

That’s not easy to do, and it means relying on your behavioral tendencies to ensure that what’s in your brain which makes you a leader gets translated to the people you need to get the job done.

Take Expressiveness: Find the balance between acting as a figurehead leader in an out-front way and allowing all of your people to feel empowered and with a voice, no matter how quiet they are.

With Assertiveness, locate the spectrum where ideas should be driven and pushed from your perspective and where you need to accept many ideas and play peacekeeper.

And Flexibility: It’s about knowing what the situation calls for in your workforce. Is it a time to engage in rapid shifting to capitalize on opportunity or right the ship, or is it a time when steadiness must rule the day?

Putting all of these factors into play and looking at leadership in numerous ways means that you’re actually using your brain to become a more effective leader.

Check out a more in-depth look at leadership and the brain in Dr. Geil Browning’s column in Inc. Magazine – You’re Wired to be a Leader.

Print This Post Print This Post