Day after day, neuroscientists make amazing new discoveries about our brains that can help us learn more about the way we function and how to become happier, more efficient and more productive.
At LeadershipHQ we know how important it is to understand the way our brains function in order to get better results, to maximise business performance and to become inspirational leaders. We are so passionate about Neuroscience and the difference it has made to our clients, leaders, teams and organisation’s effectiveness and productivity that we launched an Amazon Kindle Ebook – get your copy today!!!
These 5 discoveries have changed our understanding of leadership and influence the way great leaders behave.
Is it worth the risk?
According to Brian Knutson and Charlene C. Wu at Stanford, it is possible to explain why people risk even when the risk is not worth taking. According to them, there are two brain regions particularly associated with the making of financial decisions – the nucleus accumbens and the anterior insula. The former is particularly active when someone expects to win, and the bigger the sum, the more activity is recorded. The latter, on the other hand, is linked to disgust and anxiety and tries to “warn” you that the risk is not worth taking. However, according to their findings, the willingness of people to take risks increases proportionally to their excitement. Hence the success of the National Lottery; people become really excited about winning a lot of money, which helps them forget that their chances are close to zero.
Make sure they remember.
As a leader who wants to convey a certain message, you can use this neuroscience finding to make sure your audience will understand and remember what you say. Basically, scientists have found that what people hear, read and see is recorded in different parts of their brains. So, if you are making a presentation, make sure you include not only text, but also images – this will not double, but triple the chance of people remembering what you said, because they will hear it, and read it, and see it. Why? Well, when a message is first received, it enters the immediate memory, and it will sit there for just a few seconds unless you give it something to link to. When you present a message in the three different ways, it is all brought together into working memory, somewhere in the prefrontal lobe of the brain. Now the message is going to last long enough for you to build on it.
Keep calm and…
Research has shown us that the human brain uses words to interpret events. Think about situations that make you angry or scare you. You probably think of them as nasty, disgusting, terrible, dreadful… Next time you are in such a situation, try to label your emotions with bland or even positive words – curious, exciting, and indifferent. What you are actually doing is calming your amygdala, which is where the fight or flight response is triggered. If you can stop it from triggering a flight response, you have much more chance of remaining calm, and remember – a calm leader leads a calm team.
Optimistic Leaders – The Better Leaders.
It’s human nature that we want to be with people who make us feel good rather than those who suck us into negativity. Team members experience a leaders emotions through their mirror neurons, which are the tools in our brain that wire us for sympathy and empathy. Emotions are contagious and as leaders, we want to spread only the constructive emotions to our teams.
Optimism is attractive and in a leader, it’s an essential quality because it’s contagious. An optimistic leader creates optimistic teams who are then able to work collaboratively and creatively together.
A few months ago, Professor. John O’Keefe shared the Noble Prize for physiology or medicine with Edvard and May-Britt Moser. Back in 1971, O’Keefe discovered that the brain has something like a “built-in GPS”. His experiment with rats showed that when the rat is in a particular area of the room, there was activity in certain cells of its bran, while another area of the room activated other cells. More than 30 years later, the Mosers found a part of the brain that basically serves as a nautical chart. This discovery may give some answers as to why people with Alzheimer cannot recognise their surroundings, but it has also opened the door for more discoveries about the way we think and plan.
We hope you enjoyed the 5 neuroscience discoveries we selected for you. Do you know about any other remarkable discoveries related to the brain? We would be delighted if you share them with us in the comments section below!
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Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.
She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.
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