The ability to take decisive action, to make sound, unbiased decisions, is a key skill that effective leaders use multiple times each day.
When we think about the key components and processes of sound decision making, most of us tend to first think of our brain’s ability to use logic and reason to examine the facts of a situation and the possible outcomes.
Since our emotions are often hard to quantify, much less control, we tend to place a higher value on the information and other feedback that we receive from our “rational” mind. We prefer facts and figures from spreadsheets and data reports over general impressions and other feedback based on human interaction.
Is the Bias Towards the Rational Mind Logical?
From an early age, our parents, schools and other organisations urge us to think with our “heads” rather than our “hearts.” So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that most of us try to avoid relying on the information that we receive from our “gut instincts,” or “feelings.”
As individuals, this bias for “cool reason” carries over and affects how we see and value others. Most of us tend to have more admiration and respect for those leaders that we see as calm and rational, rather than those whom we view as emotional.
Current research in the fields of neurology and cognitive science, however, now suggests that these biases and beliefs that value rational logic over emotional feedback are way off the mark. In fact, leaders and others that discount their feelings and emotional reactions lose out on feedback that can help them connect with their intuition and guide them to better outcomes when making decisions.
Feelings and Emotions are a Valuable Part of the Decision Making Process
According to research published in Sage Journal’s Personality and Social Psychology Review, our emotions help us to learn from our experiences so that we can make better decisions. When we only use our rational brain and discount our feelings as we examine a specific issue or problem, we tend to become indecisive and unable to decide on a specific course of action. Neglecting our emotional responses to a situation can also leave us unable to prioritise what is truly important so that we can focus on those things that we should zero in on and attempt to tackle first.
Being able to decide on an action or goal, and maintain our focus, leads to better decision making over time. This leads to the perception that we are making progress towards our goals. So, our feelings and emotions not only help us to make better decisions, but they can also provide the spark that helps us to remain motivated to keep pursuing our goals.
By using both logic and emotional feedback when we examine issues and make decision’s, we have the ability to use the power of our entire brain to resolve situations. This helps us to tap into our intuition and unlock creative approaches to resolving issues and leads to more innovative and unique solutions.
The importance of emotional feedback in how we learn from experience is an example of the new research that is being conducted in the field of neuroscience. This research can help all of us understand more about how our brain works and how to use that information to guide ourselves and others to better decisions and outcomes in nearly every aspect of our lives. If you would like to learn more about how to harness the power of your brain to become a better leader, why not get in touch and ask us about the Neuroscience of Leadership Workshop?
It’s fun, informative and very practical.
Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616