The Neuroscience of Leadership – Why the Brain Follows
- How do you avoid leadership disasters in uncertain times?
- How can Neuroscience empower you to lead during crisis?
- What makes your followers follow you?
The COVID-19 pandemic, a tumultuous political environment, and fluctuating economic realities have complicated the business and social environment. Many of the old rules we take for granted are no longer working. Business leaders are struggling with their leadership roles.
Leadership speakers have simply run out of anecdotes or stories that would shed some light on this once-in-a-lifetime crisis. The same old answers are no longer relevant in our new reality. Now is the time to rely on science to make leadership more predictable, reliable and successful.
Powered by Neuroscience research in the past 2-3 decades, enormous strides have been made in our understanding of how humans make decisions. Now, we have gained a better understanding of what motivates people to follow leaders. The science of decision-making has been unlocking the secrets of how leaders decide to lead, as well as why followers decide to follow.
People Do Things for Unexpected Reasons
One group of researchers studied parole board decisions. In their study, they discovered that the time of day made a huge difference in the judges’ decisions. When their decisions were made right after breakfast or lunch, 60% of prisoners were granted parole. When the decisions came hours after a meal, almost no paroles were granted. The details of the cases mattered much less than the judges’ blood sugar levels. After a meal, they had more energy available to their brains. When their brains functioned at full capacity, their decisions were more lenient.
That study illustrates what Neuroscientists have learned: Most decisions made by people are affected more by unconscious responses than logical reasoning. For business leaders, understanding how our decisions are made is the key to motivating their followers.
- How to Reduce Stress to Make People Feel Safe – In the current business environment, stress is everywhere, due to the rapidly changing and unpredictable situations we face. What leaders can do to mitigate a stressful environment are critical to boosting morale and productivity. You can adopt a scientific approach in your team’s stress management.
- How to Lead through Change and Crisis – Few leaders were prepared to lead through the COVID-19 pandemic. Change and crisis are happening at all levels. Guided by science, you can avoid making disastrous mistakes, while helping your followers ride out the storm.
- The Neuroscience of Motivation and Reward – What really motivates people to work hard to achieve goals? All too often, leaders misunderstand what a true, sustainable reward is. The brain has a very complex mechanism of reacting to rewards and the anticipation of rewards.
- Why Is Belonging Inseparable from Diversity, Equity and Inclusion? – Most leadership speakers talk about team building. Groups acting together are essential to achieving goals in any organization. What really creates group cohesion, though? Neuroscience research offers surprising insights into that question.
- Should You Lead with Empathy or Compassion? – Empathy is a feel-good word that has been tossed around for decades. However, empathy often triggers painful emotions and leads to inaction. Compassion is different in how the brain is wired to create compassionate feelings.
- How the Brain Decides – Neuroscience research has demonstrated that almost 95% of all human decisions are made on emotional grounds rather than through rational, logical processes. Emotional responses also strongly influence why people follow leaders and work together toward goals.
- Why People Follow Leaders – Very often, people believe they follow leaders. But in reality, they follow the crowd. Decisions made by the crowd make us feel safe. This is an unconscious tendency in our brains.
- What Is the Negative Side of Positive Thinking? – Much of today’s leadership training is loosely based on Norman Vincent Peale’s 1952 book, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Various leadership speakers change the buzzwords, but still follow the principles in that work. Recent research shows that we are not as “in control” as we think. Being positive or negative is not always a choice.
Empower Leaders with Neuroscience to Adapt Changes
In an unpredictable business environment, old-fashioned, hunch-based leadership development cannot provide the fresh approach that is needed to solve emergent issues in the workplace. Instead, a deep and thoroughly researched approach that understands how our brains really work is needed. Neuroscience research shows the way for business and organizational leadership.
Dr. Terry Wu is a seasoned Neuroscientist who is at the forefront of the Neuromarketing revolution. As a highly sought-after speaker and thought leader, he is now focusing his research on leadership decision-making. What he has learned will change your perspective on why people follow. Now, he is bringing this new perspective to corporate, non-profit, and entrepreneurial audiences through speaking and consulting. He wants to share what has been learned with organizations faced with unprecedented challenges. He has been speaking extensively at virtual and in-person conferences and events.