Neuroscience of Leadership Speaker Trainer

Lead Through Change and Crisis with Neuroscience

The human brain evolved to feel first and think later. In a crisis, we rely more on feeling than thinking to decide.

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, leaders face the daunting task of navigating their organizations through crises and changes. Employee disengagement, high turnover, and economic turmoil have forced many leaders into crisis management mode.

Neuroscience research provides valuable insights into how the brain responds to stress and challenging situations. These insights can help leaders adapt to uncertainties and make better decisions.

When people are fearful, they often make irrational decisions based on strong emotions and feelings.

The human brain has evolved to prioritize feeling over thinking, especially in difficult situations. When faced with danger or uncertainty, the brain’s robust fear response leads to three possible actions: freeze, flee, or fight. This automatic, fast response is a survival mechanism. It keeps us from evaluating a difficult situation rationally and developing optimal coping strategies. As a result, we tend to be highly reactive to changes and crises.

Focus on What Is Controllable

One of the most significant challenges leaders and followers face during trying times is a lack of control. Control is an innate human desire. Low control means high stress.

Research shows that in difficult situations, focusing on the controllable aspects leads to better decision-making and less anxiety.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced most restaurants to shut down at the beginning. Leaders in the restaurant business faced daunting challenges because they couldn’t control the course of the pandemic. However, Chipotle quickly came up with digital ordering, a new way to serve its customers. It added drive-through, contactless pickup lanes known as “Chipotlane” at its restaurants. Customers felt safe and responded very positively. Drive-through orders skyrocketed.

Chipotle adopted an innovative approach to handling the once-in-a-lifetime crisis, focusing on what it could control instead of becoming a victim of the pandemic.

Identify What Is Predictable

Unpredictability often makes changes and crises frightening. The brain dislikes unpleasant surprises and responds with elevated anxiety. Predictability is crucial because it allows us to build coping strategies.

Understanding the importance of predictability will empower leaders to improve their communication with their followers.

In May 2020, three months into the pandemic, many people and businesses had the false belief that everything would return to normal shortly. The hot topic was how to bring employees back to the office after the widespread lockdowns. However, the COVID-19 virus was still raging. Google quickly announced that their employees wouldn’t return until the end of 2020. The company gave its employees the predictability to adapt to working from home for an extended period.

In a crisis, giving long-term predictability is impossible. However, leaders can provide short-term assurances to their followers to reduce uncertainty.

Most Requested Training: The Neuroscience of Leadership Workshop: How Effective Leaders Beat Skyrocketing Stress and Burnout ~ Explore a new, science-proven framework to handle life and work stressors.

Manage Crisis and Change with Neuroscience

Changes and crises inevitably cause fear and anxiety in all of us because of a lack of control and predictability. In trying times, leadership becomes even more challenging. Neuroscience research can help us understand how the brain reacts to stress and fear. Such knowledge allows leaders to handle complicated situations more effectively.

Dr. Terry Wu delivers fascinating and thought-provoking Neuroscience-driven knowledge about how leaders can make their followers feel safe.

His insights are original, and his speaking style is engaging and entertaining. Few speakers can make complex science as enthralling and inspiring as he can. He constantly develops new science-powered content that guides leaders in avoiding costly mistakes and achieving more success.

Nate Garvis Terry Wu brings the fascinating world of Neuroscience and Psychology into understandable and compelling form. That awareness allows for important strategies and actions in how to better connect with those who are most important to you. He has an extraordinary ability to connect the science of human behavior to business leadership. Terry is one of the speakers in our Hero Speaker Series. ~ Nate Garvis, Co-Founder, Studio E
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