What can neuroscience tell us about leadership?

A better understanding of the brain can help leaders to change their own habits, and the habits of the people they lead.

What can the science of the brain tell us about leadership? In Neuroscience for Leaders:A Brain Adaptive Leadership Approach, authors Nikolaos Dimitriadis and Alexandros Psychogios argue that a better understanding of the function of the brain can help leaders change not only their own habits, but the habits of the people they lead.

“There is an increasing number of voices suggesting that neuroscience opens new paths for leadership understanding and for modifying the all-important leadership attitude,” the authors write. “What seems to be less studied and developed though are practical approaches of making leaders aware of their brain flexibility and capacity, as well as how exactly these can influence leadership attitudes in the real world.”

The authors propose an approach called “brain adaptive leadership,” or BAL. The idea behind BAL is that people are able to “recalibrate their brains and mould their behavior accordingly to lead projects, processes and people.”

“Leadership research should start and end with the brain,” the authors posit. According to them, being aware of one’s own thought patterns, analytical skills, and communication strategies can help one reshape those brain activities to be a better leader.

“Our brain does not go unchanged during our life,” they write. “On the contrary, it changes constantly, every single day. … Consequently, the brain is the key to the new kind of leadership required to continuously adapt in a complex world.”
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