Why leaders must utilise ‘brain fitness’ to boost performance

by HCA10 Nov 2016
The AIGroup 2015 Absenteesim and Presenteeism survey estimated the direct cost of employee absenteeism in Australia was $578 per day, representing an annual cost to the economy of $44 billion, with additional presenteeism costs in the vicinity of $35 billion.
Indeed, organisational health may well be the greatest disruptor for future business growth and development, according to Dr Jenny Brockis, medical practitioner and author of the book Future Brain: The 12 Keys To Create Your High Performance Brain.
“It's time to invest in the new era of thinking to achieve high mental performance based on greater cognitive health,” said Brockis.
“While some corporate wellness programs focus on improving mental wellbeing and physical health, managing the common workplace maladies of change resistance, high stress levels and exhaustion requires a more holistic approach to elevate cognitive health and mental performance.”
Brockis explained that “brain-savvy leaders” recognise how elevating brain fitness enables individuals to develop the skill sets required for increased cognitive stamina, stress resistance and the ability to handle complex tasks more quickly and easily.
There are four ways leaders can utilise brain fitness principles to boost workplace contribution, performance and satisfaction.
Be brain aware
The recent findings from the brain science have increased our understanding of how the brain operates at its best.
Making the conscious choice to use the brain in the way it was designed helps maintain mental energy levels and reduce stress. Discouraging workplace practices shown not to be helpful such as multitasking leads to greater productivity and efficiency.
Research from Stanford has shown how multitasking leads to greater difficulty in organising our thoughts, reduces memory and worse still is associated with a drop in IQ of between 10-15 points. It's the one brain function that gets worse with practice.
Safety first
Providing a brain safe environment is about recognising and reducing threat alerts such as relationship issues, workload overload and time poverty that push people into survival mode, nudging them instead towards more rewarding behaviours and ways of thinking such as a growth oriented mindset.
Creating a positive company culture as achieved by the Pensar Construction Group in Brisbane where employees are more engaged with their work, contributes to greater commercial success.
Commit to wellbeing
While it's commonly accepted that exercise, sleep and eating healthily are essential to wellbeing and performance, what matters is embedding these into workplace culture as being expected and valued.
The National Preventative Health Taskforce that has Australia firmly in its sights to be the healthiest nation by 2020 emphasise this requires everyone getting on board and taking responsibility at an individual and organisational level.
Providing flexitime, nap rooms and physical activity programs are a good start.
Be human
Providing a workplace designed for people, is about recognising people are not their job description or a resource.
We are human and connection at the human level is as important to our survival and ability to flourish as having access to food, water and shelter. Connection leads to mutual trust, respect and greater relatedness that increases confidence, competence and capability.

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