The About My Brain Institute holds leadership workshops for business professionals. Courses are backed by the latest research in neuroscience and teach brain-friendly exercises that work to develop emotional and intellectual intelligence. CEO Silvia Damiano explains:
You do not have to be Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Ghandi to lead your business or team members in an effective way. Leaders are not just born, they can be made, and the skills can be learnt.
Business owners and operators not only need to excel in customer service, they should work to to provide a good employee experience too.
Understanding how our brains work helps optimise our performance, be more collaborative, agile and innovative leaders. This is key to thriving in an economy that is fast, volatile and unpredictable.
Strategies for brain-friendly leadership:
Have A Healthy Brain
For an idea to emerge, our brains need to access alpha brain waves which are the precursor of an eureka moment. These sort of waves are produced in our brains when we relax. That’s why people have their best ideas in the shower or going in a ferry ride.
When your brain is healthy, you can make better decisions and be a better role model. Some tips for brain health:
– Sleep no less than 7-8 hours per night.
– Exercise for 30 minutes at least 5 times per week.
– Eat healthy and slowly.
– Meditate for 20 minutes per day.
Listen, listen, listen
Most people like to work for a leader (or an organisation) that has values, inspires them to grow and welcomes their input.
As a matter of fact, the basic needs of an employees brain is to provide ideas, be heard and be acknowledged. This demands excellent communication skills from their leader, namely being able to acutely listen and affirm.
Value everyone’s ideas including your most junior staff. You never know where (or from whom) your next innovation may come from.
In the ‘Imagination Age’ (now, that is) creativity is one of the most prized attributes according to leaders. The ideas and thinking of employees have become more important than knowledge itself or what the manager thinks.
Recognising and incentivising creative thinking is something that most people do not do or know how to do when they are at work.
Use encouraging, positive language and even playful language to put people’s brains at ease – when people feel threatened they cannot come up with ideas.
It is important to continue learning if we want to have a better working and young brain.
For businesses, education is a the basis of a great culture. It helps people interact with clients and other staff better, resolve conflict constructively and ultimately achieve excellence.
Indeed, employers who value education and development are nourishing their staffs’ human software, which can lead to better engagement, higher levels of productivity and a boost in morale. Furthermore, business owners who invest in their team’s development are expanding the minds of everyone involved.
When the mind expands, so do levels of self awareness. It enables people to view themselves more holistically in terms of how they impart onto others and how to self-correct their actions to improve.
Business owners and their employees need to embrace and adapt to the transformations happening around us. After all, we will be interacting with robots in the future.
Thankfully, the breakthrough discovery of neuroplasticity in the brain means behavioural change is more than possible.
Neuroplasticity means our brains are able to change, grow new neural cells and make new connections. It acknowledges that this change happens every day and our brains rewire continuously. We can create a new ‘self’ every day if we are open, curious and flexible.
Learning to collaborate with all sorts of people, independently of gender, background or age is imperative in this new era of work. Therefore if conflict arises, it’s important to carefully consider the best response, rather than letting your ’emotional brain’ take over. Some strategies for resolving conflict in a brain-friendly way:
– Quiet your inner talk so you can be fully present for the other person and actively listen.
– Connect to the wisdom of your heart to activate your empathy.
– Be patient and give other people involves an opportunity to express themselves.
– Be genuinely interested in others and assume the best rather than the worst.
– Learn to ask good questions to understand where the other person may be coming from.
– Breathe deeply three times if you feel you are getting defensive.
*Silvia is a leadership activist and change agent. She is an author, educator and the CEO of the About My Brain Institute. Her scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life.
She believes leaders in our 21st century global economy must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership.
Silvia has worked in different countries, in many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance.