Sunday, October 19, 2014

How Badly Do You Want to be a Good Leader?

Neuroscience is the study of how the nervous system, and brain, works. New advances in the field of neuroscience may help us unravel the physiology of leadership effectiveness. Neuroscience findings are helping to connect the dots between human interaction and effective leadership practices. As the mapping of the human brain continues, we can expect to learn more about how the brain functions and how leaders can use this knowledge to best lead people and organizations.
At the Center for Creative Leadership, they are deeply intrigued by neuroscience’s potential for enhancing leadership effectiveness. Success as a leader, after all, often comes down to specific behavioral traits. The more we know about how to encourage positive behavior and change limiting behavior in ourselves and others, the better we will meet our challenges.
Most people can recognize the behavioural traits that make a good leader but it’s the sustainable application that is often a key block to effective leadership success. Take collaboration, a behavioural trait that is often associated with effective leadership. So why do so many leaders actually find it hard to collaborate effectively? Is it because other deeply entrenched behaviours come to sabotage the collaboration process – as the leader, whether consciously or sub-consciously, tries to protect their own span of control.
John Ryan mentions that "as we explore what's new and meaningful on the frontiers of leadership development, we do know this: the context in which leadership happens is changing every day in every sector. We are living in a VUCA world: one characterised by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity and will be for years to come. In a dizzying swirl of socio-political upheaval, natural disasters and volatile business markets, many of us stay awake at night wondering if our skills and knowledge are enough to see us through tomorrow or the next quarter. Seeing farther than that is even more daunting and yet we have to keep searching."
As leaders have to deal with more uncertainty and a business environment that is in a state of constant change, many leaders can feel the pressure and stress of their role. Some of course will say they thrive on being put in stressful situations, but the connection between stress and brain function is one area of neuroscience that will "change the landscape of leadership development," predicts Marian Ruderman, senior fellow and research director at the Center for Creative Leadership. "Advances in neuroscience are giving us insight into how people learn and remember, how we manage our emotions, how we behave in the moment, and how we build long-term resiliency."
Marian Ruderman from the Center of Creative Leadership “thinks it’s all around the how. Leadership is not changing; it’s still about achieving direction, alignment and commit­ment. What is changing is that we will be moving away from the competency-based approach to understanding the being part of leadership, i.e. who we are, how we pres­ent ourselves, and how that aligns for people. Neurosci­ence is also helping us understand resilience, renewal and self-regulation. Where if you can have greater control of your nervous system, you can control your responses. This can help in all sorts of leadership activities and is especially valuable in delicate or difficult situations. Self-regulation can be a powerful underpinning for anyone who wants to be more effective in leadership roles.”
Leaders need all the help they can get to embrace the mantle of leadership, and in so doing inspire and motivate their followers to achieve greater things – both for themselves and for the greater good of the organisation. In the process taking the organisation to a new level of operational efficiency and sustainable output, never achieved before – that in itself creates a resilient organisational infrastructure that can absorb and respond to their ever changing business environment in a positive sustainable way.
But most importantly leaders need to remember that their role is all about inspiration and motivation.
As David Rock (2011) states, “leaders and leadership scholars of the future may be looking at the world in a whole new way - with the brain firmly in mind. And the journey has really only just begun.”
Rock, D. (2011). The neuroscience of leadership: time for a new science of leadership. Psychology Today, March.
Ryan, J.R. (2012) What's next for leadership? 5 big ideas. Center for Creative Leadership Annual Report, 2011-2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment