As an executive coach for almost 20 years, I am always looking for a better understanding of the human brain and how it affects leadership and relationships. Neuroscience for Leaders explores the growing research and understanding of how the brain works, and how leaders can train their brains for more effective leadership.
The authors talk about the four main approaches to leadership style and then make the case that it is an evolutionary process to get to the fourth stage. Here are the stages:
1. "The autocratic-controlling approach: where the leader seeks and controls resources to enhance efficiency.
2. The motivational-engagement approach: where the leader focuses on relationships and on motivating others in order to enhance results.
3. The transformational approach: where the leader aims to transform the culture of an organization, attempting to achieve better outcomes.
4. The adaptive approach: where the leader sees organizations as complex systems that are evolving and therefore trying to constantly adapt.”
Based on the steps above, the authors built the book around the concept of BAL, brain adaptive leadership. This is particularly interesting to me, as I have seen the effects first hand. In 2012 I had a stroke. Over the last 4 ½ years, I have watched as my brain re-wired itself. As an observer of my own life, I have been able to gauge the many ways it has affected the way I see and react to the world. That is why the “adaptive” part of BAL really appealed to me. We can re-wire our thinking. We can make a positive difference in the way we lead. Ultimately, we can make a positive difference in the lives of the people we lead. We can become true leaders instead of “managing”. Isn’t that what we are after?
Full disclosure, while I enjoyed the real life examples, Neuroscience for Leaders is a bit challenging to read. It can feel like a college textbook at times. However, you will be handsomely rewarded for your investment in this book.