Applying insights about how the brain drives behaviour, especially for leadership training and leadership training activities, is a formidable combination. However we must keep in mind, that the application of insights from the field of neuroscience leadership, is relatively new. The team and I often reference this quote by author Daniel Pink: “There’s a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.”
In the last 20 years we have unlocked so many new discoveries about our brains but more importantly, how we can apply these breakthroughs to leaderships models and design.
Here’s five examples and their benefits, from a massive toolbox of neuroscience informed practices:
1. Sleep on it. That’s right, one of the simplest messages is that for memory, skill acquisition and especially new motor skills, we need to allow time for this new activity to be encoded into our hippocampus and that happens when we sleep. This key piece of knowledge allows you to create programs that use spaced repetition to strengthen the embedding of new skills. Intensive 2-day programs packed with content where participants are expected to apply multiple new concepts don’t necessarily result in good application of new skills.
2. You can’t learn if you are in a state of frazzle or overwhelm.. Forced learning or change can easily activate your fight/flight/freeze response which means that you will not be able to focus on the new learning let alone allow it to encode. When we don’t feel safe our resources are directed to staying safe and learning new things becomes really challenging. If you feel safe, you are safe to learn.
3. No two brains are alike, so no two learning processes or experiences will be the same. This is one of the most important points to be aware of as a leader when creating a pathway of learning. Work on establishing individual learning plans while still sharing the important key messages to the entire team.
4. Forming new habits is really energy intensive and given our brain is an energy conserving organ we need to be convinced the effort of learning something new is worth the allocation of scarce attention resources. People need to understand both the benefits of doing something new or the risks of not applying a new process, skill or practice. If you don’t have buy in, people will naturally revert to doing what they have always done, because there are strong patterns and routines association with old habits.
5. Most of our educational experiences both at school and post-school, has yet to teach us about how to understand our most important driver of behaviour – our brain. We all have one and we can all benefit from understanding our brain and how it drives our behaviour. Every person we have educated about their brain is both fascinated and surprised by how this understanding can improve our self-regulation, our decision making and problem solving, our capacity to collaborate better with people and how to implement successful change initiatives.
Learn more about the benefits of neuroscience-based leadership for your workplace training activities from our team, book a time to speak with our team here.