Are You a brain-friendly leader?

By William Seidman In “Brain-Based Learning for Leaders,” writer Ann Pace explores how Orion Partners, a UK management consultancy, is using neuroscience to design leadership programs. “Applying the principles of neuroscience—the study of the brain—to leadership development programs enables leaders to behave in harmony with how the brain works, improving the way they motivate and communicate with their employees,” Pace writes. Orion has developed six characteristics of effective leadership development programs based on neuroscience principles: Work the way the brain works. Create insights rather than give instruction. Create new habits. Make learning a shared experience. Explain “What’s in it for me?” Measure results and feedback. We’ve been using neuroscience as the foundation for cultural change and performance improvement for about a decade, and we use all of the ideas outlined by Pace with great success. We also incorporate the science around positive deviance, as well as Dan Pink’s work on motivation and persuasive technology, designed to provide even large organizations with solid neuroscience-based learning experiences. This has led to a similar list of learning ideas that we call the Four Positives: Positive Deviance: Leverage your best people to create brain-friendly images of purpose and mastery. Positive Images: Always frame everything in positive terms; this energizes people and makes it easier for the brain to process new ideas. Positive Practice: Wire those neurons together by frequently and consciously practicing the new behavior. Positive Reflection: Take the time to think about the positive practice, which further exercises the brain. Neuroscience has fundamentally changed what we know about learning and revealed that many traditional approaches to learning are just plain wrong. Organizations that really understand and utilize the neuroscience of learning will outpace organizations that stick to traditional methods. By using the Four Positives, any organization can produce brain-friendly leaders who bring out the best in their employees.  ]]>

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