What Neuroscience Can Teach Leaders

Pioneers in the coaching profession began coaching people using age old wisdom gleaned from history, philosophy, art, spirituality, anthropology, psychology, psychiatry and business. The techniques we used were built from trial and error, when we found ones that worked we simply kept using them even if we didn’t necessarily know how or why they worked.  The great value of the study of neuroscience in the context of leadership is that what we intuitively knew to be true is in fact supported by the scientific research.   The following will be part of a series over the next few weeks. Each item is short referenced, full references available on request.

Your Brain is Key:

Take care of your Pre-Frontal Cortex, the “seat of judgment”.  It requires rest and glucose.  It fatigues easily though you don’t necessarily feel it when it is tired (the way you do when you are physically tired). Every decision you make adds to “decisions fatigue” and erodes your energy for thinking things through (Beameister).  Your ability to regulate your emotions and make good decisions declines with fatigue.  People who make consistently good decisions aren’t necessarily smarter; rather they know when they are not at their best:

“Even the wisest people won’t make good choices when they’re not rested and their glucose is low.  The best decision makers are the ones who know when not to trust themselves.” (Baumeister in Article by John Tierney, NYTimes Sunday Magazine, August 17th, pg. 47)

Image: Carlos Porto

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