The Neuroscience of Leading, Managing People

Scan the article time – 30 seconds.

Time to Actually become proficient: 90 days of conscious practice and repetition.

The Dynamic: Mind is to brain as driver is to car.

Operating Assumption: Everything happens in relationship.

Genius Leaders / Managers: Are highly skilled in emotional intelligence – the currency of relationships.

Operating Principle: Everyone is looking to be lead, no one wants to be managed.

Neuroscience yields intriguing insights into leader-follower dynamics.

We've discovered some fascinating things about mirror neurons – mirror what's?

A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when:

(a) an animal acts and

(b) when the animal observes the same action performed by another.

This means that the neuron "mirrors" the behaviors of the other, as though the observer were itself acting.

If I see you taking an action, the premotor cortex neurons in my brain

that make that action happen – fire.

I get an itch to do what I see you doing – which is the stuff of neuroscience.

Whether I choose to scratch my itch is influenced by my mind – my psychology.

The premotor cortex is a region in the motor cortex that sits inside the frontal lobe of my brain.

The motor cortex is involved in the planning, control, and execution of voluntary motor functions.

The same thing goes on with the neurons in the region of one's brain that indicates intent.

Not only do we tend to mirror the actions in each others' brains;

We also mirror the reason for each others' actions in our brains.

So the best thing a leader / manager can do is to be a "good" model for people to itch to emulate. This is especially important for modeling the stated values ​​of the organization if management really wants employees to enact those values.

Which leads to leader / manager-follower brutal fact # 1:

The behaviors a leader / manager gets from her / his followers are – for better or for worse – the behaviors s / he has tailed her / his followers to itch to do.

This one reason why leader / manager self-awareness can be such a powerful insight when combined with Stephen Coveys' motto, "Keep the end in mind."

It's a good thing for parents, too.