Why is neuroscience important for leaders to know about?
Neuroscience deals with how our brains process information, which in turn influences our behavior, thoughts and emotions. Chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, adrenaline, and cortisol are all present in our brains and influence the way we act.
Neuroscience helps leaders better understand themselves and their emotions, be aware of how they relate to people at work and elsewhere, recognize their strengths and weaknesses, assess their willingness to take risks, be flexible and open to change.
It is important to realize that everyone’s brain works a little differently and the more leaders understand some of the basics of neuroscience and its impact on behavior, the more effective they can be.
Neuroscience helps us know ourselves better and be more self-aware of what things make us upset, angry, frustrated or happy. It helps us better understand “Where does that feeling show up for me”? “How do I respond to others?” “Do I want to change my behavior to get different results?” By having a higher level of self-awareness, we can have more self-control and be more effective as we interact with others.
Today’s workplace is filled with stressful situations, the need for a motivated and engaged workforce, different generations and cultures working together. These are challenges that neuroscience can help us better understand.
For example, research shows that Millennials have different expectations about recognition, feedback and rewards than employees from other generations. With an understanding of neuroscience, leaders can be more intentional in addressing those differences so that Millennials can be fully engaged and motivated to contribute to the success of the organization. Leaders can provide feedback to Millennials in more meaningful ways. Leaders can help them have a higher level of certainty about their work performance, what is expected of them, and how well they are meeting those expectations.