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Why Consider Neuroleadership?

Brain function and the direct impact on our thinking and behaviours are increasingly becoming understood and appreciated (Lieberman, 2003).
person leading a group walking down a slope
© CQUniversity, 2020

This is a good question to ground your understanding. To provide a personalised foundation consider the following questions:

  • Reflect on your favourite leaders. Note several characteristics of each leader.  Are there similarities?
  • How would you define exceptional leadership? 
  • Come back to what you have written here after you have completed the course and reflect on the same questions with your newly wired brain. 

All leadership roles are underpinned by the brain. The way we lead and the way our students, staff or followers respond to our leadership. Everything is encompassed by the brain’s ability to manage the working experience. Neuroleadership is a subfield of Neuroscience that specifically focuses on those experiences. “It is social-cognitive neuroscience exploring the processes in the brain that underlie or influence human decisions, behaviours and interactions in the workplace and beyond” (Ringleb & Rock, 2013).

The objective of this field is to improve leadership effectiveness that takes into account the physiology of the mind and the brain. The premise behind neuroleadership is that it is beneficial to have an understanding of the brain so that as leaders, we can create conditions for student/staff/ follower success.

Brain function and the direct impact on our thinking and behaviours are increasingly becoming understood and appreciated (Lieberman, 2003). Much of this new comprehension is driven by the rapid expansion of research on the biological underpinnings of social processes using brain scan technologies (Adolphs, 2003; Ochsner and Lieberman, 2001). As a result, these emerging insights are challenging traditional leadership approaches and reframing leadership programs through the lens of neuroscience (Ringleb & Rock, 2013). 

Examples of how neuroleadership might be useful include understanding response, stress, motivation, fear in others. This can prompt us to adapt our leadership style, and our awareness of how the brain works can help us develop appropriate informed strategies to lead.

© CQUniversity, 2020
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Neuroleadership and Conceptual Approaches in Educational Neuroscience

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