There’s always been debate over whether leaders are born or made, but science suggests that there are at least a few ways we can train our brains to be better leaders.
The article below from Inc. talks about applying neuroscience in a business setting to improve performance among executives. Of course, eating healthily and getting enough sleep form a solid baseline, but the author lays out four additional things leaders can work on:
1. Neuroplasticity — This is all about “practicing new, desirable behaviors” to create new neuro pathways and improve the brain’s overall performance. Think of it like a workout for your noggin. A great way to do this is by learning something new, especially something that requires a lot of attention like a language or an instrument. It doesn’t necessarily have to even relate to work — the action of learning alone is enough to stretch those brain muscles!
2. Brain agility — This is a similar concept, and it’s all about training your brain to be able to move swiftly from one task to another. Rather than trying to multitask everything at the same time, the author recommends tackling projects consecutively and looking at things from different angles, both individually and within business teams.
3. Mindset mastery — The best leaders have growth mindsets, not fixed mindsets. Practicing neuroplasticity can help nudge someone toward the “growth” end of the scale if they find themselves being too fixed.
4. Simplicity — Simplicity is exactly what it implies: keeping things simple for the brain. The author suggests reducing noncritical decisions and eliminating little stressors. For example, someone can pick out their outfit for the next day before going to bed, giving them one less thing to think about when they wake up.
At various times, all of us probably practice some of these tasks, but those aspiring to lead should be especially mindful of each of them. And for those leading mobility teams, it’s important to think about all of this in the context of relocating employees, too. Relocating employees go through a lot of change, which can be a very stressful experience. It’s critical to be mindful of this experience and offer as much support as possible — something that’s made easier when decision-makers are focused on healthy brains themselves.
For more on how neuroscience and mobility intersect, check out our Relo Tip Tuesday video on the subject.
A well-fed, rested, and oxygenated brain is necessary for mental resilience and peak performance amid stress and uncertainty. "When all other things are equal, mental resilience is the factor that really distinguishes the CEO," says Tara Swart. To improve resilience and performance, Swart recommends leaders work on the following: