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A Clearly Simple View of Leadership

I frequently ask participants in our practical neuroscience workshops to raise their hands if they see themselves as “leaders.” Typically, 10% to 30% respond positively, even in a group comprised of managers and supervisors in their organizations.

Follow-up questions and exercises reveal that most people have an aggrandized view of “leaders,” picturing them as “special” and other than themselves. They frequently describe and see “leaders” as corporate executives, heads-of-state, social and religious spokespersons and people who have many followers. This view, in my mind’s-eye, limits one’s potential to live a more fulfilling life and help others do the same.

When “leader” is defined as an individual who interacts and influences the people they live and work with, almost everyone admits to being a “leader.” Taking this principle to a practical level, leadership qualities most admired seem to be:  

  • Consistency and dependability. Consistency and dependability are qualities based on how you experience others and how others experience you. These others are individuals you live and work with; they are also people you experience through the media, like politicians, heads-of-state, corporate chiefs and people in charge of policies that affect your quality-of-life. It’s disruptive, confusing and difficult to assess what’s going on with inconsistent positions, behaviors, words and actions. Behaviors signals embedded values. The gift of consistent “low road” or “high road” behaviors is being able to determine with whom and what you want to align.
  • High Values. “High road” values like visibility, honesty, fun, teamwork, compassion, family and prosperity seem to resonate with many people. I believe the root cause of chaos in families, organizations and between countries is the diverse range of “low road” and “high road” values. Values drive behaviors. Behaviors establish positive or negative environments.  Positive environments help everyone be the best they can be and neutralize volatile situations. Values establish the common ground in which people can accomplish common goals and enjoy the benefits of their work.
  • Shared interests. Shared interests almost always bring people together to support one another, explore possibilities and discover what they can achieve through cooperation. When shared interests yield shared benefits, the group tends to work together and stay together.  This is the basis of successful marriages, families and organizations. The caveat is that consistent behaviors and shared values must be present to create sustainable relationships, organizations and political stability.

You impact others much more than you realize and there are always opportunities for improving relationships and situations.  To become a more conscious and successful leader, I suggest starting by identifying three of your most important personal values. Then record the “high road behaviors” associated with each value. In this way, you know for sure you are practicing your values; and others will experience your consistency and dependability.  Finally, for each behavior, think about and record the outcomes that occur when you practice your “high road” behaviors.  As an example, if “Fun” is a value, the behaviors might be “doing what interests you, being light hearted, being grateful and non-judgmental;” outcomes may include “experiencing more fun in your life and bringing fun into the lives of others.” This exercise is highly transformative. You will experience almost immediate shifts in how you feel about yourself and receive positive feedback from others.

In summary, these three characteristics of leadership make up a simple and elegant model to live a higher quality life regardless of your education, career and personal situation. Pursue with passion the things that interest you and do no harm; you will attract others who will support and unite with you.  Practicing “high road” behaviors in everything you do will put you on the pathway to being a conscious and powerful leader.

Author Message:
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Leaders in this “Century of the Brain” are self-aware of their brain strengths and the strengths of the people they guide, support and lead. A powerful way to continue your journey of leadership development is discovering how your brain is wired for success and what makes you tick. Your personalized Brain PathWays report gives you practical neuroscience tools, based on your brain strengths to “be the best you can be.” The next step is “helping others do the same.”  The on-line process takes less than 15 minutes, the results last a life time. Click to purchase your Brain
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One comment on “A Clearly Simple View of Leadership

  1. Pingback: 7 Practices of Successful Neuroleaders | Brain PathWays Blog

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