Too often, leaders are focused only on their agenda. As long as everything gets checked off for the day, many leaders have no awareness of what really goes on behind the scenes. The leaders of the Imagination Age cannot have this narrow, task-focused mindset of the past.
Take the time to observe the reactions of others
An agile workforce is increasingly necessary to compete in the global economy. Awareness of what is happening around you is needed to react quickly and make decisions on the fly, however being so focused on a single task is like staring at one flower in a bouquet—you’re missing out on all the rest. A quality leader must be able to see the big picture.
Developing awareness in executives and being able to see beyond ourselves is crucial. Is your mindset fixated on your own tasks, without taking into account your staff, your clients, and the future? Neuroscience now allows us to examine how the brains of business leaders look, and the results aren’t pretty. So called ‘healthy’ lifestyles are leaving leaders with brains that look diseased.
A recent study that examined the effect of stress on monkeys found that monkeys with higher levels of epinephrine and cortisol had larger amygdala, and these animals were more violent when facing a stressful situation. Monkeys with lower hormone levels and smaller amygdala tended to exhibit problem-solving behavior in stressful conditions (Tekieh, 2017).
“You didn’t need a college degree to become one of the people who knew what was really going on. If you paid attention, you could pick things up on your own.”
Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle
When you cannot access your awareness, and instead focus only on the reality in front of you, you will become extremely short-sighted. An understanding of how your brain works and what role the amygdala and other structures in your brain have on your perceptions of the world can vastly improve your leadership style.
Don’t fall victim to the amygdala hijack
You don’t want to fall victim to the amygdala hijack that our brains have evolved with. This leads you to make assumptions about threat levels and can also lead to poor decision-making. Instead, educate your brain and make conscious decisions with agility and awareness.
The will teach you about the brain circuitry that impacts your leadership abilities. Being aware of those around you is an important step to the path of cutting-edge leadership. Leaders with a high level of agility notice things around them, and act on these things.
Building trust with your team will improve the performance of everyone involved. If you can stop looking at only yourself, and really see the people around you, you can step up and become the leader that is needed in this new Imagination Age.
Tekieh E, Riahi E, Kazemi M, Sahraei H, Tavakoli H, Aliyary H, Hajinasrollah M, Salehi M, Meftahi GhH, Saberi M. Role of basal stress hormones and amygdala dimensions in stress coping strategies of male rhesus monkeys in response to a hazard-reward conflict.Iran J Basic Med Sci 2017; 20:951-957. doi: 10.22038/IJBMS.2017.9120