This is your brain on Science! What if there was a way to understand and influence the way your mind works so that you could start having better outcomes and more innovation? Well, there is! A few weeks back I discovered the budding field of neuroleadership. It uses neuroscience to understand how things like insight, social pain, attention, autonomy and other “soft skills” work. It helps us understand what happens in which part of the brain, why it happens and under what circumstances. It also gives us some tools and techniques that can be used to influence outcomes.
The things I’ve learned about in the past year about intrinsic motivation, autonomy, mastery and purpose among others are all validated by this new field of study. Neuroleadership started to appear about 5 years ago, thanks largely to David Rock, who started the neuroleadership institute and an annual conference. He’s written three books as well, I’ve read one and added it to my reading list:
Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. He’s got a list of resources including research papers on his website: www.davidrock.net
I’m skeptical by nature and when I first found neuroleadership, I wasn’t sure if this was just some guy’s theory or if it had a scientific basis. What pushed me over the edge was the syllabus for their masters program. It’s full of top researchers like: Amy Arnsten from Yale, Lila Davachi from NYU and Mark Beeman from Northwestern. The work is self is a bit short on empirical evidence for my taste, but given the small number of researchers, and the newness of the neuroleadership, it’s understandable.
I’m be following both of these paths, intrinsic motivation and neuroleadership. I still have lots to learn and as I’ve mentioned they’re very complimentary.