Timely Management Tips: What Managers Can Learn From Neuroscience

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Dora Summers-Ewing

New and compelling research in the field of neuroscience has been slowly changing the way we think about managing and leading others. Neuroscientists have found previously unknown neural connections in the human brain, which to some degree explains workplace behavior. Here are 5 important findings:

  1. Humans are hardwired to learn from each other using the brain’s mirror neurons. Managers should model and demonstrate the behaviors they want their employees to emulate because learning can be transferred through observation alone.
  1. New ideas can change the mind physically and psychologically. Ours minds are automatically and instinctually ready to absorb new information but we prefer stories to facts. So save the long- winded speeches and tell a story if you want to influence others’ hearts and minds.
  1. Leaders who are more connected to their emotions tend to make better decisions than those who suppress their emotions at work. By objectively and logically analyzing facts we lose the ability to access our own past experience and make educated inferences about the future.
  1. Constructive feedback doesn’t change actions, thoughts or feelings. Our brains process feedback in terms of what we believe, and when feedback differs from our own beliefs it causes us to automatically react defensively. The only way around this is to ask questions to get people to see things from a different perspective.
  1. Mental models, (the way that we process what we see or experience in the world), shape our reality. We don’t really live in a physical world but in a mental world, which is influenced by our emotions, desires and goals. Understanding an employee expectations and preconceptions can help you avoid miscommunication, and wasted effort.

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Dora Summers-Ewing, a business psychologist and executive coach with EXIDEO Consulting writes Management Tip. She can be reached at info@exideoconsulting.com and welcomes your thoughts and comments.

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