Key to better business leadership is in your brain.

The key to better business leadership is in your brain.

There are literally hundreds of books about business leadership.

Some are first-person accounts from leaders like Jack Welch or John Bogle.

Other emphasize group dynamics, while still others discuss personal qualities like integrity, authenticity, decisiveness and vision.

But few that I’ve read talk about your brain.

Until now.

The Brain Advantage is the result of a collaboration between Madeleine Van Hecke, Lisa P. Callahan, Brad Kolar and Ken A. Paller.

A former colleague once offered the old quote that “A camel is a horse designed by a committee,” but, in this case, the combination of writers and academic worked together effectively.

The book’s central point is that different parts of the brain control different sorts of responses.  Being aware of, and working with, these neurological realities can help leaders do their jobs more effectively.

For example, the authors have a section in which they make the point that we don’t always see things as accurately as we believe we do.  This knowledge should temper workers’ and leaders’ utter certainty about how they proceed.

The book is divided into five sections, which consider the topics of innovation, relationships, culture, decision-making and personal effectiveness.  Within the individual chapters, the authors summarize the research or phenomenon they are describing, move to an “Interesting, but so what?” discussion and conclude by asking “What if” business leaders applied the findings

Fans of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence will be happy to see their findings repeated here.

Some of the material is not particularly revelatory.  Multi-tasking doesn’t really work, even for younger people.  Workers’ feeling excluded has neurological dimensions and should be avoided by leaders.  Cultural styles make a difference.

Still, the discussion of the different parts of the brain and their role in influencing our experience was a stimulating one for me, and the accessible writing and structure helped me zip through the book.

For a quick and informative read, I’d give The Brain Advantage a chance, whether you are seeking one as a business leader or not.


2 responses to “Key to better business leadership is in your brain.

  1. After listening to Dr. Goleman present a talk in 1999, I realized I’d been using many of the components of his Emotional Intelligence framework every day in my fourth grade classroom.
    I read “Emotional Intelligence” and taped a copy of his paradigm on the chalkboard behind my desk. The paradigm gave me a transparent way to identify and talk to my students about examples of how they were using their own personal and social competencies in everyday classroom life.
    I talked up the premises of EI with parents at Open Houses and parent/teacher conferences.

    The website offers “Free career help, business training, organizational development – inspirational, innovative ideas, materials, exercises, tools, templates”

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      I remember your bringing that into your teaching vocabulary after having done it in your practice for decades.

      Hope all is well with you.

      Let’s talk soon.


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