Lost in the 24-hour news cycle world we live in is the amazing work being done in Neuroscience. We are literally living in the golden age of neuroscience with unprecedented research in what I consider one of the most fascinating mysteries – our brain. We now know that we live a significant portion of our lives in … our brain. Life experiences are diverse but it is the mostly subconscious and reflex interpretation of these experiences that consumes how we live, respond, behave and manage future experiences.
So what does this mean for leaders? I submit that re-interpretation of experiences (situations) is not just a key skill to master, but also the first step in the sequence of all activities. A leader must be able to recognize all the interpretations of his followers of a business challenge, for example. An athletic coach must be able first know how her team is interpreting being behind with two minutes to go, for example. Some will be scared, some confused, some excited, some ambivalent, and so on. So the first task of a leader/coach is to provide the necessary narrative that should be played in everyone’s brain/minds. The redirect of the neuropathways is necessary to create the desired reality instead of the conjured reality in each mind. Diverse realities (interpretations) of a situation based on even more diverse past experiences and filters, is counterproductive to aligning a team to find the best solution/response.
This week, as you engage in conference calls, meetings, conversations, etc, take note of the narrative of the people around you. Instead of trying to formulate a solution, consider first what you want the most positive and empowering narrative to be. State that narrative and invest in making sure that everyone truly believes your narrative. Do that and the answers will find themselves. What is awesome about changing reality (yes that is a thing!) is that stress levels are much lower too. We make our best decisions when we can access all our memories, skills and knowledge in a situation that has all the traditional attributes of stress/fear.