Do you know for certain how to improve the leaders in your organisation? Only a handful of hands went up in the room and yet over one hundred had been raised earlier when asked if improving leadership was part of their role.
I was in a large room overflowing with learning professionals to hear David Rock talk about neuroscience in leadership. Rock is an Australian now living in the New York who has published four books including his latest ‘Your Brain at Work’, he is Director of The NeuroLeadership Institute and editor of the NeuroLeadership Journal. He and Stephen Thomas, Lead Professor, NeuroLeadership Institute ran four sessions where there was standing room only at the recent ASTD ICE. Through the sessions Rock and Thomas explored improved design of learning, more effective organisations, recruitment and selection and improving leadership.
Science is starting to understand the brain and through the neuroscience of the brain, how it works. Rock’s key gripe with the learning and HR community is that we do not follow the evidence and the science to select our leaders better, create effective work environments or help leaders manage better.
At a more basic and personal level he is exasperated that we are taught “dental hygiene, but not brain hygiene” and yet our brains and how we use them are fundamental to our success in a knowledge economy. Other than the fact that Rock is an excellent and entertaining communicator who makes the complex seem simple, one of the things I appreciated about the presentations was the fact that he didn’t claim that there was a simple magic bullet or formulae. This is work that needs careful thought, but the good news is that there is solid evidence that can be applied to improve work. The challenge for the L&D and HR community is whether we want to examine and test the evidence and apply it to our work?
The evidence suggests:
These are just some of the points Rock made and if like me you are intrigued by the questions then the good news is that there is a wealth of material out there to explore. Rocks uses the SCARF model as a starting point for a lot of his work and for anyone in L&D and HR it is a must to understand. There is also material available from the NeuroLeadership Institute, his blog and on twitter where Rock posts regular updates to the research in the neuroscience field.
Where will the evidence take you?