It’s a new year and for many companies, that means a fresh start, goal setting and making sure the right people are in the right position for optimal performance.
This is when many managers move into positions of leadership, a promotion often given based on previous success and excellence in their area of expertise.
But just because they’re superstars in engineering or finance doesn’t mean they’re fully prepared to step into a leadership role, motivating others to do the very work that has led to their own promotion.
If fact, if their brain is hardwired for success, which is likely the case, it may actually work against them in their new position.
That’s because the brain prefers familiar known ways of doing things, especially in times of stress (hello, new role!). So, the brain will rely on memory of past successes as a basis of decision making and behaviors in their new leadership role. We aren’t conscious that we are doing this, but using known patterns of behavior provides a sense of comfort and cognitive ease that unfortunately doesn’t last. It also doesn’t set the new leader up for success.
Further complicating the transition may be the very training programs new leaders are sent on to facilitate the promotion. Mandated ‘leadership skills training’ is often a crash course in management, even though we know people learn best when training and development is spaced over an extended period and in small pieces, to maximize the brain’s ability to retain learning and apply new skills.
This is why incorporating neuroscience – or neuroleadership – into effective leadership transitions and development can significantly increase the success and retention of new leaders, as well as the positive impact they have on their teams.
Here are several key neuroleadership competencies all leaders can use to successfully grow into their new roles:
Empathy and approachability
The ability to build strong relationships, trust and common ground with others are essential qualities for leaders.
Big picture thinking
For leaders, focusing on desired solutions and being open to new and creative thinking is key to engaging and inspiring others to work toward strategic goals, while not getting stuck in the details of problems.
Discipline of focus
For any new leader inundated with new information and tasks, effectively prioritizing and planning their time and energy could mean the difference between success and failure. Managing their mental, emotional and physical fitness builds resilience and avoids chances of burnout.
Effectively lead change
In today’s rapidly changing workplace, demonstrating an openness to change and the ability to lead teams through uncertainty and complexity is an increasingly critical skill set.
Noesis delivers neuroleadership consulting and training to organizations handling everyday change and major transformation initiatives. We help our Fortune 500 clients scientifically improve leadership.