Bring Together Brains and Beliefs for Balanced Leadership
It shouldn’t surprise us that a Columbia University professor challenged conventional wisdom, or that leadership should change as a result. What does stump us though, is how to infuse intelligence and wisdom in ways that lead genuine progress.
Phillip Hamburger’s book shows self-serving political origins of the “separation of church and state” policy. Thomas Jefferson used this strategy for political gain, and then a Clan-connected politician popularized this separation practice to secure exclusive rights for biased beliefs. Over time the separation concept became as sacred to the hub of our constitution, as belief to the hub of our faith.
Time for Change
Regardless of how separation of brains and beliefs originated, let’s challenge this controversial tradition in order to capitalize on differences in a new generation. The time is ripe for a new kind of leadership that respects brains and beliefs of all humans. A lifetime of studying brains, valuing differences where I work globally, and leading from a center of belief in God, convinces me that brains and beliefs offer lynchpins for a balanced leadership that includes all.
The time is ripe for a new kind of leadership that respects brains and beliefs of all humans.
We will continue to leave behind many of our best and brightest unless we combine brains and beliefs in a new kind of leadership. Why so? Unless we direct our highest beliefs to lead all well, we’ll default to lead some poorly.
Brain-Compatible Beliefs that Build Resilient Communities:
1. Get Plastic
Change daily just as plasticity changes brains with every action. Question others about the best ways to serve and support them. Just as unmerited grace drives faith for instance, let’s redirect actions to listen more and support others in ways they’d advise us to lead them if asked with a mindset to support.
2. Change Chemistry
Encouragement alters chemistry in the human brain causing serotonin chemicals to convert to electrical impulses. The result? Inspired progress for all. Faith nudges us to encourage more than just those like ourselves for instance, and belief impacts leadership when we encourage all to speak and feel heard on a daily basis.
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3. Avoid Brain Shrinkage
Stress literally shrinks human brains in today’s increasingly toxic workplaces. One medical leader we work with combats stress with a belief in God’s infinite possibilities. No staff members are permitted to complain unless they propose a possible solution that will benefit the entire organization and actively involve themselves.
4. Alter Brain Waves
Sacred music alters brain wave activity and can increase mental alertness at work. Encourage people to use headphones to listen to music that moves them at work, and at times play spirited instrumental background music that resonates with all. Why not take suggestions at your next meeting to discover people’s musical preferences as an aid to focus.
No staff members are permitted to complain unless they propose a possible solution that will benefit the entire organization and actively involve themselves.
5. Teach Tone
An amygdala, the brain’s seat of emotion, can be tamed to react calmly under pressure. Identify specific ways that workers can engage opposing views on even hot topics, so that they build goodwill even among those who disagree. Faith teaches care for others and that includes respecting their differences, even when we disagree.
Balanced leadership unites what we know and what we believe in ways that anchor both. How could brains and beliefs reign together more to enhance your leadership, and support other’s differences?
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