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Being a leader has several inherent benefits as well as challenges.  One challenge is “power stress” which results from the demand for influencing others and the increased responsibility of the position (McClelland, 1985).

Power stress is considered to be part of the experience resulting from exercising this influence and the subsequent sense of responsibility felt by those in leadership positions.

Richard Boyatzis (2006), Professor in the Departments of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University, who has written over 100 articles and authored six books in the subject,  several with Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) and published numerous studies in the field of leadership, emotional intelligence and neuroscience, proposes that leaders who are able to develop others through adopting a coaching engagement, are able to significantly lower this stress at a neurological level, which in turn has a positive ripple effect for the coachee, the coach, the coachee’s peers, customers and the organization as a whole.

Get free resources to find out how you can lower your stress level with tools to easily engage in a conversation focused on developing others at Sustainable Leadership, Inc.

Why Your Brain Hates Change

It’s 6:00 AM on Sunday morning and I am visiting my old house in Pine, CO,
the one I lived in two years ago before we changed our whole lives 180
degrees and moved to the resort town of Steamboat Springs (to establish a
corporate headquarters for Experience HORSEsense Team Building and
Leadership Retreats
).

I am sipping tea in the room that used to be my home office, appreciating
the familiar sounds of the hot tub whirring, the refrigerator humming.
I forgot how gorgeous the sunrises were as the sun streams through the
ponderosa pines and reflects on Lion’s Head Mountain to the East.

And I’m wondering if I’d want to move back here. Wondering if we made
the right decision to change everything and leave what we’d known for
14 years to start over in a new place … I wonder ..

Then I realize, it’s not me . it’s just my brain. Our brains thrive on
what’s familiar, certain, and known. Our brains do not like change.
Even change for the good, for better possibilities. It’s similar to the experience
of being back in high school, and breaking up with our girlfriend or boyfriend,
feeling lonely the first Friday night as a single person, and wondering
if breaking up was the best decision after all.

Understanding the strengths and limitations of our brain at the time might
have kept some of us from going back into those old patterns, only to discover it
wasn’t such a good idea after all. What if we could have said then, “it’s
okay, it’s not me it’s just my brain” and rode out the discomfort of the change, knowing it
was temporary and our brains needed time to adjust to the “unknown” until it
became the new normal .

Recent discoveries in the field of neuroscience about the strengths
and limitations of our brain can not only help us in our personal lives, but
can also help us in our business lives as entrepreneurs, as managers and as
leaders a gain a very competitive edge.

As Peter F. Drucker said, “We now accept the fact
that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of
change. And the most pressing task is to teach people
how to learn.”

Our businesses operate in a knowledge economy, where people
are being paid to think to solve problems to be creative and innovative.
Combine this with information overload and constant change, and
no surprise there is more pressure than ever to improve how we learn.

As David Rock of the Neuroleadership Institute states,
“Perhaps these findings about the brain can start to pull
back the curtain on a new world of productivity
improvement: in our ability to bring about positive, lasting
change in ourselves, in our families, in our workplaces,
and in society itself.”

So I’m going to smile and say . “it’s not me, it’s just my brain” and get
on with my business here . and when I’m done, say “goodbye” to the old
neighborhood and go back to the new one in Steamboat!

Free resources for Developing Sustainable Leaders at Sustainable Leadership, Inc.