Tag Archives for " neuroplasticity "

Leaders & Influence: It is within a relationship and in conversation we learn and grow

If you are a leader in your organization (and anyone who makes a difference can be a leader), what if you were to notice opportunities to make a positive difference in another person’s self-image.  What difference could you make today?

Common sense and now recent discoveries in brain science of social intelligence research, proves it:  It is within a conversation in a relationship we learn and grow and our minds are shaped (ideally) to become more of who we are supposed to be.   However, in many conversations we end up feeling criticized, deflated and unmotivated.  Especially   if that conversation happens with the boss or where there is an imbalance of power, as in a leader vs. direct report relationship.

Let’s make this practical and now take it a step further.  We communicate through language (verbal, non-verbal).  Stay with me now … In our conversations we influence and change our minds and subsequently our neural connections.  When new neural networks and connections in our brain are made, due to neuroplasticity,  our self-identity is constantly shaped and re-shaped and in turn we influence the self-identity of others.  Oh, and many of us are in contact with more people and have more conversations with people at work … therefore many opportunities to create positive, constructive neural connections in not only their brain, but our own.


ScienceDaily (2010-08-27) — In the first study of its kind, researchers have found compelling evidence that our best and worst experiences in life are likely to involve not individual accomplishments, but interaction with other people and the fulfillment of an urge for social connection.

What if you were to notice opportunities to make a positive difference in someone else’s brain … what difference could you make today?  Go ahead, I dare you.

Why can’t Gen Y just grow up?

Animation of an MRI brain scan, starting at th...

Image via Wikipedia

I hear the complaints every day … from managers, from parents and most people in their 40’s on up … “They are lazy, entitled, spoiled …. why can’t this younger generation ‘just grow up?'”  Well, if you did a functional MRI of the brain of a Millennial or Gen Y employee, and a functional MRI of your brain (provided you are of an older generation, a Gen X, a Baby Boomer or a Traditionalist), that Gen Y employee’s brain would look like it belonged to an entirely different species. It’s not going to change because you want it to, or because of the concrete logic you offer … that brain is wired completely differently than your brain.

Because of neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to change and form neural pathways in response to information), this brain is hardwired to engage with what is familiar, what it knows … this generation grew up with video games, computers, cell phones … it knows not a life without an electronic device that gives it what it wants when it wants, and if this brain doesn’t like the information …”Control+Alt+Delete” works every time.  Otherwise known as “I’m outta here.”  And that employee doesn’t come back from lunch … no explanation, nothing.

Human beings just do what works … and repeat that behavior in the face of anxiety, discomfort or just the plain “unknown.”

So next time you feel frustrated at your Gen Y employee’s behavior … perhaps you might instead be inspired by the brilliance of the human brain’s deep desire to avoid pain … and it’s willingness to just “do what works. Now.”  Better yet, first seek to understand, then seek to be understood …