“That person is a born leader” – does the phrase sound familiar? For most, it is a casual figure of speech; for academics at the Arizona State University, it could be the literal truth.
The research of David Waldman, a management professor at the university, and his team has studied the neurological patterns of successful leaders – entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and various others – and found certain measurable physical features of the brains’ electrical activity in common across the board. For example, according to the research findings, “subjects rated “inspirational” by their employees generate high levels of coherence in the right frontal part of the brain, which is responsible for interpersonal communication and social relationships.”
What does this mean from the ground? To start, the early conclusions could indicate that if these results can be artificially replicated in the brain, then leadership responses thought processes can be learned. Waldman and his colleagues are already formulating neurofeedback-based leadership training, which could turn out to be a much more effective way of developing and educating better, more plentiful leaders.
Another question to think about is whether there are ‘leaders’ who display this electrical activity and ‘non-leaders’ who do not; and how definitive might these results be at predicting who would and wouldn’t make a good leader?
As always, Tipping the Scales welcomes constructive feedback. What do you think about these findings? Are you convinced by this relationship between neuroscience and leadership?