How to Resolve Conflict in Your Team

Despite a leader’s best intentions, it’s impossible to avoid conflict. Great leaders are never satisfied with maintaining the status quo. Instead, they push their teams improved performance. As agents of change, leaders should naturally expect to encounter push back and outright resistance from time to time.

So, what do you need to know about conflict and how to resolve it?

As leader, how do you deal with it?

The Cost of Unresolved Conflict

While it might be tempting to ignore conflict, especially if it’s minor, don’t!

Unresolved conflict damages morale. It creates barriers to communication, cooperation, trust and respect. It creates resentment and can split your team and stop your workflow.

To be an effective leader, you must expect and deal with conflict.

Understanding the Source of Conflict

Where does conflict come from? Is there always a “right” and “wrong” party? The answer is no.

The source of almost all conflicts can be reduced to one of two things: miscommunication or emotions running out of control.

Once you pinpoint the source, you can plan how to handle it.

Miscommunication is a big issue

One of the biggest sources of conflict is misunderstanding. Someone gets the ‘bull by the horns’ and it starts trouble. That’s why it’s so important to be careful with what you say, and make sure everyone has received the correct message.

Great leaders have excellent communication skills, but they also spend a lot of time talking with their teams. That’s important because it lets the team get used to the leader’s communication style, which makes it less likely they’ll be misunderstood.

Improving your communications with others will reduce the likelihood of conflicts within your team.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Have you ever become caught up in the moment and said or done something that you knew you’d regret, but you said or did it anyway?

It’s OK to admit it! Nearly everyone, at one time or another, has let their emotions get the best of them. When this happens, conflict soon follows.

Smart leaders learn how to use their emotional intelligence to help them “calm down” in difficult situations. They self-regulate and control their emotions, so they can pause and take a breath before they act.

When you’re dealing with a team member who’s hot under the collar, remember how you felt last time you lost it, and let the person get all that emotion out before you try to solve the problem. When the emotion is spent, you can start to talk rationally to each other. And don’t hold it against them. We all say things we don’t mean in the heat of the moment, and sometimes there’s an element of truth there which you would not have picked up on any other way.

Eliminate Hot Spots of Contention

Being an effective leader isn’t just about improving your communications and defusing a crisis. One of the best ways to reduce conflict is to anticipate situations where it’s likely to occur and put plans in place to avoid it or minimise the impact.

This is a pretty good framework for conflict reduction in your workplace:

Create Clarity Around Roles

Conflicts happen when members of your team don’t understand their role and responsibilities. Take the time to talk to your people about their job duties, and make sure they know what they are responsible for.

See the Opportunity in Conflict

Conflict isn’t always bad because it can act as a bridge to greater understanding between parties. Examining the events that led up to the conflict, and, taking steps to resolve it can be a great teaching moment where everyone involved can learn more about themselves and others. Remember to talk about the conflict once it’s resolved to help your team members discover the learning moments for themselves.

Make Certain You Understand Everyone’s Motivation Before You Weigh In

Leaders act as facilitators and bring others together. When it comes to resolving conflicts, however, you must make certain you understand everyone’s motivations before you take a stance.

When faced with a decision, try not to think about who’s wrong or right. Instead, think about the motivation of each person and look for ways everyone can “win,” or achieve some of their goals. That’s the way to create a solution everyone can live with.

Find out more about how you can be a Great Leader today.

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonald Keynote Speaker

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Sonia provides the BEST Leadership Coaching and Programs across Asia Pacific.

Keynote Topics

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humour will enhance any event she appears.

1. Leadership Attitude

2. Just Rock It

3. Leadership for Small Business

4. Leading the Next Generations

5. Courageous Leadership

6. Future Leaders of Leadership

7. New Kindness of Leadership

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

Daydreams and the Resting Brain

Daydreams and the Resting Brain

Our brains are working frantically all the time even when you’re not aware of it.  The conscious mind controls our brains for only 5% of the time.  The other 95% is powered by our subconscious.

We know that the resting brain is never silent.  It’s ticking away through a variety of material gathered from your physical, emotional and mental pickings.  In fact, blood flow through the brain is only marginally less than when the brain is focused on a task based activity.  That’s a lot of action for a brain which is supposed to be idle.

Various theories have been proposed and their common link is that the resting state is the stage at which the brain builds its connections, creating memories, visioning the future and making sense of what has happened throughout the day or week.

Daydreams allow us to explore in safety.  We relive past events and change the endings.  We plan for the future and test out various choices.  We imagine wonderful worlds and experience the feelings associated with them.   A report in Psychology Today says that people who daydream about people and things close to them are more likely to have a higher level of life satisfaction and personal fulfillment.

Scientists have now created a virtual model of the brain that daydreams like humans do.  “They hope the model will help them understand why certain portions of the brain work together when a person daydreams or is mentally idle. This, in turn, may one-day help doctors better diagnose and treat brain injuries.”

So what does this all mean for you as leader and change manager?

It means that a little daydreaming now and then won’t hurt your team and might actually help it.   Daydreaming about current experiences can help your team members anchor them within their memories and aid their learning.  Daydreamers are actually contributing to their own sense of wellbeing and fulfillment at work.

As leader, you can build in opportunities for “structured daydreams” by encouraging your team to “picture the change” and experience it within the safety of their own minds.

Next time you see one of your team members staring blankly out the window, ask them what’s on their mind.  You might be surprised.

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

courage

Courage

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”. Nelson Mandela

Lead with Courage. I woke up today and it occurred to me how much courage the leaders have that I am coaching and working with.

Courage means “The ability to do something that frightens. Bravery and strength in the face of pain or grief.”

My days have been filled with courage, bravery and strength. I have had a week of meeting leaders who have been made redundant, a week of coaching leaders who don’t think they are good enough, a week of leaders being told they are not performing, a week of leaders trying to get that dream job but they not being seen. A week of leaders trying to build businesses and their dreams and asking for help and a week of leaders who are putting themselves out there to be the best they can be after I had coached and inspired them to go for it. A week of leaders being also truly vulnerable.

Thing is; I work with and live and breathe courage everyday.

Showing up and being who you are authentically is courage, fighting for what you believe in is courage, putting your hand up is courage, asking for help is courage, starting your own business is courage, letting people go who don’t serve you is courage, getting back up when you are knocked down is courage and being the best leader you can be is courage. We are courageous every day of our lives.

“Your time is limited; so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition”. Steve Jobs

I love this quote by Steve Jobs. Why? There are many reasons why. Often I work with leaders trying to be someone else, lacking the bravery and courage to go for what they want and letting others bring them down.

Be who YOU are, own it and focus on what makes you rock! We are all different. Focus your mind and thoughts on what makes you different, brilliant and unique. You will start to see and feel the difference of focusing on your mind on your strengths, talents and how YOU make a difference to others and this world.

No one is perfect. Remember this. Life is about putting yourself out there. Life is about learning and growing. There are plenty of things I am not great at. And if I want to be better at something or be the best I can be; I read, work with a coach and mentors, attend conferences, connect with people who can help – I open my mind to learning and change. I love being different. I love learning

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different”. Coco Chanel

Go for it. If I can do it, you can. If you really want that role, to work with that company, meet that person (I found a great mentor on LinkedIn, asked to meet him and asked him to be my mentor – he said YES!), to start a business, follow a dream, visit that place or whatever that might be. Go for it. Do it. I started my company from a BLOG! Why? Because I believed in myself and loved Leadership. And I thought to myself, worst case scenario is that I gave it a go and it didn’t work out. Sure I was sh.t scared but I lived beyond the fear and jumped.

“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway”. John Wayne

Life is WAY too short to just wish you were doing this or that, do it and go for it.

If I can do it, you can! Be Courageous.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”. Eliot

Be defined by you. Do not let others define you. Over the years I have had my critics, and I have also had my brilliant supporters. I have had amazing guidance and feedback as well as the negative and downright unnecessary comments. I don’t define myself by them and only listen to those who truly matter. I always follow my heart and intuition. There is great courage in doing so.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud”. Coco Chanel

Leadership is about courage. It is truly brave to be who you truly are.

Step up and Lead. Believe and trust yourself. Only you matter. You are worthy.

This is Courage.

Want to be Courageous? Contact me directly at sonia@leadershiphq.com.au

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

 

Connect and Lead Through Relationships

Connect and Lead Through Relationships

Striving to be a good leader is something we all do on a daily basis and, as the pressure mounts to be continually innovative, leaders are looking for alternative ideas. However, did you know the connections you make with your team can be the difference between a good leader and a great one?

Think about it! A healthy open relationship encourages a productive team. And, while it might sound a little soft from a leadership perspective, today’s leaders are still looking for hard outcomes and goals.

Many leaders today tend to emphasise their strength and competence but by doing so, they risk alienating through their fear and distrust. Fear can affect creativity and shadow your employees, so they are not working to the best of their ability. Without trust, employees fail to adapt to the values or long-term goals of the overall organisation. Teamwork and bonding can also fall by the wayside.

On the other hand, developing a more collaborative environment, demonstrating openness and encouraging communication at all levels will have the opposite effect. Remember, micromanaging will get you nowhere. Trust needs to be developed over a period of time and while it can be difficult to build, it is necessary to maintain. Trust builds the team up to facilitate a healthy exchange of ideas and acceptance, and it can influence a change in people’s attitudes and beliefs.

If you want to cultivate trust, personalise your efforts. Reach out and demonstrate that you, as the leader, are on the same page. If your aim is to have people listen and agree with you, you have to make a concerted effort to listen to and agree with them, where possible. Acknowledge emotions such as fear and tackle any concerns head on.

It is hard to predict how things will change in the future of business, but it is important that we trust the process and focus on a non-traditional mix of employees. Organisations need to seek out individuals who can adapt and collaborate, and in turn be creative and flexible. Diversity will be the key to the future – different backgrounds, different skills – all able to get along and support one another in all organisational endeavours. The future of business is only going to get more interesting. And the relationship between the leader and their team is at the very core.

Connections need to be formed outside of the company as well. Leaders often forget the importance of networking and learning with others; instead they prefer to focus on competition and strategy. Walls need to come down, and partnerships need to be developed to grow lucrative businesses. Developing relationships with partners can be problematic, but despite the hurdles, the benefits are enormous. Partnering increases the potential for innovation that companies are seeking. So focus on fostering the relationships between partners rather than keeping them at arm’s length.

Interconnectedness and communication is a huge requirement for leaders today, tomorrow and in the future. As Zig Ziglar so beautifully said, “In many ways, effective communication begins with mutual respect, communication that inspires, and encourages others to do their best.” And this raises the bar for the organization as a whole.

If you would love to know more about being a Great Leader and Relationships who connect? Why not contact the Team at LeadershipHQ oninfo@leadershiphq.com.au about our great Coaching and Leadership Programs OR attend one of our workshops.

Get in touch to find out more at

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

Customer Service

Clash Between the Brain and Customer Service

Clash Between the Brain and Customer Service!

We’ve all been there. We’ve bent over backwards to provide the best customer service humanly possible and yet still it hasn’t been enough. The customer has left without making a purchase or worse, has complained about “poor service.”

You stand there wondering what else you could have done to satisfy the customer.

Actually, the solution lies in the way the brain works, and what we are finding is that the typical approach to customer service is not triggering the reaction we want from our customer’s brains.

The big promise.

An article by Dr Jack Lewis & Adrian Webster tells us that “when it comes to delivering great customer service – perception is everything.” You only need to look at TV advertising to see that most businesses focus on the ‘big’ promises but Lewis and Webster found that concentrating on the big things while overlooking the ‘little’ things may be a really big mistake.

Remember that all our actions are triggered by connections within the brain. Our senses translate what’s happening against previous experiences in which the same sensation were triggered. Our present dealings are mapped against what we’ve learnt in the past.

So when a business offers a you-beaut bonus, that’s nice, but it’s not what triggers a buying decision. Creating the right atmosphere and meeting sensory expectations is much more important. For example, a juice store needs to be clean, bright and colourful, and give a sense of energy through its music and happy employees. All the customer’s expectations of “health and vitality” will then be met so they will be quite likely to make a purchase. It promises a reward and that’s what the brain is leading you towards.

Think about it. When was the last time you chose to buy something purely because of a big promise? A bonus? In truth, you had probably already made the decision to buy because your sensory requirements had been met. The bonus was just a – well, it was a bonus!

The disappointment.

Lewis and Webster also tell us that the reward pathways in our brains over-react disproportionately to losses in comparison to gains. That tells us that people will do much to escape the pain of loss and disappointment and it explains why talking about benefits is much more convincing than showing off the features of your product. Who cares if it has shiny buttons? All we care about is that it does what we want it to so we can relieve ourselves of one more worry.

If you can minimise the chance of disappointment, you reduce the chances that the customer will complain and possibly damage your business reputation. Don’t make big promises. Just tell them what it will do and how.

When you can influence the perception of the customer by showing how the product will solve their problem, you are much more likely to make the sale and gain a satisfied customer. You are allowing the customer to take your information, process it in their brains and build a connection between what you offer and what they need.

Most of us will be happy if the thing does what we want it to do, easily and as promised. You don’t have to do a hard sell; you just need to provide the right information and the customer will build his own personalized sales pitch.

Everyone is involved in customer service and in the sale.

Because customer service is a sensory experience, it means that the sale is not made by the salesperson alone, but by everyone, the customer meets, and by the atmosphere your business offers. The customer’s opinion of your service will be influenced by the way he or she is greeted as they arrive, by what they see and hear other salespeople doing while they are with you and by details such as overly loud music or having to stand in a hot/cold environment. It really is a holistic process.

Take a look at the sales process within your organization and ask yourself how it could be improved.

  • Are you making big promises that actually don’t mean much to the customer?
  • Does your environment reflect the message and benefits you want the customer to recognise?
  • Are you giving yourself the best chance to meet your customers’ sensory and emotional expectations?

It’s possible that a few simple changes in your environment and the sales process will bring you some exciting new sales results.

Contact the team at LHQ if you want to build a high performing sales and customer service team and find out more about our Neuro-selling program!

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

EVP and Compassionate Leadership

Change, EVP and Compassionate Leadership…

Recently I went on a road trip around Gladstone and Rockhampton, moved to Brisbane and spoke at a HR lunch. All of this in ONE week! Then my brain just shut down. I know my body was exhausted but my brain just couldn’t cope, the change was too much.

Why is change so HARD. This month I will be speaking at the HR Summit on the Neuroscience of Change and why our brains find it so hard. Considering our brains only weigh 1.5 kgs and take up about 20% of our energy, our brains like the status quo, old habits and things to be just right. Who once said, “change is like a holiday”, well I do find change quite difficult – but I am the director of my brain – so how do I change my thinking and reframe the change to be a positive one…?

I posted Morten T. Hansen’s powerful blog recently on Linkedin; which gave great insights and techniques around change – read it here!

Employee Value Proposition was the hot topic at a recent Next Step HR lunch; which I presented at. What a great discussion with several Senior HR Leaders in Brisbane around are we actually delivering what we promise to our candidates and talent? Some powerful tools and techniques around how to elicit an EVP as well as reflection and insights on how we are communicating and delivering our EVP as well as what others are doing.

If you are interested in a great EVP toolkit, click here to register and download.

Last month, The Australian Business School posted an insightful article on Compassionate Leadership. Through their research and findings; the single greatest influence on profitability and productivity within an organisation, according to the research project – which to date has taken in data from more than 5600 people in 77 organisations – is the ability of leaders to spend more time and effort developing and recognising their people, welcoming feedback, including criticism, and fostering co-operation among staff. To read more, click here

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

Building Trust

Building Trust

Why is it that we can look at one person and instinctively trust them yet look at another and feel uncomfortable?

It turns out that the answer is in the way our brains work.

In 2008 researchers created an experiment called the trust game.  They found that “oxytocin, a hormone and neurochemical, enhances an individual’s propensity to trust a stranger when that person exhibits non-threatening signals.”

Oxytocin is created in the hypothalamus and released into the bloodstream and throughout the central nervous system.  It is the chemical that relates to social bonding and connection, and it also seems to help reduce anxiety and the feeling of being stressed.  Psychology Today says “When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels drive up. It also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. In fact, the hormone plays a huge role in pair bonding.”

 

So this powerful hormone is at work when we interact with people – even with strangers – and it is oxytocin which helps us make an instant judgement about who we trust and who we don’t.

Leaders need their teams to trust them and they can do that by boosting their oxytocin levels.  How?  By exhibiting non-threatening signals. Touch is, not surprisingly, a great way to boost oxytocin and show that you are not to be feared.  You don’t have to hug everyone you meet, but consider how powerful that initial handshake could be.

Openness, communicating in a caring and honest manner, showing the same style of behaviour and dress as the people you are working with are all signals that you are not a threat.  You can be trusted.

Interestingly, the research showed that many group activities of a social nature caused the release of oxytocin and boosted connection between group members.  Leaders can use this principle to help build trust amongst members of their own teams.  There is truth in the saying that the team which plays together stays together.  Now we know why that is so.

Bu understanding how the brain recognizes trustworthiness we can teach leaders how to gain and Building Trust of their teams.

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

Pipeline to Gender Equality

Building a Pipeline to Gender Equality (Free Ebooks!)

We know about the glass ceiling, and how that is or was, considered a barrier to women achieving their career and leadership goals, but what else is blocking the pipeline to female leadership?

It’s easy to blame breaks in employment due to having children and going on maternity leave, but these pauses don’t need to have the halting effect that they sometimes do for some women.

Women need to be encouraged and to hear positive messages about their capacities to achieve positions of leadership from the get-go. We need to stop the mixed messages around whether study and striving to achieve is worth it if a woman intends to have children some day for example. Being a parent doesn’t preclude you from leadership. In fact, the skills developed might come in handy!

There have been slow but steady improvements in the participation of women in senior and executive roles, but women are continuing to be under-represented at the executive levels, and we have far to go to close the gap.

At a CEO or organisational level, there are strategies that can make gender equality a priority and not just a set and forget policy that sits and gathers dust and doesn’t make real change.

Get active – You have a strategic agenda for your company, and if gender equality and increasing opportunities for women in leadership truly is important, then that needs to be documented and acted upon, not just paid lip service.

Widen the net – Don’t just write a policy or include women in leadership as a strategic priority and stop there, we need CEOs and organisations to broaden their scope and set the wheels in action in different ways, and at different levels. You can’t fix the gap overnight, and a commitment to change needs to be made for the long term, starting with mentoring and encouraging at entry level, mitigating the losses on career due to breaks in service as a result of maternity leave, and then continuing to develop women as they advance and provide real support and training so that they don’t get left behind their male peers once they hit the ‘glass ceiling.’ There’s no short term or ‘one size fits all’ fix, but if something is worth doing, it is worth committing to in the long term.

Ask the hard questions – Once again, having a policy is not enough if you don’t review the results and keep chipping away to allow women leaders to shine and achieve.

Identifying women in the talent pipeline and ensuring they get the support they need, allowing them to develop any skills required, checking for unconscious bias, and assessing the success of policies and strategies are all essential self-assessment tools for an organisation wanting to make real change and put their money where their mouth is. Questions around these issues need to be asked honestly and often.

Check out our amazing Women Leadership Experience Program and our Public Program empowHER.

I love our FREE Diversity Debate Ebook and 10 Traits of a Confident Leader – and you will too!

‘As women, we must stand up for ourselves. We must stand up for each other. We must stand up for justice for all.’ – Michelle Obama

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

Brain Break

Brain Breaks

This morning I was running late, it was raining and was racing to chair a Leadership Summit. My brain was overwhelmed, distracted and I was doing 3 things at once. And you guessed it, I lost focus and drove into the curb and massive FLAT TYRE!

UGH!

Slow down you move too fast, got to make the morning last.

More than just a lyric from the folk music duo Simon and Garfunkel written in the 1960’s, it is also sage advice for professionals, way ahead of its time.

It can be tempting to fall into the trap that busier is better, but we have all, at one time, experienced peak periods where your time and energy is in high demand, you are juggling a whole range of responsibilities and are ‘busy’ yet feel like you are not just lacking productivity but in fact going backwards. There can also be an unhealthy competition in some industries or companies around who has the least life outside of work and who leaves latest and works the longest hours.

When you are overwhelmed with busyness and there seems to be insufficient hours in the day or week to get everything done, last thing you feel like doing is taking a day or even an hour off, to walk or meditate or even sleep, but it is probably the best thing you can do to move forward and get on with it.

Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed. – Saint Francis de Sales

Busyness also stifles creativity and therefore innovation and problem solving. Dopamine levels in the brain directly impact how creative a person is. Three simple ways to increase dopamine are to exercise, get some sleep or do something that brings you pleasure. If you are working too hard to find balance in your activity and rest times, it naturally follows that your creativity, and as a result your effectiveness and focus, will also suffer.

No matter how busy I am, I find time to read, day and night. – Lucio Tan

Distraction can also play a part in problem solving and productive thought. Ever wonder why you have some of your best ideas in the shower, on the drive home from work or as you drop off the sleep or on first waking? Harvard researcher and psychologist Shelley. H. Carson, author of Your creative brain states “In other words, a distraction may provide the break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution.’’

When busy is the default pace, and there don’t seem to be enough hours, what you can affect and will improve your outcomes in all areas is energy, and taking a break is the ideal quick fix. Work too much and the law of diminishing returns will see you suffer in terms of output, and your health and emotional state will suffer also, creating a downward spiral.

A 10-minute power nap, a walk around the block, a stretching or meditation session, coffee with a friend, play time with your child or lunch with your partner, these simple yet pleasurable tasks will increase your dopamine, sharpen your concentration and lead to improved performance.

Taking a break might be just what the doctor, or in fact the manager, ordered.

I think I might take some time off on Friday to refocus my mind, have a brain break and get a new tire!

Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax. – Bryant McGill

Want to find out more how the awesome team at Sonia Mcdonald can help YOU be the BEST leader you can be – and train your amazing brain, contact us at info@leadershiphq.com.au or 1300 719 665

Remember #yourock

Brain Based Decision Making

Brain Based Decision Making

The ability to take decisive action, to make sound, unbiased decisions, is a key skill that effective leaders use multiple times each day.

When we think about the key components and processes of sound decision making, most of us tend to first think of our brain’s ability to use logic and reason to examine the facts of a situation and the possible outcomes.

Since our emotions are often hard to quantify, much less control, we tend to place a higher value on the information and other feedback that we receive from our “rational” mind. We prefer facts and figures from spreadsheets and data reports over general impressions and other feedback based on human interaction.

Is the Bias Towards the Rational Mind Logical?

From an early age, our parents, schools and other organisations urge us to think with our “heads” rather than our “hearts.” So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that most of us try to avoid relying on the information that we receive from our “gut instincts,” or “feelings.”

As individuals, this bias for “cool reason” carries over and affects how we see and value others. Most of us tend to have more admiration and respect for those leaders that we see as calm and rational, rather than those whom we view as emotional.

Current research in the fields of neurology and cognitive science, however, now suggests that these biases and beliefs that value rational logic over emotional feedback are way off the mark. In fact, leaders and others that discount their feelings and emotional reactions lose out on feedback that can help them connect with their intuition and guide them to better outcomes when making decisions.

Feelings and Emotions are a Valuable Part of the Decision Making Process

According to research published in Sage Journal’s Personality and Social Psychology Review, our emotions help us to learn from our experiences so that we can make better decisions. When we only use our rational brain and discount our feelings as we examine a specific issue or problem, we tend to become indecisive and unable to decide on a specific course of action. Neglecting our emotional responses to a situation can also leave us unable to prioritise what is truly important so that we can focus on those things that we should zero in on and attempt to tackle first.

Being able to decide on an action or goal, and maintain our focus, leads to better decision making over time. This leads to the perception that we are making progress towards our goals. So, our feelings and emotions not only help us to make better decisions, but they can also provide the spark that helps us to remain motivated to keep pursuing our goals.

By using both logic and emotional feedback when we examine issues and make decision’s, we have the ability to use the power of our entire brain to resolve situations. This helps us to tap into our intuition and unlock creative approaches to resolving issues and leads to more innovative and unique solutions.

The importance of emotional feedback in how we learn from experience is an example of the new research that is being conducted in the field of neuroscience. This research can help all of us understand more about how our brain works and how to use that information to guide ourselves and others to better decisions and outcomes in nearly every aspect of our lives. If you would like to learn more about how to harness the power of your brain to become a better leader, why not get in touch and ask us about the Neuroscience of Leadership Workshop?

It’s fun, informative and very practical.

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au