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Play hard and work hard. This is the view that many people feel is relevant to their lives, but this kind of attitude brings up a false sense of the challenges they face in the world. Instead of frantically rushing from one point to another, effective leaders should slow down, watch, listen and observe the things that are going on around them. Leadership is not a quick, easy walk, but it’s a slow and steady journey to self-discovery.
The idea that leadership is a final, set destination is a fallacy. Innovative and creative leaders are always adapting, and their path to success is never quite complete. It’s like following the yellow brick road, and understanding that it’s OK if you don’t ever make it to the end. The journey is the real adventure.
I was fortunate to hear about the leadership journey of Bradley Andrews, president of Advisian Digital, during our recent discussion. He spoke candidly about his humble beginnings into the world of business leadership. At first, he was heavily biased and relied on emotion and instinct to lead. He eventually recognised that these poor mindsets led to poor behaviours that didn’t inspire people to want to follow his lead.
Several factors changed the way that he approached and thought about leadership. Mr. Andrews had to first learn a lot about himself, and what his values and beliefs actually encompassed. He also had to learn to shift his mindset on how to balance everything and still be good at what he does.
Imagine that a garden exists, and there are statues of old versions of yourself decorating this garden. What would you see? Would you see yourself as a child, going through the process of growing up? Would you see yourself as you faced adversity, as you suffered sadness, as you triumphed?
All of us have a garden like this, full of visions of the past. If this garden isn’t a happy place, the good news is that you can make a change, and the statues of the future can be different, perhaps full of hope and joy.
Before you can become a better leader, you first have to examine yourself deep inside. A walk through your imaginary garden can be eye-opening, and finding out what your family, peers, friends and clients really think about you can also be very illuminating.
According to Manual London, author of Leadership Development, 3 factors contribute to great leadership skills. These are self-insight, self-regulation, and self-identity. You cannot change who you are unless you first understand who you are. Feedback from others can give you valuable information about how the world perceives you and your behaviours.
Once you have an understanding of what your beliefs are, you can start to assess your mindset. Do you have the play hard, work hard mentality? Are you taking time to listen to those around you? Are you eating well, nourishing your body, exercising, and sleeping properly? A healthy body is required for a healthy brain, and you need both to be a good leader.
You probably always have a million things to do. That is the way life is for everyone. We may have different tasks and different issues, but trust me, we all have a fully loaded plate in front of us. Learning how to balance the many demands on your time and physical self can be challenging, but it is possible. Slow down your mind. Don’t always act so quickly. Stop making assumptions about situations or people. Give yourself a break from the anxiety of the world around you.
I look at other leaders in the world, whether they are in politics or running companies, and I see leadership behaviors that I wouldn’t follow, but they are in a leadership
We are fortunate that we can now use technology to blend leadership with relevant knowledge from neuroscience. The human brain is a fragile, imperfect thing, but it is our greatest asset and a marvelous machine. We can all be better, and do better. The world needs leaders that have compassion and an understanding of how the brain works to improve the living conditions of us all.
Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute
Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.
Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.
Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership
In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.
Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.
Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.