As many neuroscientists have said before, the human brain is undoubtedly one of the most complicated structures in the universe. Our brain is the most powerful organ of creation, capable of making us heroes or villains and capable of literally destroying us.

Overall, the ‘war for talent’ leadership, understood as the talent to decisively influence others, is the force that distinguishes winning companies from those destined to disappear, developed societies from those which are depressed, and the force that could make our planet sustainable against global warming.

Leadership is what you have within you.

How do we define ‘Brain-Friendly’ Leadership?

Brain-Friendly Leadership is the awareness of how the brain functions and the application of this knowledge to optimally lead self and others.

It is the bridge (a solid, reliable and useful bridge) between the human brain and leadership. True leaders, so scarce in a globalised world, are so because they manage their brains in a better way than others. It's that simple. They take better advantage of their genetic predisposition to lead and train properly (physically, mentally and emotionally, based on their values), so their brain is an ally and not an enemy. 

In 1966, the Russian-American genius Isaac Asimov published a novel, ‘Fantastic Voyage’, from a story by Klement and Bixby which was made into a movie. Asimov repeated again and again, ‘The book comes from the movie and not the other way around, but I think they will never understand.’ The story is about a trip inside the human body using a tiny, blood-cell sized submarine. 

Twenty years later, in 1987, Asimov published a sequel, ‘Fantastic Voyage II. Destination: the Brain.’ This promoter of science, one of the best science fiction writers of all time, died in 1992. Today he would likely be fascinated by what neuroscience has developed and the new frontiers of knowledge.

However, we apply very little from teams and organisational leadership to our personal life. The Brain-Friendly Leadership Book emphasises the human condition, from brain health to physical health, so we can lead more effectively and inspire others along the journey.

This book is the result of a unique collaboration. On one hand, the Argentinian based scientist and leadership expert resident in Australia, Silvia Damiano, one of the world's leading specialists in Neuroleadership. She has written various books on brain-based leadership, poetry, emotional intelligence and engagement.

Silvia created the i4 Neuroleader™ Model & Methodology and conducted research across five continents to produce and direct the documentary titled ‘Make Me A Leader’ that has received 8 international awards.

Silvia and her team at the About my Brain Institute recorded over 72 hours of information for this documentary. These recordings were an invaluable resource for the writing of this book and are part of the eLearning program included in the i4 Neuroleader Platform.

On the other hand, Juan Carlos Cubeiro, the ‘Talent Master’, an international expert in Talent, Leadership and Coaching, has published fifty books on leadership in the workplace, sports, and society. He is the former Head of Talent of Manpower group and CEO of Right Management. Juan Carlos Cubeiro has more than 30 years of experience in personal and organisational transformation. He is also the President for Europe of the About my Brain Institute.

The basis of leadership is teamwork, and in this book, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’, Silvia Damiano and Juan Carlos Cubeiro demonstrate it.

A Brain-Friendly Leader is someone who has developed certain habits, basically a repetition of behaviours unconsciously enhanced (as done by the best tennis players or the best teachers).

We specifically refer to three types of habits:

  1. Management
    (where you want to direct yourself, where you want to direct others)
  2. Caring for your own brain
    (an organ as fragile as it is powerful)
  3. Development
    (with the idea that talent emerges from the brain)

In this book, Silvia and Juan Carlos practise what they preach. Therefore, consider this text to be a ‘neuro conversation’, a dialogue intended to transform your brain. Each chapter begins with a series of open questions you’ve probably never asked yourself. You are encouraged to answer them as you go along, and write down the answers if you want to. 

You are the protagonist of ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’, as at the end of the day, it is your brain which will change for the better.

The book offers the latest information to answer each question effectively. You will discover on some occasions that you were ‘unconsciously incompetent’ (you did not know that you did not know) and then you may have an ‘aha’ moment, the second step of our learning. We will discover the consciousness of your incompetence, as consciousness is precisely the most fascinating mechanism of our brain. Following that, we will introduce the innovative Brain-Friendly method, allowing you to generate better habits for your leadership.

How long will it take you to acquire the habits of Brain-Friendly Leadership? It depends. It depends on your consistency, your resistance to change and your determination.

Excellence is not an act but a habit--a set of habits.
Aristotle de Estagira

After reading and studying, you will be a better leader with these new habits. Leadership is not innate (exclusively genetic or immutable), but a combination of your predisposition (your temperament) and the environment. Cultivating your talent and forging your leadership is completely voluntary.

Imagine, as in the novel by Asimov, that you are about to enter your own brain. The trip will be truly amazing.

Fasten your seat belts!

Watch authors, Silvia and Juan Carlos in action in our Virtual Book Launch

Introduction adapted from the book Brain-Friendly Leadership

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Relmi Damiano

Relmi Damiano

GM & Chief Creative Officer
About my Brain Institute

Relmi Damiano is the Co-Founder, GM & CCO of the About my Brain Institute. Founded in 2009 alongside leadership expert Silvia Damiano, the Institute’s vision is to democratise leadership & neuroscience by shaking up how we develop the human, the leader and the creative we all carry within.

In 2010, this dynamic mother and daughter team, produced the first “Brain Art Project” as a way to explore people's incipient interest in the brain. This was an international competition and exhibition that over the course of 2 years attracted over 1000 artists, scientists, designers, health practitioners and business leaders from all over the world who shared and expressed their different perspectives on neuroscience, creativity, mental health and wellbeing. The insights gained from this venture, highlighted the relevance of building a more holistic, design-driven and interdisciplinary approach to applying brain science to our daily lives.

With Relmi’s user-centered design, digital strategy and artistic expertise paired up with Silvia’s 20 years of experience in transforming leaders and cultures, they then released the i4 Neuroleader Model, Methodology & Assessment Suite, published the ‘Leadership Is Upside Down’ book and coined the term Brain-Friendly Cultures - all in 2013.

The purpose of their i4 Neuroleader Methodology is to transform current leadership practices and create the leaders of the future, leaders who are more conscious, ethical, compassionate, healthy, integrated, imaginative, intuitive and inspirational. Over the course of 4 years, as part of Vivid Sydney, Relmi & Silvia hosted the annual i4 Tales Conference & Design Exhibition, which attracted over 250 people each year to explore and discuss these topics in a community environment.

Since its inception, the About my Brain Institute has certified more than 800 practitioners globally in the i4 Neuroleader Methodology, ran numerous events and retreats as well as delivered brain-friendly programs in organisations globally.

One of their most remarkable projects was the ‘Make Me A Leader’ film, released in 2018. They self-funded and produced a multiple award-winning documentary that gathered highly regarded experts, professors and scientists who shared the secrets of how leaders can optimise brain and body performance to thrive in the 21st Century.

Relmi has also been a sessional Lecturer and Tutor at Sydney University and Billy Blue College of Design in design thinking, service design, human-centered design, user experience, entrepreneurship, business model generation, branding, communication design, innovation and strategy. She also mentored and created a wide range of student design briefs for live industry projects for film, exhibition design, data visualisation, 3D/2D animation, gaming, digital art and web based projects.

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