23 Apr

My brain is constantly flooded with the concepts of leadership, self-awareness, self-improvement, and serving a more significant cause. Servant leaders turn to resources that guide them in directions that feel right. Last month, I decided to commit to the goal of obtaining a Fellowship at the American College of Health Executives (ACHE). I signed up for free webinars offered to ACHE members. I was captivated by listening to Dr. Michael Frisina, Ph.D. present "Leading With Your Upper Brian."      

Daniel Goleman captivates us with her work on emotional intelligence, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi pulls us in with his national bestseller 'Flow". These books open our eyes to leading in a way that creates a sense of peace and harmony as time passes. Goleman discusses self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management concepts. In "Flow," we learn the ingredients required to achieve a sense of captivation in your activities. We must avoid anxiety and boredom while navigating new territories or old concepts that we want to reinvigorate. I felt a sense of flow as I listened to Dr. Frisina's webinar and read his book.      

 Dr. Frisina explains the science of effective leadership and how to unlock the upper brains of your team. The simple idea is that if done incorrectly, you risk "messing with the brains of your team," as Dr. Frisina describes. This statement is beyond powerful. It deciphers and underscores the importance of our role as leaders. We can't take the responsibility lightly. People deserve a leader who motivates them to unlock their upper brains and bring their best selves to the job. Leading by fear results in primitive, reactive thinking that results in poor performance. My favorite consideration is how Dr. Frisina describes your team's performance in scientific terms. Dr. Frisina states that performance is a function of technical capacity multiplied by your behavior capacity. This statement resonated with me and brought me great joy. For most of my career, I have hired people based on behavioral responses, understanding that we can teach technical skills. Changing the behaviors of others is a more significant challenge. Hire people into your team with upper-brain thinking and behavior, and your goals will become a reality.     

 Dr. Frisina shares how to unlock performance excellence using this idea brilliantly. My goal is not to spoil his book but to encourage any leader inspired to lead a team to greatness to purchase it! If you are a servant-leader as I am, you will find the time flows by as you read page after page. "Leading With Your Upper Brain" is a sequel to Dr. Frisina's book "Influential Leadership." I have not read this book when I write this passage; however, it rests patiently on my desk next to my PC as I write this post. It calls to me and gives me something to look forward to! Will I read it as fast as I read "Leading With Your Upper Brain?

 The key to becoming an effective leader is to find the balance between anxiety and boredom, with a 100% understanding that how you lead others impacts their brains. Self-awareness is the most critical component to focus on. With self-awareness, you can view how you are moving your team. Practice self-awareness, and you learn more about how you impact others than ever imagined. It is good to be human and show vulnerability; however, you must encourage your team to use their brains, which results in ideas, creativity, and solutions. "When a leader exhibits behavior that promotes psychological safety, team members' brain responses trigger their ability to focus on their work and produce results at a high level." (Frisina, p. 17).   

  I like to think of passion as a catalyst that drives the upper brain into problem-solving mode. You must be careful about how your passion is perceived. Use your passion to drive greatness from your team by encouraging, motivating, and providing a sense of safety so they can fulfill your vision. Get this concept wrong, and you will evoke fear and an unsafe condition, pushing your team into their primitive brains.

 "Leading with Your Upper Brain" by Dr. Michael Frisina is a book that explores the importance of using the neocortex, or the upper brain, for decision-making and leadership. Dr. Frisina argues that in today's fast-paced and complex world, leading with our upper brain is more important than ever, which is responsible for logical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making. The book provides practical tips and strategies for cultivating the upper brain, including practicing mindfulness, taking a step back to assess situations, considering the consequences of our actions, focusing on the bigger picture, and seeking feedback from others. Overall, "Leading with Your Upper Brain" is a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their decision-making and leadership skills.

In conclusion, "Leading With Your Upper Brain" provides the exact ingredients to practice practical leadership skills. Dr. Frisina shares his expertise on engagement and how to drive engagement in others. When we create a culture of purpose, we can achieve flow in our others, moving the dial in the direction we envision. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of "Leading With Your Upper Brain" and would love to hear your comments and reaction to the teachings.

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