Neuroscience of Leadership

At the Merit Club we are fascinated with what makes our brains tick! Every Wednesday we will be digging a little deeper into this with our Neuroscience Wednesdays series. Finding videos and articles on subjects from love through leadership to addiction, these blogs will cover a range of ideas and theories that help us understand our mind better, have the power to shape our lives and the way we think. 

This week on Neuroscience Wednesday we are looking into how you can get the very best out of your workspace, with expert advice from Friederike Fabritius from The Psychology Podcast, so that you and your co-workers can reach your peak performance. 

The marriage of neuroscience and the leadership world


The challenge in business, especially if you're a business owner or leader, is being responsible for change, helping others make that change, and helping people develop their thinking. Certainly, there is a lot to be said for optimising our workspaces for greater productivity and wellbeing. Indeed, we often may need to take a step back, as a leader, boss or employee, to re-programme our minds, evaluate our leadership skills, and make sure we are performing at our very best. Helping us to reach this peak performance, is a combination of neurochemicals and interesting stuff going on in our bodies and brains! With some help from Friederike, we wanted to explore what these may be. What is really going on in our brains when we are having to deal with tasks at work, such as public speaking, making stressful decisions and regulating our emotions?

The 3 F’s you need to perform really well:

In this podcast, Friederike talks about the ‘U’ that motivates us - also known as the DNA of peak performance.

It’s about three substances:

1. Dopamine, this is the fun element. If you anticipate that something is going to be fun, you should enjoy what you’re doing in your job in order to perform really well.

2. Noradrenaline, this is the fear. In order to get the noradrenaline flowing in your brain you really need to be challenged, and pushed just beyond your comfort zone. 

3. Acetylcholine, this is when you need to be focused. Babies have a lot of this chemical because they live in the moment. It helps us to learn better and to concentrate. In order to get into this flow you need to adapt the multitasking, so that you're working in the moment and living in the present.

In summary, you need a combination of FUN, FEAR and FOCUS in order to perform really well and be at your best. It's about understanding where your comfort zone is and reaching slightly above that.

This is not forgetting consistent healthy work habits and working out regularly of course, to make sure your body is channelling a positive, invigorated and determined energy. What's more, if you are someone who finds it difficult to internalise their accomplishments, a technique to help change this is to keep a gratitude diary. Just by writing down 5 things that you are happy with that have happened in your day, or the things that you’re grateful for, can help channel a more positive, inspired and uplifted mindset for being a leader in the workplace, as well as a leader of your own mind.

To find out more about the correlation between our mindsets, what we're internalising and what we're projecting, with strategies for greater productivity and well-being, take a listen to Friederike's Neuroscience of leadership podcast below.



Words by Mine Sherefali


The Merit Club Neuroscience Series