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Peter Bromberg

Peter Bromberg's Public Library

13 Apr 14

". With this timing, our emotions are determining cognitive interpretation more than previously admitted. Once primary cognitions have occurred, secondary cognitions allow for the neocortical events (i.e., reframing) to drive subsequent limbic or emotional labeling. Our unconscious emotional states are arousing emotions in those with whom we interact before we or they know it. And it spreads from these interactions to others."
Arousal of strong negative emotions stimulates the Sympathetic Nervous System, which inhibits access to existing neural circuits and invokes cognitive, emotional, and perceptual impairment (Sapolsky, 2004; Schulkin, 1999; Dickerson and Kemeny, 2004).
The benefits of arousing positive emotions over negative ones have been demonstrated by Fredrickson and Losada (2004) and others. A contagion of positive emotions seems to arouse the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which stimulates adult neurogenesis (i.e., growth of new neurons) (Erickson et. al., 1998), a sense of well being, better immune system functioning, and cognitive, emotional, and perceptual openness (McEwen, 1998; Janig and Habler, 1999; Boyatzis, Jack, Cesaro, Passarelli, & Khawaja, 2010).
These results were consistent with those from Jack, Dawson, Ciccia, Cesaro, Barry, Snyder & Begany (2010) showing that there is a network of brain regions activated when engaged in social activities (formerly called the Default Motor Network in the neuroscience literature). There is a dramatically different network that is activated when you are engaged in analytics or trying to solve a non-social problem. They showed that these two networks suppress each other. That is, when you are busy thinking about budgets, financial analysis, or product specifications, you will have turned off the parts of your brain that are key to social functioning– and visa versa!
f you believe that leadership involves inspiring others and motivating them to be their best and develop, learn, adapt and innovate, then activating the parts of their brain that will help requires arousing what we have called the Positive Emotional Attractor. To arouse the PEA, these studies are suggesting that we need to: (1) be social; and (2) engage the person in positive, hopeful contemplation of a desired future. The latter might also be stimulated when discussing core values and the purpose of the organization or project. All too often, people in leadership positions begin conversations about the financials or metrics and dashboard measures of the desired performance. These findings suggest that while important, this sequence confuses people and actually results in them closing down cognitively, emotionally and perceptually. If you want them to open their minds, you need to discuss the purpose of the activity (not merely the goals) and the vision of the organization or clients if a desired future were to occur. THEN, you can lead a discussion about the financials, metrics and measures. But you have made it clear that the measures follow the purpose, they have not become the purpose.
If this sounds like transformational leadership, versus its less effective sibling, transactional leadership, you have made an important connection. But our research shows that you need to arouse the PEA and the NEA to get sustained, desired change. The key appears to be, so far in our research, that you need to: (1) arouse the PEA first; and (2) arouse the PEA sufficiently such that it is about three to six times more frequent in the discussions than the NEA.

12 Apr 14

"If the elevated stress becomes high enough for a long enough period of time, however, deleterious effects will follow. The initial release of neurotransmitters and hormones into a leader’s system begins to affect major brain systems, particularly the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the Amygdala. The PFC, or CEO of the brain, controls “higher” level thinking processes, e.g., logic, analysis, decisionmaking, etc.—a significant portion of the leader’s IQ."

12 Apr 14

"The results demonstrated an interaction between trait EI and cognitive ability in predicting academic performance. In particular, trait EI was positively associated with better language performance in children characterised by low or medium cognitive ability, but not in pupils characterised by high cognitive ability. Moreover, results showed that trait EI had a unique power to predict math performance. Similarly, the analyses showed an interaction between emotion recognition ability and cognitive ability in predicting both language and math performance. Differences between the two emotional measures were discussed."

08 Apr 14

"Essentially, I try to create little mini-managers, each responsible for managing a single person: themselves.

At first this is mainly about teaching people how to figure out what to work on right now (prioritization). Then it’s more a matter of building their confidence both in themselves and their team to a point where they just do things they know is right without even talking to me (autonomy).

Rather than assigning and approving tasks at every turn, then, management is about keeping people in motion and getting out of their way."
When you equip people with the knowledge they need to move forward, you don’t have to keep telling them what to do. Freeing the flow of information from gatekeepers and bottlenecks increases agility and resourcefulness.

In fact, Rich Paret of the Twitter-acquired Crashlytics identifies the visibility of information as the key to scale:

“If your goal is to build something big, you have to build in the tools for people to be able to self-orient inside the company relative to what they’re working on, what their peers are working on, what their customers are saying, what the marketplace is doing. The earlier you can build those tools, the further you can scale.”

For the multibillion dollar games company, Supercell, that takes the form of daily morning emails with details from project progress and revenue figures to help orient not just some top circle but every employee. CEO Ilkka Paananen explains: “If you provide people with the key information, you don’t need to tell people what to do, they can figure it out for themselves.
Harness the power of the network

Descriptions of bosslessness imply disorder to skeptics because they dismantle the relationships of traditional management but don’t explain what replaces them. CEO and cofounder of GitHub, Tom Preston-Werner, clarifies that the new organizational order is not actually flat or an organizational tree but a neural network in which “[e]veryone talks to anyone.”

[T]hat means that instead of everyone being the same, you embrace that everyone is different, and you look at the strength of connections between people, the communication channels, and how information travels amongst them.

These connections and channels are an important, often overlooked source of motivation, support, and information. Bosses don’t always know best, but peers tend to be equipped with the most relevant knowledge to provide feedback and recognition. They know when someone is stepping up or slacking because they see and deal with it first-hand.

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