The most recent edition of the Harvard Business Review focuses on the neuroscience of business. In it, we see scientific evidence that directly refers to nearly every pursuit point. One particularly applicable presentation involves the discovery that certain things leaders do directly affect both their brain chemistry and the brain chemistry of those around them.
By understanding that everything we do impacts the behavior of others, we must be compelled to not only be conscious of our actions and mood, but we must learn to use it. Italian scientists discovered the existence of mirror neurons. Basically, mirror neurons fire both when an animal completes an act and when an animal observes the same. Translate this to a leadership setting. Employees automatically and subconsciously mimic and actually feel the emotions and deeds of their leadership.
Decision, Design, Discipline:
Armed with the knowledge that everything we do directly affects the people around us, we’re uniquely positioned to influence the conditions upon which we shape and lead. We must decide to be conscious of our projection. As a leader, realize you are under constant observation and make the dedicated and concerted effort to shape the context in which you are being perceived. If you want your employees to be happy while you’re having a bad day, fake being happy. Research suggests that this alone is enough to influence the way people feel.
The design and discipline in this principle come from self-awareness. Intentional leaders know why they’re doing what they do, and in being armed with this knowledge, they are set up to succeed in crucible when others do not. As with other pieces presented in Intentionalism, make time in your day to be self-aware. During meditation, workouts, or taking a shower, make the concerted effort to not only understand how you’re feeling but also what you’re projecting.