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Lead Through Example

leadership neuroscience

Leadership is not a title; it is a behaviour reflected in one’s team. Leaders drive behaviour, behaviour drives culture, culture drives high performance, and high performances shapes better leaders. This is the re-enforcing cycle of behavioural excellence.

It means that you cannot lead by results, you lead to results exemplified by the behaviours you portray, giving others emotional permission to behave similarly, sustained by the worst behaviours you as the leader is willing to tolerate.

You must become conscious of your behaviours because everyone else is!

The culture of any company is truly defined by the social and emotional norms that interact every day, the sum of the behaviours of all its people.

Leadership behaviour is therefore the traits and actions that make an individual effective as a leader. This behaviour is the process by which a person can guide, direct, and influence the work of others to meet specific goals.

Other people judge you by your observable behaviours: They may reflect your intentions but are measured by your attitude towards decisions you make and actions you take, by what your team members see, hear, and most especially feel.

Your Intentions matter to you but it’s your behaviours that matter to others.

Everyone’s behaviours are the outcome of stimulus which motivates us into action. These motivators can be external or internal and the resultant behaviour will be either goal-directed or a habitual-response, where the latter generally comes from learned behaviours from a young age or from strong emotional past experiences. Feelings are the outcome of experiences, which we label as an emotion and make predictable by associating them to the same ‘stimulus-motivation-behaviour-outcome pathway’ and repeat, and repeat, and repeat. When we repeat it often enough, we identify ourselves as being that person.

Therefore, behaviours always follow identity, and at the core of the human psyche is the need to ‘be consistent’ with how you identify yourself in different situations. You have simply repeated the same motivation-behaviour-outcome pattern often enough that you identify yourself as that person who may be controlled at times by feelings of panic, worry, doubt, massive frustration, reactive anger, fear, doubt, hesitancy, uncertainty, imposter syndrome, low self-confidence, or esteem, feeling burnt-out, etc. The challenge is some of these behaviours may have become or will become habitual and be triggered by your inbuilt survival mechanism, the Amygdala. Your brains security guard that triggers the fight, flight, freeze response.

Therefore, we need to change who you identify as. Every day you lead, you are writing your story, a script that you recall from in the future. What you believe to be true will determine what you do and what you do is what gets results. Your behaviours reveal your devotion to what you believe to be true. Your legacy as a leader will be determined by what you believe to be true and give your team permission to believe the same.

You have the choice in what you believe to be true. Developing conscious awareness of your behaviours, how you act and how those actions affect others you lead, provides a mirror to the scripts your sub-conscious continually run and the opportunity to choose, in the moment, if they are true for you.

  • If I could choose to be ANXIOUS or CHILLED OUT – what would I choose?
  • If I could choose to be ANGRY or CALM & ASK QUESTIONS – what would I choose?
  • If I could choose to be FEARFUL or COURAGEOUS – what would I choose?
  • If I could choose to be PASSIVE or ASSERTIVE – what would I choose?
  • If I could choose to JUST LET IT GO or BRING THE ENERGY & HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE – what would I choose?
  • If I could choose to BLAME or TAKE RESPONSIBILTY – what would I choose?
  • If I could choose to FEEL AS IF I NEED TO COVER UP or ACT WITH INTEGRITY – what would I choose?
  • If I could choose to FEEL LIKE A FAILURE or CELEBRATE THE LESSON – what would I choose
  • If I could choose to MAKE EXCUSES or TAKE OWNERSHIP & SET AN EXAMPLE – what would I choose?

Ask yourself this… Is what I am doing RIGHT NOW different to what I WOULD CHOOSE?

If the answer is yes, it simply means you are not choosing, you are running a script.

Strategy: Develop conscious awareness of what you are choosing to say and act upon. Take back control of the scripts, (auto-programs) you are unconsciously running.


Beliefs form your behaviours, and when you take back control of them can change the beliefs of those you influence. Even the smallest of conscious improvements in your behaviours can have a massive impact…

In the 1980s, AIDS arrived on the world stage. It was a new, frightening disease with no cure and was rampaging through communities and countries. People 'believed' that you could catch AIDS from touching someone who had it. Sufferers were shunned, and up to 50% of people polled 'believed' that those with AIDS should be quarantined.

On the 19th April, 1987, Princess Diana, one of the most famous people in the world at the time, opened the first unit in the UK dedicated to treating people with HIV and AIDS. During her visit, she shook the hands of a patient without wearing gloves and changed people’s perceptions of the disease forever.

What behaviours do you need to exhibit to ‘Lead Through Example’?

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