Personality & the Brain: A New Paradigm for Leadership Development


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  • Discover how personality, needs, emotions and brain organization influence the behaviour of leaders and how to incorporate that understanding to expedite behavioural change in leaders.
    Learn all about the 8 signs that leaders are not using their whole brain as well as how to design and deliver leadership development programs that focus on leveraging the whole brain.
    Take away the tools you need to apply this learning in your own development as well as in your organization.
  • The quadrant where your Predominant Style resides, the tendency of your Predominant Style to focus on your inner world versus outer world, and the primary direction of the flow of energy from one quadrant to another, determine which of the other Styles appear in your Squad.
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    Using the whole brain when creating training & development programs
  • Using one or two leadership approaches significantly limits leadership effectiveness, especially when we know we are not attending to a particular aspect of leadership but don’t know why
    Leadership development programs often take a rational approach to relational brain development
    Do not focus on building the neural pathways necessary for leaders to use the relational quadrant of their brain, leaving them acting on their emotions while seeming to be rational and logical
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    Eight distinct Striving Styles – 2 for each function, 1 focused inward and 1 outward
    Each Style has predominant psychological need that must be met
    Based on location in brain, has unique talents and abilities to get its need met
  • We’ve all had bosses that we’ve either loved or hated. The boss who helped you get that promotion, or the one who clipped his toenails at his desk. 
    Some help us advance our career, while others seem to hold us back. Different leadership styles can lead to different results for each employee. But certain styles seem to be bad across the board
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    Maintain control over people and activities
    take charge individuals who act like they were born to lead and just expect everyone to follow.
    They need to be in control and so are often found in leadership roles.
    optimistic, hardworking and resourceful.
    Leaders need to be “in the know”; are typically well informed and decisive.
    Create plans so things are done based on what they believe to be important.
    They focus externally and use reason & logic to make decisions.
    Direct and oversee others to ensure things get done right.
    Motivated by activities with a clear purpose, their focus on work and achieving their goals interferes with their relationships.
    To the intellectual, knowledge is power. Intellectuals get excited about learning, and they approach new subject matter with excitement. Accumulate knowledge and intellectual competence. Driven by quest for perfection, competence, conceptual clarity, and self-mastery. While they do not need to have control over others, Intellectuals need to have control over themselves, and how others may touch their lives or affect their behavior
    They have an aura of detachment and are more interested in observing what is happening than in participating. They can be perceived as aloof and uninterested. However, they are often lost in thought as so much is going on inside of them – analyzing, learning, understanding ideas and gathering information. They don’t mind being the black sheep, and can make a show of compliance & then continue to do their own thing. Use passive resistance.
    It often feels like a battle of words with Intellectuals. They act as if they know everything, so even the simplest comment, like “You have mustard on your cheek” is met with “I know.” Contradiction is common: if you say, “I understand it’s going to rain today,” they are likely to shoot back, “No, it’s not!” without even checking the facts first. This habit is irritating to others, who lack the appetite for verbal sparring that SP Intellectuals crave.
    Accumulate knowledge and intellectual competence
    Plan based on own inner view
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    Focus on possibilities,
    Sky is the limit approach
    Image driven -- invent and reinventing themselves.
    Natural risk takers, they have faith that things will work out regardless of how high the goal.
    Seek centre stage and to ‘win’
    Ambitious, energetic and driven to achieve
    Want to be the ‘star’
    Creative and innovative approach
    Inspire and motivate others
    Seek to attain awareness and understanding as well as meaning
    Focus on continuous improvement
    Visionaries operate at more abstract, theoretical, and symbolic levels than any other Style, always curious about things that happen outside of the concrete realms of our human existence.
    Imagining and holding the vision of what is possible
    Creating the strategic approach
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    Build social networks, making vast connections
    Gregarious, outgoing & quick to compliment
    Maintaining relationships & building new ones
    Helping others by being ‘super-user’
    Like real life Facebooks, they have friends and connections of all ages who do all types of things. If you are looking for contacts, a Socializer is the place to go. They take great please from generating good feelings in themselves and others. They are enthusiastic, charming “people-people,” as well as social organizers in all settings.
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    Predominant need to Be Spontaneous
    Action-oriented, live in moment
    Curious, open-minded & seek freedom
    Do whatever presents itself without planning or talking about it
    Drive to experience greater levels of sensation
    Explore & experiment with activities
    Need to Be Secure
    Predictable, responsible & loyal
    Task-oriented, hierarchical & guided by set of rules
    You will want to be secure and do the same things you’ve experienced before
    Don’t decide, just do
    Detail specific steps that must be followed and make sure others do it the same way too
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    You are a Leader Leadership Style, and you need to be in control. You fail to delegate and insist on doing everything yourself, because it’s the only way it will be done “right.” You expect others to work at your pace and openly criticize them when they don’t. You never ask for help. You tell everyone that if they just do as you do, everything will turn out fine. You are impatient and dismissive of people who aren’t like you. Employees who need more guidance slow you down and you only delegate to those who work at your pace.
    During training Leaders will test and challenge the trainer or facilitator as they don’t easily trust others to know what they are doing.
    They can be intimidating, asking questions that challenge the competence of the trainer, looking for ways to discredit them. Their fear causes them to become increasingly aggressive and domineering to help them gain control over what is happening to them. Rather than showing their vulnerability and fear, they try to exercise control, becoming insistent that things be done their way, or else. Anger gives them the feeling of power and control temporarily, but it is just an avoidance of the fear they feel when they are not in control of the situation.
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    Intellectual Style people have a predominant fear of feeling ignorant or uninformed. To them, knowledge as power and they avoid situations where they aren’t the expert. This makes training and development challenging as they don’t want to appear to others as though they don’t already know.
    Despite agreeing with their manager about performance improvement goals, they will routinely avoid group training or coaching. These sessions often turn out to be a battle of wits with the coach or trainer. They will also avoid engaging in the training process when forced to attend. During training they opt out of the exercises or find excuses to leave early. This can happen even though the subject is something they want to learn.
    Because of their need to be knowledgeable, Intellectuals will read up on what they are going to be learning about before a training session so they appear to know as much as the trainer or facilitator. They fear being asked a question they don’t know the answer to leading to a loss of expert status amongst their peers as this frustrates their need to be knowledgeable and makes them anxious. They will also behave in ways that make them look as though they are experts despite knowing nothing on a subject matter. They will be dismissive of what the trainer is saying and appear arrogant and contemptuous of their peers. They are competing for the place of most knowledgeable and any situation they find themselves in where they don ‘t feels threatening to them.
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    Performer Style people have a predominant fear of feeling shame or embarrassment. As Performers enjoy being the center of attention, doing training and development with peers provides the opportunity to show how smart they are. They spend a lot of time asking questions and telling stories and if the facilitator isn’t well boundaried, Performers can hijack the meeting. Performers are embarrassed when questions are limited by the trainer and demonstrate their upset by acting out in a dismissive fashion. They gain recognition by disagreeing or engaging in side conversations that are disruptive to the group.
    Performers have a hard time with performance feedback as they tend to see themselves performing better than others see them. They get into power struggles with their managers as they see themselves as their equals. They will argue and question things both for attention and because they feel entitled to do so. Performers will also pretend that they agree with you as they want your approval, but then they just as often do what pleases them as they are usually very valued employees. They fear feeling the shame that they associate with not being the best or coming in first. They believe that it’s easier not to try than to be seen as a loser or second best as they find this to be a humiliating experience. This makes them dependent on winning to ward off feelings of shame.
    Highlights of the Performer Style
    Driven by a need to be recognized
    Fear feeling shame or embarrassment
    Inspire and motivate others
    Sensitive to & upset by criticism
    Energetic and outgoing
    Achievement and goal-oriented
    Image-driven; approval seeking behavior
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    You are a Visionary and need to be perceptive. You think you are communicating your ideas and instructions precisely, but often leave employees unsure of what you actually want them to do. You don’t want your ideas challenged so you give clear expectations. Employees are intimidated by your intense style of questioning when you fail to understand why they do things the way they have. You rationalize poor performance, giving too many people too many chances in an attempt to avoid difficult conversations.
    Visionary Style people have a predominant fear of feeling invisible or disengaged. With whatever they do, they need to have a clear picture of why and what the outcome is going to look like, otherwise they disengage. They have a need to understand the whole picture and their place in it for things to make sense for them. When they can’t do see themselves as a part, they start to feel as though they are invisible and disengaged from what is going on. Their sense of self as connected to the greater whole feels threatened.
    Feedback to them about their performance goals is usually something they already know. They have an orientation to continuous improvement and want to know what they need to improve on. They are intense when they are learning and their very pointed questions can cause the trainer or facilitator to be intimidated by them. It is their need to perceive that causes them to ask until they can clearly see what they are looking for. Should they not be allowed to ask questions, they feel invisible, disengage and stop participating. They have a particular fear around developing interpersonal skills as they have trouble picturing themselves behaving the way they are told they need to. They are negatively affected when told they are intimidating, too direct, or that they ask too many questions as it is through questioning that they see themselves as a part of the rest of the world.
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    You are a Socializer and need to be connected. You are extremely personable and want to know everything that is going on with your employees. You spend so much time taking care of your employees’ needs and issues that you ignore your own priorities or business results. You help people to the point of doing their work for them so they don’t have to struggle. You favor your employees who conform and dislike those who are too individualistic. Your need for consensus and harmony can cause you to shut down creativity or the debating of ideas.
    Socializer Style people have a predominant fear of feeling abandoned or socially exiled. These people have a need to help others and feel a loss of their connection when they have no one to help. They don’t like the way they feel when others try to help or counsel them as it diminishes their connection through helping causing them to feel a type of abandonment. They need harmony in their relationships and they will go along with their boss when told they need training and development even when they don’t agree. They enjoy the camaraderie of group training sessions but may end up doing more socializing than learning. Socializers start getting anxious when they aren’t helping others so they often try to assume the role of teachers assistant. They want to be the one favored by the trainer or facilitator and will try to be helpful to them by clarifying instructions to peers and telling those who aren’t doing things properly what they should be doing, much to the annoyance of their peers.
    Socializers take things very personally and they can be crushed by performance feedback that they didn’t see coming or hadn’t considered. They feel as though their boss is saying they don’t like them instead of trying to help them and they end up feeling abandoned. A performance discussion can lead to the Socializer putting their boss and everyone else in the deep freeze as they disconnect emotionally. They use emotional blackmail and distort what was done to them. They tell others how rude or insensitive their boss was, totally missing that their boss was trying to help them.
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    You are an Artist and need to be creative. You are reserved and quiet, and wonder at times why you are in a leadership position at all. You don’t always assert yourself with your employees, and can fail to establish expectations, plans or deadlines. You don’t address performance issues because don’t want employees to feel bad about themselves. You don’t set limits because you wouldn’t want anyone to do that to you. You can finish work for others to make up for their shortcomings.
    You are an Artist and need to be creative. You are reserved and quiet, and wonder at times why you are in a leadership position at all. You don’t always assert yourself with your employees, and can fail to establish expectations, plans or deadlines. You don’t address performance issues because don’t want employees to feel bad about themselves. You don’t set limits because you wouldn’t want anyone to do that to you. You can finish work for others to make up for their shortcomings.
    Artist Style people have a predominant fear of feeling invisible or disengaged from others. They are perfectionist with a tendency to exaggerate their shortcomings. They are convinced that fundamentally they aren’t good enough are waiting for others to devalue them and treat them as though they are inferior. They tend to be anxious about their work and will react to negative performance feedback as though they have been wounded. Because they are predisposed to thinking they aren’t good enough they aren’t objective about the information that they are getting from their manager. Artists believe that they have to be careful all of the time, never doing anything to bother others or bring attention to themselves. They tend to keep to themselves and don’t easily fit into groups at work.
    Artists feel anxious when they have to participate in group training as they might be proven inferior by something they say or do. They are hypersensitive in development activities as they fear being judged or criticized by their peers or their manager. They sometimes can’t even hear what they are being taught because their negative self-talk is so unrelenting. While no one wants to look foolish or say something that may embarrass themselves, the Artist fears that they will show their fatal flaw and be exposed as the inferior human being they believe they are.
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    Adventurer Style people have a predominant fear of feeling trapped or restricted. They do not like to be dominated, or to have expectations placed on them. They enjoy training and learning new things of a tangible nature and when the learning content is relative to the work they are doing. They become anxious when things are too abstract or they are expected to discuss a concept or how they feel about something. Subjects that do not have relevance to their pursuit of pleasure simply bore them. They also fear the planning process as it traps them into living an already determined course of action. During training sessions, they can be disruptive, making comments that have no relevance or telling jokes that interrupt the facilitator. They will also be vocal about how “stupid” or “worthless” the training is in order to validate their inappropriate behavior.
    Performance correction with this Style is often around their impulsive behavior or because they are always trying to find a faster way of doing things in order to meet their need to be spontaneous. They can have difficulty following processes and can interfere with productivity when they take actions without letting others know what they are doing. They always have a quality of restlessness about them and they like to “fly by the seat of their pants,” often stirring the pot just to keep things stimulating which is disruptive to others. Because the don’t often reflect on their behavior, they won’t admit the anxiety they feel when they are restricted in their movement or activities.
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    Stabilizer Style people have a predominant fear of feeling anxious or insecure. As these individuals seek security, their energy and focus goes into keeping things the same. Whatever they learn must have a direct relationship to what they already know, without skipping steps. They don’t like learning or trying new things, nor do they like people they don’t know teaching them. They like their outer world to be predictable so it doesn’t create any emotional disruption inside of them. Performance feedback often focuses them on becoming more flexible or asking why they don’t take more training to get ahead. It is also suggested to them to take the time to build relationship with others. These “soft skills” don’t come naturally to them and they will resist these suggestions as it makes them so anxious to even think about it.
    Change, uncertainty and the unknown are their primary fear as all of these things threaten their sense of stability and security. It isn’t that they can’t do what is being asked of them, they are more afraid of what they tell themselves will happen when they try to learn new skills. These people have difficulty using their imagination in an optimistic fashion and they tend to catastrophize instead. They imagine worse case scenarios, adding to their base of fear. During training sessions, these people look as though they aren’t really engaged. They don’t ask questions or participate in exercises because they are generally too anxious to do so. To others it looks like they are resistant or disinterested. They can frustrate facilitators when they don’t contribute or seem to participate.
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    As a learner goes through the stages of this natural learning process, the learner’s brain constructs its neural networks from the lowest twig up.
    Participants need to make a personal connection to a twig already there, to something already known.
    Must be personal!!!!!! With the expectation and opportunity to work on own challenges
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    As a learner goes through the stages of this natural learning process, the learner’s brain constructs its neural networks from the lowest twig up.
    Participants need to make a personal connection to a twig already there, to something already known.
    Must be personal!!!!!! With the expectation and opportunity to work on own challenges
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    As a learner goes through the stages of this natural learning process, the learner’s brain constructs its neural networks from the lowest twig up.
    Participants need to make a personal connection to a twig already there, to something already known.
    Must be personal!!!!!! With the expectation and opportunity to work on own challenges
  • Personality & the Brain: A New Paradigm for Leadership Development

    1. 1. Leadership systems that create powerful companies Personality & the Brain: A New Paradigm for Leadership Development HRPA Hamilton Chapter - October 10, 2013 Facilitated by Heather Hilliard Leadership & Behavioural Change Expert
    2. 2. About the Speaker  Personality & behavioural change expert with over 25 years’ experience working with individuals, teams, leaders and organizations to eliminate dysfunction and maximize potential  Creator, Striving Styles® Personality System, a neuro-psychological framework for development & behavioural change  Author, Who Are You Meant To Be? A Groundbreaking, Step-by-Step Approach to Discovering and Fulfilling Your True Potential
    3. 3. Why So Many Leaders Fail to Achieve Potential  Operate from function that decides, defines and plans in a logical, rational and objective fashion  Don’t use the relational part of the brain: struggle to coach, resolve conflict, show appreciation, empathize, and manage performance  Focus on doing relationships, rather than being in them  Focus on changing leadership behaviour without understanding what drives behavior (e.g., behavioral competencies)
    4. 4. Role of Functions in Leadership  Brain scientists have determined that the brain has four functional quadrants that play different roles in our personality  While we are meant to use all four quadrants in various activities, most leaders use only one or two  Imagine the positive impact on your organizational results if your leaders were using all four quadrants of the brain!
    5. 5. Four Quadrants for Processing  Four distinct functional areas of the brain:  left and right hemisphere,  within each hemisphere, an emotional brain and a rational brain quadrant  Each quadrant is specialized to perform specific tasks very efficiently  Functions operate in the external or internal environment
    6. 6. Role of the Functions in Leadership Rational/Imaginative Business Leadership  Set goals & expectations  Assess performance  Reinforce behaviors  Linear problem solving  Building desired future state Process Leadership  Produce results  Followership  Process and rules  Maintain status quo  Tactical planning Strategic Leadership  Envision desired future state  Vision & strategy  Design systems / consider context  Out of the box thinking/problem solving  Adaptable/situational approach Social Leadership  Determine emotional needs  Relational/social experiences  Reward & recognition  How people behave  Impact on people Experiential/Emotional
    7. 7. Failure of Leadership Programs  Using one or two leadership approaches significantly limits leadership effectiveness, especially when we know we are not attending to a particular aspect of leadership but don’t know why  Leadership development programs often take a rational approach to relational brain development  These programs don’t help leaders learn to use their emotional brain; keep them in their comfort zone and fail to bring about any behavioral change
    8. 8. Importance of Needs
    9. 9. Exercise: Worst Leadership Behavior  In groups of 3, discuss leadership behavior that you have had to deal with and the impact it had on you and your coworkers
    10. 10. Leadership systems that create powerful companies Four Types of Leadership Based on brain functions
    11. 11. Business Leadership  Focus on producing results  Goal oriented, practical & objective  Organize people, tasks, timelines to achieve a common goal  Financial & budget  Use authority & power to ensure accountability
    12. 12. Function of the Left Rational Brain  Create an ideology for the way the world must be and make sure everything conforms  Decide what something (or someone) is, where it belongs, what its usefulness is  Plan, sort and organize experiences  Form our self-concept
    13. 13. Striving Styles in the Function
    14. 14. Strategic Leadership  Provide the vision & direction for the growth/success of an organization  Organizational transformation & change  Adaptability  Insight into markets, barriers, people  Architect of the big picture
    15. 15. Function of the Right Rational Brain  Imagine, conceptualize and synthesizes information and experiences  Create a vision for the future  To “know” without “knowing why”  Create our “self-image
    16. 16. Striving Styles in the Function
    17. 17. Social Leadership  Focus on how people feel as they work  Rights & entitlement of employees  Emotional intelligence / relationships  Rewards & recognition  Organizational culture  Communication, conflict resolution
    18. 18. Function of the Right Emotional Brain  Relate and bond to others  Evaluate experiences  Produce emotions  Store and recall negative emotional memories
    19. 19. Striving Styles in the Function
    20. 20. Process Leadership  Produce Standard Operating Procedures & policies to ensure things are done right and objectives met  Focus on efficiency, economy of effort, cost effective productivity  Manage performance to ensure everyone follows processes & procedures  Logistics, schedules, resources  Focus on maintaining & performing expected activities of the role
    21. 21. Function of the Left Emotional Brain  Experience physical sensations  Repeat experiences to recreate known sensations  Repeat and reproduce activities in specific sequence and order  Seek and experience positive or negative emotions
    22. 22. Striving Styles in the Function
    23. 23. Leadership systems that create powerful companies 8 Signs Leaders aren’t Using their Whole Brain
    24. 24. Autocratic Behavior  Key theme of outward focused left rational brain is “I know best and let others know”  Leading exclusively from this function results in:  Micromanaging  Overpower others  Don’t delegate authority  Critical, demanding, impatient behavior  Lack of empathy Leader: Need to be In Control
    25. 25. Absentee Behavior  Key theme of inward focused left rational brain is “I know best and don’t tell others”  Leading exclusively from this function results in:  Withholding knowledge, information, direction  Expecting employees to know what to do without telling them  Avoiding involvement with employees  Hiding out in office or work from home  Passive aggressive behavior Intellectual: Need to be Knowledgeable
    26. 26. Image-Driven Behavior  Key theme of outward focused right rational brain is “I am the best and I let others know”  Leading exclusively from this function results in:  Using employees ideas as their own  Overly concerned with image (great guy, gal)  “Punishing” employees who publically disagree or blindside  Speaking about “I” not “we”  Avoiding reality Performer: Need to be Recognized
    27. 27. Don’t Share their Vision  Key theme of inward focused right rational brain is “I see all and expect others follow”  Leading exclusively from this function results in:  Expecting employees follow without explaining where they are going  Impatience to get to vision; don’t tolerate others’ slower movement  Don’t follow up or hold accountable  Intimidate by asking direct questions  Rationalize poor performance Visionary: Need to be Perceptive
    28. 28. Put People Before Results  Key theme of outward focused right emotional brain is “I know what’s best for people”  Leading exclusively from this function results in:  Ignoring own or business priorities  Doing employees’ work for them so they don’t have to struggle (foster dependency)  Insisting on harmony; shut down creativity/innovation  Insisting on cooperation and consensus building that impedes decision making  Taking employee behavior personally Socializer: Need to be Connected
    29. 29. Don’t Assert their Authority  Key theme of inward focused right emotional brain is “Others know what is best for them”  Leading exclusively from this function results in:  Letting others define authority & take lead  Misunderstand & personalize behaviour of employees (focus on feelings, not issues)  Don’t expect or demand of others  Don’t give feedback; let employees make mistakes  Do everything themselves; perfectionistic Artist: Need to be Creative
    30. 30. Fail to Plan or Follow Through  Key theme of outward focused left emotional brain is “I do what I want to do when I want to do it”  Leading exclusively from this function results in:  Impulsive decision making (frustrated employees)  Failing to stay with prolonged challenges  Leaving employees to figure things out for themselves  Failure to follow through on commitments  Lack of empathy for people of different styles Adventurer: Need to be Spontaneous
    31. 31. Resist Change & Innovation  Key theme of inward focused left emotional brain is “I do what I am supposed to do when I am told to do it”  Leading exclusively from this function results in:  Say “no” to suggestions/ideas without consideration  Lack empathy  Demand adherence to status quo, despite pressing need for change  Critical & judgmental of people who different  Failure to correct performance; it themselves Stabilizer: Need to be Secure are do
    32. 32. Leadership systems that create powerful companies Tools for Whole Brain Leading
    33. 33. How the Brain Develops  Brain develops through experience  Using other functions requires scheduling time to perform the activities associated with the function, i.e.  Business leaders need to spend time in social leadership activities daily  Process leaders need to spend time daily in strategic activities/discussions  Competencies need to be developed for each of the four quadrants relative to the business or role
    34. 34. Personality & Brain Functions in Leadership Development  The personality of a leader is expressed through the functions of the brain  Therefore, leadership development needs to incorporate approaches that target developing brain functions and not just focus on behavior  Approach focuses on developing individual leaders as well as embedding whole brain approaches into systems
    35. 35. Tools for Whole Brain Leadership Leaders  Build self-awareness - understand own brain (Striving Style) and predominant leadership style  Determine extent of use of each quadrant; determine area that needs to develop  Provide activities that engage specific areas of the brain  Provide expectations, coaching & feedback
    36. 36. Tools for Whole Brain Leadership Systems  Do your organizational systems support development of all 4 leadership styles?  Do your systems focus on behavior instead of engaging the whole brain  Need to incorporate approach into:  Strategy, goals, planning processes  Selection, retention, career pathing  Performance management systems  Competency systems  Values & culture  Rewards & recognition  Training & development
    37. 37. Tools for Whole Brain Leadership Organizational Culture / Team Culture  Determine what is the brain predominant function of the leadership team  Identify what leadership functions will dominate the culture  Address gaps  Provide team experiences to develop lesser used leadership functions
    38. 38. Our Approach  Striving Styles Personality System is a neuropsychological framework for development, behavioural change and achieving potential  Can be integrated into any development program  Audit existing programs to ensure design & delivery reflect personality, emotions and how the brain learns  Facilitate organizational change, eliminate dysfunction and disengagement  Build expertise of anyone involved in training, development & behavioural change
    39. 39. Contact us 416.406.3939