Leading Using the Whole Brain


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This presentation was made to various leadership teams in Canadian Organizations over the past 3 years to build leadership capacity. The presenter, Behavioral Change Expert, Heather Hilliard, has worked with over 300 organizations globally during the last 20 years. From entrepreneurial startups to global organizations, Heather has helped leaders grow their business to the next level.

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    To achieve our potential as human beings, we must also understand a little about the biology behind our development. It is now widely recognized that our brain continues to grow and develop until our mid-twenties.
    Although the brainstem is almost fully functional at birth, the emotional brain is slower to develop and mature, in part because development of the emotional brain is "activity-dependent." How many or how few experiences we have dictates how neural pathways form and interconnect, and how strong or weak the links are. As neuroscientists often say, "Cells that fire together, wire together." Every experience that a child has causes certain neural pathways to strengthen and others to fall away, a process called pruning. The brain does not discriminate as to whether the pathway is helpful or harmful to us; it simply fortifies what is experienced the most. So there’s actually a neurological basis for the saying “good habits last a lifetime.” Unfortunately, the same can be said for dysfunctional and maladaptive patterns.
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    The Self-Protective System, with its hardwired brain circuitry, ensures our survival as human beings. During our formative years, the pathways between the instinctual and emotional brains are used almost exclusively. (If you’ve ever tried to win an argument with a two-year-old, you already know that the rational brains of toddlers cannot be accessed!) The instinctual brain alerts us to danger and the emotional brain gets our physical and psychological needs met. So while we are operating from this System, we are acutely aware of our emotions and reacting to them as though our lives depended on it!
    The SP System is wired to protect us from real or perceived threats to our survival and is activated by fear and other associated emotions.
    Threats may be external or internal, real or imagined. The System’s reactions are automatic in nature and give rise to freezing, withdrawal, avoidance, or flight reactions without any attempt to understand or question; the only goal is to survive. Because this brain system does not learn from mistakes, it keeps doing the same things, without really understanding why. Not surprisingly, the behaviors prompted by our SP Systems are often mystifyingly self-destructive.
  • When we use our Self-Actualizing System we:
    think objectively
    don’t just act on emotions and impulses
    The self-actualizing system is a positively-valanced, energizing system that moves people out into their environment to explore and experience.
    When we are using our Self-Actualizing System, we are thinking objectively and managing behavior, urges, emotions, and thought rather than just acting on emotions and impulses. This allows us to be in the driver’s seat, directing our behavior and our lives.
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  • Self-protective behaviors appear when we feel threatened or as a result of excessive adaptation during childhood.
    For each Style there are certain activators that fuel this switch to Self-Protective behaviors. For example, ………
    the biological mandate to meet the need
    When this happens:
    Our brain downshifts from the Self-Actualizing System
    We adopt a behavioral pattern that ensures we get our need met
    By identifying both the behaviors and the things that create stress for us, we are able to recognize what is going on and do something about it
  • These behaviors tend to be more emotionally charged, and at times, destructive rather than productive. For example, Performer’s become the worst of the worst and Artist’s create paranoid stories.
  • When downshifting, full use of the rational brain is suspended and more control is given to our lower brains – emotional and instinctual
    We react using emotional reasoning, protecting ourselves from perceived threats
    Emotional brain dominates our behavior and automatic responses to our environment
    Need conscious links from the rational brain in order to mature behavior
  • Our drive to take action and self-actualize is based on our predominant need
    The way we seek to meet our needs is based on how our brain is organized
    When we consistently meet our predominant need, we build self-esteem and confidence
    This puts us in the driver’s seat on the road to achieving our potential
    The unconscious motivation to take action and self-actualize is based on our inner drives or striving energies
    Everything we do is an attempt to meet our innate needs
    When we understand this, we know that no matter what a person is expressing, it is an attempt get their needs met.
    Whenever we consistently meet our predominant striving need, we are building self-esteem and confidence: we are Self-Actualizing.
    At these times, our lives feel purposeful; we are conscious, engaged and excited.
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  • Primary Need: To Be In Control
    Self-Actualizing Behavior
    Manages impulses and emotions. Slows down when others are unable to keep the pace. Does due diligence before changing direction.
    Listens to what people actually want instead of telling them what they should want. Collaborates and allows employees to participate in decision-making and planning where possible.
    Decides in consultation with those who will be affected. Considers people’s needs and feelings during change.
    Takes time to consider issues raised by others. Reflects on feedback. Stays involved with own development. Uses a coach or mentor. Holds self accountable for changing their own behavior.
    Recognizes when avoiding difficult performance discussions because of their own feelings. Holds key employees to standards. Distinguishes between personal and performance issues.
    Holds themselves accountable to following their own systems. Manages frustration with pace of slower employees.
    Takes time to try to see things from the perspective of others. Shows appreciation and acknowledges others. Recognizes their own emotions and does not act them out. Reflects on how their behavior affects others. Uses tact and diplomacy.
    Balances critical feedback with celebrations of success. Gives corrective feedback. Allows employees to develop competence. Learns to trust others.
  • Primary Fear: Helplessness, Powerlessness
    Self-Protective Behavior
    Is impatient and impulsive. Makes decisions in haste. Moves quickly, expecting others to keep up. Gets irritated with people or things that make them slow down. Changes direction on the fly.
    Dominates others to get own way. Engages in power struggles. Demonstrates reluctance to delegate control and responsibility. Intimidates employees and squashes innovation.
    Works independently. Makes decisions that affect others without consultation. Fails to consider the impact on others. Lacks empathy.
    Ignores or dismisses interpersonal issues. Believes others have issues and should deal with them. Does not accept feedback when it is different from their self-beliefs or concepts.
    Decides direct reports are not worth their effort and ignores them. Takes an employee’s failure to meet a timeline personally. Avoids difficult discussions with key employees.
    Focuses on outcome, not process. Skips steps and ignores their own systems. Are impatient with people who work at a slower pace or whose ideas are radically different than their own.
    Fails to take time to engage relationally. Tells rather than asks. Fails to show appreciation. Communicates displeasure through body language, sarcasm, or dismissive actions.
    Focuses on negative aspects of employees’ performance. Is critical and demanding. Dismisses employees’ attempts to perform and does their work for them. Fosters dependency.
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  • Primary Need: To Be Perceptive
    Self-Actualizing Behavior
    Holds the same vision despite obstacles. Uses a disciplined approach. Fails to allow the perspectives of others to unduly influence their plan or vision.
    Tolerates maintaining connection to others. Uses a systematic approach to staying involved with others. Maintains continuity with direct reports through regular meetings and discussions.
    Stays involved with direct reports and co-workers. Communicates decisions and plans, and asks for input. Manages their fear. Engages opposing viewpoints to their ideas without withdrawing.
    Uses a conflict management process. Stays with difficult situations until resolved. Asks questions until they have the complete picture.
    Sets realistic goals for self and others. Sees people’s capabilities realistically. Gives others regular feedback. Corrects performance and helps employees improve by staying involved.
    Focuses on current reality. Fully engages with what they are doing and on not the gap between the present and future. Follows the correct sequence and steps to get to their vision.
    Holds themselves accountable for using their own systems. Discusses their issues and concerns openly. Sets expectations for development of direct reports by walking the talk.
    Uses a paper system for giving direction and instructions. Asks for confirmation of what has been communicated. Expects employees to write down instructions and make project plans.
  • Primary Fear:
    Self-Protective Behavior
    Keeps changing the vision, plan and approach when encountering barriers. Is easily influenced by others’ perspectives and changes approach. Fails to hold own vision.
    Keeps themselves at a distance. Inconsistent in relationships, going between being available and then unavailable. Leaves people anxious and wondering what they have done wrong.
    Works independently. Makes decisions and plans independent of others. Fails to ask for input. Does not present ideas when they fear opposition to their ideas. Withdraws.
    Denies the existence of problems with employees. Fails to address conflict. Ignores or dismisses issues. Fails to ask questions.
    Sets unrealistic goals for self and others. Is perfectionistic and critical. Fails to let others know when they are displeased. Withdraws and fails to help or correct employee performance.
    Focuses on vision and outcome, not on the process. Pushes themselves hard to get to achieve vision. Becomes impatient and terse. Is unaware of own experience or impact they have on others.
    Creates elaborate systems for managing people and processes, and then ignores them. Recognizes own issues but fails to do anything about them. Likes the idea of development, but fails to act.
    Tells people what to do and thinks they communicate clearly. Believes employees “see” what they see and understand what they have asked them to do without checking.
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  • Primary Need: To Be Spontaneous
    Self-Actualizing Behavior
    Uses a planning process. Adheres to plans. Sustains efforts toward long-term goals. Has a structured or step-by-step process for communicating expectations to employees.
    Manages the impulse to act. Delays immediate gratification. Holds themselves accountable to their plan. Prioritizes activities. Slows down to consider implications before acting.
    Sees the impact that lack of follow-through has on themselves, direct reports, co-workers and productivity. Sets timelines for making decisions. Resists impulse to argue.
    Uses a performance management system. Schedules regular times for performance discussions. Considers the needs of employees. Develops empathy. Discusses issues privately.
    Communicates in advance when unable to reach deadlines. Recognizes the impact on others and takes steps to minimize. Takes responsibility for own actions and commitments.
    Is realistic about what can be achieved. Focuses on issues until resolved. Tolerates the discomfort of others’ emotions and their own setbacks. Uses problem-solving skills in interpersonal conflict.
    Takes responsibility for their own behavior. Reflects on mistakes and makes corrective actions. Considers potential consequences of actions. Listens to input from others.
    Collaborates. Makes sure everyone is on board before moving forward. Finds solutions that work for everyone. Listens to concerns and facts rather than dismissing them outright.
  • Primary Fear: Confinement
    Self-Protective Behavior
    Fails to plan or engage employees in a planning process. Moves to action prematurely. Adjusts plans in the moment. Assumes employees understand what is expected.
    Acts on impulse. Fails to distinguish between what appears urgent and what is important. Reacts to issues as they arise and gives them all similar weight.
    Does what they believe is right, despite commitments. Is rebellious and argumentative. Refuses to make a decision or a commitment, even if it frustrates others.
    Manages performance on the fly. Fails to use astandardized approach. Points out corrections upon observation. Fails to recognize employee need for formalized goals and feedback.
    Fails to meet own deadlines and causes delays in others’ work. Fails to communicate when unable to meet deadlines. Becomes defensive when employees or coworkers are upset by actions.
    Is excessively optimistic. Demands positivity from employees. Does not tolerate interpersonal conflict or tension. Avoids problems. Fails to understand how avoiding conflict affects morale.
    Makes mistakes and refuses to take responsibility. Blames others or the environment for errors. Fails to learn from experiences. Avoids consequences and fails to take others’ cautions seriously.
    Drives own agenda without concern for the long-term implications. Tells people what to do and fails to follow up. Fails to give people adequate time to get on board before moving on.
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  • Primary Need: To Be Creative
    Self-Actualizing Behavior
    Develops a disciplined approach to work. Holds employees accountable and gives consequences. Manages to objectives. Establishes authority through appropriate actions.
    Assesses employee competence with realistic measures. Identifies training needs. Does not tolerate poor performance. Gives feedback regularly and helpfully.
    Takes responsibility for leading others. Makes decisions on their own. Establishes guidelines for contributions. Clarifies chain of authority and does not share authority excessively.
    Expresses and communicates assertively. Communicates what they expect from their direct reports, as well as their disappointment or disapproval when others fail to deliver.
    Emerges conflict and issues as they happen. Does not take things personally. Does not pretend that things don’t bother them. Manages their emotions without dramatizing what is going on.
    Communicates with confidence and appropriately expresses own opinion. Raises contentious issues despite fears. Is articulate, well-organized and engaging in expression.
    Sets challenging performance plans. Holds reasonable expectations for employees based on their experience and abilities. Holds employees accountable for their development.
    Stays engaged with their team despite feeling pressured. Resists their impulse to withdraw without letting others know what is going on. Asks their team to help them stay the course.
  • Primary Fear: To Be Overtaken
    Self-Protective Behavior
    Ignores the actions of employees even when they are disrespectful or insubordinate. Fails to directly confront and challenge inappropriate behaviour. Does not establish their own authority.
    Believes employees are more competent than they are. Overlooks real deficiencies in skills. Tolerates poor performance as they do not want to hurt employee’s feelings.
    Fails to establish objectives and direction for employees. Collaborates and cooperates excessively. Gives employees the idea that they have the right to be included in everything.
    Is perfectionist. Fails to delegate when others do not work to their high standards. Puts supporting employees ahead of their own work. Spends excessive time helping others do simple tasks.
    Fears direct conflict and backs down when confronted. Takes disagreement personally. Holds feelings inside and blows up at employees over some slight or insignificant incident.
    Is reserved, inhibited, when presenting ideas. Withholds own opinion unless confident of positive outcome. Has difficulty expressing ideas fluently and correctly.
    Creates performance plans that require minimal effort to achieve success. Maintains low expectations for performance. Believes employees’ performance problems are their fault.
    Works independent of others. Withdraws during pressure or conflict. Fails to make him or herself available to employees. Depends on others to seek them out.
  • Leading Using the Whole Brain

    1. 1. Leadership systems that create powerful companies Leading Using the Whole Brain A Brain-based Approach to Leadership & Leadership Team Development Facilitated by Heather Hilliard Behavioral Change Expert
    2. 2. About the Speaker  Leadership & behavioural change expert with over 20 years’ experience working with individuals, couples, teams, leaders and organizations to eliminate dysfunction and maximize potential  Principal, Caliber Leadership Systems offering an holistic, systems-based approach to leadership & organizational development and behavioural change  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. Meeting Objectives  Review Striving Styles (functions of the brain)  Using all four quadrants of the brain in leadership & performance development  Understand the Self-Protective and Self- Actualizing System  Behavioral competencies from each quadrant of the brain (SP & SA behaviors)  Discuss examples of where SP behaviors are creating barriers, etc.
    4. 4. Leading Using the Whole Brain
    5. 5. Review of the SSPS  We have four functions in four quadrants of the brain  Each function has two aspects, inner and outer  We prefer one area of our brain over the 3 others  It is an inborn preference, not a developed strength  Dominance impairs development of an integrated brain
    6. 6. Review of the SSPS  Each function has a psychological need that must be met  Failure to meet the need results in emotional distress  Revert to emotional behavior to get need met  Development is delayed
    7. 7. Striving Styles in the 4 Quadrants
    8. 8. Integrating the 4 Quadrants  Need to understand how the functions produce specific leadership behaviors  You can decide what functions to use in different situations  Are not limited to functioning from one quadrant, even though it is easier to do so
    9. 9. Developing Leadership Capabilities by Understanding How the Brain Develops
    10. 10. How Our Brain Develops  We have three brains; don’t all develop at the same time  To ensure our survival, our brains develop from the brainstem up  the brainstem (instinctual brain) is almost fully functional at birth  the emotional brain is slower to develop and mature  the rational brain develops last
    11. 11. Self-Protective System  Wired to protect us from real or perceived threats to our survival  Activated by fear and other associated emotions (anxiety, disappointment, prolonged stress)  Threats may be external or internal, real or imagined  React first, think later  Goal is to survive whatever is happening, without thinking of the consequences
    12. 12. Self-Actualizing System  Regulates impulses from the instinctual brain  Future oriented; allows us to:  sets goals, visions,  delay gratification,  makes decisions based on plans  Manage our behavior, urges, emotions, and thoughts  Lets us respond to situations instead of reacting to them, trying to solve problems rather than focusing on our emotions
    13. 13. Activators of the SP System  Our SP System is always running in the background, ready to react  Can be activated by anything frightening or that is perceived as a threat  Communication in the brain bypasses the rational brain and goes directly to automatic reactions  Easily frightened, startled or on the defensive
    14. 14. Activators of the SP System  For each Style there are certain activators that trigger self-protective behaviors  These are based on:  the predominant need  the function of the brain quadrant they reside in  Tactics used are designed to meet the need
    15. 15. Living in our SP System  Self protective behaviors are more emotionally charged, and at times, destructive rather than productive  We tell ourselves stories about what is happening that inflame the situation  Have a “me” orientation rather than a we  Unable to cooperate or negotiate
    16. 16. Activators of the SP System  We downshift and full use of the rational brain is suspended and more control is taken by SP System  We react using emotional reasoning, protecting ourselves from perceived threats Threat, or perceive threat Rational Brain Emotional Brain Instinctual Brain
    17. 17. Leading from the Self-Actualizing System  This requires you to:  know the four Striving Styles on your Squad and their SP and SA behaviors  know which of the Styles to use in various situations  recognize when you have shifted to SP behaviors and shift  develop the Associate Style(s) that is limiting your success as a leader
    18. 18. Leadership systems that create powerful companies Your Striving Style Squad & Leadership Functions
    19. 19. Four Functions in Leadership
    20. 20. Leadership Team Distribution Need to be in Control Need to be Perceptive
    21. 21. Function of the Left Rational Brain  Decides the way the world must be and make sure everything conforms  Decides what something (or someone) is, where it belongs, what its usefulness is  Plans, sorts and organizes experiences  Forms our self-concept – the idea of who we are  “Tells” it the way it is
    22. 22. Left Rational Brain
    23. 23. Self-Actualizing Behaviors -Leader  You know you are in your Self-Actualizing Leader when you:  use a structured, disciplined approach without being rigid  allow employees to participate in decisions where possible  consider needs and feelings of others; empathize  listen to feedback from others; hold yourself accountable for your development and behavior  have difficult performance discussions with key people  hold yourself accountable to following your own systems  reflect on how you affect others; adapt your approach  delegate, coach and allow employees to develop
    24. 24. Self-Protective Behaviors - Leader  You know you are in your Self-Protective Leader when you:  have to keep moving forward despite issues; impatient  dominate and intimidate others  make decisions without considering the impact on others  don’t accept feedback about own behavior  focus on fastest way to goal; ignore systems and processes  dismiss/ignore people that don’t perform to your expectations  don’t engage relationally; express displeasure, not appreciation  are overly critical; do employees work for them
    25. 25. Exercise Consider the following:  Are you using your SA Leader consistently enough to meet the needs of the business?  What situations do you use your SP Leader? Why?  What problems are being caused by using your SP Leader?  What Style do you need to use to deal with this situation? Discuss with team
    26. 26. Function of the Right Rational Brain  Function of this quadrant is to:  innovate, adapt, envision  discover meaning and possibilities  imagine, conceptualize and synthesizes information and experiences  to “know” without “knowing why”  create our “self-image
    27. 27. Right Rational Brain
    28. 28. Self-Actualizing Behaviors -Visionary  You know you are in your Self-Actualizing Visionary when you:  hold your vision despite obstacles or perspectives of others  use a systematic approach to staying connected with others  ask for input and don’t retreat from opposing viewpoints  use a conflict management process  set realistic goals for yourself and others  follow the sequence and steps to get to your vision  “walk the talk” by using the systems you develop  use a paper system for giving direction and instructions
    29. 29. Self-Protective Behaviors - Visionary  You know you are in your Self-Protective Visionary when you:  fail to hold your own vision  are not consistent in relationships  work, make decisions and plan independently  see and identify issues without acting on them  set unrealistic goals for yourself and others  push to achieve your vision without awareness of the impact  don’t use your own systems  believe others understand what you want without checking
    30. 30. Exercise Consider the following:  Are you using your SA Visionary consistently enough to meet the needs of the business?  What situations do you use your SP Visionary? Why?  What problems are being caused by using your SP Visionary?  What Style do you need to use to deal with this situation? Discuss with team
    31. 31. Function of the Left Emotional Brain  Function of this quadrant is to:  act, move, do  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
    32. 32. Left Emotional Brain
    33. 33. Self-Actualizing Behaviors - Adventurer  You know you are in your Self-Actualizing Adventurer when you:  use a planning process and adhere to plans  consider implications before acting; prioritize activities  see the impact that lack of follow-through has on everyone  use a performance management system  communicate when unable to reach deadlines  are realistic about what can be achieved  reflect on mistakes and make corrections to behavior  make sure others on board before moving forward
    34. 34. Self-Protective Behaviors - Adventurer  You know you are in your Self-Protective Adventurer when you:  fail to plan or engage employees in a planning process  are reactive; don’t distinguish between urgent and important  do what you feel like, despite other priorities or commitments  fail to recognize employee’s need for goals, feedback  fail to meet deadlines and cause delays  demand positivity from employees  refuse to take responsibility and blame others  drive your own agenda without concern for big picture
    35. 35. Exercise Consider the following:  Are you using your SA Adventurer consistently enough to meet the needs of the business?  What situations do you use your SP Adventurer? Why?  What problems are being caused by using your SP Adventurer?  What Style do you need to use to deal with this situation? Discuss with team
    36. 36. Function of the Right Emotional Brain  Function of this quadrant is to:  relate and bond to others  evaluate experiences  maintain harmony  produce emotions  empathize  store and recall negative emotional memories
    37. 37. Right Emotional Brain
    38. 38. Self-Actualizing Behaviors - Artist  You know you are in your Self-Actualizing Artist when you:  develop a disciplined approach to work; firm but fair  don’t tolerate poor performance  take responsibility for making decisions and leading  express and communicate assertively  emerge conflict and issues as they happen  appropriately express own opinion; raise contentious issues  set challenging performance plans  stay engaged with team despite feeling pressured
    39. 39. Self-Protective Behaviors - Artist  You know you are in your Self-Protective Artist when you:  don’t establish or act from your own authority  overlook real deficiencies in employees skills  fail to establish objectives and direction for employees  put supporting your employees ahead of your own work  fear direct conflict and back down when confronted  withhold your opinion unless confident of positive outcome  fail to make yourself available to employees  create performance plans that require minimal effort
    40. 40. Exercise Consider the following:  Are you using your SA Artist consistently enough to meet the needs of the business?  What situations do you use your SP Artist? Why?  What problems are being caused by using your SP Artist?  What Style do you need to use to deal with this situation? Discuss with team
    41. 41. Using the Striving Styles with Employees  Knowing your employee’s Style allows you to identify behaviors associated with their SP System  Are able to help employees:  deal with activators of the SP System  develop use of other brain function  Allows you to lead the employees performance instead of accommodating it from your own SP System
    42. 42. Our Approach  Striving Styles Personality System is a neuro- psychological 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 by becoming a Practitioner Evo lutio n o f Jung’ s Psycho logicalType & the MBTI®
    43. 43. Leadership systems that create powerful companies Contact us We offer a range of services – organizational, leadership & team development, succession, performance & rewards, cultural change & coaching We offer a Practitioner Program for anyone interested in using the SSPS in their L&D programs. www.CaliberLeadership.com 416.406.3939 hhilliard@caliberleadership.com