5 Secrets To Double Your Team’s Intelligence

Multiplier leaders behave similarly in 5 ways: they act as talent magnets, liberators, challengers, debate makers and investors. 

  1. Talent Magnets don’t have a shortage of talent, quite the opposite – people line up to work for them.  They have an innate ability to identify what Wiseman calls the “native genius” in each member of their team, naming the talent and then putting it to work for them.  They are not constrained by traditional job descriptions, but rather seek to apply the talent of their team to the job at hand.  
  2. Liberators free people up to do their best thinking.  Instead of providing all the answers, liberators have learned the art of asking the question, facilitating conversations that encourage people to find their own answers.  Multiplying leaders encourage people to think for themselves instead; those employees quite literally report that they become smarter.
  3. Challengers are up for precisely that – a challenge.  The have the ability to stretch people beyond their current capability, thrusting people out of their comfort zones in such a way that the “stretch is met”. As people step into their new zone, they discover a level of capability that they never knew existed.
  4. Debate Makers create the ultimate democracy, convinced that the best answers will come from the group. Instead of setting teams up to fail and fight, Multipliers who facilitate debate give their teams time to research their position, clearly define the parameters and goals, and then “pit their wits against each other” to unleash the potential of what lies in the realm of possibility.
  5. Investors answer the biggest question of all: how do we get people in the business to be accountable for the outcome?  Investors know that real ownership and accountability only comes when the individual or team have made the decision themselves, what Wiseman terms “giving them 51% of the vote”.  A courageous act?  Maybe, but one that will forever change the landscape of your business.

Do you want to access double your team’s intelligence? Click HERE for more information or contact us at multipliers@brg.co.za to book a needs assessment.

 

Understanding the Brain: Why men and women lead differently

By Timothy Maurice Webster

For centuries, the fusion of poor science, religion and backward cultural beliefs propped up patriarchy and dealt a blow to women’s leadership aspirations the world over. The enlightenment era (17th-19th century) helped usher in healthier dialogue around women’s rights outside the home.

The world is beginning to awaken to the power of women leaders. However, it’s critical to acknowledge the slow pace of change. Lohan Brizendine, author of The Female Brain put her finger on the pulse when she wrote, “For much of the twentieth century, most scientists assumed that women were essentially small men, neurologically and in every other sense except for their reproductive functions.”

I sought the insights of neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart, author of Neuroscience for Leadership. After a view conversations, she invited me to her Neuroscience for Leadership class at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Boston to hear the latest ideas coming out of the scientific and leadership community about how men and women lead differently.

The three-day program consisted of mind-centering yoga classes as well as dietary offerings designed to ensure maximum brain participation. But the star of the educational show is by far Swart, an Oxford-educated medical doctor who decided to invest her energy in ensuring leaders achieve their brain power.

About half-way through the course, while I learned a lot about why it’s not good to have coffee after lunch and the importance of uninterrupted sleep, my purpose for being there was clear – to understand how the brain of women and men are different and how this impacts their leadership potential.

Swart explained while structurally the minor size difference between men’s and women’s brains are very little (on average, men’s brains are 10% larger), it does not translate to additional capacity to lead. Anyone paying attention to world affairs would know this but it was good to hear it at MIT. Studies show the majority of male and female brains show masculine and feminine features that varied. This means that if every person you met took out their brain and put it on the table, you would not be able to go, ‘oh that’s a man’s or woman’s brain’. Most of us share traits from both. Research shows around 98% does not show a clear gender profile at all.

Things became very interesting when Swart began to note that our circuitry (or what’s commonly known as the connectome) has different wiring in key areas. These different proverbial road maps help explain why men and women lead differently. This does not mean men or women are better, it simply suggests we should highlight the strengths of each and be aware of what we may need to change. For example, women have more connections going from left to right across the two halves of the brain. The left brain is responsible for logical thinking and the right, intuition, which could offer women an advantage when analyzing several sources and and coming to a healthy conclusion. Men on the other hand have more connections from the back to the front. These connection patterns help heighten their perception, offering more motor and spatial skills and these skills assist in hand-eye coordination activities such as catching a ball.

These patterns are not hard rules that can’t be changed and the environment plays an important role when it comes to the brain’s wiring. Swart highlights the differences between women’s and men’s brain output is impacted by a complex eco-system of influences such as diet, friends, parenting as well as whether or not your boss emits too many stress hormones. One of the aspects of our brains that make us remarkable is the ability to make patterns, signals and connections stronger by committing to practices. So, overriding a negative pattern is completely possible through what Swart calls neuroplasticity, which is the gateway to new behaviours – and the good news: this potential occurs late into your retirement years.

Here are some common generic differences: Female leadership traits make women group problem solvers, participative, vocally encouraging, help others express emotion, and inductive in solving problems. Male leadership traits are: Personally problem solve, hierarchical, encourages less feeling and more action, downplays the role of emotions and deductive in problem solving.

The course was attended by students from around the world. The main takeaway from Swart was men and women both have the potential to lead at the highest level and can rewire their brain when taking conscious ownership. Somewhere between our conditioned programming and our need to participate in the leadership environment is the ability to choose.

Timothy Maurice Webster is an author in brain and brand science. 

Dr Tara Swart is a renowned neuroscientist, leadership coach, medical doctor and award-winning author. 

This article originally featured in Forbes Women Africa, April/May 2017, page 95.

 

Dr Tara Swart’s 5 Brain Health Habits For Better Leadership

By Savannah Freemantle

Dr Tara Swart is a neuroscientist and leadership coach with a unique brain health angle on what it takes to be a better leader and achieve success.

Her aim is to teach people why optimal brain functionality is important in a leader. Explaining that it strengthens your decision-making and improves your performance at work. She says that improving the quality of your lifestyle can help you to enhance your leadership abilities and excel in your field.

“Poor sleep, lack of exercise, stress and poor nutrition can all contribute to poor mental function. This reduces your ability to perform at work and present good leadership qualities.”

What Brain Health Habits Make For Better Leadership?

Dr Tara Swart breaks down the key aspects to a healthy lifestyle that supports good leadership:

1. Good Sleep

“98-99% of brains need to sleep for 7-9 hours per night, as this allows the lymphatic system to be cleansed of neurotoxins,” she explains. “Sleep is a forcible flushing of neurotoxins, this is important as overtime, a build up can cause neurological disorders. Poor sleep can also result in fatigue and make it more difficult to manage ones emotions.”

A good night’s rest resets the brain and allows you to approach your day with a sharp, clear mind.

2. The Correct Nutrition

If you are under stress, eat every two hours for optimal brain  health. Your brain can’t store glucose and so it is important to keep replenishing your stores,” Dr Swart explains. This will help you to maintain your focus and ensures a productivity boost. It also ensures that your brain is well fed for any of the decisions it may need to make.

She adds that if you have the space to develop your mental resilience, then it can be useful to practice intermittent fasting as it teaches your brain that you can manage small amounts of physical stress, because you are in control of your recovery.

She adds, “You should also avoid eating too close to bedtime as this disrupts sleep.”

Dr Swart suggests a diet high in salmon, avocado, eggs, nuts, and healthy oils. Preferably it should contain reduced amounts of smoked foods, red meats, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods. It’s also crucial to stay hydrated.

3. Regular Exercise

I recommend 10 000 steps a day and 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week,” she shares. “

“It’s important to engage in aerobic exercise as this assists in oxygenating the brain, which is vital for healthy functionality. It is also important to participate in activities that require different levels of co-ordination, such as Ping-Pong, and that include a social element,” she explains.

Exercise also boosts your energy levels and your mood. Allowing you to be more positive and develop the stamina it takes to get more done.

4. Stress Less

 Stress is a physical or psychological load that is too much for your body to bear,” Dr Swart explains. It results in high levels of cortisol and affects your quality of thinking and your ability to regulate emotions.”

She adds that high cortisol levels erode your immunity, which makes you more susceptible to illness and can result in time off work. They also have a negative impact on sleep, which results in neurotoxic build-up. This causes death in the nerve cells in the brain. Mindfulness practice is very helpful in reducing cortisol levels.

5. Improved Neuroplasticity

“Learning something new in adulthood, such as another language or a musical instrument, improves your neuroplasticity which has been shown to prevent the onset of neurological disease and keep your brain sharp. This improves your focus and decision making ability.”

Another good reason to never stop learning.

Dr Tara Swart is a renowned neuroscientist, leadership coach, medical doctor and award-winning author. 

This article was originally posted by Longevity.

 

How to beat jet-lag

By Dr Tara Swart

Tips for fast recovery when travelling accross time zones.

It is generally accepted that taking a holiday is good for the brain. It presents us with an opportunity to rest and recalibrate, improving our capacity for creative thinking and giving us a chance to go on a digital detox from our smartphones, laptops and tablets.

However the effect of long-haul flying on the brain can be extremely disruptive and can leave those who are particularly badly affected by jet-lag unable to work effectively for days after getting off the plane. In research carried out by the University of California, Berkeley, acute disruption of circadian rhythms (our biological clock) has been shown to cause memory and learning problems as well as long-term changes in brain anatomy, long after travellers have returned to their regular schedule.  New neurons in the hippocampus – the part of the brain which contributes to the processing of memory – have been shown to be fewer in subjects who experienced jet-lag.

So, the implications for the brain from long-distance travel are clear, and it is something we should all think about when travelling. After all, most of us are paid to use our brain so keeping this organ in peak condition is of universal benefit.

There are some simple things we can do to combat the effects of jet-lag both on and off the plane. Try adjusting your sleep routine to the local time zone as quickly as possible, by choosing optimal travel times that allow your eyes to observe the transition from light to dark after arrival at your destination. Our internal body clock is controlled by the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, which is released by the pineal gland into our bloodstream when it gets dark. Restricting exposure to blue light, which mimics natural daylight, at certain times helps the body to overcome the desynchronisation it experiences when moving between time zones.

Shifting your internal rhythms before you set off can also help to reset the circadian cycle earlier in time. Depending on whether you are flying east or west, exposure to additional light in the morning or afternoon a number of days before the journey will help the body to make the necessary adjustments. Use of prescribed sleeping tablets for a maximum of 2 days either side of a trip involving more than a 4-hour time difference may be acceptable to your GP, and melatonin or drowsy anti-histamines may also be of use to some people.

During the journey, fasting over the flight until breakfast time in the new time-zone will help to un-stick and then re-anchor the body’s rhythms, and drinking at least 500ml of water for every 15kg of body weight will help to limit the particularly dehydrating effects of high altitude.

Upon arrival, aerobic exercise is a great way to wake up the body and boost mental performance, and exposure to as much daylight as possible during the day should be encouraged.

It is also important to get back into a cycle of good quality sleep as soon as possible, so the cleaning of the glymphatic system that takes place whilst we are asleep can resume at full capacity. To do this, avoid alcohol before bed as it does not induce a natural sleep that allows your body to recover. If you are a coffee drinker, avoid it after 2pm to mitigate its impact on the quality of your sleep and try to limit your use of blue light-emitting devices, like smartphones, an hour or so before bed; they trick the pineal gland into thinking it is day time and so inhibit melatonin production.

Jet-lag has the ability to ruin a holiday or business trip, but a basic understanding of what happens to our brains when we travel can help us to overcome these irritating side effects and make the most of exploring new places around the world. Business travel can, in particular, make us feel lonely, so write a list of ten things you are grateful for before you go to sleep. It’s a good mindfulness practice to re-frame your mindset.

Dr Tara Swart is a renowned neuroscientist, leadership coach, medical doctor and award-winning author. 

This article featured in Skyways Magazine.

 

The Benefits of a Digital Detox

By Dr Tara Swart

Neuroscience and understanding the brain is far more important for business than we might first imagine. Neuroscience-based coaching can help create the ideal environment and mindset in which business leaders can thrive, enjoy their work, and build happier teams too.

In today’s extremely frenetic work environment, some reports say that we check our phone up to 85 times or more per day. This means our brains have to process a vast amount of information on an hourly basis. How can we ensure that we look after our brain health in this demanding context? Just like athletes train and care for their bodies, professionals should look after their brain’s health in order to enhance performance at work, and realise that our bodies are not simply a convenient vehicle for moving the brain from meeting to meeting.

Our brains are not programmed to always be ‘switched on’, so a digital detox can be a good way of giving your brain a rest and reducing your stress levels. The increased space and time which a digital detox provides can even boost your creativity, as well as allowing you to spend more time with family and friends.

Taking a break from devices can improve your performance in a number of ways:

  • Improved Sleep and Rest for the Brain
      • Using a phone or device in bed or just before sleep can negatively impact the quality of your sleep.
      • Melatonin – the hormone that helps regulate our sleep – is released by the pineal gland into the bloodstream. The blue light that phone and laptop screens emit confuses the gland because darkness is what triggers it to start working.
      • Population norm studies have shown that a disturbed night’s sleep can account for a drop of 5-8 IQ points the following days.
      • Long term lack of sleep can even increase chances of developing a dementing disease like Alzheimer’s, because our brain’s glymphatic system removes toxin build-up from the brain whilst we sleep.
  • Social Bonding/Spending Time with Family
      • Oxytocin, the “bonding hormone” – released into the blood via the pituitary gland during times of trust and bonding – is likely to be more in abundance in a situation where people can communicate and interact freely over a shared experience, as well as through appropriate physical contact.
      • Putting down our devices and spending time interacting with loved ones can help to increase levels of oxytocin, which can improve communication and trust.
  • Combatting Stress
    • We generally feel under constant pressure to respond to emails and messages immediately. Being aware of emails coming into your inbox can cause stress and an increase in levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Some studies have even suggested that knowledge of unread emails in your inbox can reduce your effective IQ.
    • Further, our brains are not good at multi-tasking, so having to constantly overlap work and leisure by, for example, responding to emails at the weekend, can tire us out mentally.
    • It is important that we use our weekends and holidays to give our brains time and space to recharge and relax. A digital detox over the weekend can be the first step towards achieving this.

Dr Tara Swart is a renowned neuroscientist, leadership coach, medical doctor and award-winning author. She will present on Neuroscience for Leadership in Johannesburg on 25th May 2017, hosted by Business Results Group & the Gordon Institute of Business Science. For more information: www.brg.co.za/events; 0861 247328; rsvp@brg.co.za