Our brains toggle between two settings, one focused on the past and future (Anxious Brain) and one focused on the current moment (Curious Brain) As leaders, the regulation of our mind becomes a great priority.
In anxious brain mode, relationships become about judgement of self and others. When leaders judge they are seeking to answer questions like – “How is this person better than me?” “Is this person a threat to me?” and “How can I protect myself against this person.” As it pertains to behavior, the leader may turn to thinking “How can I prove that I am right?”
A leader that is commonly in anxious or judgement mode may demonstrate the following behaviors –
- Low Self-Awareness
- Not Approachable
- Low Humility
- Little Transparency
When in curious brain mode, the leader has a different mindset with relationships. “How can I contribute to making sure this initiative happens?” and “What point of view is this person coming from?” This stance of curiosity allows the leader to stay in the conversation vs. seeking to defend themselves and withdraw. A question that is helpful for the leader is “How can I best understand what is going on here?”
A leader that is commonly in learner mode or curious mode may demonstrate the following behaviors –
- Commonly Asking For Feedback
- Aware of Strengths and Weaknesses
- Welcoming and Open
- Recognizing Others Accomplishments
The leader has a choice on which brain setting he desires. Your brain is a muscle and can be trained. It starts with awareness of which setting you have selected. Take a look at the “Settings” menu of your brain – what is the default setting? Once you become aware of your default setting move to intention.
My default setting is anxious brain taught to me at an early age and by many leaders. It must choose to move to relater or curious brain mode.