What does ‘the Brain’ mean to me?
Every individual comes across as unique from the others in more ways than one. present day. What makes all of us so distinct from each other has a lot to do with all that we have learnt in our lives up to the All this learning and the experiences of the past are reflected in our behaviour and are displayed in our personality. This is the personality or image that people associate with every individual. What and how every individual learns throughout his life is what I understand as the Brain in the concept of leadership. The reason why I have such an abstract concept is that this has a lot to do with understanding the character of every individual (including myself) and how human beings behave. Digressing for a while, I would like to mention about a short seminar that I had attended on the subject called ontology. Ontology, as I was made to understand, relates to the study of being of human beings. In simple words I can explain ontology as the study and understanding of why we as humans act and behave in the way that we do. And if I were to put this concept alongside the Brain, I can see a very strong correlation between the two. Going back to the concept of the Brain, I would like to add that this addresses the issue of how a leader can be more effective and successful in dealing with other people and more importantly dealing with himself. What the Brain refers to is the whole process of learning the manner in which humans think and act, and how leaders react and manage their teams to be able to identify the exact point of concern of every member in the team. This enables the leader to not only approach the problem with the most optimum solution in an efficient style but also increases his acceptance and trust in the group. An additional connotation that can be attached to the Brainis ‘change’. I believe that many times a leader is required to bring
about a change in the organisation and in the people around him. This createsan image of being a more efficient leader. However, it To be should not be taken for granted that every effective leader will be able to bring about an effective change in his environment. able to do this, the leader has to understand very clearly how the human mind functions and how people think given certain situations. In learning to do so, the leader has an advantage over the group in being able to know exactly how each group member needs to be approached. Along with the change mentioned above, a leader is also expected to help the group or team become more successful in every mission with the aim of achieving the overall vision of the organisation. Moving on to a more personal area, the leader will also understand his leadership style and character. The Brain practically means the mind of every individual and if an individual is able to understand how his mind works then he is in a much better position of controlling the outcome of every thought process he undergoes. Every individual will be much moreclear as to the kind of personality he possesses and this will help him work towards his actual goals as far as personal development is concerned. Without understanding one’s own self an individual is at great risk of drifting away from his personal goals and thereby portrays an ineffective image of his self. He is very likely to carry a false identity of himself, which results in an incorrect way of handling people and problems. And no matter how successful that person might have been, it does not necessarily make him a good and effective leader. Most of us have had a major portion of our learningfrom observation. This learning becomes so engrained over time that it forms part of our actions even without giving much thought to it. This is what we can also refer to as the reptile brain in action. A similar conceptwas also brought out by Kjeld Fredens during the class lecture. He mentioned the concept of ‘I’ and ‘Me’ and how we
perceive ourselves vis-à-vis how people perceive us as individuals. Every individual becomes so accustomed to the perception of himself that he does not realise that others look at him differently. How the Brain comes into the picture here is that every individual needs to recognise both these sides i.e. the ‘I’ and the ‘Me’, and this will help the individual expresshis true character and thereby be more successful in dealing with problem situations. Moreover, the concept of the Whole Brain (4 quadrants) can act as a great tool in understanding the personality and the character of individuals. It is a very simple and practical way of charting out an individual’s character. It may also prove to be helpful in understanding team members so as to be more direct in dealing with them based on their characteristics as per the quadrant to which they belong. The Brain tells us to adopt this thinking into the style in which we deal with problems and people so that we can be more valuable leaders. Finally, I would like to sum up the meaning of the Brain as the development of an individual, such that he is able to recognise himself and his style of leadership and is able to bring about a change in himself and in his environment through this understanding. The subject of the Brain does not relate to how the human brain functions, but it relates to how one can come to value the human mind and be able to control it. How can I use ‘the Brain’ in my life? The concept of the Whole Brain has really been an eye-opener and in some way I have already started to apply the Brainin my personal life. I am an optimistic person and flexible enough to permit changes in my personality and behaviour. In the class exercise I had come up with Blue as my primary colour and Greenas my secondary colour. The idea that I had was that as far as the Right Brain (Red and Yellow colours) was concerned not much development would be
seen here. However, when I did the home assignment I was pretty surprised to see the results. Although the results were not alarmingly different from my earlier assumptions, they were significantly different in the sense that I had a much stronger Redquadrant than what I had expected of myself. primary The final results of the home assignment showed that my colour was Green.Where the secondary colour was
concerned, I had an equal score on the blue and red quadrants. More importantly, as compared to the score on my primary colour (Green) the difference was only two. My estimate about the Yellow quadrant turned out to be correct but again here, the surprising part came out in the home assignment, where I scored nothing but a big zero. Reflecting back upon the outcome of the Whole Brain
experience I have now acquired a much better understanding of myself. I have been able to associate certain aspects of my character to the way in which I behave or react in certain situations. Had it not been for the understanding of the Brain, I would have either not understood why I behave or respond to situations in the way that I do or I would not have even bothered to think about that particular situation. And now it feels like some sort of a great discovery to observe and understand my mind and how I behave, and I have to accept that it is extremely involving. I feel that combined with the learning of Reflective Leadership and Cognitive Coaching, the Braincan be used as a very potent tool to observe and look at myself from a completely different angle. With this I can also recognize myself from how others perceive me. I can realise the kind of picture that I portray to others and the type of image that might be formed in the minds of those around me. This literally provides me with the skills and the ability to understand what people think about me and how I can change and modify my outlook to match their perceptions. Considering this, it is almost
unimaginable how effective I can be in dealing with people even if they are complete strangers. I will be working at practicing this aspect of understanding my mind in order to bring out the best in me. I now know what my qualities are and what characterises me as per the four quadrants and I have the ability to look at myself from a different perspective. I have realised that I cannot be present in all four quadrants and that I will always have one primary quadrant that I can relate to. However, I believe that I have the opportunity to improve in other areas where I am lacking, especially in the Yellowquadrant. Instead of feeling dejected with a zero score there I can look at developing in that area and in the process move closer to the centre of the whole circle (the brain). This will not make me proficient in all the quadrants (and I think that would be rarely found), but I will surely be a more balanced person after having moved from the outer fringes of the brain in Green quadrant towards more to the centre. I have a long way to go and there is a wide scope of expanding in this direction before I can fully integrate this theory as my second nature. I am very strongly looking at utilising this concept in being able to present myself in the exact way that I am. It would be kind of turning inside-out. People should see what I really am and that I have only one side. Putting it down in a more academic way, I would do away with the ‘I’ and keep only the ‘Me’, especially as far as my image is concerned. I would use this to build up more trust in the people who I deal with and in turn strengthen their confidence in me. I will use it to handle situations at a personal as well as a professional level so that my team members or subordinates areabsolutely comfortable talking to me about almost anything that they would like to. I would become a more approachable and a more sociable person than what I am today if I am able to imbibe the Brain as a part
of me. Some may argue that this does not necessarily lead to better leadership, but I would like to bring out the fact in support of my considerations above that wherever we go, we will always be dealing with other human beings. Be it any role that one is in; leader, manager, CEO, etc; one will always remain in association with other human beings and there can be no better way of dealing with humans than having a strong understanding of how the human mind works. Possessing and developing the ability to understand the human mind can lead to a wonderfully successful and satisfied life in any role that an individual might assume throughout his life. I cannot say when exactly I will reach this stage that I have conceptualized. Maybe I will be 50 or 60 years old by then or on the other hand maybe I will get to it in a very short time. But what I can be sure of is that this journey has started and like the old saying goes “Well begun is half done”; with the encouraging start that I feel I have achieved, I am almost half way there. Ultimately, I will realise the final results only when I get there, but this whole process of discovery itself is so exciting and revealing that it becomes difficult for anyone to stop embarking on it.