Essential Leadership Trait: Having a Meta-Brain

By Ed Krow, Transformational Leader, Speaker & Spokesperson

Much has been written over the years regarding what it takes to be a successful leader.  I, in fact, I am a disciple of John Maxwell and have read many of his books and bought into his philosophies.  I’ve also delved into and applied new forward-thinking adaptive theory, called Meta-Brain, that literally changes minds, almost overnight. 

Todays’ employees crave leaders they can trust and rely on as well as look up to.  The Meta-Brain Leader is one who is reliable, trustworthy, insightful, and most importantly, confident.  

But the question we need to ask ourselves is “Can leadership skills be taught?”  The obvious answer is “yes.”  Can leaders be made?  Again, the answer is “yes.”  The dilemma however is why do some people “get it” while others don’t?  Why does training “stick” for some and not others?

Science has discovered the answers to these questions…and in fact the answer is found in psychology.  Just like computers have operating systems, so do humans, and futurists have coined a new term the Human Operating System, to describe what links our body and mind to the rest of the world.  We have long known that emotions are often caused by our thoughts.  But where do the self-limiting thoughts come from?  It’s simple: our past experiences.

To become a Meta-Brain Leader, we must reduce the conflict between our conscious experience and our unconscious “operating system” by producing more positive responses to the world around us.  This means, as Alexandrea Day writes in her book, “Meta-Brain”, that everyone has the opportunity to re-invent themselves to become what they want, instead of only being what they are programmed to be.

The Meta-Brain Leader is one who is attuned to the world around them and forms their response using sound judgement instead of allowing the stress response to take over. 

But how does it work?

Consider this example: Sue is a shift manager in a manufacturing plant.  Although she has 30-years’ experience with the company and has risen through the ranks, she still feels inferior to others.  She’s the only person around the table without a college degree.  Her performance is good, and generally people like her as a person, though as a leader she is often perceived as being in a bad mood and inapproachable.  Her response to stressful situations is to get short with people and to feel a deep need to have all the answers to a problem.

Through a deep-dive session with a leadership coach she uncovers that her stress response is feeling uneducated and inferior, and therefore she must continually show her worth by working herself ragged.  This raggedness causes her to be short with others and promotes the perception that she is inapproachable.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

Or take Pete, a ghost writer for business owners looking to get published.  He has co-written dozens of books, several that have become Amazon top sellers, and yet he feels he cannot always be truthful with clients about the direction they wish to go with their projects.  He has a deep-seated belief that if he is honest, they will leave the relationship.  And yet, his clients need and want to rely on his expertise and judgement.  To be his best he needs to determine why he feels the way he does.  His deep dive session led him to learn that during times of stress he begins to doubt his ability to tell his clients truth in a compassionate way, which leads him to not speak up, which leads to work that doesn’t measure up to his high standards.

In both cases, Sue, and Pete, needed to break the old behavior and learn a more productive way of being in the moment without experiencing stress, to more effectively respond in their environments, Sue opening up and inviting people in and Pete, having a real conversation without fear. .   Overwriting and constructing new beliefs is what a Meta-Brain Leader does to advance their skill set to become the leader their people need.

All of us experience stress, and we experience it in different ways.  Ever wonder why some athletes rise to the occasion in big moments, while others “choke?”  It’s the brain-body connection in some that goes haywire when the stress is high. 

Leaders are no different.  Why do some leaders always stay cool and collected while others struggle with the slightest sign of conflict?  Simple, the brain-body connection goes haywire in some and causes them to act in ways they often regret after the event passes.

Todays’ employees crave leaders they can trust and rely on as well as look up to.  The Meta-Brain Leader is one who is reliable, trustworthy, insightful, and most importantly, confident.  A person can attend all the workshops, read all the books, listen to all the podcasts on leadership and yet still not exhibit the traits today’s workers need.  Why? Because they have not learned to deal with their Operating System and the programming they’ve accrued over a lifetime of experiences.

Only leaders who overcome those things are Meta-Brains.  And only Meta-Brain Leaders are poised to take the world by storm in the coming years.


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