I can also be a Neuroleader

I can also be a Neuroleader

Nuria Montero Vázquez, People & Culture

Nuria Montero Vázquez

People & Culture

May 30, 2022

Surely you have heard on more than one occasion that Sngular is a flexible, changing company, defined by a spirit of continuous improvement. These characteristics imply being able to continuously adapt, to learn new knowledge and put it into practice, to be versatile and to be able to continuously evolve.

Technology and neuroscience are increasingly linked and in recent years special emphasis has been placed on understanding more deeply how our brain works, especially in a work environment. In addition to this, today's society demands more and more leaders with the ability to inspire, understand, motivate and connect with different teams, who help boost collective intelligence within companies and achieve more cohesive and innovative teams.

Well, these abilities are closely related to a term that we are going to address in this article, Neuroleadership. The concept "Neuroleadership" has been advancing and acquiring different nuances depending on the time and its application to different contexts; we are not going to go into a neuroscientific approach, but we are going to familiarize ourselves with this term and realize that we all have the capabilities to be a neuroleader.

What is neuroleadership?

We can define neuroleadership as a set of skills that allow us to better understand the neural processes involved in managing teams and projects. In other words, the term refers to the brain processes that seek to understand each brain, the way of acting, thinking and the mental processes of the employees, since these can be very different even when sharing the same context or situation.

Going a little deeper, neuroleadership is based on a series of principles:

  • Each brain is different, so each person must be understood as unique and not as part of a whole.
  • In this way, a person can behave differently in the same situation, depending on their emotional state, even when the external circumstances have not changed.
  • All the actions of a person are accompanied by an emotion, both for the one who generates the action and for the person who may receive it or be influenced by it.
  • Past experience conditions our present behavior.
  • For this reason, the reward system is important, and for the brain to consider a certain action as positive, “positive reinforcement” is very useful, that is, reinforcing a behavior to favor that it can be repeated in the future with greater probability.
  • The information received (or the lack of information) affects our expectations and actions, so the leader must manage the information provided to his team very well, being as clear and useful as possible.

But… can I become a neuroleader? Traditionally, it has been thought that a leader should have certain innate characteristics, however, today we know that people can learn continuously throughout our lives by creating new neural connections and modifying existing ones, whatever our age, is what is called “brain plasticity” or “neuroplasticity”.

How to start being a neuroleader

Some tips to start being a neuroleader:

  • Have a global vision

Stop to think and try to be able to understand and perceive the whole and the parts of a situation, system, etc., observing the interrelationships between them, as well as the impact they have when connected.

We all have this ability, although sometimes it may be underdeveloped due to the current pace of our lives and our society, where everything has to be done in a hurry, in the "here and now". It is important to find those moments for "no action" and activate our curiosity to see new and different possibilities.

  • Setting goals

Define “SMART goals”; specific, measurable, achievable, challenging, and time-bound. The neuroleader promotes motivation through objectives that let the rest of the team know where they are going, what is expected of these people, makes them understand the purpose of their actions and how they can contribute to achieving common goals.

In the workplace, companies like Google or YouTube use a methodology called OKR (Objectives & Key Results), which helps set realistic collaborative goals and promotes transparency. At Sngular we also apply this procedure, as it is useful to achieve the goal of building an organization that is increasingly involved with people and that works collaboratively and with visibility.

  • Attitude, confidence and tolerance

A neuroleader does not get carried away by what is “common or normative”; in this sense, he breaks molds and has an open mind to be receptive to any situation. We live in a complex world, full of uncertainty, and if we perceive changes as opportunities instead of threats, we can be better prepared to give a different and more optimal response to any situation that may arise.

  • Empathy and more empathy

The neuroleader person needs emotional control (what we know as emotional intelligence) more than intellectual capacity to be able to put into practice everything mentioned above. A neuroleader thinks beyond himself; he does not impose, but proposes and convinces; He is able to relate, taking his time to understand people and listen to them carefully, to understand their needs, avoiding prejudice and being fair in his decision-making.

And above all, the neuroleader must be aware that, sometimes, changes imply resistance, and that they can cause "physiological sensations of discomfort". Therefore, you should strive to understand the interests and perspectives of each of your team members, especially in these types of situations.

We know that organizations do not change themselves, the people who are part of them do; the brain follows by default patterns based on our experience, beliefs, etc. but we can learn to think and act differently, to generate habits, because our brain can be our best ally and all of us have that mental potential that can make us become a neuroleader.


The Art of Transformation, Dr. Wanda Bonet-Gascot 2019Transformar, Dra. Wanda Bonet-Gascot 2019

The 9 Habits of a Future Fit Mind (Leadership is Upside Down), 2021

NeuroLeadership: understanding the functioning of the brain to improve the performance of leaders.

Neuroleadership, the evolution of business management.

Nuria Montero Vázquez, People & Culture

Nuria Montero Vázquez

People & Culture