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Three things you should know about Neuroscience & Ethical Leadership How brain science can help ethical leaders make more impact


Three things you should know about Neuroscience & Ethical Leadership | 2

Executive Summary  While Neuroscience is relatively new, it’s starting to make inroads into our understanding of the many aspects of human behaviour  Translating neuroscience findings into leadership guidance has become something of a band wagon  Many companies are trying to apply its lessons to make better decisions or to manage better  The implications of using neuroscience to help ethical leaders are not always as clear-cut as executives might like  Using neuroscience to support ethical leaders means taking into account three aspects of brain activity: speed, complexity and the importance of relationships (SCR):

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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This paper explores aspects of SCR and suggests practical action for ethical leaders to consider.

CONTENTS Executive Summary

2

The Basics

4

Emotions versus Logic

7

What Brain Science Can Tell Us

8

The Three Essentials

10

1)

SPEED

11

2)

COMPLEXITY

17

3)

RELATIONSHIPS

21

Where Do We Go From Here?

27

Sources

29

Š Andrew Leigh 2014


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The Basics

P

eering through one of the early telescopes in 1610, Galileo saw a glowing band across the night sky. What we now call the Milky Way has at least 100 billion stars.

Sounds a lot? Well that’s nearly as many neurons as there are in your brain. Neurons are the nerve cells that handle communication by making countless connections between them.

Š Andrew Leigh 2014


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Recently a Brazilian scientist realised no one knew where this headache making number of 100 billion neurons came from. After some rather unpleasant experiments involving real brains, she arrived at 86 billion neurons, which is easy to understand…it’s an awful lot! No wonder the Milky Way, like the brain, remains fairly unknown. But with the help of neuroscience we’re at least beginning to make sense of some of the mysteries of what happens inside our heads. Incidentally, there’s a great TED talk in which the speaker brings onto the stage a real human brain with a spinal cord still attached—see sources below. You may lose your lunch watching it but you’ll certainly begin to realise what brain science is all about. When it comes to brain research the experts use sophisticated scanning machines with strange lettering like FMRI that translates as Functional Magnetic Resonsance Imaging. These are starting to give a better picture of what’s goes on in our brain and we’re slowly unravelling the biological foundations of human behaviour and thinking. But can brain research actually say anything useful about leaderships and business ethics? From the brain research so far, we know it has many implications—see box below.

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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THE BRAIN BUSINESS—WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? Neuroscience is the study of how the nervous system—and brain—works

Neuroeconomics: an emerging discipline combining neuroscience, economics, and psychology Neuroaccounting: a new way to scientifically view accounting and the brain’s central role in building economic institutions Neuromarketing: the application of neuroscientific methods to analyse and understand human behaviour in relation to markets and marketing exchanges Neuroethics: the investigation of altruism in neuroeconomic research, which suggests that cooperation is linked to activation of reward areas Neurogovernance: seeks to explain the behaviours of directors, auditors, or even those who breach corporate governance. Neuroleadership: the study of leadership through the lens of neuroscience which explores central elements of leadership, including self-awareness, awareness of others, insight, decision making, and influencing. Source: Z Ahmad, Brain in Business: The Economics of Neuroscience, Malays J Med Sci. 2010 Apr-Jun; 17(2): 1–3.

Neuroscience has become so popular many people and organisations are jumping on the bandwagon. Shove neuro in front of just about anything and it sounds more academic and intelligent than it really is. Drawing useful leadership action from all this arcane activity is a struggle. Most of what brain science says so far, is complex, hedged with caveats, mired in jargon and often highly abstract. And just because machines can map or “see” areas of the brain lighting up with activity doesn’t mean we really understand what a leader should do about it.

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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Emotions versus Logic

F

or a long time it was thought the brain was mainly emotional. This implies our brain uses universal rules of morality—right and wrong, good and evil, fair and unfair and so on.

The emotional view has given way to a new rational brain with a split between reason and emotion. Now we have areas with one seemingly in charge of cognitive control and another in charge of working memory. Other areas are indeed tied to emotion. Yet even though the actual brain has two halves, the split does help scientists to sort out which bit does what. This is because each half can do the same work as the other can. These uncertainties have stopped us from fully unravelling the secrets of creativity, let alone ethics. For all the clever machines, for example, we still don’t know where ethical insights come from, how we judge right from wrong, and what happens when we make new, surprising connections, such as between a faulty component and customer deaths? Some brain experts claim to know which parts of the brain are responsible for certain activity. They can even show the act of creation by using high tech equipment to watch blood flows in the brain, which makes parts of the brain light up like a Christmas candle. What’s certainly clear from this research is we have no central place in our brain taking care of ethics. There is no single section spending all its time making difficult moral choices. Despite this, there are important implications to be drawn from brain science for ethical leaders. © Andrew Leigh 2014


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What’s clear from neuroscience is we have a “social brain” and a “logical brain” and the more we focus on “being logical” the more the social thinking system turns off. This has important implications for ethical leaders when considering ethical issues and how to communicate ethical concerns.

What Brain Science Can Tell Us

W

ork for the US giant GE and the firm’s competitors will probably see you as a good catch. Yet when stars of GE move on to their next company, their previous shine often dims.

Rather than recruiting other firms’ talent, some companies are using neuroscience to help them make smarter choices about who to hire, or to discover how their current employees could do better. Brain science also has the potential to help ethical leaders in their search for employees that share similar values and feel concerned about issues such as integrity or honesty. Whether this is right or not remains open to question. Founded by neuroscientists, Pymetrics of New York , claims to have developed such tests using on-line games, which examine nearly 50 different behaviours including as memory, attention span, pattern recognition, attention to detail, and the ability to plan, as well as emotional characteristics, such as sensitivity and risk tolerance. Neuroscience is in danger of becoming something of a leadership religion. From handling diversity, to dealing with bias and prejudice, brain researchers keep revealing what’s happening inside our heads. What they report often sounds counter intuitive—see box below.

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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Psychology has been making these points for decades but brain scientists can show it actually happening, with implications for possible leadership actions. Facebook for example, recently admitted to working on ways to affect user’s feelings by using the manipulation of data to create “emotional contagion.” Critics have called this spooky, scandalous and dangerous. What we know for sure is that neuroscience is not going to go away. Like most human inventions it has the potential to be used for good or evil. The suggestions here are interpretations of known neuroscience findings. Some neuroscientists and indeed leaders would doubtless claim they are over simplistic. For those willing to take the rough with the smooth, here are some possible implications for leadership action. This sign highlights specific actions.

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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The Three Essentials

E

thical leaders don’t need to become brain experts to draw benefits from neuroscience. The three essentials for making sense of its potential contribution are speed, complexity and relationships (SCR).

Leaders, especially ethical leaders wanting to build a responsible organisation will find some of the latest neuroscience conclusions useful under these each of the brain activities of Speed, Complexity and Relationships.

Š Andrew Leigh 2014


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1)

SPEED

T

ake a quick look at the picture here. What do you see? Some say an old lady in a fur coat and long dress walking in a town square. Others report a huge face

staring out at them. [Try viewing the picture through almost closed eyelids and the big face should jump out at you!] This shows how the brain conserves energy so we get instant answers based on in patterns and past experience. In essence, the brain races to conclusions and sometimes its speed is mind-blowing. A tennis ball from the fastest first serve is quicker than a rubber bullet, briefly accelerating fifty times that of the Sun's gravity.

Serves are getting faster, with a scientific paper in 2009 concluding: “Serve speeds are now higher than they have ever been and the number of aces continues to rise.” So how do tennis players ever cope? Certainly not by carefully thinking about their response to the ball hurtling towards them. They have to act instinctively, relying on the brain’s sheer speed to trigger an instant reaction. This tendency of the brain to prefer short-cuts means that we will only start looking at the world afresh if we bombard it with new experiences, perspectives or hard to ignore information. Newness counts, not originality. We are hard-wired to recognise novelty as a survival tool. Our brains are trained to look for new and interesting things and when we do this the “reward” areas of the brain become activated. It releases the same chemicals that give a mental high to gamblers and drug users. © Andrew Leigh 2014


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Ethical leaders who want to have more of an impact need to keep using fresh and unusual ways to remind stakeholders of how important values and ethics are to success. Quite simply, keep changing how you speak about ethics and values and regularly share engaging new stories and experiences about how they affect customers, employers, and suppliers. Here are three more areas of Speed that suggest practical action

The brain quickly classifies people into whether they’re part of an in-group or an outgroup

I

f you see a shabbily dressed person in the street apparently talking loudly to no one nearby, how do you first react?

Today, you’d probably assume they’re using a mobile phone, with an ear piece and mic. Just a few years back you might have instead decided they were mentally unstable.

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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Brain science is producing new insights into how bias affects our responses, and what this means for our own and other people’s behaviour. The Amygdala---the chunk of the brain that makes immediate decisions---is a total speed addict that makes even Formula 1 racing look positively snail-like. It takes all of 300 milliseconds for you to become aware of a disturbing event but the amygdalae react to it within 20 milliseconds. If you’re going at 100 mph, you would travel about two inches in one millisecond. Speed and the brain’s tendency to instantly classify help explain why a whistle blower who challenges a company over its ethics or business practices may be instantly consigned to an out-group by its leaders. Once in that role they are treated as threatening, rather than as part of an in-group, trying to be supportive or loyal.

Our brains prefer to take well-used pathways instead of making a more considered response. A tired or hurried leader who reacts quickly to ethical issues may therefore undermine the part of their brain that is responsible for controlling bias. When dealing with ethics, brain science suggests the importance of avoiding speedy judgements. Ethical issues are often complex and require careful analysis and consideration.

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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Poor moral judgments usually stem from fast, automatic evaluations–intuitions

T

o “save” his company from collapse, the CEO of a leading aero engine maker justified lying to auditors about his company’s safety record. His instinct was to avoid putting

his company at risk, even though there were safety considerations. Having built a successful enterprise his response was defensive and he failed to reveal the safety problems for an auditor’s report. He did not think through the longer term safety and ethical implications of staying silent. When making ethical decisions it’s often too late to rely on codes and regulations for people to make the right choices. No matter what the rules say, people will rationalise, that is, they’ll find “logical” reasons for doing something, even if it seems morally or ethically to the rest of us. There are many examples of this happening, most recently the high profile GM starter motor scandal where people justify dubious means by using desirable ends, despite the existence of clear guidelines. How do such decisions get made? Based on different stimuli, neuroscientists can see which parts of the brain become oxygenated—or “lit up.” But there’s no one place where ethical decision-making occurs. We’d like to think our brain behaves like a judge making an impartial decision. Instead neuroscience concludes it behaves more like a dodgy lawyer justifying a decision already made. Decidedly dodgy lawyer

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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Assume no amount of compliance training will substitute for encouraging and helping employees to use their personal judgement. Give people practice at dealing with difficult ethical choices. Help them get in touch with how they feel about them so that they take time to realise and then work through the implications. The need to listen to their inner voice. So find imaginative ways to help employees learn to do this and discover what their inner voice tells them.

PPrevious experiences bias outcomes

“R

acially prejudiced? Me? Absolutely not!” Thanks to imaging machines and the personal computer, researchers can now peer inside

previously elusive parts of the mind and brain, dealing with prejudice. Neuroimaging studies for example, show how we react to faces. It has been found that there is more brain response when European-American subjects look at the face of other European-Americans than there is when they see African-American faces. This reveals we have a reaction to another race whether we realise it or not, and whether we want it or not. Until recently it’s been difficult to study implicit or unconscious bias, just because it is unconscious! We’re riddled with bias and may not even be aware of it, which has major ethical implications. The brain is always assessing whether we have met a situation before—and recalling how it worked out. This influences reactions that we cannot even control. © Andrew Leigh 2014


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Many employers now offer unconscious bias training –a ten-fold increase in five years but most are a long way from actually reducing the impact of bias. Bias in important for many reasons, perhaps the most important is it deters diversity which is a basic underpinning of creativity and innovation. Implicit bias—stuff that lies hidden in our subconscious–does not typically surface as open prejudice. It is instead revealed through non-nonverbal behaviours, such as having more uncomfortable interactions, less eye contact, and more blinking. Others can read these nonverbal reactions. Quite simply they “know” when the other person has bias. This should be of great interest to ethical leaders bent on creating growth, who seek to build a culture that treats people fairly, values diversity and recruits talent. Brain speed helps one decide quickly whether to get close to a person, a deal, a situation or whether to back away. The trouble is previous emotional experiences can distort the outcome without us even realising what’s happening. You cannot just think your bias or prejudices away. Knowing we perceive a situation in a particular way even if we think we’re objective; this suggest giving more thought to reasoning strategies that leaders use. Take the inbuilt bias of our brains into account in the many ethical choices you help resolve by for example asking: “Have we truly thought about this situation and its implications?” “What might we be missing in the decision process?” “How could we take an entirely fresh approach to this dilemma?” “If everyone’s agrees about something, can we create disagreement to nurture a more diverse response?”

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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2)

COMPLEXITY

A

washroom attendant employed at a Boeing factory was once asked: “what

what

exactly do you do?” His answer “I’m

helping to build an airliner” sums up an important way our brain works—we first need

to see

to grasp the big picture. We tend to look for “meaning” first and detail second. Brain science shows that humans are more willing to respond in behaviour terms when they understand the route map, before the see the individual roads or points of interest along the way. When trying to make sense of information our brains scan for a few important elements to grasp— patterns, familiarity, and previous experience—anything that gives an overview. Once we have this firm impression we tend to use it as a backdrop for our interest in the fine details.

Put your ethical message into a broad context. For example, rather than explain or stress the importance of codes, rules and regulations, take people on a journey. Show people the totality of what it means to run a responsible business and why this is important. By answering the big questions people are asking, often silently in their heads, you can provide them with the vision they need to grasp the whole: Questions such as “Why does it matter our company is a responsible one?”, “What does being an ethical company mean to you the leader“, and “How will we create a sustainable business?” Here are three more areas of Complexity that imply action

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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Powerful thinkers use complex gestures

Y

ou know your subject and you’re sure that you have a sensible ethical message. Yet before you even open your mouth the rest of your body does the work for you. Research confirms that effective communicators use complex gestures and body language. These

give listeners confidence, win attention, underline messages and build authenticity. Highly trained by evolution, our brains absorb them without us consciously having to think about them. Gestures are a window to your thoughts

The message from neuroscience is a dry, neutral message about “why ethics are important to our company” won’t work. Embody the message with every fibre of your being. Find a visually powerful way to express your message, don’t just rely on words Become the message, explain why it’s important using your whole body. Infuse your ethical message with with energy and enthusiasm. Your non-verbal language is more likely to work if the message is authentic, coming from within.

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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Intuition develops through experience---right action can be made a habit

B

rain studies show our intuition can be shaped rather like a chess player improves their ability to excel at the game. Success in chess does not come just from playing a lot, but also thinking

through each move and seeing what works, until the player feels” the right course of action. Neuroscience reveals we can rewire our brains for new lasting habits and ways of being. The fancy name is neuroplasticity, meaning people can restructure their grey matter. However, you don’t do it just by stating an intention and hoping for change. That’s why New Year’s resolutions, for example, seldom work. Neuroplasticity is encouraging because leaders now know that if they can initially change someone’s behaviour this can be turned into a habit. Put simply, doing the right thing at work can happen regularly through practice and repetition.

Encourage your people to keep practising ethical decision making so they learn to follow their instincts of doing what’s right. Talking about ethics is not enough. Create actions tied closely to people’s feelings and experience. Constantly ask “Did that ethical decision work?” to stimulate regular feedback and get people used to making better kinds of decisions. To encourage more ethical engagement, help people learn to trust their intuition over what is right and what is wrong. Help them get in touch with their moral compass.

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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What drives social behaviour is the desire to minimize threats and maximize rewards

“I

have a cunning plan” promised Baldrick, the miserable, low-life sidekick in the TV comedy series Blackadder.

What he proposed was always funny because you knew it was neither cunning nor a real plan. In contrast, social neuroscience suggests there is a grand plan at work in the brain, and unlike Baldrick’s, this one works. First, as far as possible, the brain works hard to avoid threats, and tries to go for the most rewards. Secondly, the brain treats this desire much like the need for food and water—it has a high priority. The urge to minimise threats and maximise rewards is therefore extremely powerful and helps to explain much of basic human behaviour. As two brain scientists explain, this means a new role for managers “Not as people who memorize motivational theories and blindly apply them to an anonymous workforce, but as enlightened leaders who understand that people are unique…knowledge of the brain offers advice on motivating and de-motivating them. Most leaders know about the power of giving positive feedback. Neuroscience shows that the brain responds strongly to it, but much less if it’s negative feedback. There is even a place in the brain---the basal ganglia---where this “reward” activity keeps happening. It continues throughout our lives regardless of age. Quite simply we never tire of receiving encouragement! Encouragement is mainly better at producing social behaviour than punishment say neuroscientists.

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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Various studies for example, show the promise of reward—whether a good grade or a promotion— promotes more learning than the threat of punishment. Anticipating rewards uses different brain circuits to those used for punishment.

Find ways to create an environment which aims to maximise rewards and minimises threats. Keep encouraging people to think and talk about their ethical behaviour and be sure to offer support for doing so. The old idea that it’s wrong to make a fuss about people doing what’s right since they should be doing this anyway. This runs counter to what the brain scientists have found works in promoting desirable behaviour.

3) RELATIONSHIPS

N

euroscientists may be able to “see” the brain working, yet often remain unsure about what’s really going on. Whether it’s how we handle visual information or how we make

choices, there’s far more things going on than we are able to understand. But we know for sure the brain keeps trying to make connections. We can sum this up as a hunger for Relatedness with other people, or the more familiar “relationships.” Using fMRI technology researchers found when managers talked about leaders who showed emotional and social intelligence this activated 14 different parts of the brain. But they recalled less emotional and socially intelligent leaders this only activated six regions of the brain. Translated into ordinary language they felt better relating to these social and emotionally aware bosses. © Andrew Leigh 2014


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Positive relationships between managers and employees trigger an area of the brain that causes openness to new ideas and being more responsive to others. For ethical leaders it’s frankly a no brainer—get good at relationships! Relatedness surfaces in various ways, but neuroscience has found five social rewards and threats deeply important to the brain: 

Status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness and fairness.

The brain tries to avoid pain in each of these areas. Social pain for example, such as being ignored, ostracized or humiliated triggers the same area of the brain as actual physical pain, so we naturally try hard to stop it happening. This gives ethical leaders useful clues for how to win the attention and involvement of those they want to influence over ethical behavior.

Aim for clarity around issues such as status, certainty autonomy, relatedness and fairness. Failure to deliver on these means many people will simply switch off from the ethical agenda. Their thinking can become literally frozen if they have to deal with pain in the five areas. Improve your knowledge of interpersonal relationships. Seek greater selfawareness and sensitivity through personal learning and training techniques. This can be further developed through planned experiences and other techniques. Three more areas of Relationships suggest practical actions

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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The brain loves humour

W

hat do you think employees would find more memorable a glassyeyed CEO talking about running a responsible business with a straight face and dull voice, or the the same person having fun with a glove puppet to help ram home his or her message about doing the right

thing?

No contest. Brain science shows laughter releases actual chemicals in the brain, endorphins, which act like a drug giving a high. They can seduce people into different ways of looking at something and bring down defences. The exact opposite happens with anger, fear or panic, which all release adrenaline, causing our defences to go shooting up. We instantly tune out anything getting in the way of our fight or flight response. Humour is all about relationship--making people smile or laugh. By triggering positive emotions you can affect many areas where our defences are at their strongest, such as race, religion, politics, ethics, and sexuality. Endorphins rather than adrenaline help to reveal fresh and surprising points of view. One of the most successful commercial products right now in the field of governance is a series of extremely funny and memorable videos bringing to life ethical issues. For example, one shows someone talking on a mobile phone and literally “giving away� commercial intelligence while a nearby listener laps it all up.

Š Andrew Leigh 2014


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So inject humour into your ethics messages--just because this is an important topic does not mean you must be serious the whole time. Using humour is not about telling jokes or trying to be funny. There’s no need to turn into a comedian. For example, you can tell personal anecdotes, share your observations and stories that strike you as amusing and underline the ethical message. Use amusing analogies, metaphors and quotes to get across the importance of responsible behaviour at work. In summary, make people smile or laugh and they’re far more likely to relate to you better and therefore to absorb and remember your ethical message.

An excited brain directly affects other brains—almost like mind reading

R

afael Nadal strode onto Wimbledon Centre Court in 2014 as if he owned it. He was there to play a 19-year old Australian who had never before competed on

Centre Court. The something extraordinary happened. Not only did the champion notice this but also the experienced TV commentators and the audience. Young Nick Kyrgios exuded the air of someone who was not merely confident. He also beamed out a mind message: “I know I’m going to win.” And he did, in four sets. Against all the odds he knocked out the world’s No 1. © Andrew Leigh 2014


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Nadal’s spooky ability to instinctively understand what someone else is experiencing is something we all possess, and it has long baffled neuroscientists. But recent research suggests a fascinating biological explanation: special brain cells called mirror neurons. You see a stranger stub her toe and immediately you flinch in sympathy. Or you notice a friend’s face wrinkles in disgust while tasting some food, and suddenly your own stomach recoils at the thought of eating. We understand other people by feeling rather than thinking. Thanks to mirror neurons, others mentally respond in a similar way automatically. It happens immediately and effortlessly. As with Nick Kyrgios nothing may be said aloud, yet the other person instantly absorbs these emotions as if t hey were being being broadcast f rom a radio beacon. For ethical leaders mirroring has some crucial lessons. First, it you talk to someone about ethics and get them excited about being responsible for telling others about the issue, that involves the social brain. When you do that the information spreads really quickly. This is the neuroscience of how ideas go viral. Second mirror neurons suggest that talking about running a responsible business is not enough. Be willing to share how you feel about ethics and how this affects you, not just the organisation. Third, the more you convey genuine emotion and why ethics matter to you, the more convincing you will be and the more likely you ill automatically trigger similar responses in others.

Š Andrew Leigh 2014


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Neu

Neuroscience shows how trust affects relationship building

T

oyota’s shop floor or meeting practices to improve productivity make complete sense in neuroscience terms. They resonate strongly with the inner needs of the brain and require emotionally intelligent and socially aware leaders to run these sessions.

The process works by opening up pathways in employees’ brains, encouraging engagement and positive working relationships. Trust proves critical to relationships and ethical leaders need to take notice of what neuroscience has to say about it. When people feel an increase in trust their brains produce a rewarding chemical called oxytocin. This results in more trustworthy behaviour. One brain expert even talks of this as being the “trust molecule”. Trust matters particularly to the Millennials who have fairly recently entered the workforce. This generation places a high value on collaboration and social connectedness in the workplace. These workers need to feel connected to their leaders and want to know that they have a relationship built on trust. By growing trust leaders can alter mood and their willingness to contributing to the ethical climate of the organisation.

Give a high priority to building people’s trust if you want them to feel ethically engaged. Demonstrate you trust them, don’t just talk about it. It may seem counter intuitive but the more you trust people the better their behavioural response. By building your social awareness skills you affect people’s reactions to the ethical agenda. © Andrew Leigh 2014


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Be aware that without high levels of trust employee reactions will be in “pain” making them less able to her or react positively to your ethical message. Connection triggers moral behaviour, part of which is to be trusted. Hone your ability to use empathy to build connections as a sure way to supports the ethical agenda.

Where Do We Go From Here?

A

s neuroscience continues to invade all sectors of society, ethical leaders must watch for its moral and ethical implications for influencing daily business decisions. Being able to tell an employee is lying for example, by scanning their brain activity with a special

headset may be possible, but is it ethically acceptable? Or discovering which employees might have psychopathic tendencies might seem entirely sensible. Yet demanding all new employees undergo brain scanning would still be a highly questionable ethical choice. As mentioned earlier, the Facebook Company for instance, ran into serious criticism as unprincipled and irresponsible in 2014 for using a combination of neuroscience and data manipulation to see how far it could influence the emotions of its users. An important ethical leadership task is therefore to review the ever-growing technical possibilities and keep asking: “This may be legal, but is it right?” Brain science suggests leaders need to fully develop their moral compass. It has sparked the imagination of many in business. Some critics even talk of neuromania, claiming we’re trying to extract too much juice from a still embryonic science. What we know for sure is that when people connect with a wide purpose their performance improves. So leaders who put ethics in the broad context of making a difference, of affecting society, or even “doing what’s right” are not wasting the breath. © Andrew Leigh 2014


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This brain science stuff keeps happening and is gradually giving a better understanding of human nature than psychology alone can provide. So far though, we have to be cautious about interpreting the scientific findings and relating them to ethical leadership. This paper treads that dangerous path, and merely points the way to using the new information but is not offering cut and dried solutions. Neuroscience has therefore far provided limited help with ethical issues and particularly ethical leadership. Hopefully though, there’s far more yet to come.

Š Andrew Leigh 2014


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Sources This paper is based on extensive literature reviews and feedback from a small number of neuroscience colleagues from LinkedIn, who kindly commented on early drafts, for which much thanks. Some specific references used include: J. Randerson, How many neurons make a human brain? Billions fewer than we thought, Guardian 28 February 2012 http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight?language=en#t-3189 For an interesting list of unresolved issues around ethics and neuroscience see: “The Neuroscience of Business Ethics” Neuroscientific advances and their implications for the study and practice of ethics in organizations, The Journal of Business Ethics Special Issue, 2014 Once More, with (Ethical) Feeling, Notre Dame Deloitte, Centre for Ethical Leadership, 2014 Dr. Dean Mobbs and Walter McFarland The neuroscience of motivation Dr. Dean Mobbs and Walter McFarland, Neuro Leadership journal Issue Three 2010 Let’s Get Fired Up: Is Seeing Brain Activity the Ultimate Motivator? Cognitive Neural Society J.Hills, The neuroscience of trust and how it can improve your engagement results, HR Zone 2 nd October 2013 D.Rock & J.Schwartz The Neuroscience of Leadership, Strategy +Business, May 20 2006 R. Bayatzis, Neuroscience and Leadership: The Promise of Insights, Jan 2011 Ivey Business JournalK, Schaufenbuel, The Neuroscience of Leadership: Practical Applications, UNC Executive Development 2014 C Warren, When It’s Time to Turn off your Intelligence, Work, CIPD Issue 1 2014

© Andrew Leigh 2014


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Previous White Papers

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Maynard Leigh Associates, 3 Bath Place, Rivington Street, EC2A 3DR 44(0)20 7033 2370 www.maynardleigh.co.uk Ethical Leader site: www.ethical-leadership.co.uk info@maynardleigh.co.uk September 2014

Š Andrew Leigh 2014


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