Effect of our Limbic System on Leadership (Part 1)


    There is a biomechanical aspect to inspirational presence. Our limbic system of organs, glands, nerves and parts of our brain work together to govern our emotions. It is an open-loop system, which means it can take input from outside of the system, as happens within leadership. Social contagion occurs when a group of people’s limbic system interacts.

    We see the effects of contagion in people who share the same environment and emotional experiences. This is evident positively in group-meditations and negatively in mass riots. This occurs due to the sending and receiving of energy that occurs amongst humans. We have all felt inspired by an uplifting person and felt our energy plummet after time spent with a depressed person.

    This empathic response originated from the psychology of tribes and primeval packs. These early survival instincts are still entrenched in our social structures today. Our brains have evolved to process information quickly about those around us and act upon it by determining if we are to kill, eat, mate or ignore. This all occurs from the Reptilian brain, the portion called the amygdule.

    There is a correlation effect between hormones and our emotions, for example, if an athlete takes steroid medication, it will induce emotional reactions. Fear is also a good example of this association; when watching a scary movie, we feel the physiological effect in our bodies. Even when speaking about the movie later, our heart and breathing can quicken again.

    The brain cannot decipher between real or imagined fear. Our brain and hormonal systems are linked to create our current reality. When we habitually feel any kind of emotion, we attract more of the same. A fearful mind seeks negative events and a peaceful mind attracts good things.

    Thinking of fear causes hormonal reactions associated with fight or flight. Thinking of creative opportunities cause a different hormonal response, we reduce our stress levels, our thinking becomes expansive and we relax. We create change at cellular level depending on the emotional state we consistently live in.

    This emotional-mental-physical connection occurs within groups also. We transmit and receive emotional information from each other. Within every group, at a subconscious level, we are looking for an emotional leader with inspirational presence that will propel us towards transformational change.

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