Effect of our Limbic System on Leadership (Part 2)


    Our limbic system has a connection to leadership due to its origin in the social characteristic of tribal living. It involves similarities to how pack animals behave. When born, we are attuned to our mothers by our limbic system. We continue through life attuning to others in our environment. We follow the lead of our families and have an awareness of the authority figure. This continues in all further group settings.

    Within groups, the limbic systems learn the order of emotional listening; they develop patterns of emotions that will instinctively play out within that group. Everyone looks for a guiding leader within each group. If the leader is already known, we look to that person for leadership signals. If these signals are absent, the group is drawn to any strong emotion and this can be disastrous.

    Fear can be the deciding factor of establishing a leader. It is often the person keen to enter into a flight or fight situation that takes natural leadership. The limbic system works either way and the group will follow the same path, hence it is imperative that a leader’s emotional state is positive.

    Research on emotions and leadership in the workplace show us that positive emotions have a positive effect on productivity and job performance and negative emotions such as anger and hostility create a negative effect. Most of us will know this instinctively.

    In relationships, be they personal or professional, where the mood is happy and inspired, we are happy, if it is not, our own emotional level drops and we lose our inspiration. When we are part of an emotionally safe environment, we thrive. Our intuition is often a factor in the ability to be a leader.

    To understand the concept of leadership and emotional states fully, one must use the head, the heart, and the gut, just as this leader of transformational change would use instinctively. When you are aware of this, you will be empathic to the groups needs and inspire them to live the in the same manner.

    “You begin the journey of learning to lead through your presence.”

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