PODCAST: inside the mind of truly great leaders

Truly great leaders are able to encourage followers to commit to them and their vision, allowing the biology of our minds to organise and deliver on a shared goal, according to neuroscientist and consultant Dr Alicia Fortinberry.

Speaking to bluenotes, Dr Fortinberry, who serves as principal at global consultancy group Fortinberry Murray, said humans are not wired to respond to leaders at a biological level - except in times of discontent, the kind we’re seeing globally right now at social and political level. 

“We’re geared toward more-flatter structures,” she said. “That’s [how] human beings evolved – except in times of crisis.”

"Our genetics right now are calling out for leaders."  - Dr Alicia Fortinberry.

“So our genetics right now are calling out for leaders. And those leaders have to make us feel they are part of our support network, that they can help us grow, that they can empower us [and] that they can help us feel safe and accepted.” 

“If they can do that, then we can do anything. That’s the role of leadership today.”  

Dr Fortinberry said followers are keen to see leaders interested in them and their progress – and in turn leaders should be looking for things to praise, even if it was just the effort or intention.

“We want our leaders to be curious about us and about what our needs are,” she said. “We want them to catch us doing things right. We want to feel that we’re valued. We want to feel that they actually want us to succeed.” 

She also touched on the challenge of leading when humans are naturally resistant to change and how to maintain trust in unsettled workplaces. Listen to the podcast above to find out more.

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Photographer: Sonya The

Inside the minds of great leaders

Andrew Cornell is managing editor at bluenotes

Dr Alicia Fortinberry is the best-selling co-author of such titles as Creating Optimism and Raising an Optimistic Child.

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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