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Whole brained leadership

Years ago I read the fascinating book Whole Brained Child by Daniel Siegel. I was pregnant with my first and being a clinical psychologist a lot of it wasn't new but it was applicable to me in new ways, so I loved reading it and refreshing my knowledge. Siegel has a way of making brain science understandable and interesting.

Also when applied to leadership there is much to be gained from neuropsychology. But I love that Siegel stays away from the (false) statement 'It's all in the brain'. Because clearly, it isn't.

To become a whole brained leader you need to understand the integration of the brain, how different parts connect and also how those connections are dependent on the mind and the relationships you have. To put it in a picture:

Basically a whole brain is a combination of mind science or psychology, so the study of behaviour, thoughts and feelings, brain science, the anatomy of the brain, how things are wired, and relationship science, how people connect and how interaction shapes us.

We know for example how parent-child interaction shapes the brain, making some parts stronger and others less developed, either enhancing the connections and differentiation in a safe environment, or diminishing connections and differentiation when there's constant threat.

How does this apply to leadership? A good leader is someone who creates a safe environment for his or her workers. Who stimulates both differentiation: allowing people to be good at different skills and expressing different qualities and opinions, and maintaining connection, making sure everyone knows how to get support and share both fears and failures as much as success and happiness.

In order to be such a leader you need to be able to accept your own whole self including all your emotions and all that you bring to the table yourself. You need to be able to face your own fears and failures, and share your own successes and happiness. In other words: you have to know yourself and own your story.

Want to know more? Signup for the CORE leadership training at or in the contactform below. Also check out this short video by Daniel Siegel himself: for his explanation of above process.


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