In my research on Leadership, I have talked about the importance of understanding Psychophysiology.
See, most people understand the skills of Leadership, but they get hijacked by things going wrong in their Psychophysiology.
There are a few people in the Leadership industry who are growing an appreciation of how Psychology impacts Leaders.
However, what they are missing is that Psychology is focused on one Brain.
What I've come to learn is that we actually have 4 different Brains in our bodies, and each one has its own communication system that impacts the quality of the others.
If you only focus on 1, you're likely to get hijacked by the communication of the other 3.
So what are these different brains?
This is probably the most well-known area of study when it comes to Leadership.
This is where Psychology mostly focuses.
It is our Literal Brain, the organ we find in our head.
However, the hyper-focus on this area ends up becoming a problem.
People talk about and believe that if we simply control the Brain, and fix how it communicates to the rest of the body, all of our problems will be fixed.
However, this simply isn't true.
The Brain of course is extremely important, but its ability to function can be completely hijacked by the other Brains we will discuss shortly.
This is why we can know "all of the skills" of Leadership, and still fail horribly.
There are certain aspects of the other Brains that will literally prevent us from using our "Higher Brain" as it has been termed.
This means that the Logic of the brain becomes useless.
Unless we know what the other Brains are able to communicate, and how they can hijack us, we will be in a losing battle.
A large part of the reason is that "All Stress Adds".
So if the other 3 Brains are all sending Stress signals, our logic shuts down and we go into survival mode.
In today's business world, this is an extremely common occurrence.
Very frequently the other 3 Brains send so many stress signals, that it becomes impossible for Leaders to utilize the skills they have.
Another aspect of Neurology that is becoming better known, but is still lacking in many areas, is the CNS or Central Nervous System.
Throughout the CNS, we have neurons that respond to various stimuli faster than the conscious brain is able to comprehend.
As skills tend to require the conscious brain, the CNS often can force the Brain to react unconsciously.
One of the easiest places to see this is actually in our breathing.
How quickly do you breathe?
Do you breathe solely with your nose, or do you breathe with your mouth often?
Do you stand and sit with good posture? (This is actually dictated by whether we breathe properly or not!)
The answers to these questions can give you an indication if your CNS is working well, or if it is in a constant state of Dis-Stress.
The reality is that most people today breathe shallowly, through their mouths, and it leads to bad posture.
This is a result of the CNS system going into a sympathetic response (fight-or-flight), which forces them to breathe differently.
When this isn't solved, the CNS stays in constant states of Dis-Stress and you can actually develop a Habit of improper breathing which continually creates more Dis-Stress!
Since All Stress Adds, this makes it more difficult to use your Brain and the Logic required to access Leadership Skills.
The word "Cardio" means "Heart", so "Neurocardiology" is essentially the "Heart-Brain".
This is perhaps the most underappreciated Brain system when it comes to Leadership.
From the scientific literature, the Heart has its own Neurons that think differently from our Brain, and are able to pick up signals that our Brains are not able to!
Specifically, the Heart is able to create Electromagnetic Fields that can be tracked anywhere from 3 to 15 feet away from it.
The Brain also has an Electromagnetic Field, but it only extends up to 1 inch away from itself.
What is most interesting about the Heart's Electromagnetic Field is that it can learn and react to the Electromagnetic Fields of other individuals.
What are these Electromagnetic Fields speaking to each other?
Our emotional state of being!
Has someone ever walked into the room, and you just had a "Bad Feeling" about them?
Your Heart-Brain was picking up something that was off from their Electromagnetic signals.
What is crazy about this is that one person's Heart can pull another person's Heart into the same rhythm - aka, we can quite literally push our emotions onto others.
Do you ever suddenly feel different around another person, good or bad?
Does it get worse or better the longer you are around them?
That is you getting signals, and the Electromagnetic Waves lining up together (both good and bad).
So, what is a common Emotional State of Being most people find themselves in today in the office?
Aka, so much Dis-Stress that our bodies are literally giving up.
From the Neurocardiology Perspective, if one person is in Dis-Stress, they can "pull" others into Dis-Stress with them.
As a Leader, this means you have the potential to either resolve the Stress Expression in others or make it significantly worse!
Since most people don't truly understand the implications here, and 80% of people are in Burnout, it's no surprise that the workplace is so hated!
Everyone is pulling each other into deeper levels of Dis-Stress!
This again means your skills can become useless as a Leader because the Heart's Electromagnetic Waves can become more powerful than the Brain's signals and therefore hijack the Brain.
The more people experiencing Dis-Stress (or worse, Burnout), the harder this becomes to overcome for Leaders.
The word "Gastro" means "Stomach", and "Entero" is the word for "Intestines", which means this field of study is essentially the study of the "Gut-Brain".
Yes, the entirety of our Gut (from the mouth, all the way out) has Neurons as well, which communicate back and forth with all of the other systems.
If you have ever felt "Butterflies" in your stomach, that is a reaction of the Gut receiving messages from other systems in the body.
However, in the same way that the Gut receives messages, it too can send out signals.
What types of signals is the Gut sending?
It expresses what type of energy (Mg-ATP) it is able to create, given the current resources that it has.
For instance, the Gut can create Mg-ATP from Carbohydrates, Fats, and Protein!
Yes, all three can be turned into energy for the body.
However, they are not all treated the same!
Carbohydrates are best for the body if it needs extremely quick and large amounts of energy.
However, Carbohydrates are not the most efficient and the body can only hold onto a very small amount of this kind of energy.
Fats are the cleanest source of energy, can be stored for long periods of time and can maintain long periods of effort, and requires the least amount of effort to create.
However, Fats are slower than carbohydrates and do not have the same level of powerful output in short bursts.
Proteins are actually a better source of "construction" material for the body and only is turned into Mg-ATP as a very last resort (essentially during starvation, where the body strips whatever it can).
Turning Protein into energy is extremely slow, and creates a lot of "exhaust" which becomes hard to clear, but works perfectly in dire situations.
If the Gut is getting enough materials from food, it will send "all clear" signals to the rest of the Brains, and they will in turn plan on how to use that energy that is coming.
However, if the Gut is not getting the proper materials, it will create a Stress signal that it sends to the rest of the body, and as I always say, "All Stress Adds".
When the rest of the body knows that it won't get the proper Energy, it will go into a survival mode - picking and choosing which systems are most important for survival.
In the same strain, what the Logical brain may deem "important" may not matter to the other Brains as they fight over what limited resources they will have available.
When we eat a lot of processed foods or foods that are missing essential vitamins and minerals (which is all too common today), it will create deep Stress from the Gut-Brain.
There are of course foods we know are bad for us, like High Fructose Corn Syrup, Vegetable Oils, most Fast-Food, and the like.
However, sometimes things that are marketed as "good for us" are actually not accepted by the Gut-Brain.
I was recently surprised to learn that Cultured-Meat and Meat-Substitutes are often also extremely processed and essentially as bad for us (from a Gut-Brain level) as a Fast-Food Burger!
Even if we see these foods as "Better" from a Logical Level or a Psychological Level, our Gut-Brain may not accept them the same way and can therefore put us under Dis-Stress.
The phrase, "We Are What We Eat" seems to be more true than we realize - Real Food helps us create Real Energy, while Processed Foods processes Dis-Stress in our Gut-Brain.
Another extremely important aspect of the Gut-Brain is that it is the only Brain System that can create what is needed to fix Stress-Damage.
Since "All Stress Adds", damage is a constant.
The technical term here is "Oxidative Stress" which is created whenever we undergo any Stress.
If we are not getting the right materials from our food, our bodies literally can't heal the Damage from Oxidative Stress.
This itself, left unchecked, can maintain a baseline level of Stress that continues to be "Added" to and gets worse over time.
This is why solutions like "Mediation" are not enough - they may lower "Current" Stress, but the baseline Stress Damage remains.
Without fixing that Damage, you are simply on a one-way track to Burnout, which is already causing so many issues for Leaders.
What It Means For Legendary Leadership
As we can see, all 4 of these Brains are extremely important.
Any of them, when left unchecked, can sabotage our efforts as Leaders.
That is why Legendary Leadership focuses on Psychophysiology so much - it underscores every other aspect of Leadership.
If you have problems with any of these Brain Systems, it will prevent long-term success and often make the workplace unbearable.
If the Psychophysiological goal is Group Flow (where teams do their best work, are most productive, make the least amount of mistakes, are more creative in problem-solving, and are most cohesive), you need to understand these 4 Brains.
All 4 of them can literally block us, as Leaders, from getting ourselves or our teams into Flow States.
However, if you unify these systems, you actually may not even need the "Skills" of Leadership.
Studies find that many of the "Leadership Skills" actually become almost second nature when these Brain Systems are aligned.
I have talked about VQ before (what I have been using to quantify getting these Brain Systems aligned).
Research around aspects of VQ shows that when they improve, both IQ and EQ increase without any extra effort needed to improve them!
That is right - literally, you become smarter and are better able to work with people, just by improving VQ (aka these Brain Systems)!
That is why this is so important to understand as a Leader!
About the Creator
Creator of the 4X Award-Winning Category "Legendary Leadership" | Faith, Family, Freedom, Future | The Legendary Leadership Coach, Speaker, Writer & Podcast Host | For More of Cody Dakota's Work Go To: https://www.TheLeadership.Guide
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
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