Why all managers MUST know how the brain works

Many interventions that managers apply to inspire or set people in motion just don’t work. These managers don’t approach things from the right perspective because they lack knowledge of the functioning of the brain. If they had this knowledge, without any doubt, they would know what to do. In this blog, I’d like to tell you a bit more about this game changer.

Managing people means managing the brain

Managers manage people. In actual fact, they manage people’s brains. After all, the brain is the organ where reason, emotion, feeling, motivation and opportunities for change all reside. Whether personal leadership is concerned, or leading others, what you do is you manage the brain. Good results can only be achieved when people use their brain optimally, and a manager is precisely the kind of person to encourage staff members to put this powerful, unlimited organ to use.

No design, it is just as it is

The brain works in a specific way, this holds true for everyone. It is not a colour model, design or framework. Just like the heart, the brain works for everyone in the same way, whether you are a blue, yellow, green or a red manager. The great advantage this offers is that many discussions are superfluous, because it is  just as it is.


Contrary to what was believed in the past, it has appeared that the brain is very well capable of change. This potential for change is called neuroplasticity. It also implies that people can develop, irrespective of their age.
So it’s the manager’s job to know how to make use of this neuroplasticity. For neuroplasticity, it holds that whatever you give attention, grows. Neurons that fire together, wire together. Each time a group of neurons (brain cells) work together, their tendency to collaborate increases. Managers can use this knowledge to familiarize people with new habits.

Two networks

The brain consists of a large number of types of networks. For modern day managers it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of, in particular, one group of two of these networks, the network of the follower and the network of the internal leader. If a manager or employee is in the follower network, change and motivation are much more complex. For this person , the road ahead is filled with obstacles, he/she has a very pessimistic outlook and operates mainly from the survival mode.

Conversely, when someone is in the internal leader network, the openness towards change is self-evident. This person is geared towards creativity and is inevitably in his or her strength. This demonstrates why it is so important that both the manager and the other person are in the internal leader network. Simple techniques are available to make this happen. One of these techniques is to ask open and non-judgmental questions.

Emotions are in the brain

Emotions can be divided into two categories: positive emotions such as joy, and negative emotions, such as anger, frustration or embarrassment. Both categories start in the brain, they are products of the brain. However, the effects of these emotions are quite divergent. Positive emotions produce strength and enthusiasm. When this phenomenon is known to a manager, it’s much easier to stimulate positive emotions so that co-workers function better and clients are served better.


Managers MUST know  how the brain functions, I am convinced of that. When this knowledge is then applied, they will become much more skilled at motivating their personnel.

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