What is Neuro-Based Leadership?

Neuro-based leadership (neuroleadership) is an emerging field, which integrates principles and insights from social neuroscience, positive psychology, leadership practice and organisational development to help organisations create brain-engaging environments that optimises engagement, performance, work satisfaction and ultimately, productivity and results.
We've been working with leaders from around the globe with different backgrounds and in different industries for more than 20 years and the one thing most of them have in common is that they're finding it increasingly difficult to 'keep things together'.
What was once regarded as the irrefutable laws of leadership often no longer apply as change has become constant and the goal posts keep shifting. This is the VUCA World (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambigious) and to lead here requires a different skill set than the 'command and control' approach of the past.  ​
Adding to the challenges of leading in the highly unstable VUCA environment, there's also the challenges we face in terms of our limited internal capacity - our brains' ability to deal with this new reality..
Science shows that genetically, the human brain has not changed much in 50 000 years, which means that our 'cavemen'-brains are struggling to deal with the high and constantly changing demands and challenges of the 21st Century workplace. Although our brains are very adaptable and able to learn new skills and form new pathways throughout our lives, they often struggle to cope with the extreme demands of constant change, 'neuro-overload' and excessive stress most of us  face in the 21st Century workplace.
Research in social neuroscience shows that just as with our cave-dwelling ancestors, the key driving principle of the modern human brain is survival – dealing with 'threats and rewards'.  Our brains are constantly scanning the environment – both the physical environment (e.g. the workplace) and the social environment (how people behave towards us) – for anything it might perceive as a threat or a reward.
When a THREAT is detected, our ability to solve problems; communicate; evaluate situations; plan ahead; understand consequences, recall information, plan ahead and make decisions (to name a few examples) is severely impaired. When in this state, an individual’s ability to perform even simple routine actions – not to mention perform at their best – is disrupted as the brain frantically tries to work its way through the perceived threat (inter-personal or environmental).
When a REWARD is detected, it triggers an automated neural response that drives us towards that perceived reward and ultimately also enables us to function at our best. In the 'reward state' we are able to perform at our best (e.g. solve problems, communicate, understand other people's intentions, deal with adversity, plan ahead, improved creativity, better judgment, enhanced memory, effective decision-making, etc).
From a neurological perspective, many of today’s workplaces have become extremely threatening environments as a result of the VUCA reality; autocratic leadership; ever-increasing demands; constantly changing goals and expectations; information overload; poor communication and the fear of punishment if a mistake is made. People are often in constant neurological fear-states where optimum performance is simply not possible.

What We Offer: Brain-Minded Leadership

Does this mean we're doomed to a life of constant under-performance and struggle? Not for a minute. It simply means we have to change the way we manage our own stress and the way we lead and influence our people.  Much of what worked in the past  is now contributing to the creation of 'fear cultures', but understanding that and understanding the basics of how our brains work, gives leaders and opportunity to do things different and create engaging environments where people can thrive and perform at their optimal best.
By applying Neuro-based leadership, leaders can create brain-engaging, high-performance cultures where people are able to thrive and excell in the VUCA workplace. By applying the principles and practices of neuro-based leadership, leaders empower their people to function at their best by considering and managing some of the neural processes that precede behaviour (for more on this, please visit our BLOG).  
The best place to start is with OURSELVES. Understanding how our behaviour impacts people, the culture and performance, gives us the opportunity to change our behaviour in order to minimize the negative effect that it might have on those around us and to create 'brain-engaging' cultures 
While changing behaviour is often difficult, neuroscientific research shows that rewiring our brains and changing our behaviour is indeed possible. By practicing the principles of neuroleadership we can stop being the 'predators' which others run away from, and instead become the catalysts of a brain-engaging workplace culture. 
Applying the principles of neuro-based leadership enable leaders and managers to improve their capacity for...

  • performance-enhancing leadership;
  • effective decision-making and problem-solving;
  • creative thinking;
  • constructive collaboration;
  • fostering employee engagement and motivation;
  • facilitating change;
  • dealing with workplace diversity;
  • managing conflict; and 
  • managing personal stress and the ability to deal with adversity.​


SLI embraces neuro-based leadership as the single greatest step forward in the history of leadership and organisational development and we've therefore incorporated the principles of neuro-based leadership into ALL OUR COURSES (masterclasses and workshops), leadership development programmes and consulting interventions. 
Leadership Development
Neurosafety Programme
Supervisor Programme
Strengths Programme
Coach Training


If you have an upcomming corporate event OR if you want to introduce your senior leadership to the concept of neuro-based leadership or neuro-based safety, a 'power session' is exactly what you need.  Power sessions focus on the essentials and contain just enough of the 'WOW'-factor to entice your audience and also give them a glimpse of how the neuro-based approach can change the way they lead and manage people.
Neuro-Based Leadership Power Session
·​ DURATION: 1-3 Hours face-to-face   ·​ MAX ATTENDEES: NO LIMIT
   So you see the potential value of how applying neuro-based leadership can transform your company but some in your leadership team are still a little skeptical? This power session is exactly what you need to get them on board - in 3 hours or less we will introduce them to the basics of brain-based leadership and get them excited about what it could do for the team and company.
   This power session is designed as a brief but mind-expanding introduction to the neuroscience of leadership. To book a session or learn more please contact send us an email or give us a call!

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Start the journey towards brain-engaging leadership today...

"He who influences the thought of his times, influences all the times that follow.
​He has made his impress on eternity
- Hypatia (370-415 AD)