Much of what we know about the brain is only 4 to 5 years old.
Recent advancements in science and technology show us how the brain actually operates. Using functional magnetic reasonance imaging, we can see how the brain develops, what threatens it, and how simple every-day decisions effect complex processing.
But it doesn’t always work as it should.
Along with an increased understanding of how the brain operates, doctors have become more astute at diagnosing and treating diseases of the brain. Over the last decade, a disturbing rise in autism among children has sparked intense attention and focus from the medical community.
Using highly developed technical equipment, scientists can actually pinpoint specific sections of the brain that seemed to be unwired. Quite literally, for autism patients it’s as if the brain cannot communicate to certain sections of the brain.
One of the key areas of that disfunction is limited access and control to their mirror spindles.
Mirror spindles are high-speed, neuro-transmission pathways that allow large amounts of social information to access different sections of the brain at hyperspeed and create relationships. These mirror spindles process emotional information 4 to 5 times faster than other sections of the brain.
And the mirror spindle does a unique thing.
It allows you to understand the emotions of another person.
As the name would suggest, mirror spindles allow you to look at someone else and see your own emotions in them.
- The ability to understand that a frown means unhappiness.
- The ability to discern between wrinkled eyebrows as anger or as confusion.
Without functional mirror spindles an autistic person is unable to connect emotionally and socially with those around him.
And they aren’t dumb people. Don’t be fooled.
Computationally they might be able to work math problems faster or decode logic problems more efficiently. But what they can’t do is easily understand the pain and suffering of another person.
And socially, that deficiency creates a lack of confidence for them in their interpersonal interactions. It creates a certain uneasiness.
And not just uneasiness.
Quite literally, the brain isn’t able to do compute how to be socially relevant. How to show kindness.
As sad as this situation is when we see it in our children — in those we love around us — what makes this all the more disturbing is when our businesses run with the exact same temperament.
We’ve created generations of emotionally unintelligent, emotionally unwired executives.
While we are quick to point out quantitative stats, we almost certainly avoid or excuse away the qualitative stats behind those numbers. We can’t create emotional relevance.
And instead of fixing that problem by caring more, we just push harder — as if through raw computational effort we can achieve what a tender word or insightful encouragement would easily fix.
And it’s not just our companies that engender this poor behavior.
It’s our universities that enshrine this behavior.
Where kindness is a theoretic instead of a pragmatic leadership inevitable.
Numbers and facts are the guidelines instead of vision, inspiration, and resiliency.
It’s an unwired approach to business strategy.
We are creating an unwired generation of business executives — autistic in behavior and unbalanced in execution.
Is it any wonder why we struggle to find the dominance that we once had? Perhaps a focus on kindness and concern — perhaps a focus on leading and loving — is what we really need?
We can excuse away our dysfunction with the logic of academia and philosophical creativity, but we will not find help until we reach down and lead from a point of vulnerability.
Until we lead from a perspective of humility and kindness.
The selfishness we believe is fueling our drive to success is merely crippling us.
- Crippling our employees
- Crippling our executives
- Crippling all those around us.
Instead of unwiring our intellectual capacity with the abrasiveness of selfish behavior, perhaps we wire it all the more tightly together with the kindness of compassion and understanding.
Less information for the head.
More attitudes for the heart.