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Brain-focused Leadership: The Science Of Leading People

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

The pandemic, digital technology, and geopolitics turbulence brings unprecedented disruptions for business across the globe. Navigating the disruptions and thriving the uncertainties becomes more and more challenging for every business leader. Amid the high pressure of business recovery and turnaround to reach the pre-pandemic performance, business leaders also need to anticipate the new normal situation of post-pandemic and post-war. The rise of Gen Z workforce with all their unique characteristics also contributes to the complexity of leadership challenges.

Business leaders, therefore, need to lead their team to adapt quickly by embracing a new way of working. Simultaneously, the leaders also need to embrace a new way of leading. Setting a long-term vision and annual strategies may not be relevant anymore. Organization structure may need to be reconstructed. The right path yesterday may not work today and could be a disaster by tomorrow (Conner, 2013).

The recent empirical findings of neuroscience studies bring a light amid the darkness. During the last two decades, scientists has revealed that knowledge and evidence in cognitive neuroscience can be applied to analyze and understand the behavior of leaders (Liu, 2015). But what is the relevance of these scientific insights to business leaders who have to deal with day-to-day situation that needs practical approach?

Welcome to Brain-Focused Leadership.

The brain is the driver and regulator for every thought, emotion, decision, and behavior. Science gives us a whole new information about the optimal brain performance. Now the time has come for you, business leaders, to harness bountiful scientific resources to empower your team and bring the organization to thrive such turbulent business challenges. The new way of leading means that you need to embrace science into daily leadership practice at work.

What is Brain-Focused Leadership?

Brain-focused Leadership, coined by Lyra Puspa, is the leadership approach that synchronizes the science of the brain with leadership behaviors. It is based on empirical evidence on how the brain systems work. Understanding brain-focused leadership means that leaders understand about the brain systems underlying people perception, intelligence, emotion, judgement, decision, and behavior. Those scientific and systemic understandings provide a practical “brain rules” that can help leaders to create a new way of leading in enhancing team and organizational performance.

As an example, when you are confronted with difficult situations, your amygdala – let’s call it a panic button in our brains – gets alert, and the panic button sounding turn on the alarm to trigger our survival response. When we are panic, we automatically fall into a fight, flight, or freeze mode. Such panic or defensive mode of the brain impairs your logical thinking and decision-making ability, which may lead you to bad decisions. When you understand how the brain works during brain’s defense versus growth mode, you can be aware of your panic mode symptoms more quickly and reset your brain intentionally to be able to make a sound decision properly and timely. The flexibility to shift your brain from autopilot, defense mode to conscious, growth mode can be learned in Vibrant Resilience program.

You may wonder whether Brain-Focused Leadership is similar with other brain-based approach that you may encountered or heard before. So, what is the difference?

While other so-called ‘brain’ or ‘neuro’ approaches in leadership are mainly based on literature review of previous empirical studies in neuroscience, Brain-Focused Leadership equips you beyond hypothetical principles. Each framework and tool in Brain-Focused Leadership have been scientifically-tested using Quantitative EEG (qEEG) methodology at Vanaya NeuroLab. The impact of its approach to the brain of leaders and teams across industries and organization has been studied using rigorous scientific standard, both pre-post and during the intervention.

What is the Benefit of Brain-Focused Leadership?

Imagine what you can do better as a leader when you understand how thoughts, emotions, decisions, behaviors, memory, and even habits are constructed in the brain. Insights from neuroscience of how the brain works can help business leaders and the teams they lead perform more effectively. These are few things that may happen at work when you embrace Brain-Focused Leadership:

  • Improve yourself to become a better leader. Optimizing and balancing the essential brain systems of Vibrant Leadership will enable you to be an inspiring leader who can build team engagement and cohesion.

  • Boost your team performance more effectively. A leader who knows how the brain works will be able to maximize the brain potential of the team in order to bring them the reach organizational goal and obtain high performance.

  • To nurture future leaders by inside-out empowerment. The Brain-Focused Coaching approach enables you to bring out the best of your team by activating and altering their brain systems with scientifically-tested coaching tools




  1. Liu, Y. Z., Jing, Y. D., & Gao, M, Transformational Leadership: From the Perspective of Neurological Leadership, Open Journal of Leadership,2015, 4, 143-152.

  2. Conner, Cherrly. The ‘8 Great’ Challenges Every Business faces (And How To Master Them All). Forbes. 2013.

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