Neuroscience of Leadership

Smith School of Business

Smith School of Business


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Who should attend

This program is widely applicable to organizational leaders seeking techniques for improving employee engagement, professionals striving for competitive advantage, and employers searching for improvements to workplace culture or innovative human capital solutions.

About the course

When we speak to managers aspiring to make a direct impact within their organization, across every industry – the same question arises: How can I reach that next level of leadership?

Neuroscience of Leadership is a growth mindset response to that stressful question.

In this 2-day program, you will learn the latest advancements from the intersection of neuroscience and management and apply cutting-edge research to more effectively lead your employees to their fullest potential.

Pioneering organizations around the world, including IBM, Microsoft, Disney and JP Morgan Chase have already utilized these same findings to improve personal Push Tolerance, increase employee engagement, and overcome obstacles related to human capital.

In the program, you will learn:

  • How the human brain makes decisions
  • Methods for avoiding common decision-making fallacies
  • Brain-based research on Fixed v. Growth Mindsets
  • How to use the Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness (SCARF) Model
  • Stereotype bias and the impact on organizational growth
  • Methods for overcoming stereotype threat
  • How to identify unconscious biases and their impact on your organization
  • Effective use of brain-based listening and communication
  • Methods for more accurate and impactful communication

Personal Benefits

  • Inspire, motivate and lead more effectively
  • Build more positive relationships
  • Deliver succinct, clear and articulate messages

Organizational benefits

  • More effective and inspiring leaders
  • Improved motivation amongst employees
  • More authentic communicators in your leadership team


  • You will discover how recent advancements in neuroscience will help you and your organization improve employee engagement and productivity; helping your business grow while also increasing your bottom line.
    • Individuals who acquire and practice mindful listening tend to be more successful leaders (Sauer & Kohls, 2010).
    • Professionals properly trained in emotional intelligence techniques are more successful in obtaining business (Peterson & Limbu, 2009).
    • Organizational diversity in thinking is associated with increased sales revenue, increased customer base, greater market share, and greater profitability (review in Herring, 2009).

Built on the latest leadership science


We begin by defining the Fixed vs. Growth Mindset, providing you with an awareness of the fixed mindset tendencies hidden within us all. With the help of the SCARF model, you will learn the importance of Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness in how our brains react to our surroundings.

Through examples of the fallacies we as humans make, and brain-based methods to adopt a more growth mindset, you will be challenged to practice adopting a fresh, productive mindset within you organization.


We examine the stereotype threat in four parts: its definition, its impact, the brain-based bases of stereotype threat, and methods of overcoming its effects. Through a series of exercises, you will identify different perspectives within the organization, fostering change in both cognition and behavior.


We finish the first day with an overview of unconscious bias. Here we focus on insights into how our brain works, the mystery of unconscious bias, and how this bias can affect decision making and business growth.


We begin the second day by focusing on emotional intelligence. Discover the impact of emotional intelligence on the workplace environment and how to apply Mayer's four branches to improve workplace relationships.


Better understand effective communication as well as listening skills. Become more aware of the impact your own behaviours have on how other individuals view you. Appreciate the importance of accurately understanding the thoughts and behaviours of those around you.


Using a relevant case study (or personal experience) as your guide, you will synthesize the material from the previous five parts of the workshop.


Joan Graci

As President and CEO of APA Solutions, a human capital consulting firm, Joan has made it her mission to bridge the communication gap between leadership and the people they employ by disrupting human capital norms. She has successfully applied the data and research from her three decades in the re...

Erikson Neilans

Erikson Neilans received his doctorate degree in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University at Buffalo, SUNY. He specialized in sensory perception and the impact on decision making. Currently, he is researching and providing his expertise in neuroscience to organizational development of human ca...

Videos and materials

Neuroscience of Leadership at Smith School of Business

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Coursalytics is an independent platform to find, compare, and book executive courses. Coursalytics is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with any business school or university.

Full disclaimer.

Because of COVID-19, many providers are cancelling or postponing in-person programs or providing online participation options.

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