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How Interpersonal Neurobiology Can Make You a Better Leader

Posted by PCC Institute for Health Professionals on July 06, 2020

During the industrial era, it was enough for leaders to have a succinct and linear way of thinking, display a strong sense of authority, and to exude at least a dash of charisma. In today's world, however, we need leaders with a far more complex set of skills and attributes, many of which relate directly to interpersonal relationships. Work relationships are less and less a top-down and hierarchical matter. Instead, they are ever-more dependent on a fluid, creative, and team-oriented mindset.

Interpersonal Neurobiology

In the same way that leadership has evolved from an industrial perspective, our view of the brain must evolve from a mechanistic perspective. The study of interpersonal neurobiology is a large step in that direction and can provide valuable insights on what it means to be an effective leader.

Interpersonal Neurobiology: The Basics

IPNB is a fairly new discipline and was developed by Dr. Dan Siegel, Dr. Allan Schore, and Dr. Lou Cozolino in the 1990s. IPNB is a combination of neuroscience, psychology, and relationship studies. When thinking about the growing awareness of the mind-body connection, IPNB can be looked at as the mind-body-community connection. That is to say, not only are we learning more about how our minds affect our bodies and brains (and vice versa), but we're also growing to understand more about how our relationships with others interact and influence those connections as well.

Studying IPNB isn't just for doctors or psychiatrists, anyone can benefit from learning more about how relationships affect our brains and our minds. Teachers, doctors, lawyers, business professionals, can all reap the benefits of greater IPNB knowledge. IPNB can improve interpersonal skills by helping you better understand and interact with others with a greater sense of empathy.

Using Interpersonal Neurobiology for Better Workplace Leadership

The principles of IPNB are especially crucial if you are in a leadership position. When looking at workplace statistics, for example, the top reasons for poor employee retention rates all come down to company culture issues, such as poor leadership and lack of employee appreciation.

No matter the setting, we are social creatures with a need for positive interpersonal interactions.

Dr. Siegel writes that a key skill leaders need to foster in themselves is what he calls “mindsight.” Similar to mindfulness, mindsight takes the concept one step further to include not only recognizing the workings of our own minds but also recognizing the minds of others through awareness of their emotions and intentions. Siegel explains the concept simply as: 'truly understanding where they are coming from.'

Cultivating mindsight helps us to become more open, objective, and observational. As you become more aware of these factors in your relationships, your emotional IQ will grow, and you can reach your potential as a thoughtful and impactful leader.

Mindsight can also help you seek out and improve problem areas in your workplace. Once the brain is functioning in a balanced and harmonious way, it can be said to be “integrated.” This does not just apply on the individual level. If you notice places where there is discord or chaos in your workplace, you can apply IPNB principles to work towards integrating the various domains that are out of sync.

Studying Interpersonal Neurobiology with PCC

IPBN can help us all look at relationships from a "multi-skull" perspective to benefit the world around us. As part of PCC's IPNB program, you can learn through an IPNB lens about such complex topics as ethics, attachment theory, mindfulness, diversity, and community. IPNB helps take you beyond the typical view of relating to others, and into a more in-depth and comprehensive approach to interpersonal relationships.

If you are interested in learning more, consider joining our Foundations of Interpersonal Neurobiology certification program.

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Topics: Healthcare, CLIMB Center, Mental & Behavioral Health, Interpersonal Communication

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