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Role of Neuroscience in Business (1)

The Role of Neuroscience in Business

Neuroscience ebookMore and more, the word neuroscience pops up in various aspects of life. Knowledge of the brain has entered the mainstream, everywhere from education to business, and even to popular culture. The DisneyPixar movie Inside Out is just one example of how widespread talking about the brain has become. It seems like everyone knows something about neuroscience these days. Keeping up with the new insights in employee engagement and leadership is far easier to apply in the workplace with a basic understanding of the brain and neuroscience.

What is Neuroscience?

To put it simply, neuroscience is the study of the nervous system. This includes the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves throughout the body. Neuroscience is not just about the biology of these structures, but also includes the psychology of the brain, as well as the interactions between the nervous system and other body systems. Over the years, scientists have gained more knowledge about both the molecular structures of the brain and nervous system, and about the behaviours that result from them. There are many branches of study within neuroscience that have influenced all the sciences and sometimes even aspects of everyday life.


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Leadership and Neuroscience (2)

The Basis of Leadership is Born in the Brain

The New Way to Lead

The brain is a social organ. That means that we are all born to connect. We cannot expect the best results if we only see people as impersonal machines and employment as simply a place full of isolated tasks. Team leaders and department managers who understand leadership and neuroscience, know the importance of:

  • How the physical environment impacts people productivity;
  • Who we spend time with at work and the strength of relationships;
  • The interplay between thoughts and emotions and;
  • How different types of tasks impact the brain and productivity.

Effective leadership requires understanding emotions, using empathy, and building relationships. This type of social leadership can create higher confidence, improved relationships between employees, and increased productivity.

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Neurofeedback (3)

The Art of Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback uses qEEG and a visual game-like component to activate a certain part of the brain. The game uses electrical readings from the qEEG to control an aspect of the game. If the correct area of the brain is activated, the game responds and the user is rewarded. If the incorrect area of the brain is activated, the game does not respond or there is some kind of penalty.

Due to the plastic nature of the brain, after many sessions of neurofeedback, the brain begins to create new pathways that become automatic. This creates new habits and behaviours.

Sticky notes showing the connection between mind, body, spirit, soul and you


There is the potential for neurofeedback to give managers and HR professionals some help in forming new patterns of behaviour. For example, researchers from the study mentioned above, asked a manager to participate in neurofeedback after they mentioned having anger management problems. With knowledge of what areas in the brain are useful in anger management, the neurofeedback therapist was able to help the manager activate the parts of the brain most helpful in emotional regulation. After many sessions, he was able to reorganise his brain to create stronger pathways in the areas of his brain known to support emotional regulation.

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Employee Engagement and Neuroscience (4)

How to Improve Employee Engagement Using Neuroscience

Employee engagement can be a challenge for many leaders. It is generally accepted that having higher levels of employee engagement is a good thing for employees as well as the organisation and the bottom line financials.


Our team illustrationAn understanding of neuroscience can be helpful in increasing employee engagement which can lead to enhanced job satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Because the brain is plastic, it is always adjusting and adapting based on the environment.

When you create supportive and collaborative environments, the brains of employees can process information more quickly and more easily, leading to effective change. But if the brains of employees perceive the workplace or their role within it as a threat, then comfort, motivation and satisfaction are all likely to decrease.


By knowing more about the brain, you can learn to limit threats. Often, these threats can come from normal business practices of assessment, changing processes, feedback, and evaluation. This leads us to consider how these standard activities at work can be made a more positive experience for the employee. Because of the lasting negative impacts threats have on our brains, decreasing the amount of threats in the workplace can positively improve employee engagement and motivation.

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Neuroscience in your workplace (5)

Head Hands and Hearts venn diagram of employee enagagement

Start Using Neuroscience in Your Workplace

As this information and research sinks in, two questions form in the mind of many managers or HR professionals, and they are:  How does this translate into my everyday activity and how can I use neuroscience in a practical way? Here are some starting points:

Turn the Business into a Story

Stories help us connect with other people. When the brain is activated by a story through emotion, oxytocin is released. This neurotransmitter helps to form connections in the brain that help us build trust and bonding. The release of oxytocin through emotional stories also help us empathise with others.

These stories can help teams connect and help employees connect with the company mission and purpose. The ‘Why’ the organisation exists.

Leaders can use analogies, metaphors, or even classic themes in literature like the hero’s journey to illustrate how the company has evolved, overcome challenges, and become what it is today.

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