The Neuroleadership Institute Podcast

In organizations around the world, leaders face urgent issues: a crisis in employee engagement, the need to make workforces more diverse, and the challenge of making workplaces feel human in an era of increasing dependence on technology. At the NeuroLeadership Institute, we believe brain science can help provide solutions.


Calls for empathetic leadership are on the rise in organizations. A new survey connects lack of empathy to the reason 54% of people recently quit their jobs. Empathy is a nuanced and often misunderstood term. When actually, compassion is what teams need. Compassion is when one's desire to help becomes an impactful response. It's the difference between telling someone you care and actually showing them. On this episode, Steve Miska, a retired US Army Colonel & Author shares his experience working with Iraqi interpreters during the war and the unexpected lessons on the value of compassion. Ultimately sharing stories that transcend the battlefield and translate directly into workplace leadership today.

When people work together as a team, there are several “group dynamics” that determine how well they’re able to synergize, make decisions, and get things done. The factors that determine whether a team has a positive (or poor) group dynamic include power, relationships, status, fairness, the ability to put the interests of the group ahead of one's own, and more. How does your organization go through the process of team building? How are you being proactive in creating an inclusive environment that inspires team collaboration? In this episode of Your Brain at Work, Dr. David Rock, Dr. Will Kalkhoff , and Dr. Joy VerPlanck will explore the science of group dynamics. We’ll examine the differences between status and power and analyze how leadership, group composition, expectations, and participation inequities that can impact decision-making and work outcomes.

As offices continue to open up, a study, recently conducted by Future Forum, found that only 3% of Black professionals want to return to the office full-time. Looking deeper, this statistic is a reflection of the depth and breadth of microaggressions that occur in the workplace and the psychological harm Black professionals experience. Which brings larger questions of this impact to light. What ramifications could this have on diversity of teams, innovation, and companies' bottom lines moving forward? What should leaders do to address this alarming discovery? In this episode, Dr. Brian Lowery, Dr. Michaela Simpson, and Janet Stovall will unpack this data and its relation to workplace culture and Black professionals' sense of belonging at work. Tapping into the science of cognitive bias and lived experiences, they will share ways organizations can create more inclusive cultures in the era of hybrid work.

With the backdrop of an ongoing pandemic, monthly resignations hitting all-time highs, and mounting reports of job burnout – nearly everyone is feeling the pressure right now. Some organizations may react to this moment by "bearing down" and pushing people harder. However, this is a major driver of the problem in the first place. Human cognitive capacity- at both the individual and organizational level, is a precious resource that must be respected. In order to create truly engaged and productive workplaces, leaders need to map to cognitive capacity, not work against it.  In this episode, NLI’s very own Dr. Michaela Simpson and Dr. David Rock discuss the neuroscience of capacity, motivation, and bias to better understand our limitations and share ways leaders can drive engagement and performance, while turning down the risk of burnout.

In recent weeks, we’ve examined the progression of the workplace as we know it. As organizations work to establish balance, combat burnout, and continue scaling toward the future, it has become increasingly clear it will take more than policies. Leaders are now being challenged to go beyond the surface and resonate with their employees on a human level. Empathy is commonly used as a blanket term, but the neuroscience behind it reflects a multi-faceted structure of related emotions. So how do we process these feelings? What practical steps can we take to exercise them in both professional and personal spheres? This week, Dr. Lisa Aziz-Zadeh of USC and Dr. David Rock discuss the neuroscience behind empathy and how to approach weaving it into the framework of organizational development during this new age of work.

The initial challenges of 2020 have continued into 2021 for many. With pandemic-related deaths, massive job loss, and burnout on the rise- work was deprioritized on the scale of importance. As news coverage of civil unrest, political polarization, and major events became normal, we as a society were challenged to reflect beyond the scope of our 9-5 life. Fast forward and now we’re seeing the outcomes of this shift in perspective: “The Great Resignation”. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly four million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021 alone. The resignation rate in the U.S. is now at a two-decade high, with more than 11 million jobs open. One recent study found that 95% of workers would consider a job change. Harvard Business Review noted that employees between the ages of 30 and 45 have had the greatest jump in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20% between 2020 and 2021. This reflects more than just “The Great Resignation”. This is a state of discontent. Join us for this episode, as we dive deeper into what is taking place in the workforce and the science behind it.

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