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.


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.

Employers have continued to fluctuate between work policies, throughout the pandemic. Repeatedly shifting strategic courses and still lacking clarity on how to effectively approach change for their teams. Many organizations, like some of you listening, have not physically seen each other in up to 22 months. Considering this isolation paired with the heightened frequency of current events taking place, it can feel chaotic. This places a large amount of onus on leaders to take responsibility for the well-being of their teams. How do they keep teams connected when they are physically distanced? What’s the science behind connection? Why do we crave it so much? How valuable are stories in the new manager-employee contract? That’s the focus of Season 6, Episode 3 of Your Brain At Work: How can we keep teams and people connected in times of chaos?

As work – and our connection to work – keeps shifting, many popular thought pieces and research are rooted in the same foundational question: What does a manager need to do now? How have managerial roles evolved as a result of the pandemic and remote/hybrid models? One of the major ways is a shift from “surveillance” focus – i.e. “I value having strong oversight of my teams and what they’re working on,” to prioritizing focus on "outcomes", which is aligned to achieving key goals. This is a massive adjustment for some managers and organizations- and adaptation can prove even more challenging.

In this Season 6 Premiere episode of Your Brain at Work LIVE, our panel reviews the President’s recent Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility that continues to drive positive change in the federal workspace and the organizations they impact. We examine some of the key points within the order through the lens of neuroscience and identify potential pitfalls that can snag even the most well-meaning leaders in their efforts.

Welcome to the Season 5 finale of Your Brain at Work Live. Performance management is a huge topic throughout work in general, but it’s faded somewhat recently due to COVID, hybrid approaches, and other concerns of leaders. We come back and revisit performance management as part of the talent ecosystem in this season finale, with David Rock, Marshall Bergmann, and Christy Pruitt-Haynes.

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