Great leaders go beyond simple results-oriented outcomes. Great leaders have an enormous impact on their followers and organizations that transcends a singular result. They are a major force in realizing both fresh visions and significant change. When a leader’s vision is based on strongly held values that cause others to become energized and to identify with the vision, that leader is considered inspirational (Conger & Kanungo, 1998).
A research study asked 50 diverse leaders to articulate their visions for their organizations’ future while 19 qEEG electrodes were attached to their scalps. The study found a wide variation between the participants in terms of the degree of neural connectivity in the right frontal portions of their brains. More specifically, three key results were found First, as predicted, right frontal coherence was associated with participants who were coded as high on socialized visionary communication. Second, a socialized vision was correlated with follower perceptions of inspirational/ charismatic leadership. Third, right frontal coherence was associated with follower perceptions of inspirational/ charismatic leadership.
In short, these findings suggest that right frontal coherence may help to form the basis of socialized visionary communication, which in turn helps to build follower perceptions of the leader in inspirational or charismatic terms. Put another way, neuroscience can identify specific areas of the brain and brain activity associated with inspirational leadership. The researchers concluded that neuroscience appears to be a fruitful path for both understanding and developing inspirational leaders.
Conger, J. A., & Kanungo, R. N. (1998). Charismatic leadership in organizations. Sage.
Waldman, D. A., Balthazard, P. A., & Peterson, S. J. (2011). Leadership and Neuroscience: Can We Revolutionize the Way That Inspirational Leaders Are Identified and Developed? Academy of Management Perspectives, 25(1), 60–74.