The neuroscience of leadership

DProf thesis

Rock, D. 2010. The neuroscience of leadership. DProf thesis Middlesex University Institute of Work Based Learning.
TypeDProf thesis
Doctorate by public works thesis
TitleThe neuroscience of leadership
AuthorsRock, D.

This doctorate summarizes 13 years of thinking, experimentation and research into the issue of improving human performance. Specifically, the issue of how to drive
change in human performance, through conversation. This focused on non-clinical populations, and generally with very high functioning people.
My work initially focused on the act of ‘coaching’. At its simplest, coaching is the ability of one person to enable another to improve their performance. Through intensive observation, I built a coaching model that enabled a significant improvement in people’s ability to facilitate behavior change in others. The model was based on the realization that people needed the ‘aha’ moment for change to occur. An effort was made to understand how to best bring others to their own insights. An approach was developed into a set of codified techniques and taught to
thousands of professionals worldwide, including inside large organizations.
Through a desire to understand the deeper mechanisms occurring in moments of insight, I became fascinated with brain research. Initially focused on the neuroscience of insight, I soon became interested in the neuroscience behind other mental experiences central to effective workplace functioning, such as selfawareness, social skills, decision-making, and emotional regulation.
Because no formal body of knowledge existed that explained the neuroscience underneath everyday work situations, I reached out to and was mentored by specific neuroscientists. I soon saw value in creating a field of study that brought neuroscience research into the field of coaching, leadership development and organizational change. A new field of knowledge was created, called the Neuroscience of Leadership, which is now being driven by an institute, an annual summit, a journal and academic education.
This thesis explores my 13-year learning journey, the key research that was undertaken, the mentors who supported my learning and the publications I produced. It finishes with a discussion about the development of the Neuroscience of
Leadership field, and the future of that field.

Research GroupWork and Learning Research Centre
Department nameInstitute of Work Based Learning.
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print24 May 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited24 May 2011
CompletedMar 2010
Output statusPublished
Additional information

A project submitted to Middlesex University for a professional doctorate.

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