Author Profile Picture

Lynda Shaw

Neuroscience Professional Development Programmes


Read more from Lynda Shaw

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

The psychology of inspiring leaders


Many believe that great leaders of their time were born and not made. But are we really sure the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Gandhi and Winston Churchill to name a few, are examples of those were born to be powerful or did they apply their innate intelligence, confidence and judgement to lead from the front?

Alpha is the state we achieve when we meditate, use mindfulness or daydream. Alpha (8-12 Hz) brain oscillations help us direct our attention to an active task in the moment, whilst suppressing irrelevant or distracting information.  This is something leaders do which enables them to plan clearly and be in control.  

Today, great leaders are defined by a whole raft of characteristics but fundamentally, what sets them apart from the rest of the pack is their ability to project that ‘extra something’ that immediately places them on the stage and enables them to stand out from the crowd. Their curiousness and commitment to learning is beyond measure and their accomplishments and achievements inspire others to follow suit and are used as a benchmark for the future of their own success.

Good leaders remain calm in the face of challenging situations partly due to their strong can-do attitude and their ability to use their strong problem-solving mentality to overcome any adversities that they’re faced with. This is supported by research that shows a higher level of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol in the brains of effective leaders renders them confident and dominant. Alongside their positive thinking, the power of influence that they have on others can be immense, helping to boost motivation and confidence in their own ability - with the right mindset, anything is possible.

When you’re leading from the front, it is crucial to set the right framework for others to follow. Adapting an optimistic outlook and consistently striving for progress sends out this positive message. An optimistic brain facilitates creativity and wellbeing, but it is important to be realistic, something successful leaders are extremely aware of.

Great leaders see the potential in others and employ their philosophy to drive the team forward through careful guidance, encouragement and discipline. Challenges are created for the team at all levels, providing equal opportunity for all to have a voice, sharing thoughts and ideas and a moment to shine.

Leaders who don’t allow collective involvement from their colleagues are often left isolated and are considered to be disengaged from the team. This can be hugely detrimental to a business, resulting in a loss of productivity, tarnished self-esteem, poorer quality of work, as well as unsettling the overall moral of a business.

We’re captivated by strong leaders who can demonstrate these qualities and stand firm in their presence. There is much to be admired when we see an authoritative figure working a room with minimum effort and who makes everyone feel at ease and appreciated in less than an instant.  

Whether great leaders are born with a gift or created over time is a subject for hot debate, but the answer is probably a bit of both. Either way, a great leader’s authenticity and approach keeps us inspired and encourages us all to be the best that we can be.  

Tips on how to be a good leader


Sharing the work load is essential. The art to delegating is really understanding your colleague’s strengths, weaknesses, what they enjoy doing, what they need to learn and what they are good at, and dividing the workload accordingly.

Trust and honesty

This is a double-edged sword. Your staff needs to have faith in you and you need to be able to trust them. Construct a code of conduct that you follow too. This shows employees what you expect of them and what they can expect of you; breaching this can result in consequences for either party. 

Be negotiable

It’s very important to listen to others within your team. If they have a good idea, tell them and reward these ideas and never take credit for their work.   

Author Profile Picture
Lynda Shaw


Read more from Lynda Shaw

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!