Great Business Leadership - Learn to control that inner chimp!

Author:

A key aspect of great business leadership is recognising and negotiating new business opportunities, and that requires high levels of self-awareness. We asked LEAP's managing director Mike Gaffney to recommend some reading material with a focus on personal development. His recommendation is one that the entrepreneur can use to increase both self-awareness and business profits.

'Mike, any recommended reading for busy business leaders and entrepreneurs over the summer months?'

"The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters. It is an entertaining, engaging and hugely insightful book. It's an incredibly powerful mind management model that can help you become a happier, confident, healthier and more successful person.  The Chimp Paradox explains the struggle that takes place within your mind and then shows how to apply this understanding to every area of your life.

We talk a lot about business and leadership and improving your ability to deal with various situations. The Chimp Paradox explains how the human brain works in three basic parts. In each of us there is the reptilian brain of the chimp (emotional), the human brain (logical) and the computer brain (sub-conscious).  Understanding this enables you to recognise how the mind works, understand and manage emotions and thoughts, and manage yourself more effectively in stressful situations.

For example, it explains why when we are in traffic and a car cuts in front of us, the chimp within us jumps furiously up and down and beats its chest. Later on the human brain wonders why we got so excited about it. However, to avoid this, if the computer part of the brain has a pre-programmed calm response to the rude driver, the chimp can be directed by this pre-programmed response to relax and not get excited over a minor event.  Try it.

The book is about understanding this dynamic struggle inside each of us, and how to manage your own chimp, and how to use the chimp to protect you in dangerous situations. It's an engaging read, both enlightening and humorous, and it does shed light on why we behave in certain ways, particularly when we're under pressure and feel threatened.

You develop practical approaches to being more aware of the situations you are in…which is a much more mature form of leadership."

Why do you recommend this book to business owners?

"Business owners are aware that how well they manage themselves is critical to getting the right outcome in their day to day activities. It is not always about being right themselves, it is about ensuring the right outcome is achieved. That can often mean allowing a member of the team to be the hero, as opposed to the leader always having the answers.  We know this intuitively, however it is difficult to change existing behaviours.  The Chimp Paradox helps you address this.

It teaches you how to set up warning signs for yourself; how to get over yourself and your sense of self- importance, and how to avoid always beating your chest like that inner chimp. You develop practical approaches to being more aware of the situations you are in, and how you can better manage those situations to secure the right outcome, which is a much more mature form of leadership."

In interview with Des Kirby

Author

Mike Gaffney is the Managing Director of LEAP Leadership. Mike is passionate about helping leaders understand their role and how to effectively execute it, so that there are improved business results in addition to increased personal satisfaction. LEAP Leadership is a provider to ManagementWorks on our Management Team Development programmes.