The fifth postulate of Renaissance leadership

Arte / Sciennza – The development of a balance between science and art, logic and imagination – thinking with the whole brain

Was Leonardo da Vinci a scientist or an artist? Is it even necessary to know the answer to this question? For him, these two dimensions of life were inseparable. “The artist’s ability to express the beauty of human curves lies in his detailed study of human anatomy,” Leonardo said.

You must have heard at least once in your life about the left and right hemispheres of the brain, about logic and creativity, about the domination of one side over the other. Have you ever wondered what is your “strong side” ? The world we live in, the system of schools and schooling with a stable way of working and repetitive style of acquiring knowledge, ingrained stereotypes about how to work in “serious” companies, the image of a top professional framed, above all, in systematics and analytics, do not give much chance or space for the people who see the world through lenses of creativity and playfulness – through “that other half of the brain.”

Modern leadership is almost impossible without strong activation of the entire brain. Without perceiving situations and possibilities through two prisms: ratio and analytics, on the one hand, and creativity and vision, on the other. A world that is unpredictable, uncertain, that accepts ambiguity and is at times complex requires almost constant juggling between structure and imagination. This is often a very tedious process. Even more because most of the people unconsciously limit their flexibility and ability to see the world from different angle. The reason for this restriction is hidden in the sentence: “That is me and I cannot be changed”. Many leaders hide behind statements: “I can’t do it differently.”, “That’s my style ” or “I could never do otherwise”. Growing in this field is an invaluable investment for every person. For leaders, this development path is an obligation, without compromise.

In addition to the skill of engaging one’s own, whole brain, the ability to fit differences into a team is a must for leaders. Left-hemispheres (analytics, detail) often view right-hemispheres (creativity, the bigger picture) as superficial, fluttering, insufficiently dedicated and dreamy. In return, the right-hemispheres will “stick” the label of small minds, opponents, brakesman and bores to the left-hemispheres.

If the leader is not aware that both groups of employees are needed to see the whole picture of the situation, project or problem, it can happen that one part of the team will feel less valuable or rejected. In addition, the result will not be at the level that would be achieved if both groups had the same representation and opportunity to contribute to the solution.

It is the leader who establishes an atmosphere of trust and acceptance of diversity. Flexibility in communication, understanding and support of different perspectives is the framework that a leader is obliged to establish, if he or she wants motivated, united and dedicated employees.

One of the most difficult tasks of a leader in this field is to employ in his or her team people who are strong in those areas where the leader is not. Why the hardest? Because it’s easier to connect, understand and ultimately trust the people who look like us. These others challenge us, are difficult for us and we have a need to “translate” them to our side of thinking.

One of the powerful tools that leaders, aware of the importance of combining these two approaches, use extensively in their daily business is Mind Map. Whether it’s planning, searching for the bigger picture, understanding the functioning of the system, designing a project, parenting – this tool will be useful in many ways. Many have heard of the tool, but do not use it. And it’s that simple! If you haven’t encountered this tool before, here are just a few key features (you can search for the detailed manual online):

– mind map resemble a tree and its branches

– in the “center” of the image is a picture or symbol of your theme

– write all the key words related to the topic around the central image; connect the lines for the central symbol

– continue listing the keywords for each term and repeat the action: link to the previous term

– repeat this action as many times as you need to get concrete answers, actions, insights related to the topic

– be creative

Instead of looking at the white paper and “digging” through the brain in order to get the idea listed as number 1, all you need is to prepare the crayons and start. It is important for the mind map to be colorful, dynamic (not symmetrical), to use round shapes, to use printed letters and to play. There are no right or wrong answers, no pre-defined structure and number of terms you have to write down. Everything you write is a product of your analysis and creativity.

If you are intrigued by the question which (your) hemisphere is stronger, how balanced they are and which needs a little encouragement, here are some handy statements. Check which ones you would rate as “correct” when it comes to you. I believe that you will be able to interpret the test result yourself:

1. I love details

2. I read books by leaps and bounds

3. I arrive on time

4. My brainstorming is going well

5. I’m doing well in math

6. I am very imaginative

7. I love logic

8. I rely on intuition

9. I love lists

10. I like to scribble

Based on the results, make a development plan. I suggest that you define the plan and action steps through a tool that will speed up the process. Make a mind map of your bi-hemispheric development and – get started!

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