Part 4: Leadership equals influence: navigate change and success by use of the leadership compass

Avoid creating chaos, respect position, interest, need for leadership and need for connection.

As mentioned previously, I interpret the main function of the emotional brain as being the survival/thriving of the individual within the group and the survival/thriving of the group within its environment. In this sense, when interacting with other individuals two feelings in particular are important:

1. Who is the dominant party?

Who is calling the shots, do I want to follow, do I know my place in the pecking order or do I still have to find out where I am? Or, perhaps I feel that I can/should/want to be the leader? These feelings lead to all kinds of submissive or dominant behaviour or behaviour that fluctuates between the two.

2. Are we connected?

monkey brain

Do we trust each other to defend each other’s interests; are we helping each other or competing? The feeling of connection is established by behaviour that embodies it: listening, helping, touching, grooming (the human version is chatting in small groups), being together, sharing successes and worries, and so on.

When managed appropriately, these two main feelings (dominance and connection) will create the dynamic required to lead the group to survival and performance. And, as the emotional brain doesn’t understand language, dominance and connection is communicated by behaviour.

In my view, these two feelings correspond with the dimensions of a long-standing behavioural concept, namely, Timothy Leary’s (1957) rose of Leary. What follows is my own adapted version of this concept based on extensive reflection and experience. I see it as a core tool for communicating with the emotional brain (the monkey). This version of the concept is less rational and describes how one can imagine how the emotional brain would perceive certain behaviour. I intentionally exclude a lot of nuances, as these are more a characteristic of the rational brain than of the emotional one. I call it the emograph or leadership compass.

The Leadership Compass


In the next part I will describe how to use the leadership compass to have a strong influence in leading your team.


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