Is your boss or a co-worker increasingly irritable, angry, withdrawn or acting in a predatory manner? Or are you noticing that behavior in yourself?

With rising demands in today’s workplace, emotional and behavioral disorders have soared. In “Untangling the Mind: Why We Behave the Way We Do,” Ted George, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington School of Medicine and neuroscientist at the National Institutes of Health, helps us understand America’s surge in emotional and behavioral disorders, including those we see in the workplace. Grasping “why” we instinctively react in certain ways is the first step in affecting change.

From a neuroscience perspective, these disorders arise when the emotional part of the brain (the “amygdala”) overrides the rational part of the brain (the “cortex”). According to Dr. George, the neuro-connections between the cortex and the amygdala serve to control the emotions/behaviors that have their final pathway in the periaqueductal gray (PAG), a little-known structure in the middle part of the brain. (read more…)

The challenge of leadership is to do what is right for the organization even when it means reversing a decision.

When reconsidering a decision it is important to decide what you did, why you did it, and what will be the consequences of reversing the decision. Shrewd leaders think ahead, and are willing to reconsider decisions when situations change. (read more…)

One of the most powerful and heartwarming subplots from the tragic period of the Holocaust was the heroic role that many “righteous gentiles” played in saving the lives of Jewish neighbors and refugees. Many men and women sheltered and fed Jews who sought sanctuary, at the risk of their own lives. A handful of diplomats used the power of their positions to issues visas and other documents to allow the refugees to leave Europe and seek asylum on new shores.

One such man was a Catholic diplomat, Aristides de Sousa Mendes. He served as Portuguese counsel general in Bordeaux, France, on the eve of the war. Due to its neutrality, Portugal was in position to issue visas for desperate people seeking to emigrate. Despite a policy that forbade the issuance of visas without prior permission, Sousa Mendes began to do just that. During a three-day period in June 1940, he and his staff are credited with issuing 30,000 visas. (read more…)

There’s a LOT of advice out there on leadership and management — almost as much as you’ll find on dating, careers, and how to raise your kids.

Actually, most of it’s pretty good, or at least not bad. I rarely come across an article in my daily SmartBrief on Leadership newsletter and say to myself “Well, that sure is a crock full of hooey!”

However, I’d recommend running away as far as you can from the following pearls of leadership and management wisdom:

1. “Ignore your weaknesses and leverage your strengths.” Try Googling any variation of this advice, and you’ll find plenty of credible sources telling you to ignore your strengths. This feel-good nonsense usually stems from a lazy misinterpretation of what’s referred to as the “strength-based leadership development” movement, made popular by Gallup, Marcus Buckingham, and countless other copycats. Gallup and Buckingham never said to ignore your weaknesses; the idea is to do whatever it takes to minimize your weaknesses (improvement, delegation, finding a different job, etc.). (read more…)

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

Q. As a young startup leader, how do you assess which of your early employees should move “up” to become people managers vs. subject-matter experts?

yec_Charlie Gilkey1. Do they research or rally?

Take any given challenge or opportunity. Employees who respond to that challenge or opportunity by rallying people are going to become your more natural managers, whereas people who respond by wanting to do more research are going to be your more natural subject matter experts. (This assumes you haven’t created incentives or disincentives for either response.) — Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing

yec_Brennan White2. Do they want to lead?

It is usually readily apparent when someone has the required personal skills to manage effectively. (read more…)