Archive for June, 2011

Need to understand people better? Fire up your temporoparietal junction!

June 17th, 2011 Kevin No comments

If you found this post it is likely because you want to understand people better, not necessarily because you want to try brain juggling. This post teaches how brain juggling helps you understand folks better.

What is brain juggling?

Brain juggling is an activity that lets you juggle your thoughts (kind of like juggling balls and different). With brain juggling you fire up specific areas of your brain. It’s a great exercise to balance your brain.

What’s this post about?

This post describes an area of the brain that, along with some other areas, helps us understand what other people are thinking and feeling. The specific area is called the temporoparietal junction.

Woah… can you shorten that a bit?

Sure, TPJ will work just fine.

How will the TPJ help me understand other people better?

Researchers indicate that the TPJ is highly active when lab volunteers are asked to consider what other people are feeling or thinking. The area also fires up when volunteers self reflect about themselves.

How can I find out more about the role of the TPJ?

Google “Rebecca Saxe from MIT”  to learn more. Or simply search for “TPJ and brain,” Wikipedia has a good entry on it. Remember, there are some other areas involved too, particularly in the frontal cortex.

Okay, so the TPJ is where we consider what others are thinking or feeling… so what?

When we know where we do that, we can juggle thoughts from that area back and forth with some other areas to help us better understand people. It’s like being in their shoes and completely different.

So, if I need to understand people better what should I do?

Brain juggle! Specifically, juggle your thoughts from the TPJ to the front of your brain and back. Focus on the TPJ and its function. That will help it work for you and let you know what others are thinking.

If I focus on the brain area that helps me know what others are thinking, I’ll know what they are thinking better?

That’s the idea. There’s some more to it than that and let’s save that for another day.

How do I brain juggle?

A few of my earlier blog posts on brain juggling teach you what to do. Take a look.

Where is the TPJ?

Since a picture paints a thousand words, find an image of it on line. Just search for TPJ and take a look.

And you really think this will work?

How will you know unless you try… good luck!


Kevin Leahy

Founder, Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: Brain power Tags:

Leadership tips

June 9th, 2011 Kevin No comments

Knowledge Advocate’s Top Ten Leadership Tips

#1: get a deck of index cards and write your favorite leadership hints on them. Review the deck weekly.

#2: adopt a leadership model and use it. Try out the model in the book, Primal Leadership. The authors present six types of leader. Well-balanced leaders rotate the type of leadership they use to fit the occasion.

#3: ask for help. Learn what help you seek by making your vision and needs clear first to yourself and then to those who are willing to follow you. They will help you far more when you clarify your needs and vision.

#4: know that all “reasoning” is argument. That means you, like most everyone else, will suffer from faulty reasoning from time to time. The remedy? Seek the wisdom of your crowd daily. We are smarter together.

#5: meet the needs of those who follow you. First, learn what their needs are by paying close attention and asking lots of questions. Then, meet those needs. Because expressing needs is hard work, help them do it.

#6: help people create new habits. New habits are the amazing and humane solution to constant change.

#7: help folks do things “no matter what it takes” by encouraging their true emotional commitment. Lead them to strong and sound emotional resolve. Trust, rapport, and confidence are good starters.

#8: each of us has an A-player inside. Changing people is hard work so change conditions instead. Change the environment and discover that the A-players you never dreamed of having are already there for you.

#9: from business chaos comes order. Nature teaches this truth. So when things get chaotic, accept the challenge and look hard to see the order. Use your big picture gifts. Own the moment and take charge.

#10: be generous. Offer continuous and uninterrupted energy of gratitude, appreciation, and thanks. Share these things directly and emotionally with those people who are kind enough to follow your lead.

Leadership is serious business. This is a solid list to reflect upon as you continue to honor your followers with your sincere effort, hard work, and clear vision. Help them help you.

Good luck!

Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: Consulting, Learning, People Tags:

Leaders and managers can meet different employee needs

June 6th, 2011 Kevin No comments

What’s this post about?

This post compares leaders versus managers. I key in on the different needs that each position fulfills. Leaders and managers deserve to meet employee needs differently because of the different roles they fill.

Why the focus on employee needs?

Needs drive behaviors. When we meet them, our behaviors work for us; when needs go unmet, our behaviors can work against us. Great leaders and managers must meet the needs demanded of them.

Are there differences between leaders and managers?


What are they?

There are many ways to explain the differences, here’s one version:

Leaders vs.                              Managers

Show why                                   Answer how

Know what                                 Say when

Jump with passion                     Walk with intention

See the vision                             Hear the subtle differences

Smell the future                          Touch the today

How does this list relate to meeting employee needs?

Leading and managing are different. Each position can meet different employee needs too.

What employee needs can leaders meet that are different from the needs managers meet?

Leaders vs.                               Managers

Clarity                                          Well-being

Authority                                      Mastery

Purpose                                        Meaning

Confidence                                   Warmth

Belonging                                     Autonomy

Power                                           Growth

.                     and for both…

Security                                       Security

Recognition                                Recognition

Fun                                              Fun

Some of the needs listed are the same for leaders and managers; what’s up with that?

We all need security, recognition and fun. Leaders and managers that don’t get this are in big trouble.

You’re begging the question: shouldn’t leaders and managers meet all our needs?

Yes and no.

Say some more?

Consider the benefit of a confident leader versus a warm leader? Or a kind manager versus an authoritative manager? Sure one position can meet all of our needs at work, and that’s hard to do.

So I should focus on different needs leaders meet vs. the needs managers meet?


Then what do you want me to do with my focus?

At work today, meet the different needs of your employees depending on whether you are a leader or a manager. Figure out which needs you can meet due to your position… and go meet them.

Why should I meet the needs of my employees?

Simple: they will work better for you… here’s what happens to folks who get their needs met:

They have a better understanding of things and are okay with them;

The will forgive themselves for little foibles and big gaffs too;

They’ll get real real fast and be authentic, trusting, and trustworthy;

They will start to focus on solutions more than problems;

They’ll need less (as odd as that sounds filling needs reduces needs);

You will see them grow and develop faster;

They will be more enjoyable and they’ll enjoy more things too;

They will connect and relate better with their coworkers;

And as a bonus, you will get more creative and innovative employees.

That’s it, that’s the end of your post?


Have fun,

Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: Consulting, People Tags: