What makes for effective and resilient teams is something that interests many leaders and organisations. I have spoken about some of these aspects in other articles, particularly on team composition. But some new research gives some insights into the leaders themselves and how they influence effectiveness and resilience in the face of unexpected situations. Something that is of particular interest with the pandemic which has raised the importance of resilience.

So what behaviours created more effective and resilient teams?

Research into 48 teams from 5 Canadian startups by Brykman and King showed that those leaders who encouraged on-the-job-learning, and of note, also enabled and encouraged employees to speak up…

Credit: unknown (let me know if you know it)

Old logic sees punishment as motivation. Good ‘ole school systems used this: strict rules and give anyone who diverges of the righteous path a good beating. That will see them right. I grew up in Britain which still had the cane (a thin stick) as a punishment in schools — it was finally abolished when I was 14, but not before my brother and been given a good whipping at school. …

Photo 157584987 / Learning © Psisaa | Dreamstime.com

One of my most popular quick hits here on medium was this one where I reported on research that showed that breaks as short as ten seconds can increase the effectiveness of learning.

This effect of taking breaks to increase learning is well known, known as spacing, and most people know it. But we so far haven’t known the actual underlying biological basis of this is. And research just out from the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft investigating this has come up with a surprising result.

They put mice through various maze learning tasks while tracking activation of neurons. What they found, which was…

We’re right in the middle of the Olympics (Tokyo 2020) and testosterone is well known to be a performance enhancing hormone whether for men and women. In fact it pretty much tops the doping list — not to mention certain controversies with women and elevated natural testosterone levels such as Castor Semenya.

This aside, and related controversies around this, testosterone has also been related to success in just about everything with, for example, senior leaders having reported higher testosterone levels. …

I’ve written and spoken extensively on unconscious bias and gender stereotypes — and even though some of these, are, and should be outdated, many still persist.

One of these is that “women are too emotional” for senior leadership positions. I’ve seen many very emotional male leaders in senior leadership positions, and have seen some of the worst emotional decision making in men — that’s another topic for another day.

But this recent paper published came up with some surprise results and conditions in which women can be seen as more effective leaders.

What emotions make leaders seem more effective?


I’ve written in other posts on the positive effects of the outdoors on the brain, health, and psychological being and I’ll review another recently published paper from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.

This particularly study followed six healthy middle-aged adults over the pandemic and also did over 280 MRI scans of their brains to track any changes in brain structure.

They collected data on self-reported data during the pandemic and particularly on time spent outdoors but also fluid intake, and caffein intake, amongst others. …

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So earworms, those songs that get stuck in your head, do have a purpose, even if mildly annoying, according to some recent research.

The paper, “Spontaneous Mental Replay of Music Improves Memory for Incidentally Associated Event Knowledge,” was published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Co-authors are Janata and Benjamin Kubit, a postdoctoral researcher in cognitive neuroscience, both of the UC Davis Department of Psychology, and Center for Mind and Brain.

They worked with about 30 people in three different experiments working with music and films. …

Well, you may or may not have enjoyed maths at school but a fascinating piece of research has shown what this does to the brain and why you may have wanted to keep up your maths education.

Intriguingly this is with a specific neurotransmitter in a specific part of the brain and the changes could be seen two years later.

This piece of research followed teenagers in the UK who get the option of dropping maths as they continue further studies in contrast to many other countries or curriculums globally.

So what did this research show?

Admittedly this seems like a chicken and egg observation but nevertheless interesting to note.

This recently published study out of Washington State University conducted on more than 900 twins shortly after lockdown measures began showed that about half reported no change in their sleep patterns, around a third (32.9%), reported decreased sleep, and the final 29.8% reported sleeping more.

The researcher found that any change in sleep was connected to self-reported mental health issues, though it was more strongly associated with decreased sleep. This is no surprise with sleep consistently reported as being essential for health, mental health, and general…

ID 136309426 © Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com

Education before age five leaves structural changes to the brain, identifiable forty years later — impressive! This is the beauty of long-term longitudinal studies (the negative side is you have to wait decades to get the results).

Abecedarian Project was an early education randomised controlled trial that has followed development since 1971 in North Carolina in the USA. In this project there was a control group (of 18) and an educational group (of 29) in groups of high-risk infants i.e. from socially under-privileged children. Both groups received extra health care, nutrition, and family support services. The education group received in…

Andy Hab

The brain and human behaviour, in business, society, learning, and health.

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