Lady Leader Tara Swart

One of our favorite lady leaders, Tara Swart speaks “Neuroscience and Nationalism” during this ted talk:



In this speech, Tara highlights that, “due to the wiring of the brain, the survival emotions of fear, anger, disgust, shame and sadness have a much stronger effect on the brain and correlate to the stress hormone” (Neuroscience and Nationalism | Tara Swart | TEDxLSE, 2017, 03:15–05:21) We can all agree with that fact, without thinking much of it. She goes on to explain, “stress and cortisol bias our decision making systems to avoid risk, avoid change, and anything we feel we can’t control” (Neuroscience and Nationalism | Tara Swart | TEDxLSE, 2017, 03:15–05:21). This was interesting, as it takes the common knowledge to a higher level of understanding/ reflection in how that actually impacts us. She continues on to say,

“our blood supply moves to survival mode - we don’t have enough resources for regulating emotions, helping us to think flexibly or creatively to solve complex problems”

(Neuroscience and Nationalism | Tara Swart | TEDxLSE, 2017, 03:15–05:21). This brings up the level of responsibility we each have to serve our own basic needs of hunger, thirst, and sleep to be a better employee, leader, family member, friend, etc. It’s more exciting to read articles about the best change management theory, but this back to basics approach is a humble way to start small by making changes that improve everyone's experience of interacting with you, and how you feel about yourself.

My favorite quote from Tara was to tell a team, “focus on the phrase: as fast as we can, as slow as we must, indicating that indeed, sometimes a person or a team needs to slow down to get to the right result” (Swart, 2019). This is important in times that quickly evolving companies fall short on communication due to operating at lightning speed. I have already used this quote while speaking with my team. To read more about her work, you can search her name for publications posted on Forbes.

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