Business Mentoring: Why Emotions Matter


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Joan Kingsley is an expert on neuroscience, and she has a message for business owners: scientific research on the brain can be applied to forming your organization and culture. It’s not voodoo; it’s the real deal.

In 1994, Antonio Damasio published a popular, influential book titled Descartes’ Error. The French philosopher Rene Descartes is today best remembered for his statement “I think, therefore I am,” connecting the self with rationality.

The “error,” Damasio (and other researchers at the time) said, was separating rational thought from emotion. The development of brain scans changed the way researchers thought about emotions and the brain. Instead of separate, now they are seen as inextricably linked. The emotional storehouse in the brain is the amygdala, and when that is damaged, the ability to be logical and concentrate goes, too. When you remove emotional centers, Joan says, your whole ability to be creative evaporates.

This is an important insight for leaders and managers dealing with teams and employees. The most common management tactic is based on fear—but playing on the fear emotion has very real consequences for how people’s rational processes respond. Emotions matter, and the emotions people stimulate affect everyday performance. Getting it right will make your business more productive and collaborative; getting it wrong can kill a culture.

In this session, you’ll learn:

  • Why the way we connect emotions and the brain matters
  • Why the most common management tool is fear
  • How a fear-based strategy impacts performance

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Edwin Bevens

Edwin Bevens is the Head Writer and Editor for Tarkenton Companies, and the Editor of With a background in journalism and publishing, Edwin received a 2008 South Carolina Press Association Award for reporting. Developing, producing, and maintaining content across multiple websites, Edwin focuses on helping small business owners find the right match of voice, audience, and medium for every message.