Connect Through Think … Feel … Know …

“Understanding the way your brain works can help define a great leader” according to Clive Hyland author of Connect Through Think Feel Know.

Connect through think feel know

In an article in May / June 2013’s edition of ILM’s Edge magazine Hyland poses the question “can we really train and develop people to become successful leaders or is it simply something in our genes?”  He proposes that insights offered by emerging neuroscience will take our understanding of this subject to a whole new level. (Hyland, 2013)

  • Thinking layer = The Cortex:  logic, data, structure, method and rules
  • Feeling layer = Limbic region:  energy, sensing, feeling, emotions, relationships and creativity
  • Knowing layer = Basal region:  instincts, intuition and ‘gut’ responses

The model offers insights into our behavioural responses:

  • Primary Thinkers: orderly, structured, seeking clarity in rules and comfort in method.
  • Primary Feelers: warm, creative, passionate, sensitive to their environment.
  • Primary Knowers: take a position quickly, want to get to the pont, want to get things done.

The “effective leader is the person who can create connections at these deeper layers of interpersonal engagement.  Leadership has to embrace all three of the thinking feeling and knowing dimensions …  The effective leader is the person who can create all of these cnnections and harness all of these talents in the common cause.” (Hyland, 2013)

The reviews on Amazon were very favourable so I decided to add it to my reading list and I’m very glad that I did.

“The Thinking Brain [the cortex] is working primarily on the basis of rational processing.  It is about process, structure, systems and logic.  It is therefore the place of reflection and self-analysis.  This is the sphere of evidence, analysis, problem-solving and planning.”

“The Feeling Brain [the limbic] is where we experience pain, distress, excitement, happiness, fear and anxiety.  It is from here that we offer others empathy, confrontation, care and personal challenge.  It is the place where we connect and disconnect from others.  This limbic region of the brain operates by creating and spotting patterns.  It is always on the lookout for associative connections.  It is this associative tendency that provides the fertile ground for linking experiences through stories.  If the limbic layer is engaged then the cortex will follow.”

It is fascinating to contemplate how to two work together:

“The cortex is the guardian of our rules and moderates the behaviour of the ‘unruly’ limbic layer.  When the cortex rests, the limbic layer has the opportunit to flow free without constraint.”

Thinking belongs to science: Feeling belongs to art.”

“The basis for decision-making is created when the Thinking and Feeling regions of the brain are aligned.”

“The Knowing Brain [the basal region or stem] is the core of our subconscious, where we operate well away from the influence of the cortex.  When we are operating in Knowing Mode, our instincts have taken over and we have the answer, [operating] by gut instinct using intuition.”

“Intuition is the absorbtion of this data via the limbic system and the processing of this data through to the basal layer of the brain: instincts plus experiential data = intuition.”

The book “demonstrates that ultimately our emotions are more powerful than our thoughts when it comes to influencing behaviour.”

Hyland applys the same principles to organisations: “Many businesses have a vision, but it only comes alive if the people involved can connect with it.  If it does not energise its audience through such a connection, it is simply data: information that can at best provide clarity, but will not motivate.”

Once the concepts have been fully explained, Hyland then moves on to explain that these are behavioural preferences with neither being better than the other and that most of us will have a primary preference and a secondary preference.  There are examples of how people using their primary preference will interact with somone of a different primary preference e.g. Think:Feel, Think:Know, Think:Think, etc.

It is fascinating to identify your own primary (and secondary) preferences and to read how you are likely to relate to people with different preferences.  It is certainly true that the more you know yourself the more you understand others and this book will certainly help with that journey of discovery and understanding enabling you, your team, your organisation to connect.

I highly recommend this book.


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