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Beau Lotto and Gair Maxwell discuss how strong leaders invite others to question, to seek, and ultimately, to grow.

On a recent episode of TEC Canada’s The Leadership Standard podcast, Beau Lotto spoke with world renowned keynote speaker and brand strategist, Gair Maxwell. The focus of the hour-long conversation was on what qualities make a strong leader, and specifically, how one’s understanding of perception impacts their leadership skills. According to Lotto, the role of a strong leader is held by someone who is capable of leading people confidently into uncertainty. This leader is one who enables others to expand their perception and open themselves to growth. 

Maxwell questions how Lotto, a 3-time TED Talk speaker and expert on the neuroscience of perception, came to discover his interest in perception and uncertainty. Lotto reflects that he was “raised in an environment of possibility” with his mother often asking “what are we going to invent today?” To Lotto, this expanded his ability to find creativity, trust, humor, and his “what’s the worst thing that could happen” attitude. He goes on to discuss that the brain welcomes uncertainty through play. “Play is a state of mind. And science is play with intention.” The outcome we get from playing is simply that we played. Bringing it back to what makes a strong leader, Lotto suggests that companies that put the importance on the desire to do the thing itself, rather than looking for outside rewards, will be carried more easily through challenging times. In other words, the pursuit of the purpose (the joy in the doing) is where the success lies. He goes on to describe the “host effect;” the concept that the host of a party sets the tone for the event. If they are shy and introverted, the party will be quiet. If they are outgoing and boisterous, the party will be more high-energy. The idea is that a leader sets the tone for the company. When a leader displays genuine joy in the doing, so will the employees.

When asked by Maxwell why people in leadership roles struggle, Lotto simply answers “they think they’re supposed to have the answers.” Leaders struggle when they fail to create an environment for others to discover. When we believe that conflict is a bad thing, we are only set up to want to win, rather than to learn. By embracing uncertainty, leaders are inviting employees to challenge themselves to push toward the unknown. This, in turn, brings to light new ideas and potential growth.

Maxwell ponders “how much of our brain represents untapped potential?”
“We seem to have tremendous untapped capacity,” answers Lotto. “What our brain is constantly doing is organizing and reorganizing itself...what’s essential about our brain is that it’s adaptable. We’re constantly redefining normality and we see everything relative to that new normal. And the reason is because the world changes.” Being able to understand the importance of adapting to uncertainty is invaluable to strong leadership. It is the invitation to question, to seek, and ultimately, to grow. 

To watch the full conversation on The Power of Perception: Beau Lotto | TEC Canada’s The Leadership Standard Podcast with Gair Maxwell click here.

Written by: Amy Gentry.



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