Why smart leaders make dumb decisions ? :

The stress effectTHE STRESS EFFECT – Henry L. Thompson

Why stressed leaders sometimes make very poor decisions ?
Stress has an enormous impact on the brain’s cognitive and emotional intelligences, 2 abilities required for making sound leadership decisions, at all organizational levels…

Published in 2010, The Stress Effect is a precise and well-documented synthesis about what are cognitive and emotional intelligences, and the impact of stress on our decision making process.
It will also give you tools to develop your cognitive and emotional resilience, as well as the “ARSENAL” toolbox to prevent stress.

Some key notes :

  • 2 main strategies in decision-making :
    • For most of our decisions in daily life, the intuitive (and mostly unconscious) strategy helps us deal with routine or with emergency situations. But under high stress, we face the risk of the “amygdala hijacking” where we loose our emotional intelligence and react out of fear, anger, etc…
    • The rational strategy (Problem analysis – Generation and evaluation of options – Selection of solutions and action – Evaluation of the results) is required for more complex and unknown problems but is time and energy consuming.
      The more complex the decision, the more crucial the role of cognitive intelligence.
  • Stress and decision-making :
    • In a 1st step, stress will help us face change in our environment.
    • But if it remains high, it damages our brain and our body.
    • Impact on our cognitive intelligence : our perception filters increase, we loose memory, focus more on the short-term.
    • Impact on our emotional intelligence : again we focus more on the short-term, we are more influenced by emotions and prejudice.
  • The “ARSENAL” toolbox to prevent stress :
    • Awareness
    • Rest & Sleep
    • Support (esp. in difficult times)
    • Exercise
    • Nutrition
    • Attitude (positive and collaborative)
    • Learning

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