What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Leadership?


Leadership is about two things, understanding other people and understanding ourselves. The value of these two qualities have been shown time and time again, across different types of organisations, situations, group sizes, and a multitude of other factors. Cognitive Neuroscience, the blend of psychology and neuroscience, is the scientific discipline devoted to understanding the way that humans work. There should be a clear pathway by which the latest scientific discoveries about humans are translated into knowledge and practical advice for leaders…but there isn’t. Instead, we have a high prevalence of mis-translated scientific findings based on poorly conducted research. In this talk, we will discuss what one can reasonably expect to learn from the study of how our brains support our minds, and what lessons we can already put into practice. We will look at scientific studies of decision-making, of social skill, and self-awareness. We will look at how leaders are selected, and how we can improve their skills. 


Professor Geoff Bird is a Cognitive Neuroscientist, i.e. he is both a psychologist and neuroscientist. Geoff is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oxford and University College London.  He works part-time as Chief Scientific Adviser and Director of TJC (Tobias Jones Consulting Limited), a fast-growing consultancy focused on delivering mission-led innovation and business impact.  Geoff holds a Visiting Professorship at Radboud University in The Netherlands and is also one the Principals of the Centre for Educational Neuroscience – an organisation dedicated to enriching education through the application of findings from neuroscience. Geoff is the author of approximately 200 scientific paper and is frequently consulted by blue chip companies and the media to explain the relevance of neuroscience to society and business.Throughout his career Geoff has focused on understanding the neuroscience of performance, both of individuals and of groups. He is an expert on social interaction, and on mental health and neurodiversity.  In 2008 Professor Geoff Bird served as a Science Policy Advisor to the UK Government.  A key focus of his present research is how people can make better decisions, both individually and in groups.  This led Geoff to complete a WABC-accredited Business Coaching course focusing on the neuroscience of leadership and performance.

He has been voted one of the UK’s ‘Most Influential HR Thinkers’ by HR magazine.

Clients include approximately half of the Top 50 global law firms, banks, hedge funds, engineering companies, management consultancies, pharma, NHS and other public bodies, and the UK Civil Service.

Wednesday, 24 July 2024

15:00 - 15:45 BST


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  • Geoff Bird
    Professor Geoff Bird
    Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
    University of Oxford
  • Richard Harvey_420
    Professor Richard Harvey
    Professor of Computer Science
    University of East Anglia

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