Louise:  What is the Synaptic Circle?

miamo:  This is a management model. Amy Brann, a British international trainer and coach, uses latest neuroscience for her work. She explains her neuro-leadership model in parts in her book “Make your brain work”. What I find most useful are the seven C’s: Confidence, certainty, culture, celebration, control, connection and contribution.


Louise:  What are these? Skills, values, corner stones?

miamo:  All of the above. They describe areas of needs that need to be met in order to avoid undermining the performances of employees. They are essential ingredients for successful teams and successful business development. Let’s have a brief look:

  • Confidence – Customers and employees want certainty to believe in a company, its products and its leaders. As people pretending confidence won’t really be successful personal development programs teach how to raise confidence. Without confidence customers won’t buy and staff will work less productive, less engaged. Once leaders are perceived as non-confident the teams’ future is threatened. The neurological threat response leads to lower productivity and distraction of staff.
  • Culture – is an essential and powerful ingredient. Culture forms us; may it be the culture of the country or region we live in, the sports club we join or the family we grown up in. Hence a company culture is powerful too. Just look at the different behavior in large US, German or Japanese company. Just imaging the challenges such companies face when on foreign turf! A Japanese company producing in German and vice versa….Their business success depends on how well this issue is addressed. Is there a culture of respect, of accepting difference, of support and reward etc.? So the company culture sets the frame for how people behave and perform in their work environment.
  • Celebration – In neuro-scientific terms celebration is anything that triggers the neurological reward system to act. Then dopamine is released in the brain which leads to a ‘feel good’ feeling which in return has positive effects on our productivity (cognition, memory, attention and problem solving). Considering this is common knowledge by know it is astonishing how many employees still end up as “flat liners” not willing to engage more or release their full potential? Leadership has room for improvement here.
  • Control – Increasing pressure and acceleration of business, endless streams of eMails and information seeming to be important leave people over-strained and with the of no longer being in control. Fear always triggers a fight or flight response which needs to be suppressed or overcome as in fact there is no immediate threat. If this happens on a daily basis it will lead to stress, sooner or later. Unless anxious, dependent subordinates are the intended result, leaders need to help employees to gain control through autonomy.
  • ConnectionResearchers have found that the pain of loneliness (due to a lack of social contact) is registered in that same part of the brain where physical pain is registered.  This means that we experience the emotional pain of loneliness in the same way we would experience physical pain. The main chemical we are lacking here is oxytocin. The mother-baby bond, for example, is built around the mutual release of oxytocin in both       systems.  It is also a calming hormone which allows us to better regulate our emotional reaction to our experiences. The feeling of connectedness therefore is essential to the peoples wellbeing and hence to their performance.
  • Contribution – Contributing to something worthwhile makes us feel good. As a result we produce dopamine, the happy hormone. I assume this needs no further explanation.


Louise: So one could say, the synaptic model with it’s seven core elements is a useful leadership tool?

miamo: Exactly. To take it into consideration comes at no or low costs but probably has a huge positive impact on people’s productivity, creativity and quality of work.