Watch the video....
Now, take a moment....
What exactly did you feel?
How did this happen? You know it is a movie with Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. How can it possibly make you feel anything? But I bet it did make you feel something.
An answer lies in a new book The Hidden Spring by world-renowned neuroscientist Mark Solms. He places feelings at the heart of all human consciousness and even hunts them down not to the amygdala or neocortex alone but to the brainstem itself. He shows us that feelings are a deep and ancient part of all mammalian brains that present as the 'hidden spring' of all consciousness.
The key point is that we have no control over the feelings generated in our 'hidden spring'. Our rational brain is still asleep as feelings flood through our consciousness. We may think that our logical thinking drives our actions, but alas it is our feelings that drive the show. (Good examples include politics, religion, sport and now more than ever conspiracy theories.)
The movie clip above simply demonstrates the fact that your feelings come first and most importantly, you have no control over them. Like wild horses they choose their own path.
THE LESSON FOR LEADERS - THE POWER OF AUTHENTIC ACTING SKILLS
Hopkins and Foster deliver the most powerful of messages for every leader. How you act will automatically trigger the 'hidden spring' of feelings in those around you. Forget the well worn call of 'you must be authentic'. If a leader is abrupt, narcissistic, a bully and a bad listener, far better if all of this is left at home.
What a leader needs is the insight and skill to act authentically. In other words be a great actor and become a great 'feeling' generator.
William Shakespeare understood this well when Jacques in As You Like It said:
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts...."
Just as becoming a good golfer requires firstly a modicum of talent and secondly a great coach and teacher, so becoming a great leader also requires a great teacher. It is all too easy to say a leader must be resilient, courageous, imaginative, inspiring, emotionally intelligent and purpose driven, but this is all as useless as telling a golfer to 'hit the ball straight'. It means absolutely nothing at all unless a leader is taught how to be and act these things. (Or whatever is actually deemed important in the real world.)
PRACTICAL TIPS ON IMPROVING YOUR LEADERSHIP ACTING SKILLS
And most importantly, enjoy your new acting journey. The sky is the limit.