Jhon B Watson, the father of behavioral science, made a classic quote in his article during 1913:
“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my specified world to bring them up in, and I will guarantee to take anyone at random and train him to become any specialist I might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors.”
Although Watson was not perfect in his claim, his idea is still near to the truth. Vygotsky’s cognitive theory also featured the critical role of social interaction and interaction with expert partners in shaping human character and building capacity. Followers’ motivation, inspiration, and mental alignment with leadership vision is undoubtedly a much indispensable leadership domain. Scientific studies have found enormous scopes of constructing or shaping the human mind in some similar categories, if not the same. In the present consumerist societies, corporate business magnets are taking this advantage worldwide to change and manipulate peoples’ choices, likings, attractions, and emotions on certain commodities, ideas, or fashions. Similarly, in an organizational framework, a well-articulated expectation and practical scheme can help leaders train their men and shape or re-shape their motivation, skills, and character necessary for the institution or the society.
Recent cognitive psychologists and neurobiologist studies indicate that most human behavior and attitudes fall into the habit category. It has been found that physical and mental habits are the primary determinants of human character. Our analyzing habits, speaking habits, spontaneous reactions to some stimuli, liking or disliking, ability, limitation, and faith are mostly social construction that builds upon exposure to the social environment we live in. People behave as they learn from society. People also get into misconduct as they are experienced similar mischief in their environment. Hence, strategic leaders need to take advantage of the mind-shaping techniques and organize a constructive leadership environment to build the character pattern of their men. The mission-oriented character-building technique may seem simple yet extremely difficult to conduct at the age of free media.
Appropriate habits and the positive attitude of both leaders and followers determine the quality of the leadership environment. Building quality habits is usually related to administering social or organizational practices. Identifying helpful and harmful stimulants and finding their management schemes is essential. There is a necessity to regulate all stimulations propagated through discussions, storytelling, movies, news, images, narratives, and every piece of actual or virtual interaction. It is crucial to determine what kinds of conversations, information, ideas, and descriptions need to be encouraged and what are to be denied from own people. Rejecting does not mean the absence of occurrences; it means controlling the propagation of those unwanted impulses for a higher purpose. People are to be encouraged in constructive behavior and positive thinking. Social and organizational practice must complement the process through intellectual cooperation.
Influencing the human mind and engaging them to the leadership vision is rock hard work, but constructive mind-shaping techniques can make the task easy. Moving people for a specific purpose becomes much more manageable if the shaping of minds is alike. Proper mental conditioning takes time and effort but works as the foundation of stability and harmony in an organization or a society. This difficult task has found new opportunities now. The recent discovery of neuroscience has opened up new scope for leaders to shape peoples’ behavior and enhance their motivation. Nero-plasticity is an opportunity to build, shape, or re-shape human capacity for constructive change.
So far, leadership was an art of influencing people, but now it has also been transformed into the science of building human minds.
The concept of neuroplasticity says neuronal networks in the human brain primarily develop during childhood but continue to grow in entire life. Neuronal connections, networks, and patterns in the human brain differ from individual to individual, thus determining individual character and uniqueness. Those connections do not get closed with age; instead, they remain highly adaptive like plastics. Brain neurons can form new networks through behavioral change, thinking procedures, and visualization methods. This phenomenon is called neuroplasticity. New connections in the brain occur through conscious thinking practice or behavior training. When people practice or visualize something in a regular pattern, it also creates new connections in the human brain. Thus, it can form new habits, enhance motivation, and re-shape character through the process. It is a remarkable possibility for societies and organizations to re-build peoples’ behavior, attitude, and life values through visualization techniques and other behavioral training approaches. Indeed, it is a collective technique where leaders at all levels need a high degree of self-motivation, honesty in purpose, and holistic focus for the national interest and the well-being of humanity.