The obvious first question is, “What qualities do right and left brained individuals exhibit?” In general, left-brained people are logical and rational, while those who are heavily right-brained will show the creative and intuitive thinking patterns. Although most of us are a fusion of the two styles, our breakdown by percentage will define our leadership patterns.

While leadership in the past generations was more left-brained due to the need for mechanical and analytical skills, there has been a trend in the last few years to hire right-oriented people to be in charge.

While someone still has to do those tasks which are necessary, such as paperwork, time sheets, shipping, and more, the way we deal with our employees has changed as their work has evolved. Although there are still many hands-on production jobs, the level of technology has redefined those positions as well. No longer can someone walk up to a production line, step in, and start work. Training on the machines and processes is mandatory, and a certain level of understanding is needed.

Another area of change is the relationship between the leader and his crew or team. Two generations ago, employees showed up for work, worked hard, asked for very little other than a paycheck, and remained at one job for most or all of their career. This group would pass up the opportunity to see their child born in order to report for duty. Also, there was no expectation of a relationship between the boss and the underlings. In fact, it was often discouraged, and first-level leadership was asked not to break with their co-workers or foster friendships outside of work.

In the last decade, workers no longer expect to stay with one employer, and they expect different things when they come to work. Today’s employees expect the leadership team to be engaged and involved in their lives, willing to bend to help them through the hard times, and demand a more personal approach. They don’t expect to stand in solitude at a workstation pressing buttons all night. This group is more likely to miss work for any reason, and there is no expectation of longevity, so threating them with firing is not a real deterrent. The difference in workmanship may leave something to be desired, and an effective leader will be able to motivate the younger employees in a different manner than the ones about to retire. Today, a leader who is not a part of the team does not gain the respect of the employees.

Dealing with these new expectations requires a blending of brain hemispheres. It takes a new leadership style. The most desirable person will have the ability to use the analytical portion for the process, while demonstrating more intuitive qualities and dealing with the human element. One must also be able to develop a team whose skills are complementary. If you are a leader with left-brain qualities, you would be wise to surround yourself with some capable right-brain-leaning people to support you. Whether you lean one way or the other, you must understand your assets and liabilities, and compensate for them with quality people. By doing so, the leadership team is complete and balanced, and the whole organization benefits.

For help balancing your leadership obligations for yourself and your staff, visit us online at for battle-tested leadership training and connect with Mike Diamond on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter or E-mail us at!

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