What leadership styles enable people to think innovatively and perform at their best? Neuroscience has started to identify the mechanisms that cause the creative, innovative and thinking parts of the brain to switch on or off. This understanding helps leaders to create the conditions where brains work best. The story starts in 1848. Railway engineer Phineas Gage was hammering in a steel rod when it lit a spark and ignited a charge, hurling a metre-long steel shaft straight through his skull. Gage was not killed, though he was blinded in one eye. But his personality changed radically. He could not stick to plans and uttered the "grossest profanities", becoming moody and unemployable. This indicated there was a link between the brain and the personality, and Gage became the first subject in the annals of neuroscience. With magnetic resonance imaging scanning, scientists can now study which parts of the brain fire off under different conditions. Scientists have realised that people hav...

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