The Neurotransmitters Behind Effective Management

Effective management is typically attributed to empathy, patience, solid communication, and attention to detail. These qualities can all be acquired through hard work, but blind attempts at implementing them into your personality may prove ineffective. A thorough understanding of the neurobiological principles underlying effective management can lend you greater insight into why certain attributes are connected to leadership and how the average person can master these characteristics. If you pride yourself on your management skills, you can thank these neurotransmitters:


Do you get a rush of pleasure whenever you accomplish something important? You can thank dopamine for that blissful feeling. Dopamine is the force behind runner’s high, and it’s the reason for the happiness you experience after a successful presentation. Many people experience anxiety and fear of failure on a daily basis, and yet, they push through — because they look forward to that sweet, sweet rush of dopamine. 

Epinephrine and Norepinephrine

Dopamine release takes some time to achieve, but epinephrine and norepinephrine work almost immediately to get you amped for the job at hand. These essential neurotransmitters block out pain, fatigue, and other sources of distraction, while also making you more alert. The result is impressive productivity, even in the midst of physical exhaustion and mental anxiety.


Sometimes referred to as the fear neurotransmitter, cortisol is largely associated with stress — and is thus often thought of as something to be avoided at all costs. However, when channeled correctly, this misunderstood neurotransmitter can actually be quite useful. Cortisol keeps you in tune with your environment, alerting you to hidden sources of danger. It remains in the body far longer than dopamine and is used to repair the circulatory system following periods of high physical exertion. In a constant, low-level capacity, cortisol can be incredibly damaging, but if released sparingly and in response to major stressors, it can help your body minimize the physical impact of tough situations.

Dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol all play vital roles in your work as a manager. The more you understand these neurotransmitters and their influence on job performance, the better able you’ll be to improve your management style.

If you need help adjusting your leadership skills and making your biology work for you and your team, call or email me for a free consultation.


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