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The Neuroscience of Leadership

Podcast with leadership development coach, Dr. Al H. Ringleb

Dr. Al Ringleb Dr. Al H. Ringleb

Al H. Ringleb hosted the first NeuroLeadership Summit in Asolo, Italy in 2007. He is widely integrating neuroscience into MBA and undergraduate programs at CIMBA.

This is Peter Clayton reporting with the continuing series of interviews recorded at the North American NeuroLeadership Summit in New York City. Our special conference leadership series is sponsored by Deloitte.

Dr. Al H. Ringleb is the Executive Director of CIMBA and a professor at The Tippee School of Managment, University of Iowa. Dr. Ringleb holds a J.D. from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. in Economics from Kansas State University. Professor Ringleb spent many years teaching and coordinating international programs at both Texas A&M and Clemson universities. Since 1985, Professor Ringleb has worked for the development and support of international programs including the creation of CIMBA.


Dr. Ringleb has received several research grants including a grant for a transportable education program for Latin America. He has developed full-time MBA campuses in Italy and Germany, developed the Institutes for International Business Studies in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Croatia, and has served on numerous academic boards, including the Open Universities of Europe, the Institute for Pacific Asia, and the Forum of Scientists and Specialists for Soviet-American Dialogue. Dr. Ringleb received the Distinguished Teaching Award and Research Fellow for the Center for International Business Studies from Texas A&M University; Faculty Extern for Esso Eastern in Hong Kong; and the Earhart Fellow for Mont Pelrin Society Meetings in St. Vincent, Italy. He also was a charter member of the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars. Professor Ringleb is the author of numerous published research articles, and has co-authored two books.

In addition to his academic work, Dr. Ringleb frequently has been invited to give presentations, seminars, and symposia on international business in France, West Germany, England, Soviet Union, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and the United States.


At CIMBA, closing the gap between what is taught as leadership in the traditional business school and how it must be developed for the effective practice of management provides strong motivation for innovation in the learning environment. In this ongoing effort, CIMBA begin looking into neuroscience, specifically neuroscience research as it relates to leadership development, more than five years ago. The neuroscience of leadership is at the frontier of investigation into the brain and the mind, looking at how leaders perceive and interact with the external world. In particular, it investigates how human experience and human biology influence each other.

With beneficial insights now flowing almost continuously from ongoing research in this developing field, the neuroscience of leadership is putting "science" into those "soft" skills necessary for the effective practice of management. Research from the neuroscience of leadership has significantly enhanced the CIMBA learning environment by affecting instructional strategies, improving student managerial communication abilities through the use of express rational thinking processes, and providing our leadership development coaches with more effective tools and techniques for assisting students in developing leadership skills. Importantly, leadership development at CIMBA has moved away from the "textbook" where emphasis is placed on what leadership "looks" like to the "real-world laboratory" where emphasis is placed on how leadership skills are actually developed.

The use of leadership development coaches trained in the neuroscience of leadership as the primary drivers for leadership skills development is unique to CIMBA. In addition to the leadership coaches, professors and process facilitators also have an understanding of the neuroscience of leadership and how it affects the practice of management. The learning environment at CIMBA is thereby focused not only on the "what" in leadership development, but more importantly on the "why" and the "how." In large measure, and particularly over the past year, CIMBA has benefited from an active Leadership Development Board of Advisors led by David Rock, Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, Dr. Barbara Kerr, and Mr. John Case.

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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