Right Brain/Left Brain Leadership
Shifting Style for Maximum Impact
by Mary Lou Décosterd, PhD
June 2008, 208pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-99934-6
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-275-99935-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Explains a novel, brain-based approach people can use to become more effective leaders, whether leading a business, a classroom, or a family.

Leaders of all kinds, in all fields, need to be methodical and logical, but also strategic, innovative, and intuitive. Yet the two different styles require different modes of thinking, or what author Mary Lou Décosterd describes as shifts to right brain, or left brain, thinking. Those who operate in what she explains as the left brain mode develop strong logical, rational, and analytical abilities, but they may downplay the value of right brain thinking, which spurs intuition, subjectivity, and creativity. And those who operate primarily in the latter mode lose the value of the former. A leader who is habitually a right-brainer sees only the big picture, rather than its parts, is creative but not usually analytical, is an emotional far more than logical. So who is more effective? Veteran consultant Décosterd shows how those with maximum success are leaders who understand both styles and have the ability to switch between the two at certain key moments to broaden their overall effectiveness.

In the language of leadership, this pragmatic guide provides an all-encompassing view of how to maximize brain power and get to next-level leadership impact. Through case examples, simple assessment and unique learning tools, this book takes the reader through a new process for examining his or her current leadership style and skill sets, and framing a plan for greater success. Décosterd explains how, through use of popular leader exemplars, leadership examples and concise steps and summaries, every person can, at virtually any stage of personal and professional accomplishment, become a more consummate leader.

Mary Lou Décosterd, PhD, is Founder and Managing Executive at the Lead Life Institute, a learning consultancy offering programs and services to help executives, leaderships teams, and organizations maximize their skills. Décosterd has more than 25 years of experience in organizational development, applied psychology, university teaching, and organizational training. An executive coach for businesses and organizations that vary from officials at local schools to CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, she holds three advanced degrees, in Human Development, Clinical Psychology, and Organizational Development. Her areas of expertise include leadership and interpersonal development, implementation and execution, women's executive development, cultural and team alignment, anxiety and stress management, attitude and motivation, strategic change, and mediation.


"Are leaders born? Perhaps good genes are a start, but, leadership is nurtured thru sound parenting, solid education, engaged mentoring & coaching from colleagues and managers, and diverse work experiences. However, successful leaders in today's warp speed world benefit from learning new skills. In Right Brain/Left Brain; Shifting Style For Maximum Impact, Dr. Decosterd opens our eyes to the fact that we can all learn to develop our brains in ways not before imagined or understood to enhance our leadership skills that benefit ourselves and our organizations. Dr. Decosterd may have invented a new breed of Coach.....the Brain Coach!! Bravo!!"—Skip Rosskam, President & Chief Operating Officer, David Michael & Company

"Many thanks to Dr. Decosterd for sharing her valuable experiences and insights to show the reader straightforward ways to call upon strengths to become a more capable holistic leader. The tools and resources are a gift to anyone seeking greater leadership effectiveness."—Liesl M Cooper, PhD, VP, Health Economics and Reimbursement Cordis Corporation

"Dr. Decosterd provides a roadmap for developing one's leadership depth and breadth of capabilities by challenging people to manage outside of their comfort zones. She offers numerous practical tools to help readers to make a shift in style, behavior or develop a new trait in order to become a more effective leader."—Joann Holman, Managing Director, BMO Capital Markets

"In every sport in the world today, coachers and trainers have found innovative techniques to take their athletes to the next level. Mary Lou has brought to the world of leaders, tools to take leadership to the next level. An insightful book that can be put to use immediately."—Don Martin, Armstrong World Industries, VP and Chief Information Officer

"Eloquently structured for practitioners, Dr. D^D'ecosterd's book provides leaders with practical insights into their thinking habits, along with tools to assess themselves and their teams, and offers field-tested techniques to increase effectiveness."—Alan J. Maki, Vice President Operations: Siding Products Group, CertainTeed

"I love the pragmatic approach the author uses in the examples of right and left brain learners! The model diagrams, along with the business cases, provide an easy-to-understand practicality to a complex subject. Anyone who studies and practices the diverse approaches to innovation and creativity outlined in Mary Lou's book will learn and grow as a leader AND as a thinker. This book will give all leaders, at any level, in any business, a new lease on formulating ideas!"—Anita Augustine, Sr. VP of Training, CCA Global Partners

"Through a combination of narrative and hard science, Dr. Mary Lou Decosterd has captured the crucial lessons of leader development. For great leaders are not born-they are made over years of experience, learning, imagination, introspection, and hard work. Right Brain/Left Brain Leadership is an excellent resource for use by leaders at multiple levels and in a wide range of institutions in order to continuously hone and enhance their own leadership skills and to develop young leaders who will constitute the future."—Carl E. Vuono, General, United States Army (Retired), Former Chief of Staff, United States Army

"I have used Mary Lou Decosterd's model to assess leadership skills and development opportunities. The specific traits for each of the leadership behaviors help narrow development areas into actionable plans."—John T. Bertz, Pensacola Plant Manager, Armstrong World
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