Inside out leadership – huh?


Inside out leadership – huh? In this episode Judith Germain speaks to Steve Scanlon about his concept of “inside-out leadership” and how he applies neuroscience principles in his coaching practice.

Key Takeaways

  • Inside-out leadership focuses on internal motivation and self-awareness rather than external factors
  • Metacognition (thinking about one’s thinking patterns) is a key practice for developing self-awareness and agency over mindset
  • Naming emotions without judgment allows you to “tame” them rather than resist them
  • The Pixar film “Inside Out” provides insightful metaphors for understanding emotions and the mind


Inside-Out Leadership

  • Contrasts internal vs. external motivation – leadership should come from within, not just external rewards
  • Despite much research on leadership, many leaders struggle to embody leadership principles internally
  • Requires the hard “work” of self-reflection and change from the inside-out


  • Awareness and understanding of one’s thought patterns
  • A practice of non-judgmentally observing thoughts and emotions as they arise
  • Allows you to “name” and therefore “tame” emotions rather than resist them
  • Curiosity about thoughts/emotions is key, not judgment

Neuroscience Insights

  • Pixar’s “Inside Out” provides apt metaphors for the mind and emotions
  • “If you can name it, you can tame it” – naming emotions defuses their power
  • “What you resist, persists” – resisting emotions makes them cling longer

In this conversation Steve explains the practice of metacognition – being aware of one’s own thought patterns without judgment. He discusses how this can give people more agency over their mindset and emotional responses, using examples like noticing feelings of anxiety. 

Judith and Steve discuss how they each apply neuroscience principles, like understanding brain chemistry and neuroplasticity, to help people improve their self-awareness and mindset. They emphasise the importance of making neuroscience concepts practical and actionable.

Steve Scanlon is the founder and CEO of Rewire, Inc an a self-proclaimed neuroscience geek. His goal is to help leaders in transform themselves and their teams through a greater understanding of the science behind how the brain manages change.

Maverick leadership is all about thinking outside the box and challenging the status quo. It’s about having the courage to take risks and the confidence to lead in a way that is authentic and genuine.

But amplifying your influence as a leader isn’t just about having a strong vision or a big personality. It’s also about having the right leadership capability and being able to execute on your ideas and plans.

The consequences of not having the right level of influence as a leader can be significant. Without the ability to inspire and motivate others, you may struggle to achieve your goals and make a real impact.

How Influential Are you? Take the scorecard at and see. 

Steve Scanlon can be found on LinkedIn here. His website is here.

You can listen to Episode 426 on any of the popular podcast platforms or apps (including Spotify, and Audible). If you prefer to listen to your browser you can do that below. Enjoy!