David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work (2009), asked us how we develop good leaders in our teams. Leadership development is one of the most important aspects to consider in the workplace, as most people would prefer to have a better boss than a pay rise. So therefore, developing good leaders is a significant factor in increasing productivity. Yet growing talent is one of the weakest skills of managers, it rates lowest on a list of manager competencies.
Self and social awareness is very important, this is the ability to read emotions and feelings. We need the skill of mentalising or active empathy. When we have a high cognitive load it is like having a full inbox. How do we find the time and space to deal with so many individuals in our work (our conceptual network)?
Our brains are unable to focus on both goals and people at the same time. Therefore we need to allocate times to focus on each. Only 0.77% of managers have the ability to perform well in both areas. The more goals that we have to achieve, the harder it becomes to focus on people issues.
Why do organisations fail? When change hits people it creates a lot of negatives. Why is this? Change creates threats. Threats are rarely of use in motivating better performance. Responses to threats are largely negative. The unknown is a threat, therefore unpredictable change is worse. The strongest responses are always to threats. Therefore threats should be eliminated or removed before they undermine the value of any rewards.
Social pain, such as being left out, feels as bad as physical pain. In fact it operates on the same pain centre.
SCARF model identifies 5 dynamics or preferences for workers: status (relationship differential), certainty, autonomy, relatedness (group sharing), fairness.
How do we give feedback? People are self critical, but they do not respond well to criticism. Critical feedback is a form of attack, causing people to shut down and creating a blind spot as a reaction. Instead, encourage a discussion where the individual can speak about themselves, and offer suggestions about improvement for better performance next time.
Performance at work is not motivated by money, although people want it more, giving extra money provides very little performance improvement. Goal setting provides the best incentive for performance.
Have quality conversations so that you can relate better to your team. Try to understand together what might be done better together. Understand the SCARF preference for your team, so that you can help predict, regulate or explain their actions.