BY GWEN MORAN
Managers can help keep their best talent engaged and motivated with a few tips from neuroscience.
Regardless of the state of the labor market, organizations generally want to keep their high-performing employees. That means keeping them supported and engaged, so they’re motivated not only to stay, but to keep making their outsized contributions. Experts believe that we can learn a few things about managing rock-star employees from the world of neuroscience.
While it’s not realistic to expect managers—or even high performers, themselves—to become brain scientists, cribbing a few tips from this sector can help keep those lights on. Here are a few things that neuroscience tells us high performers need.
Threats come in different forms, and none of them are good for engagement or motivation, says HR expert Christy Pruitt-Haynes, a consultant at NeuroLeadership Institute, a global neuroscience-backed consultancy that works with Fortune 100 companies. When a threat is perceived, we shift cognitive resources to minimizing that threat, and tend to be less collaborative. “So, what managers really need to understand is how each of their team members are aligned to process threat and reward, so we can move them toward that reward state and away from that threat state,” she says.
- Status: Is the employee getting the same respect as others?
- Certainty: Does the employee feel like they have the information they need to do their job and some assurances of what will happen?
- Autonomy: Does the employee have the ability to influence their own actions and decisions?
- Relatedness: Does the employee have a sense of connection with coworkers?
- Fairness: Does the employee have the same opportunities as coworkers?
UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT
Neuroscience-based mindset coach Kevin Bailey, cofounder and CEO of Dreamfuel, a high performance and mindset coaching company, explains that the mind has prosocial networks that help people collaborate and work well with teams. It also has defensive networks that are about protection and keep us skeptical of situations, especially when threatened.
When the nervous system is processing situations, there are four responses: “Fight” and “flight,” which are commonly known, are sympathetic responses, which can cause the release of adrenaline and cortisol. Another state is “freeze.” (Think: stage fright, where you may have trouble speaking.) But the fourth state is “focus,” which is a restful state of consciousness. When you understand these responses and how your team members typically exhibit them, you can help them move from negative responses and emotions to more positive ones using tools like visualization, reframing, and others, he says.
Source: Fast Company