Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Are Your People SCARE'd?

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Are Your People SCARE'd?

Article excerpt

In my work I get to visit many organisations and a common theme that keeps arising is that people are juggling uncertainty, being asked to do more with less.

There are rising levels of stress and people are change fatigued. Engagement levels are often low or, at best, a bit patchy and the climate of uncertainty and pace of change is impacting on performance and well-being.

Understanding a bit about our basic neurobiology can be profoundly helpful in supporting people to adjust behaviour and mindset.

How can understanding our basic neurobiology help? Everything the brain does and every decision it helps us make is geared towards threat or reward, something designed to guarantee survival. Dr Evian Gordon identified this as the overarching organising principle of the brain, the purpose of which is to classify the world into things that will either hurt you or help you stay alive. 'Everything you do in life is based on your brain's determination to minimise danger and maximise reward'. (Gordon 2008). This means that for every stimulus we encounter, the brain will tag it as either good (reward) or bad (threat) and consequently choose to engage (approach) or disengage (avoid). Our brain is a social organ.

Our limbic system filters all responses. If we sense a social connection 'threat', such as being overlooked for promotion or being ignored or victimised, we can choose to suppress this feeling or to self-regulate in a number of ways; but it's more complicated than that. Since the limbic system acts as a survival tool, it frequently overacts, so finding ways to reduce threats not only for ourselves is important in order to help keep ourselves and others in a reward state.

We know that productivity plummets in the workplace when our social brain no longer feels safe and can impact significantly on our executive brain. Addressing the domains of 'SCARE' will support innovation, engagement and productivity.

Let's take a closer look at the domains our social brain pays attention to. …

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