“A boss micromanaging you is like someone walking behind you in a dark alley, in terms of what it does to your brain.”
In our latest whitepaper ‘Neuroscience – What Does It Mean For Organisational Dynamics?’ we looked at recent scientific findings and what it means for aspects of organisational change such as strategic decision making, productivity, change management, leadership and innovation.
One of our significant findings was on the subject of trust. The initial millisecond determination of trust is continually updated as more information is processed or received. As a leader, we can help to build or erode trust based on our own behaviours and how they are transferred as information to others.
Leaders who demonstrate fairness, authenticity and offer trust themselves, build trust in others. The very act of trusting someone activates mirror neurons in that person, which is a signal to reciprocate that trust. Conversely, leaders who behave in ways that increase threat triggers will fail to build trust and create the potential for toxicity in their workplace relationships.
So what does this mean for organisations who are going through significant change?
Change in itself is a threat trigger. Whether leaders understand neuroscience or not, they will still send out neuro signals to their workforce, consciously or unconsciously. Different brains will respond to different leaders in different ways.
To maximise the success of your change or transformation, having leaders aware of their behaviours and the effect they have on different types of personality is critical. For example, if a leader understands that a lack of autonomy may activate a ‘threat’ response then the leader can reduce behaviours such as micro-management and increase empowerment to activate ‘reward’ responses. What if the executive team have a collective preference for micro-management? The effect of this is amplified and will seriously derail any change effort.
Psychological assessment provides a way of understanding the complete nature of human psychology in response to change. Using a blended approach of assessment, transformational leadership and organisational dynamics will clarify the risk of your change programme before you start, and allow for a smoother journey.
For more information on the latest learning in the neuro-leadership field, including practical applications, download our latest whitepaper. Alternatively, you can listen to our podcast where I discuss this topic with Dr Paul Turner here.