GLOSS Issue 20 FEB 2015 - Page 31

The Game Changer will be the integration of what is now understood from the social cognitive neuroscience about how people work best together. Those fancy words mean, if we understand how relationships and emotions work, not only do we understand each other better; we create a brain safe working environment more capable of higher performance. When our brain feels safe, we are more relaxed and we can fully access the thinking part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex that allows us to work to our full potential. When we are fearful, anxious or worried, our limbic system including the amygdala, becomes hyper alert, preparing us to either fight, fight or flee. The amygdala is super sensitive to any change in the environment and generates emotion including fear. Once in a fear state it becomes harder for us to access our ‘executive suite’ or prefrontal cortex to use our logic, reasoning and analytical thought. Meanwhile, toxic levels of stress hormones start to accumulate and excess cortisol is neurotoxic. When we can effectively manage our emotions, we can better manage our fear state and maintain the balance between our conscious and unconscious mind. your needs? Would you feel differently about the whole review process? Would you feel more positive, more confident in your role and what your future might bring? safety. That’s why when we start a new job or attend an interview, it’s normal to feel that tinge of anxiety. Your brain recognises that you are doing something new or different. It doesn’t mean we won’t still have worries and uncertainties. And unfortunately we will still have to deal with the office bully and micromanager. Utopia? No. Though the TV series was an excellent example of a workplace where no one in their right mind would ever wish to work at. But wouldn’t it be good to know you could feel more confident and competent in dealing with these hassles? Building a brain safe work environment is about recognising and understanding how to reduce the fear state either in yourself or someone else. It’s about building trust, autonomy and certainty and what is called our social intelligence. In evolutionary terms this was jolly handy because it was safer to assume that something new, that rustle in the grass, or approach of a large animal could spell danger. Hence we have an inbuilt mechanism that assumes new is ‘danger first’, and asks questions later. And what about those hallowed workplace protocols like performance reviews. What if you were asked how your workplace could help you to achieve your goals or support you better regarding Our brain craves certainty because it creates that feeling of But our predators today don’t necessarily come wearing tigerprint suits. They may come in the form of “down-sizing”, budget cuts and workplace sociopaths intent on doing you harm, so they may prosper.