The Neuroscience of Respectful Leadership
Management and HR consulting company 21 Triangles says leaders can use neuroscience to become better managers. Their article, “Caught in the Act!… of doing something right: A neurobiological approach to high performance management” outlines the science behind Respectful Leadership and RespectfulDo #4, Look for Diamonds in the Rough.
Research shows that employees like a feedback ratio with 5 positive comments for every 1 negative comment. To reach this ideal ratio, leaders should stop focusing on their employees’ mistakes, and start recognizing their positive qualities. Employees should be acknowledged not only for what they do exceptionally well, but also for any tasks they complete in an acceptable manner.
To understand why we often focus on what people do wrong instead of praising their good qualities, we need to step back in time. Early humans needed danger-aversion instincts to survive, but today those instincts can hold leaders back. Managers are sometimes over-aware of problems and mistakes. A boss that only sees potential disaster can create a work environment full of stress and fear.
Leaders can counter-act this tendency by making an effort to recognize the good in their employees, something we call “looking for diamonds in the rough.” Positive feedback triggers the release of dopamine, a chemical responsible for positive feelings, optimism, and sociability. Employees will feel valued and respected, and will be motivated to keep performing well in order to receive more recognition.