Neuroscience offers key insights to leaders who face inevitable changes, so they can continuously achieve growth and improvements in all areas of their role. It provides valuable information about the importance of trust and how to create an environment of trust within ourselves, our colleagues, the teams we work with and within our organisations and of course our customers.
Neuroscience offers key insights for services facing change on how to approach leadership development, change management and the development of high-performing teams.
Did you know that every conversation we have evokes either trust or mistrust?
The brain processes these two responses separately, in two different areas. Mistrust triggers the lower brain more primitive brain (the amygdala) and activates a threat response. Trust activates higher-level intelligences (via the prefrontal cortex) such as integrity, empathy, and good judgment.
The amygdala is responsible for actions of fight, flight, freeze or appease and once activated (when we mistrust) cortisol is released, our brain goes into lockdown, our access to the higher thinking part of our brain is limited and we are unable to engage with others. We actually can’t think properly. This results in poor communication, lack of perception and problem solving skills.
On the other hand, when we access our pre-frontal cortex, via a feeling of trust, oxytocin is released. The prefrontal cortex enables us to collaborate with others, have good judgment, be strategic, handle difficult conversations, and build and sustain trust.
Environments Of Distrust
If we are in environment of mistrust, we are operating out of the emotional part of our brain and this may limit access to our brain’s higher thinking ability reducing our ability to be the best version of ourselves.
You can imagine the difference it would make to your organisation when everyone has the ability to create an environment of trust.
The question for Leaders is, how do you create an environment of trust in your organisation so that teams can perform at their best?
Sarah has studied under Judith E. Glaser, organisational anthropologies and specialises on Conversational Intelligence® to bring contemporary neuroscience based tools to her executive coaching and leadership development.
Empowered And Supported
Imagine if everyone in your organisation was empowered and supported to develop their capabilities and attitudes to work in ways that regulate oxytocin, which in turn leads to building and maintaining high levels of trust?
Consider the impact this would have on the relationships amongst your team and organisation and customers.
Change often creates an environment where teams feel excluded from decision-making, or information or feel that they are having change imposed and they have limited choices. This results in mistrust and high levels of stress with employees operating out of their amygdala.
They are limited in their ability to access the higher functioning part of their brain that would enable them to consider new ideas, broaden their perspective and adopt change positively.
How is your organisations communication designed to up-regulate oxytocin, so that your employees and teams are able to easily adopt new ideas, approaches, routines and strategies whilst utilising behaviours such as listening to understand, transparency, appreciation, sharing and co-creation of new ideas
As a organisational Leader are you un-intentionally creating mistrust? If so, you might want to consider expanding your neuroscience knowledge and leadership tool kit.
I invite you to identify three simple changes you could make to your own behavior, or in the work environment, that utilize some neuroscience trust building strategies.
It might be asking questions to which you do not know the answer, it could be listening to connect rather than solely having transactional conversations and or start business meetings with a check in, to find out how everyone is doing.
Creating environments of trust, as a key priority is a smart leadership choice, the results will be increased motivation and performance with more team engagement.
About the Author: Sarah Moore is the Director of Sarah Moore – Leadership Without Limits, who specialises in, offering facilitation, executive coaching and leadership development to help leaders make positive change and achieve professional and personal success.