Neuroscience has been historically applied in healthcare, education or psychology but it is having an increasing influence on management and leadership. Indeed applications address topics such as people's motivation, engagement, team cooperation, well-being, decision-making, and innovation. Developing neuromanagement skills fosters emotional, interpersonal and collective intelligence across teams.
How learnings neuromanagement can help managers to perform better and develop high-performance teams?
Here are some practical elements for managers that can be implemented to boost team performance and promote an efficient collaboration within the group:
1 - Develop self-awareness
- Pay attention to your own emotions, develop your introspection abilities (observe your feelings, recognize your physical sensations and identify potential cognitive bias that might alter decision-making)
- Acknowledge your current state of mind (e.g. accept that you can’t be at the top of your capabilities every day). This will help you avoid negative emotions transmit across your team
- Define your core values and act accordingly on a day-to-day basis: ensure that you are aligned with yourself before trying to align your team
2 - Nurture emotional intelligence
- Tailor your management style to your team (made up of people with different psychological profiles). It’s essential to get to know each individual
- Understand the emotional background of your counterpart (e.g. develop empathic listening to understand the root cause of a given emotion or reaction) and get over natural defense mechanisms such as resistance to change
- Be aware of non-verbal signs (i.e. body language) and encourage your team to recognize and handle negative inner dialogues (e.g. I am not good enough...)
3 - Create a safe working environment for the team
- Give autonomy, delegate effectively, provide guidelines instead of monitoring, trust the team
- Show interpersonal skills such as kindness and authenticity (behaviors generating trust, motivation, and engagement) and adopt the posture of a servant leader (inspire the group with benevolence, strive to create conditions for their success)
- Encourage your group to take regular step backs, develop flexibility and agility to make the team more effective and resilient, promote continuous learning to avoid a neural routine
4 - Care about teamwork
- Implement feedback routines within the team. Ask regular feedback about teamwork and experience, engaging every team member to reflect and think out of the box
- Audit your ways of working, highlighting what is working well and what can be improved. Encourage collective problem solving and mutual assistance among peers
5 - Manage stress and emotional excesses
- Keep the big picture in mind and meditate to develop mindfulness. This will help you to have a better balance in your professional and personal life (and be more efficient and performant at what you do)
- Control yourself (body language, posture, wording...)
- Do not overshare (assessing the impact of our words on the audience prior to speaking) or overcommunicate
- Master information flows and anticipate emotional reactions before making decisions (e.g. involving the team in decision-making helps to improve collective awareness, dialogue and problem-solving)
6 - Leverage collective intelligence
- Break silos and foster collaboration across workstreams and teams
- Facilitate high-value creation processes by crowdsourcing ideas and suggestions (everyone should feel she/he is able to have an impact on group performance, decision-making and problem solving)
At Kodak, the business transformation was decided at the top management level without being communicated to operational teams fearing resistance to change. Thus the managers did not anticipate the human-side of transformation and did not seek to grasp the feelings and insights from employees. The transformation could not take place, individuals and the whole organization where cripple by the fear of change which led to the bankruptcy of the company.
In conclusion, the next-generation manager must understand the psychological levers of motivation, engagement, and commitment within his team (human-centered and benevolent approach). Being able to capture and objectify the group's feelings with a tool such as Steerio reduces stress, captures feedbacks, brings out ideas, engages every team member and stimulates creativity and cohesion within the group.