HK Asks: How do we Optimize Human Behavior in the Workplace?
How can an understanding of neuroscience foster happier employees? How do we optimize our work performance? How does human energy drive profit? These questions and more were answered at last week’s talk with Dr. Paul Brown, the esteemed Clinical/Organisational Psychologist, Author and Faculty Professor at Monarch Business School Switzerland.
What we heard:
- “In the western world, we haven’t learned how to take care of our brain. We exhaust it on a regular basis, as if we’re making it run a marathon day after day. Our bodies run on about 95 watts of energy, and the brain runs on about 25 watts —that’s almost 25% of the total energy.”
- “There are eight primary emotions: Sadness, shame, disgust, anger, fear. These shut down the creative side of the brain. Then there’s surprise, excitement/joy, and love/trust, these all flow outwards. For a happy, productive work environment, the key lies in the release, not the control of energy. This means trust wins over fear, every time.”
- “Each part of our brain is responsible for different functions. For example the cortex is the cognitive, reasoning center, the limbic system is the mammalian brain (responsible for emotions), and the brain stem or the reptilian brain is the guardhouse/disaster management region. Contrary to what we traditionally believed, it’s the emotional brain that controls us. Even though the brain is great at adapting, change is still a threatening idea.
- “Everyone’s brain is wired differently, so rather than focusing on what makes us similar, we should be looking at what makes each of us different. That’s the only way to truly understand value and utilise employees’ unique strengths.”
Business leaders, take notice. The future success of organizations is predicated on the quality of relationships, and since the only way to get there is through the establishment of trust, that should be a number one KPI. Start with embracing learnings from neuroscience that can and should be directly applied to the modern workplace cultures.