Applying Neurobiology to Management

From the pleasure of dopamine to the productivity associated with epinephrine, neurotransmitters can play a vital role in your everyday efficacy as a manager. However, a simple awareness of the neurotransmitters that direct your behavior isn’t good enough — you need to know how to harness those neurotransmitters and make them work for you and your employees. As you strive to improve your leadership qualities, keep the following best practices in mind:

Raising the Bar

One of the best ways to motivate employees is to ensure that they feel challenged — but not constantly threatened. The vast majority of employees thrives on challenge as it keeps them engaged and kicks those useful epinephrine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters into high gear. As a manager, you’ll need to get over the fear of displeasing lazy employees and remember that, while some might initially object when you raise the bar, most will ultimately take greater satisfaction in their work if they feel appropriately challenged.

Bonuses and Dopamine

It’s important that you challenge your employees, but if you never reward them for excellent performance, they will eventually lose motivation. The thrill of achievement will only take people so far; it is your job to enhance that thrill via words of encouragement and occasional bonuses. These will enhance that sought-after surge of dopamine and convince your employees to continue tackling challenging tasks.

Make Cortisol Work For You

Millions of years of escaping predators have lent humans the evolutionary advantage of cortisol, which, at one time, alerted vulnerable individuals to environmental dangers. Today, however, cortisol in the workplace can lead to a damaging cycle of fear. If anxiety hampers your efficacy as a manager, you’ll need to make a commitment to conquering cortisol and making it work for you. This means tuning in to signs of danger but not letting them destroy your day. Meditation can prove incredibly useful in this regard, as it allows you to make note of your fears and anxieties, before letting them drift away. If, after noting a source of anxiety, you recognize that it is a valid reason for concern, you can then rely on epinephrine and norepinephrine to help you take action.

Neurobiology directs your behavior as a manager as well as the achievements of your valued employees. If you can successfully implement the valuable neurotransmitters highlighted above, you’ll quickly improve both workplace environment and productivity.

Developing your leadership skills effectively requires more than just a glancing familiarity with the biochemistry of management; call or email me for a free consultation to become the leader you know you can be.


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