Do Your Employees Need a SCARF?

Recognize This! – Good managers minimize danger and maximize reward for employees.

I found this video to be quite interesting on the brain science behind how employees react in the workplace. Essentially, the brain functions between two states: minimizing danger and maximizing reward. In the video, Dr. David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, explains how understanding this basic brain science can help managers change their approach and help their employees be more engaged, effective and productive in the workplace.

I particularly appreciate his SCARF approach:

Status: perception of where you are in relation to the people around you
Certainty: eliminating ambiguity, which creates a danger response
Autonomy: lack of control creates high stress and a danger response
Relatedness: overcome automatic “threat” response to new people by building relationships
Fairness: perceived unfairness triggers a danger response

Dr. Rock shares examples of how a poor manager inadvertently can trigger a danger response in each of these categories as well as asking us what it’s like to work for a good manager who instead (paraphrasing):

“Shows you what’s great about yourself, provides clear expectations, lets you make decisions, trusts you with a human bond created, and treats you fairly in a way that you know is fair.”

Watch the video, then tell me – do you work for a poor manager or a good one based on SCARF?

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