Love Yourself

Love Yourself

Can self-love help your brain?

Self-love sounds like a good idea but it can be double-edged sword. Narcissism is clearly not a positive trait, and on the other side self-criticism can help you grow. I explore the ups and down and probably what we mean by self love.

self love brain

I went through a phase of going to meditation courses and groups a few years ago. It did me good I am sure – I have read the science. It certainly felt good at times. Funnily enough my desire to meditate slowly evaporated as I worked more with the SCOAP model and that is insightful in itself. During these meditation sessions a common theme was love thyself, self-compassion, and not beating yourself up. Interesting is that these were proposed as if this was the natural state of affairs. Which can lead us to surmise that 1. not loving yourself is the standard nature of human beings, or alternatively 2. not loving yourself is a common feature of those who are attracted to meditation.

Indeed, if we read online motivational blogs, self-criticism is a common theme – so indeed it does appear to be considered a key theme and therefore common. However, in trying to review the academic literature to get a grip on how common this is, I found it difficult to find any solid research to give an indication of how widespread this is. However, some work I did on the SCOAP model and self-esteem may give us something to get a grip on.

In our data on SCOAP we found that the desire for Self-Esteem was consistently ranked as the number one need therefore making this the most important human need on average. This is interesting because it shows that we have a high desire for self-esteem, and this is consistent in human beings. But what is also interesting is that if this Is rated highly it also means that damage and non-fulfilment is also likely to cause disruption. If I want high self-esteem and don’t achieve it, it will cause a mismatch – and therefore also an emotional reaction. Dissatisfaction or frustration of sorts. So, in short, self-esteem appears to be our most powerful need meaning we are most sensitive to damage or threat to it.

Also, within self-esteem there are multiple factors at play which I have analysed in much more detail in my analysis and presentation at the BPS Coaching Psychology Conference in 2015 – first, is that there is a strong social component, something called the Sociometer (first proposed by Leary et al. in 1995). We tend to rank ourselves against others and through we may blame society and systems in society – this is unfair, we do it automatically, it is instinctive. We do compare ourselves to others no matter how often we say, “Don’t compare yourself to others”.

This comparison though, goes through different stages, with teenagers being particularly sensitive to various social comparisons. To be embarrassed is a big thing in teenage years, as my teenage daughter keeps telling me. As we age this becomes less important and we become less sensitive to various forms of showing ourselves up. Of note is also what is known as the spotlight effect, which teenagers are particularly sensitive to, is that we overestimate how much attention people take of us, as shown neatly in an experiment by Gilovich et al. in 2000: he got youngsters to wear a yellow Barry Manilow t-shirt (yes, that bad) to a gathering and then measure how many people remembered or noticed this. The result was hardly at all. In stark contrast to how the t-shirt wearers felt.

But a problem with this social comparison is that it can lead to the majority of the population being self-critical or believing they are sub-par. Though we do tend to have an overconfidence bias in many areas – we believe we are above average, on average, most of the time, we may also be sensitive to the fact that we are not amongst the best in any domain. This is because we naturally look upwards – many of you know I am a competitive athlete and my 800m running time in 2021 was 50th best in the world in my age category. Was I happy with this? No, I wasn’t! I am now looking to be in the top 25, no mean feat, but my natural ambition and dedication means that I am now measuring myself not in terms of top 100 in the world, and not even the top 50, but the top 25 – that gives me plenty of room for self-criticism and musing on whether I really have the ability to get there.

The other side of self-criticism is also that to move on and be good in life we should be critical – in my running I could be happy with being in the top 50 in the world or I can set my ambition to be in the top 25 – if I set my ambition to be in the top 25, I am more likely to improve than if I sit on my laurels and pat myself on the back for my performances in 2021. So, in this context self-criticism, at some level, is a good thing. It drives individuals forward, on a cycle of ever improving and reaching higher heights. And indeed, some of my best performances have come after a bad performance where I have beat myself up about my own inability. A contradiction? Maybe.

So far:

    • Self-Esteem is consistently ranked as the most important need in SCOAP
    • Self-esteem is multi-faceted
    • A common form of self-esteem is social comparison (the “sociometer”)
    • This sociometer is as often implicit as often as it is explicit (we often “feel” judged)
    • Teenagers are particularly sensitive to social comparisons and judgements
    • Being self-critical can also lead to personal growth

So, with this, what about self-criticism? Is this a good or bad thing? Well, the research seems to show that it is a bad thing – though it may drive a number of us onto higher performances, it also drives more people into despair, frustration, and general feelings of low self-esteem. Being self-critical is considered a risk factor for many psychopathologies and research has shown that those who score high on self-criticism have worse outcomes in therapy.

So, it seems that more self-love is in order – and research mostly into meditation shows that self-compassion seem to be a route to this. Forgiving oneself rather than not criticising oneself in the first place. It could also be that self-criticism is no bad thing but that rumination, the act of dwelling on this is likely to be the key culprit. Being critical can help to improve oneself but dwelling on all those negative aspects leads to a constant state of stress and chronic low self-esteem which, as we know, is detrimental to brain and physical health.

self love brain

The other question to ask is whether this is a trait or state. Are some of us chronically low on self-esteem and have a shaky sense of self and are self-critical while others of us have a natural high sense of self-worth, sense of self, and are barely self-critical? Or is it state and domain specific i.e. depending on the context and situation – are we self-critical in some areas, domains, such as work, or sports, or with certain people? The research shows that it is a mix of these three as Zuroff et al. discussed in a meta-analysis in 2021. There is a strong element of trait self-esteem and self-confidence, but this is also influenced by situation, life stages, and contexts.

Of course, we can’t talk about self-criticism and self-love without talking about the other extreme and that of narcissism. It can also seem as if, for many, a sense of community, modesty, and sensitivity to others, leads us to avoid self-praise. Potentially for fear of being seen to be arrogant and “above” others. Modesty after all is universally considered a positive trait. And this is where self-love can truly become self-love and we become selfish narcissists. Observing the motivational literature this does not seem to be the case – people do not tend to go to a self-compassion meditation session and come out self-possessed narcissists – mostly due to the trait signatures we mentioned above (and meditation is often also focused on compassion for others).

However, two factors do point to society becoming more individualistic and narcissistic. One a recent piece of research showed that having choice makes us more selfish. The rise of social media and the selfie – has also given to an increase in narcissism – those who often post selfies are considered by peers to be more narcissistic. On the counter side we also know that it is the minority who engage so intensively with social media – teenagers as I noted earlier are particularly sensitive to social comparison so may tend to be more narcissistic also, as well as more self-critical, they are after all hyper aware of themselves.

Narcissism is viewed negatively in all societies but also has multiple negative effects with those who are most narcissistic being completely unaware of their shortcomings – however, in one study this was shown to be beneficial to themselves at least. Some of the happiest people it was shown are the most ignorant. Ignorance is bliss.

So far:

    • Higher levels of self-criticism are correlated with multiple mental health disorders
    • Higher levels of self-criticism are related to worse outcomes in psychotherapy
    • Narcissism is considered a negative condition
    • Narcissism is related to multiple negative outcomes and impacts
    • Narcissists and particularly ignorant narcissists are, however, on average, happy

 So where does this leave us? Well at this stage I would come back full circle to the SCOAP model, and some research done by Kernis at the start of the noughties. Kernis reviewed Self-Esteem and found a number of inconsistencies – for example being chronically low in self-esteem had fewer negative outcomes than having a wildly swinging self-esteem. Therefore, fragile self-esteem is more worrying on all levels: this is when we may desire high self-esteem, feel fantastic if we achieve something positive, but also are extremely sensitive to the downsides, beating ourselves up when we fail at something, or don’t achieve what we have set out to. Kernis therefore proposed authenticity as the key. He characterized authenticity as “the unobstructed operation of one’s true, or core, self in one’s daily enterprise.” He proposed four components to authenticity:

    1. Awareness of self and others
    2. Unbiased processing of self
    3. Alignment in behaviour and action
    4. Honesty in social relationships

I would add to this, the idea of growth and a growth mindset. The above four aspects proposed by Kernis could without growth lead to stagnation. So, according to Kernis it is not necessarily loving oneself that is the key, it is accepting oneself, and importantly still having a growth mindset, so not letting this make you a static person with no growth potential. And with this self-awareness will likely also come realistic goal setting which is something I have learned to do for myself over the years and this has also lead to a more secure sense of self – yes this applies to my running also where I have set ambitious goals but am aware of how ambitious they are and any physical limitations – my times at various distances point to me being able, in theory at least, to run a faster 800m time.

Summary:

    • Aim for authenticity
    • Learn to accept your core personality
    • Learn to be aware of your personality and your impact on others
    • Make sure your behaviours and actions align with your core personality
    • Be honest with yourself but avoid beating yourself up
    • Be honest and open in your social relationships – also with who you are
    • Keep a growth mindset
    • Exercise self-compassion if you are prone to beating yourself up – be kind to yourself

And so, with this and you may wonder how this applies to my running – by the time you read this I will probably be competing at the European Masters Athletic Championships (indoor). Well, I have realigned my goals based on my racing times this year. I have a clear racing strategy and a clear expectation – but also know that if it doesn’t work on the day, well, it doesn’t work. Whatever, I will enjoy the experience, meeting the other athletes, and being able to push my body to its limit – of which I am thankful. Will I be critical? A little, maybe…but then the focus will turn to the World Championships in June!

But back to healthy brains – though we know there is a trait-specific aspect of self-criticism, being overly self-critical leads to stress and in turn lower health and mental wellbeing outcomes. It is good when it drives you to higher performance and higher achievement, but if it leads to rumination and constant internal criticism it is not a good place to be. Learn to be kind to yourself – for your brain and your health!

Andy Habermacher

Andy Habermacher

Andy is author of leading brains Review, Neuroleadership, and multiple other books. He has been intensively involved in writing and research into neuroleadership and is considered one of Europe’s leading experts. He is also a well-known public speaker speaking on the brain and human behaviour.

Andy is also a masters athlete (middle distance running) and competes regularly at international competitions (and holds a few national records in his age category).

twitter / LinkedIn

References

Self-Esteem

Eisenberger, N. I., Inagaki, T. K., Muscatell, K. A., Byrne Haltom, K. E., and Leary, M. R. (2011). The Neural Sociometer: Brain Mechanisms Underlying State Self-esteem. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 23, 3448–3455.

Gilovich, T., Medvec, V. H., and Savitsky, K. (2000). The spotlight effect in social judgment: An egocentric bias in estimates of the salience of one’s own actions and appearance. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 78. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.78.2.211.

Habermacher, A., Ghadiri, A., and Peters, T. (2015). Untangling Self-Esteem. Oral Present. 5th Eur. Coach. Psychol. Conf. 2015 December 11-12; London, United Kingdom.

Kernis, M. H. (2003). Toward a Conceptualization of Optimal Self-Esteem. Psychol. Inq. Vol 14(1), 1–26. doi:10.1207/S15327965PLI1401_01.

Kernis, M. H., Cornell, D. P., Sun, C. R., Berry, A., and Harlow, T. (1993). There’s more to self-esteem than whether it is high or low: the importance of stability of self-esteem. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 65, 1190–1204. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.65.6.1190.

Kolubinski, D. C., Marino, C., Nikčević, A. V., and Spada, M. M. (2019). A metacognitive model of self-esteem. J. Affect. Disord. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2019.05.050.

Leary, M. R., Tambor, E. S., Terdal, S. K., and Downs, D. L. (1995). Self-Esteem as an Interpersonal Monitor: The Sociometer Hypothesis. J. ol”Personality Soc. Psychol. 68, 518–530. doi:10.1207/S15327965PLI1403&4_15.

Self-Criticism

Aruta, J. J. B. R., Antazo, B. G., and Paceño, J. L. (2021). Self-Stigma Is Associated with Depression and Anxiety in a Collectivistic Context: The Adaptive Cultural Function of Self-Criticism. J. Psychol. Interdiscip. Appl. 155. doi:10.1080/00223980.2021.1876620.

Aruta, J. J. B. R., Antazo, B., Briones-Diato, A., Crisostomo, K., Canlas, N. F., and Peñaranda, G. (2021). When Does Self-Criticism Lead to Depression in Collectivistic Context. Int. J. Adv. Couns. 43. doi:10.1007/s10447-020-09418-6.

Campos, D., Cebolla, A., Quero, S., Bretón-López, J., Botella, C., Soler, J., et al. (2016). Meditation and happiness: Mindfulness and self-compassion may mediate the meditation-happiness relationship. Pers. Individ. Dif. 93, 80–85. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.08.040.

Halamová, J., Jurková, V., Kanovský, M., and Kupeli, N. (2018). Effect of a Short-Term Online Version of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Self-criticism and Self-compassion in a Nonclinical Sample. Stud. Psychol. (Bratisl). 60. doi:10.21909/sp.2018.04.766.

Hollis-Walker, L., and Colosimo, K. (2011). Mindfulness, self-compassion, and happiness in non-meditators: A theoretical and empirical examination. Pers. Individ. Dif. 50, 222–227. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.09.033.

Joeng, J. R., and Turner, S. L. (2015). Mediators between self-criticism and depression: Fear of compassion, self-compassion, and importance to others. J. Couns. Psychol. 62. doi:10.1037/cou0000071.

Löw, A. C., Schauenburg, H., and Dinger, U. (2020). Self-criticism and psychotherapy outcome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin. Psychol. Rev. 75. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2019.101808.

Neff, K. D. (2011). Self-compassion, self-esteem, and well-being. Soc. Personal. Psychol. Compass 5, 1–12. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00330.x.

Samaie, G., and Farahani, H. A. (2011). Self-compassion as a moderator of the relationship between rumination, self-reflection and stress. in Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.10.190.

Zuroff, D. C., Clegg, K. A., Levine, S. L., Haward, B., and Thode, S. (2021). Contributions of trait, domain, and signature components of self-criticism to stress generation. Pers. Individ. Dif. 173. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2020.110603.

Zuroff, D. C., Clegg, K. A., Levine, S. L., Hermanto, N., Armstrong, B. F., Haward, B., et al. (2021). Beyond trait models of self-criticism and self-compassion: Variability over domains and the search for signatures. Pers. Individ. Dif. 170. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2020.110429.

Narcissism

Littrell, S., Fugelsang, J., and Risko, E. F. (2020). Overconfidently underthinking: narcissism negatively predicts cognitive reflection. Think. Reason. doi:10.1080/13546783.2019.1633404.

Raskin, R., Novacek, J., and Hogan, R. (1991). Narcissism, self-esteem, and defensive self-enhancement. J. Pers. 59, 19–38.

Campbell, W. K., Hoffman, B. J., Campbell, S. M., and Marchisio, G. (2011). Narcissism in organizational contexts. Hum. Resour. Manag. Rev. 21, 268–284.

Doty, J., and Fenlason, J. (2013). Narcissism and toxic leaders. Mil. Rev. 93, 55–60.

Zitek, E. M., and Jordan, A. H. (2016). Narcissism Predicts Support for Hierarchy (At Least When Narcissists Think They Can Rise to the Top). Soc. Psychol. Personal. Sci. 7. doi:10.1177/1948550616649241.

Social Media and Society

Andreassen, C., Pallese, S., and D. Griffiths, M. (2017). Addictive use of social media, narcissism, and self-esteem. Addict. Behav. 64.

Fegan, R. B., and Bland, A. R. (2021). Social media use and vulnerable narcissism: The differential roles of oversensitivity and egocentricity. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 18. doi:10.3390/ijerph18179172.

Singh, S., Farley, S. D., and Donahue, J. J. (2018). Grandiosity on display: Social media behaviors and dimensions of narcissism. Pers. Individ. Dif. 134. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2018.06.039.

More Personal Performance Articles

You’re an Imposter!

You’re an Imposter!

How Imposter Syndrome Plagues Successful People ​Reading time: about 8 minutesThere has been a resurgence of research into imposter syndrome (or phenomenon) in recent years. The seemingly inexplicable case of when successful, often highly successful people, feel...

Look Within Yourself

Look Within Yourself

Awareness and personal awareness can increase performance according to recent research I have reported on research into self-reflection previously and new research also points to the benefits of reflection in multiple ways that can benefit personal performance at all...

A Sense of Achievement

A Sense of Achievement

In the world of being on all the time and many people in big business working in big projects across countries it can be hard to control how quickly and successfully things get done. Collaboration is a good thing, but the reason this is important is that a sense of achievement, and completion is great for lowering stress, improving engagement, and also wellbeing.

For the Love of Learning

For the Love of Learning

When we talk of healthy brains we automatically think of things like exercise and nutrition that I have covered at times here. But the thing we put into the brain most is oxygen. So, let’s have a quick look at how the air we breathe impacts brain performance . . .

 

This content is only for Premium Brains - please subscribe to access this. All subscriptions come with a free trial.
Register for free to receive access to "Healthy Brains" and other selected articles.
Subscribe to Premium Brain (monthly or annual) to access all articles and access the download page.

Subscribe now

 

leadership brain magazine

Thalamus

Thalamus

A Central Switch for Everything

The Thalamus is one of those brain areas that crops up in everything – it is considered a central relay station for the brain and therefore is critical to everything we do and think.

thalamus brain neuroleadership

 

The thalamus is quite unusual in that it is a large brain area at least in surface because it surrounds one of the ventricles in the brain. You often hear about ventricles in passing, and they would, and will, be worth a review at another time. The ventricles are cavities in the brain filled with brain, or spinal fluid, and essential therefore to brain function – but not having a function, such as passing electrical signals, are therefore only studied by neurologists in any detail. Anyhow the thalamus sits at the top of the brain stem and surrounds the third ventricle and sits at a crucial junction.  

It’s first and foremost function seems to be like a junction, an electrical relay station connecting the brains sensory and motor signals to the brain and body. The thalamus is therefore a highly connected brain region and has direct connections to sensory regions, excepting the olfactory region (and interesting observation and may be why the sense of smell is, actually, and amazingly, the fastest sense of all.

brainstem thalamus brain neuroleadership

 

But it doesn’t just do sensory and motor control it also connects to associative parts of the brain and limbic centres so in effect function as a central station for majority of cognitive functions. These are:

  1. Reticular and intralaminar nuclei dealing with arousal and pain regulation
  2. Sensory nuclei regulating all sensory domains except olfaction
  3. Effector nuclei governing motor language function
  4. Associative nuclei connoting cognitive functions
  5. Limbic nuclei encompassing mood and motivation

Given that the thalamus is involved in so much it is almost strange that it does not get more press. The amygdalae have become superstars because of their role in fear and emotion processing.

Even more so when we consider that, as we mentioned above, the thalamus is involved in pain and arousal, pretty important functions, but also wakefulness and alertness.

In fact, the thalamo-cortico-thalamic circuits are though to be heavily involved in consciousness itself – it must be – after all the integration of sensory input into the cerebrum goes directly through the thalamus. Maybe its function is too diffuse and too non-specific to be a clear centre for anything spectacular – those parts of the brain which have clear functions seem to attract more attention and research. But we do also know that damage to the thalamus gives significant risk of coma.

So, it remains that the thalamus is one of the critical brain areas through which just about everything in the brain passes for processing – so we should probably be a bit more thankful for it than we are!

References

Habas, C., Manto, M., and Cabaraux, P. (2019). The Cerebellar Thalamus. Cerebellum 18. doi:10.1007/s12311-019-01019-3.

Haber, S. N., and Calzavara, R. (2009). The cortico-basal ganglia integrative network: The role of the thalamus. Brain Res. Bull. 78, 69–74.

Hwang, K., Bertolero, M. A., Liu, W. B., and D’Esposito, M. (2017). The human thalamus is an integrative hub for functional brain networks. J. Neurosci. 37. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0067-17.2017.

Redinbaugh, M. J., Phillips, J. M., Kambi, N. A., Mohanta, S., Andryk, S., Dooley, G. L., et al. (2020). Thalamus Modulates Consciousness via Layer-Specific Control of Cortex. Neuron 106. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2020.01.005.

Wolff, M., and Vann, S. D. (2019). The cognitive thalamus as a gateway to mental representations. J. Neurosci. 39. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0479-18.2018.

Yen, C. T., and Lu, P. L. (2013). Thalamus and pain. Acta Anaesthesiol. Taiwanica 51. doi:10.1016/j.aat.2013.06.011.

Care for Your Team

Care for Your Team

Why caring can boost performance

There is a lot to be said about caring for your team – the research paints a clear picture – so why is it so hard to do?

team care brain neuroleadership

“We care” sounds like the sort of cheesy thing a hard-nosed executive might say to their employees but, behind their backs, plan for their jobs to be cut to save money and boost the bottom line. But the evidence is compelling that actually caring for your team is critical to team performance – in fact in teams particularly care and caring are powerful drivers of performance.

So, what is the evidence?

Well, there are a number of lines of evidence some direct and some indirect. I reported in 2021 on a number of studies which give direct evidence for caring in some shape or form. We should, however, define caring as this is more difficult than we may assume, though we intuitively may feel somebody cares. So, what does caring for your team members mean:

  • You care about their health and mental health
  • You respect them and their abilities
  • You help them develop
  • You value them as people and employees

And the above are defined by emotional engagement with them and being emotionally involved in their progress and performance. You can’t care without emotional involvement. So back to the research and there was one particularly interesting study in 2021. It was interesting because it was a real-world study documenting the performance of 48 teams from 5 Canadian startups. And what were the results.

The teams that were most effective, and resilient, had leaders who encouraged on-the-job-learning, and of note, also enabled and encouraged employees to speak up and give their ideas and suggestions for change.

This therefore falls under the category of care for employee’s development rather than punish, or criticize, or put people down for lack of performance. Of note is that this is a mid-long-term perspective. As Brykman who conducted the study said, “Knowing that you have a leader who is focused on learning and not just on performance outcomes is critical”. This may sound counter-intuitive and to some it is because a focus on performance only, or at all costs, would seem to be the more logical approach. Obviously, performance matters but simply focusing on performance without other aspects leads to worse performance because learning and caring for employees build skills and resilience over time.

Moreover, it has been well-documented that trust improves outcomes in busines and another piece of research in 2021 also showed that catering to team members needs increase trust and loyalty. Catering to employees needs can easily be translated into “caring for employees”. This study by Cindy Muir showed that team members’ perception of fairness was controlled by how team leaders catered to their needs. This is important because we know that unfairness is a major demotivator and disruptor causing intense frustration at times. Muir’s study showed that those leaders who were prosocially motivated made more effort to be fair. This in itself is a positive thing. The question then is do employees only care for prosocially motivated leaders because they are treated better – out of their own self-interest. Well, the interesting outcome was that prosocially leaders were rated less harshly when they made unfair decisions – so not only are they preferred, understandably, they are forgiven more readily.

team business brain neuroleadership

Of course, on the topic of prosocial behaviour, we should also consider antisocial behaviour and though we obviously know that treating people badly is going to lead to a negative impact, another study in 2021 was particularly interesting because it showed how rudeness can impact decision-making and how this can spread to others and therefore spread through an organisation.

The study by Binyamin Copper et al. showed that rudeness in emergency room doctors led to an increase in anchoring bias. Anchoring bias is that of taking the first cue or piece of information as a reference and working from this. In the case of doctors, it means sticking to your first impression irrespective of what any new evidence points too. In this context this can lead to not identifying the real issue – endangering people’s lives.

Though most people in business are not in life critical situations the study nicely shows how the atmosphere at work can severely impar decision-making – the authors note that rudeness seem to have a focusing effect – disrupting decision-making. Of particular interest is that this was not just when directly experiencing rudeness but also seeing rudeness to others! Those who experience rudeness are also in turn more likely to be rude to others creating a vicious circle. Of note is also that older people tend to respond less strongly to rudeness.

This therefore shows that having the right atmosphere is critical for good decision-making and avoiding a negative cycle of negativity. This is why a team leader must therefore aim one, to be not rude to their team members, and two, to intervene when they see anti-social behaviour. This in turn creates a safe environment and psychological safety as I outlined in lbR-2021-10. Psychological safety, as I noted, was rated as Google’s number one factor in team performance.

So, we can already see multiple streams all pointing to how much caring for team members creates high performing teams. We can translate this into my SCOAP model – which as most of you readers will be aware is a consolidated model of human behaviour.

  • Self-Esteem, value your team members, show gratitude, and compliment when and wherever possible Help them build higher status by being engaged in their development
  • Control, give autonomy, enable team members to perform
  • Orientation, keep team members informed, be a good communicator
  • Attachment, care for your team, build relationships, look after them
  • Pleasure, handle anti-social behaviour quickly, have fun, make work a pleasurable experience

All of this falls under the broad scope of “caring” for your team members. Now some people worry about clarifying performance and holding people accountable sometimes as a guise for being harsh to certain individuals. Our unpublished data on the SCOAP-Profile data shows that the vast majority of people in business want to perform well. That is not the problem. Sure, we certainly should be clear on performance guidelines and clear on what constitutes good performance or not – and we should enable team members to perform: if they can’t we should care enough to guide them to a place where they can perform. Everyone wins!

Here’s to caring for your team – and the subsequent high performance that can, should, and certainly will come of this.

References

Google Study

Google (2019). Guide: Understand Team Effectiveness. re:Work https://rework.withgoogle.com. doi:.1037//0033-2909.I26.1.78.

Team Behaviours

Brykman, K. M., and King, D. D. (2021). A Resource Model of Team Resilience Capacity and Learning. Gr. Organ. Manag. doi:10.1177/10596011211018008.

Muir (Zapata), C. P., Sherf, E. N., and Liu, J. T. (2021). It’s not only what you do, but why you do it: How managerial motives influence employees’ fairness judgments. J. Appl. Psychol. doi:10.1037/apl0000898.

Caring

Boulouta, I. (2013). Hidden Connections: The Link Between Board Gender Diversity and Corporate Social Performance. J. Bus. Ethics 113. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1293-7.

Fu, W., and Deshpande, S. P. (2014). The Impact of Caring Climate, Job Satisfaction, and Organizational Commitment on Job Performance of Employees in a China’s Insurance Company. J. Bus. Ethics 124. doi:10.1007/s10551-013-1876-y.

Henriques, P. L., Curado, C., Jerónimo, H. M., and Martins, J. (2019). Facing the dark side: How leadership destroys organisational innovation. J. Technol. Manag. Innov. 14. doi:10.4067/S0718-27242019000100018.

Lilly, J., Duffy, JA & Wipawayangkool, K. (2016). Impact of ethical climate on organizational trust and the Role of Business Performance. J. Appl. Behav. Manag. 17.

Neisig, M. (2019). When motivation theories create demotivation and impair productivity. Nord. J. Stud. Educ. Policy 5. doi:10.1080/20020317.2019.1708062.

Qi, L., and Liu, B. (2017). Effects of Inclusive Leadership on Employee Voice Behavior and Team Performance: The Mediating Role of Caring Ethical Climate. Front. Commun. 2. doi:10.3389/fcomm.2017.00008.

Saks, A. M. (2021). A Model of Caring in Organizations for Human Resource Development. Hum. Resour. Dev. Rev. 20. doi:10.1177/15344843211024035.

Sembiring, N., Nimran, U., Astuti, E. S., and Utami, H. N. (2020). The effects of emotional intelligence and organizational justice on job satisfaction, caring climate, and criminal investigation officers’ performance. Int. J. Organ. Anal. 28. doi:10.1108/IJOA-10-2019-1908.

Rudeness

Cooper, B., Giordano, C. R., Erez, A., Foulk, T. A., Reed, H., and Berg, K. B. (2021). Trapped by a first hypothesis: How rudeness leads to anchoring. J. Appl. Psychol. doi:10.1037/apl0000914.

SCOAP

Habermacher, A., Ghadiri, A., and Peters, T. (2020). Describing the elephant: a foundational model of human needs, motivation, behaviour, and wellbeing. doi:10.31234/osf.io/dkbqa.