Monday, March 28, 2011

Interpersonal Neurobiology: Yes, the mind can change.

IPNB: The idea that our personal relationships shape our brain and in turn our reactions and impressions in life. Positive reinforcement and relationships in life actually grow new neural pathways over old ones that may have been damaged by negative influences earlier in life, thus changing our perceptions from negative to positive.

I have been blessed, in general, with pretty good bosses, but along the way there have been a few asses as well, so for as long as I can remember, I have had a simple tutorial for all of them. "The better you treat me, the more you will get - many times beyond any idea of average. But treat me poorly and you'll get complete shit, and eventually defiance". And then I became a boss - and I can tell you, the whole office behaves exactly how you behave when you walk in the door in the morning. Crap mood? Crap service from staff. Good mood? Good things follow.

I worked for a man recently at a very small magazine who had open tirades, about all kinds of things, in the middle of the office of a company he owned. You could hear him through the stairwell for three levels. Disgraceful I thought - and honestly, in my 30+ years working had never seen such behaviour from a company owner. What kind of message did it send to staff? Did they respect him for it? Did it make them better? I can assure you not. His employ was a place of fear, no imagination and for certain, no fun. 

Want to get the best out of your staff? Be clear about your directives, treat them with respect and even humour when appropriate, deal with mistakes seriously but fairly - and pay them properly. I once had a staff at Leo Burnett in Korea remark, "David, we can never tell when you're mad". Because I never was. Unhappy maybe, but never mad. Positive influences grow the brain. Negative influences atrophy the brain. Now it's been scientifically proven.

D a v i d E v e r i t t - C a r l s o n
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D a v i d E v e r i t t - C a r l s o n
Find me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Read my previous blog: The Wild Wild East Dailies.