9 09 2015

In a leadership role we want to influence those we lead to learn, grow, and develop in the time we have to work with them.  We want to develop individuals that are excited to learn, approach challenges instead of avoiding them, have a desire to push themselves, and be self motivated.  The million dollar questions becomes; How can we, as leaders, influence our group to adopt this perspective?

Many times when this self-determine motivation is not displayed we turn to punishments as a way of forcing the result.  For example, if an individual is not meeting a goal or struggling to recall information learned previously we yell at them in the moment or provide some other form or suitable punishment.  However, this approach is actually rendering the exact opposite of our desired result.  The evidence manifests in neuroscience. Our brain as many parts but the reptilian part of our brain, or the Limbic Brain, which sits in the center is responsible for running the other parts of our brain.  When our reptilian brain is threatened it shuts down everything else, including the Prefrontal Cortex which plays a huge role in learning and development.  Punishments are seen as threats and therefore begins this shutting down process.  So, when we punish someone or place them in another threatening situation, ultimately what we do is shut their brain down and then ask them to perform a task they have learned or need to recall.  This is simply not conducive to learning or performance.

So now what? What strategies can we use to avoiding this shut down and set these individuals up for success?  The answer is simple, encouragement is key. We need to salute learning and the willingness to challenge themselves.  We call this, THE GRANNY FACTOR.  When we see an athlete, student, child or soldier attempting to accomplish and goal or learn a new skill we need to say things like, ‘Whoa! I couldn’t do that when I was your age’, ‘that’s neat, how did you do that’, or ‘what’s the next step’.  In other words, say what granny would say. #WWGS

As humans we have an unstoppable desire to learn.  The Neurochemical, Dopamine, is release anytime we experience something new or novel.  Therefore, we want to keep learning and experiencing, even if we are not in school or placed in another environment where learning is the desired outcome.  We are hardwired to pursue information and learn!! With the learning and development process comes plateau, where we think we can’t make it any farther.  Perhaps all we need is a little granny factor.  So your challenge for this week is to get in touch with your inner granny.  Inspire those around your to keep learning and developing by being a leader of encouragement!!




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