Helping Leaders Achieve Greater Influence, Higher Engagement & Increased Results

Mistakes are for losers……aren’t they?

I can’t be wrong, I’m the boss!
This is another common mistake leaders make, operating from the assumption that admitting you made a mistake to those below you will somehow damage your reputation as a leader, but in the majority of cases it’s simply not true.
In fact quite the opposite is true, it’s more likely to increase your reputation.

The thing is, people instinctively know that humans make mistakes, (“to err is human”), people are also pretty good at working out when others have err’d. The leader who tries to cover up his/her mistakes will be viewed with distain from those below.

Why?, well turns out us humans are biologically programmed to relate to other humans, we are a social species. If the other human you are trying to relate to does not display a core value like honesty then that relatedness will be reduced. That will result in a reduced level of trust and the ‘threat’ circuits will fire, (see below),  resulting in the person moving away from the leader on the Human Connection Scale™.

The need for us to build a strong social connection has been discovered to be much greater than first thought. It is how we developed to be so successful, by building trusting relationships and cooperating together for millions of years, it is now so strong it drives us unconsciously in nearly all our interactions with other humans.
The leader that ignores this does so at their peril!

Neuroscientists have discovered that we all have a part of our brain that lights up or is activated, (viewed live via brain scanner,fMRI), when we feel ‘threatened”  by a situation, I am not referring to physical threat where the stronger fight/flight mechanism kicks in, this ‘threat’ is very subtle and is mostly at an unconscious level. The result is we are likely to feel less positive towards this person and less likely to work hard or put in extra effort for them.

Conversely, there is also a part of our brain that lights up or is activated, when we feel ‘rewarded’ by a situation or person, for example being honest and showing they are also human and can occasionally make mistakes. This again is very subtle and is mostly at an unconscious level. The result is we are likely to feel more positive towards this person and more likely to be proactive or put in extra effort.

Regularly only triggering the ‘threat’ circuits or your people will make them less likely to do more than required, ie compliance. They will move away from you on the Human Connection Scale™.




By Peter Green

Peter is a speaker, workshop facilitator and author. Founder of Limbic Leadership, helping front line leaders harness the brain for massive influence, higher engagement and exceptional results from their teams. Leadership Development Grounded in Neuroscience!

Leave a Reply