Helping Leaders Achieve Greater Influence, Higher Engagement & Increased Results

Are You Doing The Two Rule Tango?

One of a leader’s key responsibilities is to set the ground rules for behaviour, performance and conduct. But once again the ego can spoil the party by raising its ugly head and convincing you that due to your status, you can break the rules, or in some cases, the rules only apply to those below you!

Admittedly, the organisation may reinforce this thinking by providing perks like parking spaces or more flexible working etc. This can lead to you doing a dance called the “do as I say, not as I do” routine or the “Two Rule Tango”

For example, you may send out a note reminding everyone how important it is to turn up at meetings on time but then arrive late yourself with a ‘legitimate’ reason of course!

This kind of behaviour will have a serious impact on the brains of your direct reports.

As humans we crave equality and fairness, it’s almost as if we have an ‘unfairness’ sensor which sends an unfairness alert when triggered, threat circuitry fires up. (This can be so strong that in wider life people lay down their lives in the cause of justice and equality).

Back in the workplace this may not result in any outward challenge but your direct reports will have moved further away from you on the Human Connection Scale™.

So what?

well if you are the kind of leader who wants to get the most from their team and have people put in extra discretionary effort then it matters since this kind of behaviour or even the perception that you have two rules will decrease the effort  they put in for you and the business.

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 fair and honest. 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 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!

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