Have you ever thought about how your emotions can affect your ability to learn and process information? They can play a huge role in shaping our perception, attention, memory, and problem-solving skills, especially in a world that is changing at an accelerating pace.
It's well known that our amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and medial temporal lobe play a critical role in combining our emotions and cognitive processes to create the reality we experience. And as a leader, it's important to be aware of how your emotions and those of your team members can impact the success of your organization.
For example, in our Strategic Leadership Program in Enterprise Agility, we address Sensing People and Markets because it's critical to understand the importance of emotions and their impact on learning, information processing, and even understanding the marketplace when faced with a new disruption.
"Humans are not physiologically prepared for constant alterations in processes, tools, and ways of working." Erich R. Bühler
Humans are not physiologically prepared for constant alterations in processes, tools, and ways of working. And this is something that any leader should have in mind.
At the core of Enterprise Agility, is the recognition that humans are not designed to deal with constant change. In times of fast-paced markets, the first skill leaders must master is managing their emotions to effectively reframe situations and shift perspective. This requires self-awareness and an understanding of how the new situation affects you and how you are perceived by others.
So how can you use the power of emotions to stay ahead in this rapidly changing world? By creating a safe and encouraging atmosphere where your team can talk openly about their emotions and understand the impact of accelerated change.
And by having a clear understanding of what "organizational health" means in the context of flexible companies and how it can increase adaptability and resilience.
According to Leading Exponential Change, Organizational Health is “psychological safety plus the creation of sustainable business value in perpetuity".
There are also two critical factors you should consider. First, visibility is critical. To increase visibility, it's important to pay attention not only to the use of physical or virtual boards displaying the new reality but also to the language you use.
Make sure the language is easy for others to understand and give them the skills they need to visualize the reasons for the change and perform their tasks proficiently.
Second, in terms of continuous learning, you need to consider the aspect of inclusion. Everyone learns at their own pace and may need time and support, so it's important to have a culture and way of working that considers this.
To achieve this, my suggestion is that you take into account the following 6 ideas:
1. Encourage people to express emotions: Make it clear that it's okay for team members to express their feelings, whether positive or negative and create a safe and supportive environment for employees to share their thoughts and feelings.
2. Lead by example: as a leader, you set the tone for your team. When you show emotional openness and vulnerability, it's easier for team members to follow suit.
3. Use storytelling: Stories have the power to create emotional connections and facilitate learning. Share your own experiences with change or use stories to illustrate concepts and ideas.
4. Embrace intellectual humility: Intellectual humility is the willingness to admit that you don't know everything and that you could be wrong. With this mindset, as a leader you can be open to new ideas and perspectives in times of rapid change and allow yourself to be vulnerable. We also have a great framework for increasing Intellectual Humility in the company, check the Lighthouse model from the Enterprise Agility University to know more. It is a foundational part of Enterprise Agility.
5. Use games to get emotions flowing: Games can be a fun and collaborative way to allow people to express their emotions in a safe and controlled environment, fostering a positive and open organizational culture. When playing games, people are immersed in a "special" reality where rules and norms can be different from their everyday experiences, allowing them to be themselves and freely express their feelings. Check my book page 299 to know more about it. And finally...
6. Implement processes that support people with different learning speeds and needs: Some people learn quickly, while others take their time and are more thoughtful.
There are also differences in how individuals learn throughout their day and how they're confronted with unexpected situations.
If this is underestimated, they can feel frustrated and contribute to a poor work environment. Learn to be sensitive to your employees and create an environment that supports their learning needs. A great way to understand how people experience accelerated change is by learning what neuro-exponential profiles are. (Watch this video in English, or this one in Spanish)
As you can see, emotions play an important role in learning, memory, and adaptation, especially in times of accelerated change. As a leader, it's crucial to recognize the impact of emotions on learning and memory and to create a positive, supportive environment that encourages the open expression of emotions, promotes intellectual humility, and supports people with different learning styles.
By harnessing the power of emotions, you can improve your own leadership skills, build a more resilient and adaptive organization, and ensure that employees are emotionally and intellectually supported during difficult times.