We all have a system of rewards and bonus inside our body. Great leaders know how to affect 4 different types of chemicals together known as EDSO.
Endorphine: we don’t need them anymore for survival, we need them to get the best out of yourself. The feeling you get when you just did an excellent job. Mostly physical. Like running or hiking up a mountain or… Finishing your best work late at night. It will last short but feels great.
Dopamine: crossing something off your to do list gives you a great feeling. This is the effect of dopamine. Or the feeling like: “Oh, I found it, here it is!”. Dopamine can be highly ineffective when out of balance: gambling, smoking, alcohol. An unhealthy environment is a high dopamine organization. Addicted to make the numbers. Addicted to make the performance. Like any addict: you will destroy others to get the next hit.
Two social chemicals (called ‘leadership chemicals’) will last:
Serotonin: a chemical that shows up when you feel pride, when you get public recognizition amongst the tribe. When a leader makes clear: I believe in you. I know you can do this. Then Serotonin shows up and we will give them what we have. When we assess that someone is an alpha to us we let them go first. With great joy. We don’t give this to leaders and alpha’s for nothing. We want to avoid danger. And when leaders take a risk to avoid that for a group we’re all in. For example: What if we give Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa a bonus of 150 million dollars. We think it’s okay. Because they protect us. This is different then managers who use people to reach the numbers. Than, people get angry. Like a shareholders focus. Putting the numbers first. It’s the same focus like a coach is putting his focus in the audience more than at his team players. Or like when we want to create a culture of innovation. After we had a layoff of the people. This isn’t possible. Innovation is about trust and experiment. Heartcounts over headcounts.
Oxytocin: the chemical that is associated with love, being nice, the human touch (hugging) and bonding. We like handshakes without contracts, we don’t like contracts without a handshake. Oxytocin is about kindness and generosity. Without anything in return. Like giving away time and energy. The person on the receiving end gets Oxytocin and feels good as well. Even witnessing an act of generosity gives it as well.
Pay it forward…that’s what great leaders do!
Rick de Rijk, directeur