NEURO-TIP: Stress early in life can have damaging effects on our ability to manage stress as adults.*
We are experiencing unprecedented changes in the world. Businesses and our global communities are more challenged than ever before. It feels like there has been a sudden and profound interruption in business continuity. I call this The Edge.
At the edge-our moments of greatest challenge-we often feel like we are losing control, and we are unable to see a clear path to success. It’s a crossroads we arrive at when we are faced with decisions too difficult to make alone, when our resources are few, and our old approaches no longer produce results that yield success.
At the edge, we can turn away from others and try to handle the challenges from our own vantage point, or we can turn to others for help.
I-centric leadership suggests that a leader should have the answers and direct and guide the organization to solutions. I-centric leaders expect solutions to come from the top of the organization and be given to the employees for implementation.
We-centric leadership says that a leader doesn't have all the answers, and therefore needs to learn how to involve the entire organization in successfully coming up with the strategies for success. I call this new inclusive approach "WE-Centric" Leadership.
More than ever before, we need to understand how to Create WE. A central premise behind Creating WE is that an organization's ability to get to its next level of greatness is determined by the climate of the culture, which is determined by the quality of the relationships. The quality of relationships is determined by the quality of conversations.
Conversations connect one person to another – one team to another. When negativity, lack of trust, fear, dictating and focus on the past are the “reality of our conversations” they:
- insidiously eat away at our heart and soul,
- limit our access to new wisdom and knowledge,
- close down our access to our spirit and passion,
- interrupt the catalytic nature of positive relationships, and
- block the serendipity of new encounters.
Setting a positive tone in our conversations enables us to connect with others at deep levels not always visible to the human eye. The more our interactions are trusting, and positive and supportive of courage-taking acts, and the more we live in the present rather than the past, the greater are our chances of tapping the most incredible and powerful energy we have to create the next generation innovation – which is a "WE" phenomena.
Creating WE goes to the root of the problem, showing how self-centered, unimaginative, non-collaborative “I-centric” work environments cause “territorialism” to form in the workplace, dooming companies to failure.
On the larger socio-political stage, Creating WE provides a new way of approaching conflict, collaboration and co-creation that has the power to unlock the “genetic code” for positive human dynamics – turning fear into optimism and "power-over" into "power-with."
How much unnecessary stress are you creating in your workplace? How can you instead contribute to a more "WE-centric" work environment?
*Stress endured early in life can influence the quality of physical and mental health in adulthood, such as by causing hormonal alterations associated with mood and cognitive disorders. But until now, scientists did not understand the mechanism by which early life experiences can produce such long-lasting effects. According to a common hypothesis, the environment affects mental heath by causing alterations to the physical properties of the genome that influence gene expression — the epigenome. Indeed, research suggests that DNA methylation, one of the most intensely studied forms of epigenetics, may explain why maternal care has a long-term influence on behavior and hormones.
Stress & Epigenetic Changes
The Scientist Researchers: molecular biologists Chris Murgatroyd and Dietmar Spengler of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Germany November 2009