Learning Lab

What’s the real deal with status in management?

As a manager, or as a person being managed, you will probably have had both good and not so good experiences. The reasons for this could be complex, but lets extract one component that has proven to be very powerful.

Your view of yourself within an environment has an effect on all the chemicals coursing around your body. This has an effect on everything from how you stand to how you behave. Imagine being able to exert control over how you behave and subsequently the results you get simply by addressing how you position yourself within an environment.

What we are looking at has huge implications for managers who want to get more out of their teams. To increase effectiveness, efficiency and productivity we want to get as much right with the biggest resource people have; their minds. Comically most people know more about how their TV’s work than their brains.

There is an optimum state for individuals to be in for each task they are carrying out. As a manager one of your aims is to help elicit that state in a person. An effective person is someone in the right state for the job, moment to moment. This is where status comes in.

Believing you have little control over your role tends to make people less productive. Their serotonin levels decrease making them feel down. They could experience concentration and attention problems coming across as poorly organized. They could forget things easily and get overwhelmed by things and take longer to do simple tasks. High cortisol levels also have a negative effect. At Synaptic Potential we believe that by educating you about how you work you are empowered to get more out of yourself and your team.

Sir Michael Marmot has done extensive research into the effects of status. He shows that it’s not just a person’s job performance that is improved with raised status but their life expectancy too! So we’re literally talking about life changing things here. His research really drums home the power of your ability to control your situation.

From a management perspective the more you can give people control the higher their perceived status will be and the less negative chemicals they’ll experience. For example, if you are able to help a person see the outcomes they are working towards but give them the control to decide how they will create that outcome you will likely find they work quicker and with more energy and focus.

If you are an individual with a manager who doesn’t yet understand the importance of autonomy in increasing effectiveness, efficiency and productivity then it’s down to you. How can you take ownership of your role more? Is there something you could take responsibility for contributing to the company? By taking control of your mind your performance will improve and before you know it your manager will be rushing to give you some of his responsibilities!

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