Relatedness: A brain-based model of leadership
I like me. I know myself implicitly. Therefore if someone does not relate to me it is their fault, not mine. Isn’t it?
“Most of our communication happens without us “thinking” about it. This is why so much of our communication fails. Yet 85% of us believe we are excellent communicators!” – Developing Management Skills, Carlopio and Andrewartha (5th Edition, 2013).
David Rock refers to the primal importance of relatedness as being a likely by-product of living in small communities for millions of years. He indicates that “Positive social connections are a primary need; however, the automatic response to new social connections involves a threat. To increase the reward response from relatedness, the key is to find ways to increase safe connections between people”.
I refer to this quality in leadership as matching.
Matching the communication of our staff and key stakeholders can foster a strong sense of relatedness, bringing about a sense of being of the same group (you may recall studies in the 1980s consistently referred to the in-group and the out-group).
Many of you may be aware that the 3 core elements of communication are distributed as 55% body language, 38% voice tone and 7% verbal content. Therefore communicating and matching effectively is not so much in what we say, but how we say it.
A starting point to effectively matching with others is to first know yourself: how you communicate, what your communication strengths and weaknesses are. This provides a foundation for understanding who we implicitly match well with (those who communicate like us), and those we need to work at.
Self-assessment measures such as the Influence Dimensions assessment tool provide a powerful behavioural measure of individual communication style and team leadership practices, which is ideal for ensuring communication and matching with stakeholders.
If you would like to discuss how you can develop greater relatedness with your staff and stakeholders, please contact me.
This is part 4 of a 5 part leadership master class blog series, adapted from David Rock’s 2008 publication in the Neuroleadership Journal, SCARF: a brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others.