Tango in the Workplace

By David Ryback, Ph.D.

The latest neuroscience discoveries reveal that the workplace is a dynamic exchange of brain-to-brain influence. Such influence can be used to enhance the power of the organization only if we harness it by understanding how we affect one another, for better or worse.  Our purpose is to set the stage for learning how our awareness of the intent and needs of others in the workplace—whether our fellow workers, clients, customers or service providers—can make us and our business more successful over time and make our work—at whatever level of the organization—much more meaningful.

Each workplace setting is quite unique and each one changes from week to week, sometimes minute to minute, what with global electronic communication.  In this highly competitive economy, with globalization resulting in more and more outsourcing and oversupply of labor, the workplace is less inclined to make the human factor a priority.  So our deep awareness of one another’s needs and intentions is key, if we want to remain competitive.

The more closely we work with someone, the stronger are the influences described above.  It’s all about social interactions and how we handle them.   It’s all about the components of multiple intelligences that have to do with social awareness and relationship management, which we now refer to as ConnectAbility as applied to the world of business.

ConnectAbility puts primary focus on these two components of emotional intelligence—awareness of external factors and communication skills—rather than the other two components—self-awareness and self-management—specifically, how they can be best utilized for greater success in the world of business.

This new paradigm allows a closer look at the emerging findings from the fields of social psychology and neuroscience, and how we influence one another much more than we ever knew.   As Daniel Goleman puts it, “Our most potent exchanges occur with those people with whom we spend the greatest amount of time day in and day out, year after year … During these neural linkups, our brains engage in an emotional tango, a dance of feelings … sending out cascades of hormones that regulate our biological systems … That link is a double-edged sword … as we realize how, through their sum total, we create one another.”


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