I remember when Subaru launched their “Love” campaign several years ago. It highlighted the love that drivers feel for their cars, and a Washington Times article was quick to berate them for mentioning love as a reason for buying a car. According to the author of the article, love is an irrational emotion that has no place in the realm of purchasing decisions or anywhere in business. It’s a common belief that the emotion of love should be barred from business, yet this is highly ironic because love is the one ingredient that can help businesses generate the highest prosperity.
Leading Edge Research
I recently completed a course at HeartMath LLC and learned about research showing the relationship between the heart and the brain. Emotions profoundly impact the rhythmic beating of our heart and the signals it transmits to our brain. These signals cause measurable changes in our brain’s ability to think and process information. When our emotions are positive, emanating from the heart, we are in a state of coherence, where the electrical patterns of the brain synchronize with the rhythmic patterns of the heart. In this state, our brain functions at peak levels.
When we experience positive, heartfelt emotions, such as compassion, appreciation and gratitude, our mind becomes far more sharp and clear. Our cortical function is enhanced and we’re able to see possibilities where previously we could perceive only dead-ends. We’re able to rapidly recall information committed to memory and mentally sift through large amounts of data, finding the most relevant facts and making the best decisions. New understandings about the market place and the organization are quicker to emerge, and we’re more adaptive to change. When leaders consistently foster positive, heartfelt emotions in their teams, their performance skyrockets and enhanced creativity leads to greater innovations.
A recent IBM survey of over 1500 global CEO’s concludes that creativity, adaptability, and the mental aptitude to process growing volumes of data, are the qualities that teams need to succeed into the future. As the business world becomes increasingly complex and fast-paced, employees are increasingly challenged to find local, instant solutions that work. The capacity to thrive in these environments is engendered by positive, heart-based emotions.
In contrast, when our emotions are negative, such as fear, anger, worry, and anxiety, we severely limit learning, memory, cognition, and problem-solving. This causes decreased productivity, poor or short-sighted decisions, difficulty finding the right words and remembering key facts, a slowed reaction speed, and the feeling of being overwhelmed. People and teams in this state simply can’t compete effectively.
Have a Heart
Many corporate environments are riddled with anxiety, sometimes even by design, as many leaders believe that employees work harder when motivated by fear. But as a leader, don’t let conventional thinking convince you that having heart in business is irrational or a sign of weakness. Leaders maximize prosperity not by aggravating people into doing more, but rather by nurturing their emotional health. This is the key to a team’s long-term viability. Among other methods, you can help people feel positive, heartfelt emotions by controlling your own emotions, defining a purpose that resonates, trusting people, and creating more collaborative environments.
As we learn more from neuroscience about the incredible power of group emotions, we see reasons to adopt techniques beyond the ordinary. For more on shaping team emotions to increase creativity and performance, including research references, get notified of the upcoming book Primal Teams: Harnessing the Incredible Power of Group Energy or sign up for a monthly summary of articles.Share