The Impact of Status

"Modern brain research supports the thesis that humans are social beings, hard-wired to live and work together, and that those who possess, develop and employ the skills needed to bond with others are those who will prosper in health, wealth, happiness, and effectiveness," by Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence.

Ladder in Sky Photograph by Salvatore Vuono

I have always known that status, where you are in the pecking order, in organizations and leadership is important. I remember my parents (who were blue collar workers, low in their respective pecking orders), tell me that in their situations, they felt unheard and powerless. This did not really cause them stress as they loved where they worked because their relatives and friends also worked there and they found connection and a sense of belonging.

My parents always wanted something better for me and my siblings. I realized at a young age that I, too, wanted something different.  I worked hard and climbed up the ranks in organizations to leadership positions. My awareness and intuition regarding status in my organizations kept increasing.

I realized that with this 'perceived' power of mine came a responsibility. This responsibility was to understand that organizations are a social system and to treat others with respect and value them and their contributions.

This leads me to think about the impact of feedback on others and how this can threaten one's status causing activation of the threat response.

"We're wired to feel rewarded by just about any increment increase in status," says neuroscientist Dr. David Rock.  Based on this, I think our work, as leaders, is to find ways to reward those who work with us. We can do so in the following ways:
  • Give positive feedback in public based on one's strengths.
  • Ask for permission to give feedback.
  • Let the recipient of feedback know why you are providing the feedback. For the sake of their development, the impact of their leadership, etc.
  • Help someone else feel their status has gone up.
  • Acknowledge others contributions.
  • Gain an understanding of how others define status for themselves.
"I think one can achieve a very pleasant lifestyle by treating human beings, fellow human beings, very well." ~ Rene Rivkin
Step into leading and play a Bigger Game in your life... don't wait... model leadership... the World needs us to do this.

Lead strong!



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