Every once in a while you come across a new thought, concept, or perception that will radically change your perspective on a subject, if you allow it. Management Rewired – Why Feedback Doesn’t Work and Other Surprising Lessons from the Latest Brain Science has done that for me.
If you supervise people in any capacity, company owners, managers, and even parents you should read this book. If you don’t supervise but you want to better understand people, how they think and what motivates them, you should read this book.
The author pulls together the latest research in neuroscience to show us how the mind really works. Much of this is done with fMRI brain scans. While people are in these machines they are asked to perform a variety of tasks, answer questions and complete puzzles. By mapping the activity levels in various parts of the brain they have developed a much better understanding of how our minds actually work.
Everything that we are and understand, our knowledge, emotions and memories are no more than very tiny electrical impulses flowing through a series of interconnected synapses. Each experience we have builds a certain pattern of these network paths. The more often we repeat an experience the more credible each set of network paths become. Our knowledge, memory or skill associated with these new paths improves and strengthens.
Each of us experiences the world through our own eyes and as a result we each have a different perspective. Through millions of experiences, each of us has constructed our own very unique view of the world and how it works. The author uses the analogy of a movie running in our head, each custom made.
As a result of these unique perspectives, tension, disagreements and misunderstandings occur regularly. What makes logical sense to you, based on everything you know, may be complete nonsense to another simply because they lack some unique experience and therefore the synaptic pathways that tell them it is logical.
More and more the science is showing that everything we thought we knew and understood about motivation may be wrong. Contrary to our perception, providing extrinsic motivators such as bonuses, gifts and rewards or even punishments for undesirable behavior may often be detrimental to our long-term objectives.
There are more effective and efficient methods to motivate and manage, the author shares, but many of these methods are counter intuitive and challenging to implement. The research provided indicates that the greatest levels of engagement and performance will likely come only after a manager dismisses many of the common management methods in use today.
Instead of setting objectives for employees (kids?) you should have them set their own. Instead of praising or critiquing your subordinate, you should ask them to critique their own. When their performance falters, let them determine how to improve. Charles Jacobs writes:
When they are the ones responsible for their performance, the psychological dynamic of the relationship works for the manager, because the employee’s self-esteem is positively correlated with their performance and the success of any corrective action.
I cannot begin to cover the depth, breadth and complexity of the concepts that this author so seamlessly pulled together and then presented in simple English. While he expertly introduces complex medical and psychological concepts he educates and enlightens the reader not only on how to better manage others, but also how to better manage yourself.
Readers: Have you been exposed to Daniel Pink or Dan Ariely? If not, these two also shed new light on how the mind works, what motivates, how we make decisions us and how we can benefit. If you watch these two or read Management Rewired, please come back and let us know what you think!
photo by brain blogger
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