Reducing the Four Hungers Creates Greater Energy

Our brains require four key aspects to feel safe and to function effectively. If these are not met, then psychological ‘hungers’ develop, games begin to be played and the brain power and energy can haemorrhage from the business.

These four needs are not tangible, but the symptoms of ‘hunger’ are. Do you recognise any of these occurring in your own business?

  1. Stimulation – the brain has a need to be kept stimulated. Interesting and challenging work keeps it active. Learning new skills creates new pathways in the mind. Neurons or brain cells will die if they are not suitably stimulated and able to make connections. In the absence of stimulation:
  • People become bored, de-motivated and don’t perform. Disruptive behaviours, going walk about, doodling, or ‘being busy’ can be potential signs of this.
  • Presenteeism occurs, where people turn up to work, but are not functioning at their full capabilities. Their minds seem to be elsewhere.
  1. Structure – if we have a script to work to or a plan, then we have certainty, which the brain craves. If people know what is expected of them, what they have to do, where they are in the organisational structure and where they are headed, it creates a safer environment. With less threat, the brain can relax and function effectively. Without structure:
  • You may find people repeatedly saying ‘I don’t know what I’m doing?’; leap frogging authority to get what they want, unable to prioritise and being stressed.
  • Absenteeism can increase.
  • The wrong ‘life scripts’ develop and people repeat unhelpful patterns of behaviour.
  1. Recognition – this is the need for positive strokes, to feel accepted and appreciated for who we are and what we do.
  • In the absence of positive strokes, people will settle for negative ones and you may see more mistakes made, disruptive behaviour, accidents, and tantrums.
  • Games will start to be played, such as the blame culture, always being the victim and not taking responsibility for actions.
  1. Leadership – Having someone who will keep you safe and provide your needs creates a reliable environment. The leader is expected to provide protection from harm, give permission for what is acceptable and has potency in the world they lead. Leaders need to see themselves as being part of the solution.            Without good leadership:
  • People may become invisible, keeping below the parapet, not taking responsibility or are indecisive.
  • Flabby boundaries may develop, where there is no certainty as to what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviours and poor performance is not dealt with.
  • Anarchy may prevail, as people fight to take over power.

The good news is that it costs very little financially to address and feed these needs. The return on investment can be enormous in improved relationships and energy.

  1. Have a clear psychological contract between the organisation, managers and the team, which is equally adhered to and endorsed.
  2. Provide regular one to one’s to discuss performance, future concerns and give recognition.
  3. Share the vision and values on a regular basis and review these.
  4. Provide plenty of challenge by delegating or offering development.
  5. Have clearly communicated organisational structure, goals and targets.
  6. Give genuine recognition for achievements as often as possible – celebrate success.
  7. Manage performance and deal with unacceptable behaviours whilst being constructive in giving feedback.
  8. Provide coaching to help people develop their full potential.
  9. Deliver learning and development.
  10. Encourage creative problem solving for themselves or the business.

 Take the hunger out of your business and feed the energy.

For more information on this, please contact us.

My thanks go to Lynda Tongue, Triangle Partnerships, for the stimulating 202 Masterclass workshop which inspired me to write this article.

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