The Quest for Status

We can be better leaders if we understand that unconsciously, as humans we will always seek to increase our status in society.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This need has existed since prehistoric times. According to researcher David Rock, from the time that humans started living together in groups, increasing their status has been as important as getting food.

Modern research has identified a chemical relationship between increases or decreases in status and our neuronal network. When status increases, so do the levels of neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and positive emotions, and stress-related ones are reduced, augmenting our feeling of security and strength.

Just the opposite happens when we perceive a decline in our status.

"In a performance review where there is the possibility that our boss will say we are not doing something well, status is threatened and a chemical process in the brain starts that produces negative emotions. Similarly, the chemical effect occurs if we feel rejected or excluded, if we are not appreciated, if we are shown our mistakes, if we are shown that others are better than us or if we lose at something.

In contrast, when we feel we are winners, when we feel we are better than others, when we notice other peoples mistakes, when we feel included, when we ascend the corporate ladder, when we have special benefits or when we are recognized or have public successes, our status is raised and we experience a chemical effect that rewards us and gives us pleasure. "

An article in Prensa.com notes that understanding these unconscious processes can help us become better leaders. When giving feedback, for example, it is worthwhile identifying our own mistakes, in order for the collaborator not feel to that their status is being threatened.

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