March 24, 2014
Foster Relatedness    

The SCARF model defines relatedness as our sense of safety with others and the feeling of belongingness with the group. People report high levels of emotional and physical distress when they are being socially excluded. Interestingly, across many different languages the words and phrases for physical pain are used to describe social pain, such as a "broken heart." This may be because social pain and physical pain activate the same region of the brain, the dorsal anterior cingulated cortex.  


Organizations are fertile ground for violating the brain's natural inclination towards relatedness and social inclusion. Silos, cliques, and hierarchies within organizations fuel feelings of social exclusion. To counteract this, leaders can foster team building, collegiality, and common goals. At the organizational level, implement and enforce policies that foster productive interchanges and disallow threatening social behaviors such as bullying.


Rock, D. (2008). SCARF: A brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others. NeuroLeadership Journal, 1(1), 296-320.


Observing United Nations International Day of Happiness    


Those of you following me on Facebook and Twitter may have noticed my posts last Thursday to celebrate the UN's International Day of Happiness.  A few years ago, the UN declared March 20th the International Day of Happiness to recognize "the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives."


As a coach who practices positive psychology, I find the International Day of Happiness to be a great reminder to pause and reflect on how to increase happiness - for individuals, organizations, and communities.  And a reminder to dance.                         
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