Have you been Hijacked?
Imagine a recent conversation with your new boss. She reviews a presentation you are going to make next week. And she says, “I don’t like it. You can do better.” And she walks away. What she does not know is that over the last several years you have developed this presentation template with the help and collaboration of your bosses peers; the other executives in the company.
What happened as you read that? Did you experience a flush? Did your heart rate go up a bit; perhaps your stomach tightened up. If we were to look at your blood work we would find elevated levels of Cortisol and Adrenalin… Your Amygdala has just been hijacked. (A term coined by Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence. The Amygdala a ganglion of the limbic system adjoining the temporal lobe of the brain and involved in emotions of fear and aggression. It is often called the Reptilian Brain and it is what triggers our Flight or Fight response.
Here is the sad part. If I were to give you before and after tests on your ability to perform cognitively; the feedback you just received has just reduced your performance and your ability to perform at your best. It is not just an emotional response but a physical response. You body is now channeling mental and physical resources to your defense instead of towards performance.
Now the boss might have valid reasons for not liking the presentation, we don’t know she never said. But is there a way she might have communicated that would have led to a better presentation?
Now imagine this. The boss reviews the presentation and asks:
– “How did you develop this presentation?”
– “Who else was involved?””
– “What message are you trying to convey?”
– “Is this the best way to communicate that message?”
How are you feeling now; any flushing or how is heart rate? Chances are your brain is trying to answer the questions, what am I trying to convey…how is that message best communicated?
In other words instead of being hijacked you’ve now been directed.
That is the power in the way we communicate!