We all aspire to be part of a group where chemistry operates, where everyone feels at ease, where the atmosphere is positive and where constructive exchanges are encouraged. When we have this privilege, we enjoy the positive benefits of teamwork: we enjoy participating, we are motivated and feel the extra value of collaborating with others.
Unfortunately, we have all experienced the opposite at one point or another. Whether caused by conflictual situations, negative attitudes, management styles or suffocating organizational contexts, the fact remains that the atmosphere in a group is a determining factor in our willingness to contribute or not to the discussions.
To foster a climate that encourages collaboration, an interesting approach is to pay particular attention to the functioning of the human brain. Indeed, considering the logic of the “triune brain” (developed by neurobiologist Paul D. MacLean), to have access to our cognitive faculties located in the neocortex, responsible for the orchestration of thoughts, learning and reflection, we must first consider the reptilian complex, responsible for survival and then the limbic system, seat of emotions, by stimulating the interrest in the subject.
Thus, as a manager or trainer at the head of a group, we can consider these elements when planning our group work sessions.
First, to comfort our participants (reptilian complex), we could simply take the time to welcome them. This may seem obvious, but sometimes we have so much to cover that we tend to immediately dive into the task.
However, a study published by the Association for psychological science (2012) states in this regard that stress increases when people are in a group in which no one recognizes their presence with a physical sign, whether a simple look or a greeting.
Secondly, to stimulate motivation (limbic system), we would benefit from considering the emotional dimension of the participants. To do this, taking the time at the beginning of the session to awaken their interest in the given theme can encourage their engagement.
Indeed, explaining the common goal pursued, emphasizing the importance of everyone’s contribution, reminding us that “no single person is smarter than all of us together” or appealing to their emotions with strong images or analogies to introduce the subject matter are among the many possible strategies to create excitement among our participants.
In short, creating a climate conducive to collaboration by paying particular attention to the way the human brain functions facilitates access to everyone’s cognitive faculties. In this way, we can together generate more in-depth thinking and aspire to better quality solutions.
Rosée Morissette, Accompagner la construction des savoirs (2002).
Dyvia, Menon, Association for psychological science: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/being-ignored-hurts-even-by-a-stranger.html