What is actually my role as a leader – especially in a change process? One of the most important tasks is to become multipliable and multiplicative. On the one hand, this means motivating teams to achieve peak performance, especially in challenging situations, but on the other hand, it also means having a precise understanding of my own role and responsibility in this process.
In change, we are all jointly responsible for how the mood develops along our change journey. Especially as leaders, we have a contagious effect – for better or for worse.
That is why it is so important I know myself well. To be truly effective, you need to know your own stress patterns and be able to assess how you will react in extreme situations under great pressure and to change-related stress. On the one hand, it also means knowing your own limits, but also being able to assess your own upward potential on the other. Only when I know myself and my own behavioral patterns well am I in a position to be effective together with many others, because then I can act as a credible role model and create the right environment for motivation and top performance. Giacomo Rizzolatti is one of the most important neurologists of our time. Today, he is professor emeritus at the University of Parma, where he conducts research into mirror neurons. In 1992, Rizzolatti and his research team at the University of Padua discovered the existence of mirror neurons in monkeys and researched their effects in a series of simple experiments. Measuring the brain waves of his test subjects showed that they undergo the same neuronal processes regardless of whether it is their own behavior being observed or whether they observe it in others (of their own species, or humans). For this purpose, the brainwaves were observed both when the monkeys ate nuts and when they watched other monkeys eating nuts. In both cases, identical processes were detected in the brain. As further research has shown, these mirror neurons also play a significant role in communication between people. Put simply, our attitude creates our reality. Or, in other words, energy flows where attention goes (a key motto in the mental training of top athletes). So, if we bring a certain attitude (in our case to a change process), it follows that we give a lot of attention to this attitude in our thoughts. This thought process naturally triggers certain feelings/emotions. These emotions do not remain hidden at the micro and macro level. At the micro level, micro-expressions are triggered through seven cross-cultural basic emotions (according to Paul Ekman): anger, joy, contempt, fear, surprise, sadness and disgust can be recognized by minimal changes in our facial expressions but also in the tonality of our speech. Furthermore, the macro level expresses itself through gestures, body language and choice of words. In change, we are all jointly responsible for how the mood develops along our change journey. Especially as leaders, we have a contagious effect – for better or for worse. Once we are aware of the major effect, our own attitude has on the team mood and therefore on team success, we can actively work on ourselves.