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The 4 Leadership Chemicals. Which Do You Possess?

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Bella at #icon14

I had an amazing time while at the Infusionsoft 2014 conference in Phoenix, Az (my hometown!) The keynote speakers were the who’s who of the marketing world and they really blew the roof off the conference center. I love it when speakers approach a subject (that you may have heard of a gaziillion times) in such a way that you feel like you heard it for the first time. Simon Sinek did just that for me, and below, I would like to recap the meat of the presentation for you:

The first two chemicals I am going to describe are the selfish ones. The ones that are self serving to ourselves, and often the less effective leadership styles. The last two are more selfless and therefor more effective leadership styles with your tribe.

The 4 Leadership Chemicals:

(1) Endorphins  is the chemical to mask physical pain. 

It is what we feel after working out, running a marathon, after some sort of trauma has happened. Our body chemically reacts to take us over it and not deal with the feeling of being in the moment.

(2) Dopamine is the feeling of accomplishment. 

Do you always have a check list? This list is telling you to  stay focused on your goal. Checking things off makes us feel like we are making progress. Write down your goals. We are visually oriented animals. We need to see what we are trying for. Tell us specifically, what is your vision statement? You have to be able to see it to make it happen.Although, it comes with a warning. The fine print if you will. It can be highly addictive. Just like alcohol,  nicotine, gambling,  and oh yes….. even your cell phone. If you wake up in the morning and first thing you do is look at your phone….you might be an addict. if you walk from room to room with your phone…..you might be an addict. If you have to look at your phone as you are driving, you might be an addict.  These are chemicals that are addicted to performance.  If they hit the number, they will hit the bonus. Hit the number, get the bonus, again and again and again.  Moderation of this chemical is okay…. it just needs to be controlled. This chemical relies of the next “hit”

(3) Serotonin is the chemical where we feel pride and status.  

Public recognition is important.  It is when we feel valued by our tribe. Examples are when you have your name called out. When you make others proud of you. You prove that  all your sacrifices were worth it. It makes us feel good to serve those who we see as alpha in our community.
Although, this leadership chemical comes with an enormous responsibility.  For example, when danger threatens the tribe, we expect the leader to rush towards the danger to protect us.

Leadership isn’t a rank. It is a choice. -Sink

It comes with a responsibility to keep those around us safe.  A GREAT example of this would be Mother Theresa. Would you be willing to give her a 50 million solar bonus? Sure! Because she sacrifices for the good of the people. How about he CEO of a major bank? Heck No!
Another great example, and one I am personally soon to experience is parenting. Parenting is a leadership role. Parents do it because they want to see their kid succeed.  It is the serotonin that is running throughout them when the world tells you that not having kids is better!  You will have more sleep, more money, a bigger house, better vacations….. but that doesn’t matter to most parents. For some reason, it is worth it. You also can’t measure if you are a good or bad parent on a daily basis. Over the course of time you get glimmers. It is an investment. Usually you don’t get a return on investment for over 30 years!  But you do get glimmers of pride! The leadership role is the same…. their “tribe” (kids) feel safe. Like their leader (parent) would give up themselves.

(4) Oxytocin is the leadership chemical where you feel love and friendship.

It is the feeling we have when we love being in the company of our friends. When we share the physical contact of a hug. It feels good.
We are all looking for relationships with people we can trust. At least here in America, if someone refused to shake your hand, you would automatically go into doubt. You might think, “Can I trust this person?”

BELLA SIDE NOTE: How do you achieve this on your website? I have seen some pet sitting websites that feel like they reach out and hug you… and others that are so cold, that they instantly do not give off a warm and fuzzy vibe. How can you use these traits to make that shine though on your website?

This chemical is the human connection.They are acts of generosity of kindness.  Giving of time or engery without needing anything else. For example, would you think more highly of someone who wrote a check for $1000 to the inner city schools, or actually went downtown and spent a day painting the schools? We offer greater reward to those who give up a non redeemable commodity. They sacrifice their time and energy to other people.

Other ways you could achieve  this in your business: Talking to your staff and saying that you have done a great job is better than sending them an email saying the same thing. Shows they they can trust you. That you are genuine. Human beings NEED the interaction and that comes from time and energy. Send your clients hand written thank you notes. That means a lot more than a text or a email.
BELLA SIDE NOTE: Maybe google hangouts for your clients might be a good thing? They can see you?
Time and energy is what builds Oxytocin. We are social animals and we response to the environment we are in. Happy people live longer. The more Oxytocin you have in your body the less susceptible you are to the two selfish chemicals listed above..
I can personally relate to this, as this is exactly how I feel each and every time I get off a coaching call. It is like a natural high!

Still want more?

Here is Simon in action during a Ted talk. He is a great speaker and a amazing thought leader.

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