Fear, not surprisingly, bombards workplaces and lowers innovation brainpower, as does frustration or the watch-your-back syndrome. Whether it comes face-to-face or through Facebook, tone drives organizational innovation up or down.
Unfortunately, when caustic communication rubs against brainpowered innovation, caustic usually wins. You’ve likely noticed how toxic trumps ingenious in some firms, where dangerous cortisol chemicals lead to mistrust. But have you observed how people in these caustic settings, tend to balk at creativity?
Few workplaces however, seem to spot the perils or detect how toxic language or tone problems tend to truncate talented pioneer leaders.
Tone that builds innovation, for instance, poses questions more than merely delivers facts.
The key is to cultivate a language and tone climate that builds on people’s strengths.
1. What I find interesting about your idea is… differs from the words Come look at my ideas … When enthusiasm for others rules, boredom rarely follows.
2. How could we make workplaces better suited to all employees’ success? Would you agree that differs from the words, My office is too dark. A workplace setting can add or limit brainpower to transform problems into solutions for an innovative adventure.
3. How can I support you to grow this idea… differs from the words I don’t think this will work because… Serotonin chemical fuels and sustains added brainpower when people laugh easily, give often, support deeply, and care about other’s progress at work.
4. How could we solve this problem together … differs from, there are too many politics that stop our progress. At meetings, innovation turns negative events into challenges to chase as teams. Suggest tactics to help others avoid political game playing or strategies to run from gossip that puts down peers. Brain based language and tone can stop the cortisol chemicals that fuel and sustain anger, fear and frustration to limit brainpower at work.
5. What if … stands opposite the words, it cannot be done. Name a silly alternative to get folks laughing in ways that move people past problems that tend to hold back talented employees. New research reminds us that venting creates neuron pathways for more of the same and limits innovative brainpower.
6. How about trying a few new ideas together to improve on … differs from there is never enough time to… Innovation requires stepping out of ordinary spots together to create systems that chase novel adventures for new gains.
7. Could we play instrumental music at work today … differs from words such as, I hate the music played at work. Music changes brain wave speeds in ways that impact moods and alter productivity.
8. Would you kindly offer your wisdom on … differs from, this won’t work as it stands. Highly developed interactions create the impetus for shared adventure. Rather than adhere to lectures or talks that work against listeners’ brains, we can increase innovative opportunities through intelligent questions and collaborative applications of novel ideas.
9. Could you offer suggestions to help grow the idea together across our differences … differs from the statement, here is my better idea. Hebbian workers rewire daily through doing the same things the same way, so as to kill incentives, limit focus, or even shrink their brains.
10. How might we build goodwill with people who differ … engages people who have opposing views, better than saying, here’s why your idea won’t work. Diversity training tends to work against innovative benefits that come from differences because of its deficit model approach.
11. What would it take to cultivate consistently good moods at work … differs from the reason my mood is bad is because of your mistakes. Brain waves can bring either sleep or peak performance, based on how you activate them, and innovative strategies implemented at work.
12. What approach would help all employees to learn this renewal skill … differs from the blame that states, some people should be fired because they don’t get it. Research illustrates how successful learners hook even difficult facts onto one thing you know and learning increases in less time.
13. How can work be both fun and more productive … differs from the words, this routine is so stupid. In all human brains, basal ganglias store facts and create ruts. Working memory holds few facts and yet operates more in innovators – who lead change, and engages new facts and details.
14. What multiple intelligences could be developed and used more here … differs from, others just don’t get it. Innovative questions are deliberate, and since every person comes to work with a unique mix of intelligences, it takes a brain based approach to facilitate shared visions. Worth the effort, it opens new spigots to brainpower and motivates others so that multiple intelligences for innovative growth, develop at work.
15. How can we communicate in ways that build trust together differs from words such as, cynicism is just the way I communicate. Cynical mindsets literally block creativity, impact talent, and stomp out innovation.
16. What can I do to honor your busy schedule .. works differently from words such as, can you do this for me? By keeping a digital calendar and speaking to others ahead about commitments we plan well and prosper innovation because when memory is outsourced we free the mind for focus on implementing pioneering ideas.
17. How could we come up with a new offering based on all the contributions … differs from, they’re too old to get it. Plasticity enables people to rewire the human brain in ways that keep it younger and smarter.
18. What would it take for me to support you more … differs from the words, you are weak in this area. To hold a crown over fellow workers’ heads is to increase possibilities for innovative progress, as people to grow into that crown. Encouragement can change the chemistry of a brain through raised serotonin.
19. How can we move these ideas forward together, differs from remaining silent when things work less well, and then complaining to a few fellow workers. Brain research, in contrast, tells us that meta messages destroy relationships through implications different from what is said.
20. What skills could we integrate to problem solve this area … differs from we need more math and science or more arts skills. Neuro research supports highly developed habits to integrate hard and soft skills to solve problems with the brain more in mind. At MITA we build smart skills which integrates skills on all sides of the brain into tools for building.
21. What would it take to reflect on how our tone and communication impacts others … differs from the words, I work best under stress. Stress literally shrinks the brain, and poor tone in communication acts as a silent killer, for those who build neuron pathways away from fun at work.
22. What does your name mean … differs from, I can never remember names. Research affirms the benefits of greeting people by name. To do so, spikes well-being in the brain’s specific domain where personal awareness operates.
23. What do you like to do most … differs from, here’s what I do best and why. Research supports people who inspire creativity and invention through teaching others at the same time learning occurs.
24. What novel solution could we build together … differs from, here’s an expert’s novel solution you need to read. Create new neuron pathways each time you add a solution to any problem you encounter.
25. How can we value more women and more men together at work … differs from, women don’t stand a chance here. Women’s and men’s brain differ biologically and intellectually in ways that few optimize for innovation at work.
Tone acts as the body language of listening and communication, especially in exchanges online, where faces remain hidden. Furthermore, mirror neurons impact imitation in the human brain, so we need to support pioneers who emulate good tone, if we hope to foster original practices that improve business.
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Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset