I have always been intrigued by cognitive insights – how our brain works and why various groups behave differently. I also love self-assessments!
Maybe it is the analyst in me, but I want to know every classification about myself and how that affects my performance in the workplace and my personal life.
When I led a department of 18 data analysts, I asked each employee to take a quiz that revealed their desired form of appreciation. The appreciation values were as follows:
Verbal/Written: Compliments, affirmations, kind
Attention: One-on-one time, not interrupting, face-to-face conversation
Assistance: Help with tasks, prioritization, volunteering to help get work done
Monetary/Tangible: money, awards, lunches, snacks, extra perks
For the most part, I gave this quiz so that I could make every team member feel valued and happy in their positions. I would be a better manager if I catered my management style to their preferred form of communication.
However, when I looked at the results from my team, the results were revealing. I noticed a trend that underperformers ranked high on “assistance.” It made sense. Underperformers often need extra help. But perhaps this is a mindset issue. Some employees are great at problem-solving and decision making on their own and others that excessively ask questions about where and how to do things.
Perhaps this is simply learning that my leadership style does not mesh well with high assistance employees. I particularly valued managers who reported into me that had low assistance scores. As a leader, I especially expected them to be able to troubleshoot and bring proposed solutions.
Similarly, I had my managers take the what is your leadership superpower assessment. I am a visionary and systems thinker. That means I think big picture and can draft an execution plan to reach my goals. My best manager’s leadership skills were vision and ingenuity. That means she also thinks big picture and can drive results with innovative solutions and scrappiness.
When we read the descriptions, we found out that systems thinker and ingenuity are great complements to each other. It made sense, together we were an incredibly successful management team.
Perhaps cognitive insights in business are the future? Maybe if we pair successful complementary traits we can drive the highest performance to our companies. I’m a believer.
How about you? Have you applied cognitive insights at your workplace?