Imagine going to work in an atmosphere where the core values and culture require civil, positive behavior from members of the organization. Consider what it is like to work for a company where this is the norm. Imagine working in an environment where civility and concern for others are what team members demand of themselves because it is how they want to be treated.
Informative studies have shown that workplace environment significantly impacts oxytocin and cortisol production within the human body. Oxytocin is created in a peaceful environment and cortisol during periods of stress. It is important to understand how people are impacted by their workplace environment, and how the environment is impacted by specific employees (or managers).
Oxytocin & Cortisol
Dr. Cebeca (n.d.), writes about the impact that oxytocin and cortisol have on the human body. She states that cortisol is an important hormone that is produced during times of danger and stress. Oxytocin is produced during periods of joy, sharing and laughing. Therefore, there is a correlation between the emotions experienced wile on the job and the hormones created within the body.
Further, in the Harvard Business Review, the Glasers’ (2014) discuss the correlation between positive or negative comments and the release of oxytocin or cortisol. The impact of a negative conversation is much longer lasting, because cortisol metabolizes much more slowly than oxytocin. Cortisol production results in a protracted sense of depression, while oxytocin allows for improved levels of communication and thought. Interestingly, their work relates directly to business and specifically how managers interact with their subordinates.
Briefly, while most managers did display behaviors that would produce oxytocin, at least “85%” of these managers admitted to behaving in ways that would hamper future relationships. It is important to understand just how damaging the release of cortisol is compared to the release of oxytocin.
The Glaser’s detail a case study of an executive from a major organization. He was observed over a period of time and it was determined that his cortisol producing behaviors (authoritarian, best-practices, goal-driven manager) heavily outweighed those behaviors that would produce oxytocin. This study was initiated after a member of his team had a heart attack and requested to be transferred. Certainly, there are instances where things will be stressful while on the job. Yet, this is a telling example of how significant the behavior of one person can be.
What is an appropriate organizational culture? Are yelling, screaming, threatening and brow-beating others appropriate behaviors? Is it possible to feel the cortisol now just reading about it? It will make you ill just thinking about it. To be direct, does your organizational culture allow situations like these to become the norm? If so, employee illness, turnover, absenteeism and similar issues are likely much higher than desired.
If your organizational culture needs improvement, we can help. If your company is just starting out, or poised for growth, and you want to avoid these kinds of situations, we can help. Perhaps there are negative subcultures that have developed in your established company, we can help you get your business back on track.
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