Yes it can, but lets be clear, we are discussing a naturally occurring hormone, not the pain-killing drug Oxycontin! And for those of you who have been in my workshops, you know that I’m an advocate for relationship –centered approaches to leadership for a number of important reasons; one is that these approaches mix oxytocin into the equation.
We know that oxytocin is the hormone responsible for human’s experiencing appreciation, empathy, generosity and other feelings that help to build strong bonds between human beings. Most of all, it is the substance that contributes to building trust.
Here are a few points from the research that demonstrate the power of oxytocin:
· In studies where people’s oxytocin is stimulated they become significantly more generous, even with their own money. Zak’s studies indicate that oxytocin infused people donated 48% more to charitable organizations than the placebo group.
· Increased levels of oxytocin decrease the stress hormones cortisol and ACTH. Is stress having a negative affect on you or your workforce? Why not implement oxytocin stimulating initiatives to counter the effects.
· Countries with higher levels of trust have higher income levels, more stable governments and increased economic activity. Could this finding also apply to an organization? Why not invest in educating leaders in your organization on how to be oxytocin catalysts.
· People with developed social networks are sick less often and live longer. Connecting with people and maintaining positive relationships is an oxytocin function. Do lost workdays impact your organizations performance and costs? Why not let oxytocin help you reduce both.
By connecting the dots you can begin to see how oxytocin can help anyone be more influential and productive: parents, teachers, doctors, politicians and leaders, as well as organizations. Here’s an example:
Train supervisors to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and ways they can reduce stress in the work place by focusing on oxytocin-increasing initiatives? The ROI’s could be significant. Here are just a few:
· A safer environment – less accidents
· Employees willing to give more of their discretionary effort
· Higher levels of creativity and innovation
· Fewer work absences
· More loyalty and commitment
· Less resistance to change
· Healthier employees
In the July/August issue of Fast Company Magazine Paul Zak’s work is featured in an article entitled, Doctor Love, . In the article there are a few provocative statements that merit serious consideration:
“One day, a company might be better off asking not what its margins are, but what its trust factor is.” Brian Singh, Zinc Research
“The speed with which social media can affect a company’s “trust factor” may lead to a new focus - a focus on your current customers. If they have a positive interaction with customer service, or love your product, they’ll tell other people and do your marketing for you, which will attract new customers.” Richard Laermer, RLM Public Relations.
And finally the reporter, Adam Penenberg concludes, “In a world of social networks, then, this much seems clear: Companies that can connect with us and raise our oxytocin levels should prosper. Those that can’t won’t.”
In conclusion, ozytocin can help you be a more effective and influential person, parent and leader. By developing your authentic relationship – centered approaches to your people interactions, you will be using the alchemy of oxytocin to assist you in building higher levels of trust, appreciation, generosity and engagement – all the things that make life and work worth participating in.
You can begin to use the power of oxytocin today: Active Appreciation