Often leaders are focusing so intensely on growth that we miss that our team’s emotional experience is suffering.
And when they’re suffering, they’re in their Critter State versus their Smart State. Why? Most likely because safety, belonging or mattering are missing. But how do you know who needs what, and when? When I do culture coaching I use three main tools to find out:
SBM Behavior Decoder to help leaders understand what a behavior is communicating
SBM Communication tools for the individual
SBM Index for the entire organization
Today we are diving into the SBM Behavior Decoder and how this tool can help forge greater emotional agility and sky-rocketing levels of employee engagement in your tribe.
You don’t need to ask if a team member needs safety, belonging, or mattering–their behavior says it all. The SBM Behavior Decoder below will help you give them what they need to shift to their Smart State.
SBM Behavior Decoder
What Do Your People Really Crave?
If people are in their Critter State and craving safety, they’ll take safety away from others. They need their outside world to match their inside world. This could manifest in the workplace as someone spreading gossip, rumors, or fear in general.
If people are in their Critter State and craving belonging, they’ll isolate, withhold information, or form silos—they will essentially “leave the tribe.” They feel they don’t belong, so they’ll behave accordingly… and their outside world will reflect their inside experience.
If people are in their Critter State and craving mattering, they’ll take mattering away from others via condescending behavior and making people feel small. They don’t matter, so they make sure that others don’t either. Then their world will make sense.
Discover the SBM Trigger of An Individual
Once you determine what you think your people really crave, based on their behavior, you can begin a dialogue to confirm your findings.
Ask your people: What is most important to you at work? Please list in order of importance:
You’re on a team that has a plan, and people have your back. (safety)
You’re part of the team, and you have equal value to others. (belonging)
You’re acknowledged and appreciated for your unique contributions, and you are making a difference. (mattering)
This dialogue starts the process of becoming aware and once we are aware of what state we are in, we can apply the appropriate tools to manifest change. Next, notice both the “go to” behavior of a person in Critter State, as well as what lights them up. If their “go to” is Belonging in Critter State, you may want to try giving them Belonging regularly to light them up. You could do this by saying “I’m so glad you’re on the team. You really bring a lot to everyone! The team is better with you on it.” Notice also your “go to” and what lights you up, as well as your family members too!
When we give people what they crave, their critter brain calms down, and we can guide them into their Smart State. This is where true rapport, connection, alignment, enrollment, and engagement live. Oh—and high performance, collaboration, and sustainability, and dramatically improved employee engagement are the results!
Remember, safety + belonging + mattering = trust.
Christine Comaford is a leadership and culture coach who helps businesses achieve growth. Learn more at SmartTribes Institute and see Power Your Tribe: Create Resilient Teams in Turbulent Times and SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together.