Are Amygdala Hijacks Making Your Team Too Hard To Work With?

Amygdala HijackI’ve been managing IT staff for a few years now and aside from physical violence, I’ve seen some amazing demonstrations of amygdala hijackings. Wow, that’s an interesting phrase for an IT manager, right?

I learned this term a while back while listening to Dr. Daniel Goleman talk about emotional intelligence.

After hearing Dr. Goleman’s explanation about how our brain is constructed, and how this one part of the brain is the cause of our reactive behavior, I immediately understood why so many people in IT are the way we are.

Emotion Intelligence

In hind-sight, now it makes total sense how someone working on a server can literally go berserk over a developer questioning why Windows was configured a certain way. Yup, amygdala hijack!

I know this probably has never happened in your organization but I have seen it in at least the last 2 places I’ve worked. And, unfortunately, I myself have also lost my head at one time or another over something trivial. Hmm…It must be a bug in our human software?

I think Dr. Goleman has found the smoking gun for how to make IT better!

Somehow, as IT managers, we need to figure out how to improve our team’s emotion intelligence. This might sound crazy but I’ve already seen from my experience how focusing on our own behaviors can solve some of the most difficult IT problems faced by managers and organizations.

Have you ever yelled at a stranger?

Take a few minutes and watch this interesting video about how an amygdala hijack happens.

 Meditate on this!

Whether you are an IT manager who is trying to improve your team’s performance. Or a system administrator who keeps getting in trouble for sending snarky emails, you can improve your team or yourself by slowing down and breathing. Try counting to 10 when something or someone annoys you.

Here’s another easy plan. Take time every morning before work to meditate. I’m not talking about a mystical or religious type of meditation, I’m referring to a time when you clear your mind and focus on nothing (burn new pathways in your brain).

Do this for a few days and let me know if you find yourself less distracted by the chaos going on around you? Or by people!

I also use a morning stand-up meeting to help my team focus on the day’s goals and to give them inspiration for the day. Even if I can spare them from one Amygdala Hijack each week over something trivial, it adds up!

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