What is Neuromanagement?

Neuromanagement is an approach to managing individuals & teams based in NEURO-M principles, organisational behaviour & high performance. It is based in the neurobiological responses that accompany the universal motivation for personal coherence, being the feeling of safety, the satisfaction of basic needs & the alignment of personal and workplace cultural, value & belief systems. These psychological processes occur at a mostly nonconscious level but are the most influential on attitude, performance and well-being.

Neuromanagement also recognises externally-imposed conditions of employment and task completion including pay, performance criteria, authority, process and compliance, but seeks to reframe them as enablers linked to intrinsic motivation (attracting high effort and internal reward) rather than as dominantly extrinsic (attracting minimal effort and internal reward).

Graphic: What is Neuromanagement?Neuromanagement uses a simple set of principles and skills for engaging and managing teams and individuals in competitive commercial and labour markets. This is a key challenge for organisations and businesses in modern economies – that ideal customers and employees are both valued and relatively scarce. To win them both, they need to feel a superior value proposition is on offer – not price, but value. If all a business does is compete on price rather than value, they will need to have an inherent strategic or operational advantage to be able to bring their products or services to market at a lower cost than their competitors. Similarly, if all an employer competes on for talent is price (i.e., higher cost of employment), they risk raising their business’s cost structure to the detriment of competitiveness &/or profitability &/or viability.

Neuromanagement is fundamentally different from Neuroleadership in that it focuses on task process and completion rather than socio-emotional connection. However, due to socio-emotional influences in the workplace and workplace relationships, there are specific aspects of neuroleadership which are relevant. For example, Neuroleadership seeks to create connections and loyalty across, at times, large numbers of individuals and groups, where Neuromanagement relies on connection and loyalty between the manager and each individual employee within their team. And while things like sharing vision, creating safety, modelling behaviours and so on are important for both, for Neuroleadership this is broad and conceptual, whereas for Neuromanagement this occurs in specific and practical ways linked to tasks and behaviours.

Ineffective management is often typified by an attraction to, or aversion from, power and conflict. Some managers are keen to let their team members go about their work as they wish, tolerating many performance and behavioural shortcomings in the hope that problems solve themselves. Other managers are more controlling, fearing mistakes so holding onto most decisions and levers of power with a view to preventing or punishing errors, underperformance or misbehaviour. Neither of these approaches is supportive of engagement, effort, high performance, respect or loyalty. (Don’t confuse inattention for autonomy, granting of trust as acceptance of accountability, or fear for respect.) Instead, Neuromanagement privileges empowerment – in practice, the sharing of knowledge, the enhancement of competence and the granting of autonomy – all within boundaries of expectation, purpose and conditional safety. Even through disciplinary processes and within firm boundaries, Neuromanagement always seeks to empower employees to make choices, take responsibility, find personal fulfilment and grow as individuals.

As a transparent, connected and empowering methodology, Neuromanagement is naturally open and trusting. It is not focused on errors and blame, instead rewarding the things that are most linked to high performance, in turn inviting good intentions, measured risk-taking and accountability. The focus is on what can be achieved, gained and enjoyed through effort and focus, not what can be failed, lost and upsetting. This is a part of shifting the risk/reward balance (part of the motivation anticipation and processes) towards higher effort, while also engaging “approach” motivational schemas that are most capable of problem-solving, initiative and cooperation rather than “avoidance” schemas (fight- or flight-oriented) aimed at escaping the threat.

Through the neurobiology of an approach-schema-response-dominant workday in the enabled pursuit of coherence (basic need fulfilment and values/cultural alignment) the physical and emotional well-being of all employees within the group is naturally enhanced. Through the alignment of the actions that fulfil intrinsic motivations with productive workplace efforts and behaviours, organisational or business success is sustainably and inherently enhanced. In this way, Neuromanagement draws on neurobiology and task-oriented management techniques to enhance short and long-term outcomes for employees and employers.

Above all, Neuromanagement is a step-by-step system that covers every aspect of management from work-group design and employee selection, through to training, delegation, performance reviews, career-development, change management and even discipline. To be useful for any manager in any situation, irrespective of the training they may have received in the past, Neuromanagement is practical, easy to learn and easy to use. It even provides templates, from team design through to difficult conversations at sentence and word level, which can be used or adapted as appropriate. Neuromanagement Training is exclusive to 21 Triangles and available on request.