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Working with the Negativity Bias as a Leader

Rich Fernandez | 3:57


Hello everybody and welcome to today's leadership brief. These are three to five minute long video shorts with some useful tips and practices that leaders can use during times of change and disruption. My name is Rich Fernandez. I'm the CEO of the S IY Leadership Institute, which was originally developed at Google and exists today to train leaders and organizations on the skills of emotional inte.

Sustainable high performance and resilience. The topic I'd love to explore with you today is the idea of a leadership mindset and a specific aspect of our leadership mindset, which we sometimes fall into without knowing it, which is the idea of the negativity bias. So a negativity bias is a term that has often been used to describe the ways that we as humans respond to stress when we experience.

Or when we experience change and disruption, we sometimes fall into this negativity bias for very good reasons. From the perspective of evolutionary biology. When we experienced stress or threats in our environment, it got us into this activated mode where we enacted survival behaviors in response to perceived threats in the environment.

Typically these survival behaviors are fight behaviors, fleeing behaviors, or freezing behaviors, fight, flight, or freeze. You might have heard of that term before. Again, there's good evolutionary rationale for us to have developed that hard wiring in our brains. The issue is that we still carry that hard wiring in our brains, and so what happens is when we experience stress in any significant.

When we experience change or disruption in any significant way, it activates us and sets us into a state where we scan the entire environment and everyone and everything around us with a lens of negativity, meaning we perceive everything around us only and exclusively as a threat. , and this is something we do by default by the way.

Uh, we're hardwired to scan and to see things in terms of threat and in terms of stress. And so we have to work extra hard and be especially aware to know when, where, into the negativity bias, and know when we can do the corrective. So rather than being in a net state of negativity bias, we can kind of go to the other side, which is to be open, to be curious, and to explore and see possibilities.

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