Ego Depletion and Group Culture

There is a lot of research in this area by Roy Baumeister. He’s the expert and I am going to loosely parse his words to apply to the craft of building culture. Please reach out to Roy for an expert opinion because his stuff is awesome.

Poke The Ego, Hurt The Performance

Baumeister found that people who watched an emotionally challenging film and did not react were unable to perform the same on hand dynamometer (grip strength) tests, as those who hadn’t been under the same conditions. (This is MASSIVELY reducing his work and you should really check it out here because it is super interesting and really bad ass)

The simplest way you can put it is that there is not a lot of success that can come from having people stifle their natural emotions and then requiring them to perform.

If a person on your team has had an emotionally/cognitively charged situation where they were unable to react along their natural instincts it will be challenging for them to cognitively or physically perform on tasks afterward.

What this means is that connecting with your people matters A TON.

If you’re a coach or manager this information has massive implications in how you work with the people that you serve. For example, if you are coaching a team and that person has just had something happen right before a match that causes them to feel that they feel the need to reduce response, they will likely see reduced performance. Having a strong relationship with that athlete will matter.

Additionally, a parent who has been hiding feelings of stress or fatigue who shows up to work, is going to show a diminished capacity to respond at work to dynamic situations.

What does this mean?

Connect with people that you expect to perform so that their literal strength, reaction, coordination, cognition, and more is not negatively impacted to the same degree it would be without a high level of connection, empathy, and understanding.

Check out our first ever Culture Analytics Report by clicking the image below to learn even more about group culture based on data.

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