flowing motion

Make your team ~ break your team ~ it is in your gift

Posted on: November 8, 2009

Psychologists know that IQ matters at work

I am a work & organizational psychologist and I might even administer an intelligence test to you if you apply to one of my clients.  I can promise you one thing.

No matter who the client is, or what they do, it will matter if your IQ were 25% higher or lower.  That is an big enough change to be important.

Psychologists are also learning that rejection is devastating to our ability to think straight

Yet, the way we are managed affects our IQ by that amount – 25%.  According to Ray Baumeister, all of the following will cause your IQ to plummet by that amount.

  • If you suffer from subtle slights because you are a member of a minority.  Being called ‘girl’, being excluded from social events, not being looked at squarely in the eye – all will reduce your IQ.  You can think of others.
  • Feeling that your employment is insecure, will reduce your IQ.
  • Not being consulted on matters that affect you will reduce your IQ.

So why do managers manage this way if IQ falls so precipitously?

Most likely because bad management is like a neurosis.  If I am scared of snakes, then I won’t go near them and I will never learn how to interact with them safely.

Bad managers become anxious about performance, snarl and snap, and make their staff anxious.  And performance falls confirming their worst expectations.  Rinse and repeat and they never learn how to manage well.

But is it right that managers are allowed to assault people psychologically?

Not IMHO.  Employing people does not confer the right of psychological assault.

Reducing people’s IQ by 25% does not just affect their behavior at work either.  It affects their driving, their parenting, and their understanding of wider issues.

Big firms who use psychological tests should be asked to show that they are not assaulting their staff.  That is a regulatory burden I know, but I understand that Scandavian countries have ‘happiness’ legislation in place.

I’ve also worked in places where the ethos is that ‘if you can’t afford to employ, then don’t’.

25% reduction in IQ is a shocking number ~ but there is a plus side.

Manage well, and you have a competitive advantage of 25% of IQ!

A cheerful staff who feel they belong will turn into innovation, creativity, problem solving, fewer errors and better ideas.

That’s money in our pockets.  I hope Baumeister also experiments with the reverse proposition.  Create a sense of belonging and show higher team performance!

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