I Know what you do: Empathy and Mirror Neurons
In the normal course of their activities, the members of a team are constantly exposed to the manifestations of behavior and work achievements of their teammates. You are literally immersed in their world of actions.
The comparison with Stefano Susani during the writing of #ilteamgiusto, led us to compare our “culture of ontological coaches” which tends to maximize the importance of language as the maximum form of communication and fabrication of reality in our minds, with research in the neuroscientific field of Rizzolatti and Sinigaglia, authors of “I know what you do: the acting brain and mirror neurons”. Their research, in fact, highlighted the importance of imitating observed behaviors as a natural learning tool for humans. The concept of “mirror neurons” that we owe them has thus become a reason for us to study in order to be able to use them in our role as managers, coaches and trainers.
Mirror neurons come into play in at least three of the fundamental phases according to Tuckman.
Forming phase: since they are the neurophysiological basis of empathy, which is our ability to put ourselves in the other’s shoes, to participate in their way of seeing the world. Our capacity for empathy leads us to understand the emotional significance of another person’s perspectives, experiences, and motivation. When forming a team or onboarding a new colleague, it becomes a powerful catalyst for getting in tune quickly.
Flow phase (or performing, do you remember?): then the activities run on their own, coordination requires the least possible energy, each member knows what to do. When we move from individual ‘time’ to team ‘time’, we move from self-focus to a sense of inclusion and ‘us’. This means that our neocortex and our mirror neurons focus on our and our teammates’ actions, successes and mistakes.
Adjusting Phase: as they are involved in our ability to learn. In fact, it is no coincidence that we learn better through a practical demonstration by another person than through pure theoretical learning. Our brain seems structured to learn from the practical example, ‘reflecting’, in fact.
The aspect of great importance for the leader coaches of the Right Teams is precisely that linked to the ability to generate the condition of Flow, using words as a starter and as a vehicle for feedback by leveraging positive actions and examples to create a fresco or a stage of content aimed at mirroring by all members.