Survival depends on our ability to trust one another, and advisors can do more to foster that trust, according to author Simon Sinek, who gave the closing keynote address at the eMoney Advisor Summit on Friday. Sinek has written several books on leadership.
Positive feelings like trust and cooperation don’t happen accidentally. They’re the result of good leadership, Sinek explained to the crowd assembled in Dana Point, California.
Trust and cooperation aren’t instructions, though; they’re feelings, according to the leadership guru. Trust and cooperation can’t be built with clients and employees by simply saying you are trustworthy. Without allowing such feelings to develop naturally, advisors can only have a transactional relationship with their clients.
When people feel safe, the natural human response is trust, Sinek said. Without that feeling of safety, clients and employees feel paranoia and self-interest.
Firm leaders and advisors should build a “circle of safety” for employees and clients, and Sinek outlined ways to capitalize on natural, physiological responses to build that circle.
Positive feelings are the result of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin, according to the author and RAND consultant.
Endorphins are tied to endurance. Sinek gave the example of a runner’s high. People run through the pain in their muscles to get the positive feeling of endorphins.
Dopamine is released when people meet a goal or complete a task, like winning a client for example, he pointed out.
To make the most of a dopamine effect, there needs to be a clearly defined goal, Sinek said. This is why affirmations work best when written down: They’re clearly defined as a point to work toward, not an abstract feeling. For clients and employees, that means establishing check-in points on their path to goals or performance metrics they can work toward.
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