Career connection

What's your leadership C4Q?

The C4 quotient — a combination of curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration — increases with the freedom to explore and innovate in our workplace. Backed by psychology and neuroscience, effective leaders can foster a more engaged and productive workforce, and in turn eliminate instances of fraud and abuse.

During the Industrial Revolution, workers performed tedious, repetitive tasks daily in dreadful factory and foundry working conditions. In this bleak environment, overseers used fear as a psychological instrument to keep output high and ensure workers did what they were told. There were no “suggestion boxes” because new ideas simply had no place in such oppressive, autocratic workplaces. And while employers later shed those brute tactics for more subtle extrinsic rewards — such as pay raises, promotions and more sick leave — those incentives remained partly driven by fear as they could easily be taken away.

Only in recent decades have companies recognized the value in appreciating people for their work and giving them the freedom to do their best on the job. We’ve also learned that toxic managers undermine employee engagement, confidence and commitment. It’s now well documented that a bad boss is the No. 1 reason why employees quit their jobs. (See The Number One Employee Benefit that No One’s Talking About, by Tom Nolan, Indeed, today’s workplace is vastly different from the often-toxic environments of the past as organizational psychology gives way to advances in neuroscience for insights into how and why people are motivated to achieve.

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