Appreciation and Overriding the Brain’s Negativity Bias to Foster Inclusion

60-minute Stretch Workshops

Day 2

Session Code: S1-G
When: April 11, 2018
Location/Room: 101 DE
Level: Intermediate
Track: Innovation & Transformation
Presenters: Shannon Murphy, BrainSkills@Work  |  Mary Casey, BrainSkills@Work, LLC


Working globally means encountering a multitude of differences, and this can be very challenging for the brain. Research findings on the brain show that the brain has a “negativity bias,” and left to its own devices, it unconsciously moves toward fear, uncertainty, and closed-mindedness more quickly and unconsciously than it moves toward open-mindedness, curiosity, and the ability to engage empathy and compassion. Yet, there is good news—we can expand boundaries in our ability to demonstrate inclusive behaviors. It turns out we can counteract these brain tendencies with appreciation-based strategies and tools, and engage and strengthen the brain’s capacity for demonstrating behaviors of inclusion—even when it may feel unfamiliar or uncomfortable to do so.

In this session, participants will learn three brain-based strategies and tools for working across differences in ways that keep the brain open-minded and able to engage curiosity, build connections, demonstrate compassion, and build trust. Participants will also understand how practicing appreciation-based tools and strategies helps mitigate micro-inequities in the work environment and maximize micro-affirmations. Practicing appreciation-based tools establishes new norms that increase micro-affirmations which contributes significantly to creating positive, inclusive work environments that are psychologically safe, and where people feel valued and motivated to do their best work.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Apply specific appreciation-based tools and strategies that reduce fear and create an interest in moving outside of one’s own comfort zone.
  • More easily engage across differences in positive, respectful ways that create connections, deepen understanding, and build trust.
  • Understand how practicing appreciation-based tools and strategies directly impacts the work environment and effectively primes positive, inclusive behaviors.

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
2211 Riverside Ave, CB 54
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 373-5994

Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
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