Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

331. Building Productive Relationships: Taking Responsibility for Your Impact with Brian Lowery

In this episode of The Brainy Business podcast, host Melina Palmer interviews Brian Lowery, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, on the topic of how our behavior impacts others and vice versa. Brian emphasizes that we have agency in shaping the people we interact with, and that our behavior can have a significant impact on others. By recognizing that our sense of self is constructed through relationships, we can cultivate empathy and understanding for others.

This can enhance our interpersonal relationships and lead to more effective communication and collaboration. The conversation also touches on the concept of social contagion and how emotions can be contagious in social interactions, highlighting the potential for even fleeting interactions to have significant effects. Throughout the episode, Brian provides insights and practical advice for leaders and individuals to enhance their ability to connect with others and navigate the complexities of human relationships. 

In this episode:

  • Understand the flexibility of personal identity and its profound influence on individuals.
  • Discover the cyclical impact of individual behavior on communal dynamics and vice versa.
  • Learn the importance of acknowledging and taking charge of your contribution to interpersonal relationships.
  • Realize the far-reaching effects of minor social engagements on individual attitudes and office culture.
  • Recognize the significance of empathy and perspective shift in successful communication.
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00:00:00 – Introduction to Dr. Brian Lowery,
Dr. Brian Lowery, author of Selfless, discusses his background and research on how people make sense of the self. He explains that our sense of self is a construction of relationships, social interactions, and culture, rather than an individual entity.

00:06:00 – Shifting Identities Throughout the Day,
Brian and Melina talk about how our identities shift throughout the day in response to different relationships and social contexts. Brian emphasizes that these shifts are not just masks we put on, but rather a fundamental part of our flexibility as human beings.

00:10:15 – Influence of Others on Our Sense of Self,
Lowery explores how our sense of self is influenced by others, often in ways we are not consciously aware of. He discusses studies that show how our attitudes and beliefs can change based on what we think others expect of us. This demonstrates the degree of flexibility in who we are and who we can be.

00:12:59 – Importance of Understanding the Self,
Brian explains that understanding the nature of the self is fascinating and awe-inspiring, even if there is no specific action to be taken with this knowledge. Recognizing the fluidity and complexity of the self can reshape how we approach our lives and relationships.

00:14:36 – The Construction of People,
Brian emphasizes that our interactions with others contribute to the construction of the people we engage with. He encourages individuals to reflect on their contribution to relationships and take responsibility for their impact on others’ behavior.

00:15:38 – Shifting Perspective,
Lowery challenges the conventional notion of individuals as isolated islands who can choose to listen or not. Instead, he suggests that our actions and words impose decisions on others, highlighting the power and responsibility we have in shaping their responses.

00:19:43 – The Ripple Effect,
Brian discusses how seemingly small interactions can have lasting effects. Melina shares a personal experience of receiving a seemingly innocuous email from a boss that had a significant impact on her mindset and subsequent interactions. She emphasizes the importance of considering the broader impact of our actions.

00:22:26 – The Impact of Audience,
Brian explores the concept of audience impact, highlighting how even imagined readers influenced his writing process. He notes that our behavior and words can have a ripple effect, influencing the emotions and actions of those around us, often in ways we may not fully comprehend.

00:25:07 – The Power of Leadership Communication,
Brian and Melina discuss the heightened impact of leaders’ behaviors and communications. They emphasize that leaders’ actions are scrutinized for information, and even seemingly minor interactions can have significant effects on team members and office culture.

00:28:47 – The Importance of the Receiver,
Communication is about influencing and changing the behavior of the person you’re communicating with. The receiver is the only person that matters because if they don’t understand or take what you intended, you have failed in your communication goals.

00:29:19 – Recognizing Others’ Perspectives,
People often struggle to recognize that others may experience a situation differently than they do. It’s important to be curious and try to understand the reasoning behind someone’s behavior, even if it’s surprising or upsetting to you.

00:31:41 – Curiosity and Self-Reflection,
Curiosity is a powerful tool for understanding others. Instead of relying on assumptions, engage with someone to understand their experiences. Additionally, ask yourself how you may be contributing to a situation and recognize your agency in it.

00:32:32 – Addressing Confirmation Bias,
It’s challenging to get someone to see their own confirmation bias. Instead, focus on examining your own biases and seeking self-awareness. Understanding your own biases can lead to more productive conversations.

00:36:42 – Exploring Friendship,
Lowery’s podcast “Know What You See” explores different themes, such as friendship, gender, and home. The upcoming episode on friendship discusses how people manage and maintain friendships in different life stages, including college, adulthood, and parenthood.

00:43:09 –  Conclusion,
Melina’s top insights from the conversation. What stuck with you while listening to the episode? What are you going to try? Come share it with Melina on social media — you’ll find her as @thebrainybiz everywhere and as Melina Palmer on LinkedIn.

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