SCARF is useful as not just self awareness tool, to help individuals understand their own behaviours and what impacts them, but also useful in understanding our impact on others, and how other peoples needs in terms of within a social context may differ from our own. This is a nice way to introduce the fact two brains being alike, and how we all differ as humans, and relevant at all levels within an organisation.
SCARF is has five domains based on David Rock’s research of the brain. The domains are Status – where you stand vs other people around you, Certainty – what is your need to have clarity vs living more ambiguously, Autonomy – your need for independent working Relatedness – the need of having close and personal relationships and Fairness – ensuring that the give and take in a situation is of the right balance.
SCARF is a relatively easy model to understand and apply. In a sense SCARF gives us the broad parameters on how a persons brain is functioning and therefore help understand certain behaviours. There is no right or wrong SCARF model, it is about who you are and in that sense helps broaden the scope of application even more. Leaders may use it for leadership assessment, team building, recruiting, developing talent or even retaining talent.
I have written a critical commentary on how the SCARF model can be applied to employee retention. To better understand which domain is causing a person to be demotivated and disengaged or even to resign helps a leader to have a deeper conversation. Instead of assuming that someone wants more pay or to be promoted, this conversation gives a deeper understanding to a persons mind at how it may work. The SCARF model helps a leader pinpoint the domain that may be triggering the response to want to leave the organisation. An understanding of the model will also help in having regular one on one conversations with employees to keep them engaged and involved instead of it being once off at the time when an employee
One of the Leadership Competencies we suggest leaders build in our organisation in order to be successful is “networking”. Networking means to be able to build relationships across hierarchies, functions and divisions in the organization and outside to be able to be a more effective leader. We provide leaders with a software package that helps them manage networks, understand in which areas they need to build more networks (with the company or outside etc) and how often should they be reaching out to different people. Networking is often without an agenda. It’s “lets catch up for coffee because I’m in town” or “let me send you my latest article that I wrote in a magazine”. However I have noticed that either leaders take to this like a fish to water – easily, happy to build networks and thrive on building relationship that help them through their careers or there are leaders who simply cringe at the idea. These leaders think its an overburden and goes beyond the duty of work.
After understanding the SCARF model and Relatedness, I realise why there are these two different pools of leaders, who may be competent in their own way but feel differently to the concept of networking. It means that different leaders have different needs of relatedness, and as an organisation we need to understand these needs. Often times not wanting or not needing to “network” impedes a leaders career, but it now seems that there is intervention needed to help the leader meet his capacity of Relatedness and for the organization to understand the varied needs in an individual.
It will be important to probably have stages in the process of networking, to help address this issue. Stage one as a basic networking skill, how many people do you interact with within your department, Stage two could be interact within your function and Stage 3 could be interact within the company. This could be taught as a skill building process instead of such expecting people to take it up and master it since that seems dependant on the dominance of Relatedness domain in ones brain.
Kalpana Sinha is a Leadership and Organisation Professional. Her blog has reflections from her work experiences of over 20 years.