SCARF

SCARF as a leadership model-Neuro or brain-based models for leadership
David Rock (2008)
In the post pandemic world with the development of hybrid working models, there is a need to revisit and rethink our leadership models. David Rock gives some indication as to a possible model to guide how we can safely lead colleagues. According to David Rock (2008):
In a world of increasing interconnectedness and rapid change, there is a growing need to improve the way people work together. Understanding the true drivers of human social behaviour is becoming ever more urgent in this environment.

The study of the brain, particularly within the field of social, cognitive and affective neuroscience is starting to provide some underlying brain insights that can be applied in the
real world.
What we know is that:
1. Much of our motivation driving social behaviour is governed by an overarching organizing principle of minimizing threat and maximizing reward
2. Secondly, that several domains of social experience draw upon the same brain networks to maximize reward and minimize threat as the brain networks used for primary survival needs-, social needs are treated in much the same way in the brain as the need for food and water.

To ensure when leading others that the above two insights are implemented, Rock suggests the following model:

1. Status-ensure all have their status needs affirmed
2. Create Certainty in the work environment.
3. Affirm individual autonomy through empowering colleagues
4. Ensure Relatedness-all must feel they belong
5. Treat all fairly-Fairness creates security and diminishes fear and enhances performance.

The possible implications from approaching leadership from a SCARF perspective is that success could be rewarded by increasing people’s autonomy by allowing them to have greater flexibility in their work hours. Or, rewards could be provided via increasing the opportunity for learning new skills, which can increase a sense of status. Or, people could be rewarded through increasing relatedness through allowing more time to
network with peers during work hours.

Back