There are five chemicals that matter when it comes to human action and reaction. Endorphins and dopamine are “selfish” chemicals, which enable us to get things done, but in excess can be damaging to the success of a business. Endorphins mask physical pain, allowing us to push through demanding situations, for example helping a marathon runner to continue on to the end of a grueling race. Meanwhile, dopamine provides us with a feeling of satisfaction when we achieve what we set out to do—when we complete a certain task or reach a deadline. Too much of both can result in us focusing solely on our own personal needs, instead of working with others to achieve a common goal.
Serotonin and oxytocin are “selfless” chemicals that incentivize us to work with our colleagues as a team. Serotonin gives us pride and self-confidence; it is released when others admire us. This validation of our abilities and worth makes us feel stable and confident, so we find it far easier to work positively and collaboratively in a group. Oxytocin is linked to friendship, trust, and love. It enables easy cooperation between people because it drives us to be kind and generous to others.
Finally, there is the “stressful” chemical, cortisol, which generates feelings of fear or panic in those who feel like they are in danger. Most employees today suffer the consequences of too much cortisol, which negatively damages health and makes working effectively near on impossible.