Stress Management Thoughts

SCARF Model in the times of Covid-19: STATUS

SCARF Model; Magda Tabac; Status; Certainty; Autonomy; Relatedness; Fairness

Note: this is the second post in the series dedicated to the benefits of applying the SCARF Model to increase our wellbeing (at home and at work) in these times of Covid-19. This post approaches the first SCARF “button”: Status. The previous post in the series is HERE.

Status – our relative importance to others/personal worth

Status is how important we feel relative to others. If a person feels they have equal or elevated status when compared to peers, this will be more of a reward brain state as opposed to a person who feels peers are seen as more important than they are[i]. The same reward system that gets activated when we receive money or eat an amazing meal, also gets equally activated when we perceive that our reputation with a group of people has increased (think Facebook likes). So when people perceive they are in position of power, they are more inclined to approach behaviour and vice-versa.

Covid negative impact on Status:
  • Because of people being furloughed, their colleagues might have had to pick up essential tasks that don’t usually sit with them, which might trigger them to feel “unimportant”
  • Colleagues who are shielding or isolating might feel they are not contributing as much as before
  • “I’m only a small rectangular image on the Zoom meetings screen”
  • Needing to receive feedback through the phone or video conference, without being able to read more of the non-verbal body language. Btw: receiving feedback is almost always perceived as a threat by our brain.

Ideas for increasing Status:

  • Emphasise we are all playing vital roles in delivering results for our organisation; for the ones furloughed or isolating: keep in touch with them, assure them of their importance to the team and your efforts (if they are furloughed) to have them back
  • Instead of providing feedback, allow the person to give feedback on themselves or the project
  • Start Meetings with recognition, to increase people’s status while also boosting positivity
  • Involve others in decisions, as much as possible, especially in those that impact their work.
  • Ask feedback from your direct reports on what you can do better and how you can support their success.
  • Assign stretch projects that give your employees a chance to shine and explore new skills and abilities.

I’d be interested in hearing your examples of how the pandemic has pushed your “Status button” and any ideas you have for increasing Status.

Please comment below.

Thank you for reading,


PS – You can access the other articles in the series here: Certainty Autonomy Relatedness Fairness

[i] Rock, D. (2008) SCARF: A brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others, Neuroleadership Journal, 1

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I usually write about Process Communication Model and Neuroscience, and how they can help us in our day-to-day life.

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