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Been there. Done that. Got a whole wardrobe of t-shirts.
If you are one of those lucky few, however, that have not had to deal with this, then you must know of people who have lost control of their emotions at work, slamming doors, yelling at co-workers or customers, and saying things they ultimately regret.
We all realize and understand how high people’s elevated emotions can run at the office.
In an ideal world, negative emotions would never seep into our professional lives. Work cannot be built around what we like or do not. My needs and demands, especially emotional ones, might not find any place at work. If they do, and some of them are met, we work at a place that is worth staying at. I know I do. That does not mean, though, that I do not have bad days.
Being emotional, even negatively so, might not be the culprit here. I think it is our incapacity to recognize our reactions as being emotional and controlling them before hurting someone else or, as it happens most of the times, ourselves. We require a calibration and an immense control over our behavior in times like those.
Leaders too make mistakes in this regard. There is belief sometimes that good speeches and an occasional loud cheer can tame and control their team's emotions. That is hardly the case. Peter Drucker had observed many years ago that, there is “so much talk . . . about ‘giving workers a sense of responsibility’ and so little about their responsibility, so much emphasis on their ‘feeling of importance’ and so little on making them and their work important.” He equated all this to a “soothing syrup for irritable children.” Even if it does work, the effect is very temporary and, in the long run, does more harm than good.
An organization cannot, even with the best intentions, create permanent happiness. It cannot, if we do not want it to, curb our negative mindsets into positive energy. We are individually responsible for that. And yes, happiness is an emotion. So is pride in our work. Frustration at failure is a very human emotion (one that should not stay for too long!). We are humans after all, and being emotional at work or otherwise is how we do things.
So yes, I would like to (and I am blessed with one!) have a team of emotional people work with me. I would like them to be happy with themselves and take joy in what they create. I would want them to feel bad when things do not go as planned. I would want them to hate failure.
But, I would also want them to have the sense to take a walk, or talk to someone they trust or go workout or have tea and do whatever it takes for them to not impact themselves and others with negativity.