Emotions: Are you allowing them to distract you?
Emotions are just the tip of the iceberg. Allowing yourself to be distracted by the emotion of the day is akin to throwing out the baby with the bath water. Imagine giving in to the emotion of telling your employees or family members exactly what you think of them this could be bad news for all involved! Emotions are like a thermometer; not responsible for causing the temperature but lets you know just how hot or cold the temperature really is at any moment in time.
Why then do people put so much energy into their emotions? We know this goes back to our early evolution as humans and how our fore parents learned what was good for them and what wasn’t. Apparently this part of our brain has not evolved much and still retains its basic abilities to detect situations that we either need to embrace or those from which we must fight or flee. From this perspective emotions are actually great guideposts and warning signals.
What happens though when we are not able to manage these emotions well in the workplace and home? That’s when we find managers failing to actually bring out the best in their people. Recently, a client shared with me how he prepared meticulously to give corrective feedback to a staff.
The staff according to the manager, behaved inappropriately in how they handled an incident report that was shared with one of their clients. The manager said he took time to use the IDARE Coaching model to prepare. He identified his intention for wanting to correct this behaviour then prepared questions he would ask the employee to help them identify their intention for the situation at hand. The manager also asked a few of his colleagues to role play with him the different scenarios the corrective feedback session could take- he was ready. Or so he thought.
Upon asking the staff member to join him in his office for a brief meeting- the staff member started saying how sorry he was as soon as he sat down! The manager hadn’t even said a single word about why they were meeting! The staff member began to apologize profusely even getting pretty emotional in the process.
This threw the manager who started reacting to the emotions being displayed. He started asking why the staff member was sorry, then he apologized for this emotion! What happened was the preparation for giving corrective feedback was almost fully forgotten! The manager shared he was able to squeeze in what needed to change but felt it wasn’t handled effectively in a coaching leadership style.
What went wrong in this scenario? The employee either consciously or subconsciously distracted the manager with his emotional display and of course the manager allowed himself to be distracted! Below are some points to consider how not to allow yourself to be distracted by emotions:
- Recognize emotions are fleeting. They can change like the wind and as a result you cannot use them to make decisions
- People can share or catch emotions. Be aware of the contagious nature of emotions and take the necessary precautions not to be infected
- Emotions are like a thermometer. They are not responsible for how hot or cold the temperature is- they just let you know the temperature
- Acknowledge the emotion that the person is displaying. Show them empathy as this helps to calm them down and help them feel you are on their side
- Look past the emotion and dig deep to the issue that is responsible for the emotion being displayed
- Use a process to map out how to manage situations. The IDARE Coaching Model is great for this once you know just how fleeting emotions are and how much they can distract you from the real issue.
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Here’s to loving how you live, work and play!