Emotions influence our lives; we could even say that they indeed manage them to a very significant extent. Therefore, we also need to take them into consideration when discussing questions regarding the management of people, their motivation and leadership. Not one of our actions remains without emotion or sentiment, unless, of course, we suffer from some psychological or personality disorder. Hence, assuming that we are normal (but what counts as normal in the field of psychology), all of our thoughts which we have in our head or which we pronounce are coloured by our emotions. It would seem that it is impossible to function properly without them. The following lines are meant to inspire you to consider your emotions and to provide you with practical guidance on how to deal with them. We have also included a short test which will help you discover how good you are in perceiving and recognizing emotions in yourself and others.
What can be said about emotions?
- They are temporary – as they have a beginning – a peak – and a conclusion (an end)
- They are either positively or negatively valenced – attitudinal – as they are an expression of the relationship with the harbourer, other people or in regards to the topic in question
- They are qualitative – as they are never neutral
- They are passive – as it is to a certain extent possible to choose how one feels, even though the latest research somewhat discounts this view. We can nevertheless learn how to control, create and increase or decrease the intensity of emotions.
What good are they – and why is it good to learn how to recognize and to differentiate among them in ourselves and in others?
- They regulate social behaviour (sometimes) and facilitate communication (sometimes)
- They prepare one for action
- They hint at future behaviour (most people do not have a poker face)
Are you among those who prefer to deal with people face-to-face or do you rather negotiate on the phone or via e-mail? Did you ever wonder why?
People, who prefer negotiations which do not involve face-to-face encounters are often characterised as being less assertive and self-confident. To stay away from personal contact really does often mean to avoid the risk that one’s counterpart will see too much and will discover who one is, what one feels and experiences, etc. By the way, many people are able to write a very cutting email, but fail to be assertive and keen in face-to-face meetings.
Do people who hold a pen between their teeth evaluate a cartoon differently from people who hold their pen with their lips? What do you think?
Before you answer, try holding a pen with your teeth and then with your lips.
The different ways of holding a pen in your mouth simulate different muscles which in turn stimulate different brain centres. In tests, people who were told to hold a pen between their teeth believed the cartoons which they were shown to be funnier than the subjects who were told to hold a pen between their lips did. What does this mean? A physiological reaction (behaviour) influences emotional reactions and those in turn influence cognitive (reasoned) reactions.
Just like instincts, emotions are motors (e-motors) of our actions. This is why they are so closely related to motivation and behaviour, and, finally also to decision-making. The assumption that we decide rationally has long been abandoned. This is best known by marketing specialists, creative directors of ad firms other designers. Not so clear on this are managers and people who are responsible for a company’s employees and the achievement of results. In many tests, medical scientists have proven that if, for example, surgery interferes with the emotion centres in the brain, the person’s ability to make decisions is affected, whereas his intelligence level suffers no harm.
Motivation and emotion are fatefully connected; in latin, these terms have the same word stem. We assume that an unmotivated person is burned out, dried up, passive…all of these terms point to the absence of positive emotions.
How good are you in motivating your colleagues, your subordinates?
This question is not poignant enough; in fact, it is a badly placed question.
Am I able to actively use my emotions and the emotions of others? What emotions do I evoke and why do people like working with me or why do they try avoid me?
How do you perceive these questions? Join the discussion or see if you can recognize emotions in our test.