Managing your emotions

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far”

Daniel Goleman (originator of the term ‘emotional intelligence’)

Does expressing your emotions openly in business help serve your goals or your company’s goals? In my opinion, it depends on what emotions you are expressing, and whether they are negative or positive.

Many years ago upon finding out that my manager had sacked a colleague, I confronted him. I believed his actions were unjustifiable and were to cover up his own incompetence and failures. On display were my negative emotions which are destructive and de-habilitating. It was not a wise action. It showed my lack of control and self-awareness and these actions indicated that I was not management material either. Furthermore, I didn’t know if burning this bridge would have negative impacts for me in the future.

Do you really think that your bridge-burning, fire-breathing rant is going to change things? That company management will suddenly come to their senses?

No.

I actually learnt from this mistake and vowed to hold my tongue and display more self-awareness and professionalism in the future.

Years later I experienced a similar situation when two managers were using me as a scapegoat for the business not performing and recommending my termination. Upon hearing this I decided on a positive approach rather than being confrontational and burning my bridges. Positive emotions are liberating and invigorating. Think of people you work with who are positive and enthusiastic. They get things done. People follow them. People like working for them – they are leaders.

Luckily I built up constructive relationships with others in the company and with clients and my position was saved, whilst they were forced from the business. Less than 3 years later, one of them came to me with a very large potential customer for our own logistics business. We were successful in securing this customer and it helped underpin the business and formed a foundation for the business to grow.

This business saving opportunity would not have happened if I had burnt my bridges……….

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