Emotions: An Introduction
- Emotions can be thought of as feelings, such as jealousy, fear, love, joy, or grief that influence our thinking and behavior.
- Our emotions are activated by a variety of events that can trigger positive or negative feelings.
Emotions and Feelings
- We can, however, choose how we behave.
- Feelings provide us with knowledge of our current emotional condition and the energy to act out our beliefs.
Achieving Emotional Balance— A Daily Challenge
- The need to discover ways to achieve emotional balance has never been greater.
- To be successful in these complex times, we need to be able to think and feel simultaneously.
- People make choices dictated primarily by either their heads (reason) or their hearts (feelings).
- The thinking function helps us see issues logically; the feeling function helps us to be caring and human.
- Many organizations are inducing fear, confusion, anger, and sadness because the leaders lack emotional balance.
- The basic emotions that drive us—such as fear, love, greed, joy, and anger—have scarcely changed over the years.
- However, we are now seeing enormous differences in the expression of emotions.
- Today, people are much more likely to engage in aggressive driving, misbehave during commercial airline flights, or become abusive when they are unhappy with service.
- In the workplace many people experience emotional pain because of disagreeable bosses.
Daniel Goleman has identified the human characteristics, separate from IQ, that make up what he describes as emotional intelligence. He identifies five fundamentals of emotional intelligence that lead to life success.
- Personal Competence
- Personal competence refers to the competencies that determine how we manage ourselves.
- Recognizing one's emotions and their effects, keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check, and maintaining standards of honesty and integrity represent a few of the competencies in this category.
- Social Competence
- Social competence refers to the competencies that determine how we handle relationships.
- Sensing others' feelings and perspectives, listening openly and sending convincing messages, and negotiating and resolving disagreements represent some of the competencies in this category.
- Although IQ tends to be stable throughout life, emotional competence is learnable and tends to increase throughout our life span.
- The emotional competencies that really matter for work can be learned.
- Emotional Expression
- We carry inside us a large array of emotions that have been with us since birth and will be with us until death.
- However, we sometimes suffer from a lack of emotional balance because we learn to inhibit the expression of certain emotions and to overemphasize the expression of others.
- Emotional imbalance also develops if we become fixated on a single emotion.
- The high incidence of violent crime in America has motivated some people to become almost totally infused with the emotion of fear.
- The Emotional Factor at Work
- Emotions play a critical role in the success of every organization.
- Many people in key decision-making positions fail to understand the important role emotions play in a work setting.
- In part, the problem can be traced to leadership training that emphasizes that "doing business" is a purely rational or logical process.
- Some leaders learn to value only those things that can be arranged, analyzed, and defined.
- Many leaders fail to understand the important role of emotions in the work setting.
- The problem can be traced to an emphasis on “doing business.”
- In an organization, emotional undercurrents are always present.
- Today, firms realize the importance of establishing, building, and maintaining a relationship with customers.
- Front-line employees engage in “emotional labor.”
- Frequent contact with the public can be very stressful.
- Emotional labor is often more taxing than physical labor.
- Relationship Strategy
- Emotional undercurrents are present in almost every area of every organization.
- Most banks, hospitals, retail firms, hotels, and restaurants realize that they need relationship strategy—a plan for establishing, building, and maintaining quality relationships with customers.
- This type of plan is essential for success in today’s marketplace.
- Front-line employees, those persons responsible for delivering quality service and building relationships, engage in “emotional labor.”
- Those who have frequent contact with the public often find the work very stressful.
- Emotional labor, which taxes the mind, is often more difficult to handle than physical labor, which strains the body.
Factors That Influence Our Emotions
- The starting point in achieving greater emotional control is to determine the source of emotional difficulties.
- We should begin with a study of the factors that influence our emotional development.
- Temperament refers to a person’s individual style and frequency of expressing needs and emotions.
- It is biologically and genetically based.
- Certain characteristics are present at birth and remain stable over time.
- Many events take place between infancy and adulthood that may alter or shape a person’s temperament.
- Personality at any age reflects an interaction between temperament and the environment.
- William Menninger noted that the subconscious can have a powerful influence on behavior.
- Childhood wounds may cause us to experience emotions out of proportion to a current situation.
- Culture is what we see and hear so often it becomes reality.
- A number of cultural influences are having a dramatic effect on American adults and children.
- For example, the rate of interpersonal violence in the United States is the highest among the industrialized countries.
- Too much violence makes it difficult for us to achieve emotional balance.
Coping with Your Anger and the Anger of Others
- Anger may be defined as the thoughts, feelings, physical reactions, and actions that result from the unacceptable behavior of others.
- The negative emotion that anger often triggers is hostility.
Managing Your Anger
- Appropriate expressions of anger can reduce your anxiety and help you get rid of unhealthy stress.
- An expression of anger may also improve communication by letting the other person know exactly how you feel.
- Learning to deal with your anger, and the anger of other people, is one of the most sophisticated and mature skills people are ever required to learn.
- Intense anger takes control of people and distorts their perceptions, which is why angry people often make poor decisions.
- Dr. Art Ulene says the first step in anger management is to monitor your anger.
- How often do you get angry each day?
- What are the causes of irritation in your life?
- How upsetting is each episode of anger?
- How well do you manage each episode?
- Dr. Ulene suggests using a diary or journal to record this information.
- This self-monitoring activity will help you determine the impact of anger in your life.
- Record not only the source of the irritation, but the feelings that surface when you become angry.
- Also record the behaviors you display when angry.
- Dr. Ulene says that people who monitor their behavior carefully see positive results.
- Effective Ways to Express Your Anger
- Expressing anger can be therapeutic, but many people are unsure about the best way to self-disclose this emotion.
- Consider four suggestions for expressing anger that will improve the chances of accurate reception and response.
- Avoid reacting in a manner that could be seen as emotionally unstable.
- Do not make accusations or attempt to fix blame.
- Express your feelings in a timely manner.
- Be specific as you describe factors that triggered your anger, and be clear about the resolution you are seeking.
How to Handle Other People’s Anger
- Dealing with other people’s anger is perhaps the most difficult human relations challenge we face.
- The following skills can be learned and applied to any situation where anger is a threat to a relationship.
- Recognize and accept the other person’s anger.
- Encourage the angry person to vent his or her feelings.
- Do not respond to an angry person with your own anger.
- Give the angry person feedback.
- Violence in the Workplace
- Workplace violence encompasses a wide range of behaviors including
- Hostile remarks,
- Intimidation through stalking,
- Physical assaults,
- Threatening phone calls.
- Although violence cannot be eliminated, some steps can be taken to curb violence in the workplace.
- Employee Sabotage
- Employee sabotage is a problem that is causing nightmares throughout corporate America.
- It is often described as employee misconduct tinged with an edge of revenge.
- Employee sabotage may involve:
- Deliberate nonperformance
- Financial fraud
- Destruction of equipment
- Other acts that damage the organization or the careers of people within the organization
- Computer crimes have become a common form of sabotage.
- Sabotage is committed most often by:
- Employees who have unresolved grievances
- Employees who want to advance by making others look less qualified
- Employees who want to get even for real or imagined mistreatment
- Today, many employees are acting out their anger, rather than discussing it.
Preventing Workplace Violence
- Use hiring procedures that screen out unsuitable persons.
- Develop a strategy for dealing with incidents before they actually occur.
- If someone must be fired or laid off, do so in a way that does not demoralize the employee.
- Provide out-placement services for laid-off or terminated employees.
- Establish a systematic way to deal with disgruntled employees.
- Provide supervisors and managers with training that will help them prevent workplace violence and deal effectively with violence if it does occur.
- Your emotional style started taking shape before you were born and evolved over a period of many years.
- You are likely to display one of four different emotional styles.
Suppressing Your Emotions
- Many have learned to suppress their feelings.
- Some have developed intellectual strategies to avoid dealing directly with emotional reactions.
Strategies for Achieving Emotional Control
- We live our lives in two distinct worlds.
- Our rational side deals with fact and certainty.
- Our human side deals with emotions and ambiguity.
- We are better prepared to deal with the rational side of our life due to our previous education, which emphasized this area.
- There are some strategies for achieving greater emotional control.