Emotions are information too

A world without emotion is a world without life. Body language, facial expressions, tone of voice: do you really know your employees? How do they behave in the workplace and how do you treat them?

Aggression, pleasure, fear, joy, worry, desire, anger, irritation, disgust …The emotions that are expressed in a workplace indicate whether the culture is toxic or healthy. They reflect what is valued in a culture, both positive and negative.

According to researcher Sigal Barsade, if an organizational culture is defined as a set of ideas considered important for the group to achieve its goals, emotional culture is the set of emotions just as necessary for the group to achieve those same goals. “If you want to build a team, it is emotions, like affection, interest, and compassion, that really connect people.” Emotions give you an idea of your team’s motivation. Far from being a hindrance or a taboo, they are a source of precious information. They influence not only well-being and commitment but also collective performance. This is why Barsade suggests: 1) recognizing everyone’s individual motivations; 2) learning to manage your emotions as well as your employees’; and 3) paying attention to the emotional culture within the organization.

 

According to his findings, however, this dimension is still a long way from being understood by most managers. Emotions are there to be shared and understood… What do you think?

To go further: “Employee Emotions Aren’t Noise — They’re Data” (MIT Sloan Management Review, November 2019)