Many communications in the workplace (and at home) are derailed because of poorly used emotions. Unless you control your emotions well during difficult conversations, those conversations are likely to turn out much different than you plan. For many of us, using unchecked emotions create strong reactions in others as they misread our intentions. You can expect retaliation, sabotage, and anything but cooperation if you overuse emotions.
Others of us communicate coldness and uncaring by our stoic demeanor that we don’t intend. Like Spock, we are perceived as someone who isn’t connecting with the human side of the event and therefore not engaged at all. Without realizing it, you might be sending a message you don’t intend. You also can find yourself being attacked or opposed for no apparent reason. I’ll write about these people later.
Right now, let’s discuss the idea of purposely controlling our emotions. Or being more like Spock.
We’ve all seen confrontations of people where volatile emotions were allowed to get out of control. It seems that all reason is abandoned. These people argue from their heart and sometimes their very valid complaint is lost in the delivery. They appear shallow, barbaric, and unruly. Their message and their influence are destroyed. And they destroy it themselves. This is the tragic consequence of their unchecked emotions.
I remember years ago attending my sons’ sporting events and all the dads getting very emotionally involved in the games. When we felt that things turned out unfairly, our unchecked emotion of anger caused us to create some very dangerous situations that I’m thankful didn’t end in tragedy. Our own children were very embarrassed of our behavior for good reason. And our behavior only hurt their situation on the field.
Here’s what to do if you suffer from this temptation: First, realize that as humans, we are emotional creatures, but not only emotional. We have the ability to reason as well. And it’s reason that must be given first priority. So, in every emotionally delicate situation, concentrate on subduing your emotions. Act as if you become emotional, you will lose everything you’re trying to gain from the situation. Focus on trying to understand the others’ point of view in a calm and serene way even if they are screaming at you. Often, if you remain calm, everyone will follow your lead and calm down as well.
Then work hard to engage that thinking part of your brain instead of the feeling part. Just doing this will create more options than you had thought of previously – when you weren’t thinking. Focus on understanding all parts of the problem and creating win-win solutions. And make your words few. Act as if using a few carefully chosen words will be best (which they will). Next, talk softly. Lowering your voice can really soften the emotions of everyone and create a more thinking environment than a reacting one. Finally, respond slowly. Slow responses during a highly charged situation work like a fire extinguisher on a hot fire. Counting to 10 before you respond is still good advice.
What if every conflict and misunderstanding in the world used more reason and checked their emotions? What if your most important relationships were filled with disciplined emotions and reason? What kind of person will you become if you become master of your own emotions? All good I bet. Bob R