Emotions at Work

By Vijay Vijayasankar on June 3, 2020

When I am unfortunate– which is not often– people close to me can read it. On work, I feel unfortunate most typically when somebody who needs to understand better does a less than excellent job. I feel sad more often than I feel mad.

Disgust, Surprise and Anticipation– Thankfully there are only two or three events in my entire career where I was really disgusted. It simply taught me to not deal with certain kind of individuals. Surprise is actually a gorgeous feeling in personal life– but unfortunately I am wired in such a way that I do everything to avoid surprises at work. I strive to not amaze anyone myself. I am not sure if this is bad or good– however the dislike for surprises is something I need to deal with. I do a lot of anticipation– in the type of plan A/B/C. It is an intellectual pursuit that makes me feel excellent most of the time.

When I make errors consistently when I should learn and do better, envy, pity and pity– I do feel shame specifically. I used to pity myself and feel envy for others– for a long time. That stopped after I got a much better point of view from my coaches. There are always going to be some individuals who are better than you, were luckier than you etc and you are never ever going to be totally truthful about evaluating yourself objectively. When you make peace with that– Pity and Envy vanishes. It took me a long time to arrive and I have had a few lapses– but normally I think I understand when to catch myself these days and reorient my thinking.

Really interesting question early in the morning today from a more youthful coworker– “How do you keep away feelings from work?”. I thought it is worth expanding on the point of view I described to her on the phone.

I have actually typically been told that we must not be psychological and rather we should be unbiased at work. That is rarely possible in real life in the majority of circumstances– at least for me. So the closest to an excellent choice in my mind is to manage these feelings as a “portfolio” so that I can make it through and grow without abnormal methods. Prior to you ask me (since my coworker asked me today early morning)– I will inform you that I do not practice breathing workouts or Yoga or chanting. Those are all probably excellent things to do– simply that I have no very first hand ideas to offer.

Anger, fear and nerve are the ones that we need to face the most provided the repercussions can be awful. I feel both sometimes– and the way I manage it is by considering the worst case. Am I going to lose an offer? Lose a skilled associate from my group? Can I repair this now or later? and so on. Almost every time I realize that the worst case is something I can reduce. That is how I channelize these two feelings– I frequently convert them to guts to act.

Being liked at work or being feared at work are both long term issues for a leader. The world of company is not fair and frequently includes choices that are hard on the people taking those and interacting it to others. If your goal is to be liked– you will be miserable when a tough decision requires to be taken, and others will feel a huge let down.

Generosity and cruelty– This is pretty black and white. I heavily prefer kindness. However there is a specific trouble in how you perform on it. For instance– let us state there is an associate who can not appear to run at the next level to make his promotion. If he does not– inform him where he stands including the capacity of leaving your group, the kind thing to do is to provide him a possibility to improve and then. The terrible thing is to inform him he is succeeding and then fire him arbitrarily. Informing him that he is doing well when he is not– that falls under ruthlessness and not generosity in many cases. It is a thin line for a leader to pass through. I can not state I have mastered it fully.

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So here we go.

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On work, I feel sad most typically when somebody who ought to know better does a less than excellent task. I feel unfortunate more often than I feel mad. It is an intellectual pursuit that makes me feel excellent most of the time.

If your goal is to be liked– you will be miserable when a hard decision requires to be taken, and others will feel a huge let down. Shame, envy and pity– I do feel shame particularly when I make mistakes consistently when I ought to discover and do much better.

( Cross-posted @ Vijays ideas on all things huge and little).

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