Emotions at Work

A month ago, I attended an event on the subject of People Management and AI. In one of the workshops, one particular suggestion raised eyebrows (at least mine). The facilitator urged us to start each day with an emotional inventory with our teams, fostering a deeper understanding of what to expect from one another and creating an open space for support. While the idea had its merits, I found it somewhat excessive.

Emotions hold a significant place in our lives. They add color and depth to our daily experiences, helping us appreciate the nuances of the world around us. Emotions are part of our inner compass, aiding us in understanding ourselves better. However, it is equally important to recognize that emotions must be managed, maybe not controlled in a strict sense but gently guided so that they do not run rampant or take the wheel of our lives[^seek-help].

[^seek-help]: Of course, there are situations where professional help is needed, and seeking assistance should never be discouraged.

Renowned author Seth Godin coined the term "emotional labor" to describe the challenge professionals face in dealing with their emotions. For instance, think of a dedicated actor who strives to deliver an impeccable performance, even on a day when personal troubles loom large. Similarly, when you're in the operating room, you expect your neurosurgeon to be at her best, regardless of any personal conflicts she may have encountered that morning.

The key lies in educating our emotions, which can be achieved through the cultivation of positive habits, often referred to as virtues in classic philosophy. In modern terms, we talk about emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence encompasses the ability to recognize, understand, and effectively manage both our own emotions and those of others. This essential skill enables us to navigate the intricate web of human interactions with finesse and empathy.

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash
emotional intelligence, virtues, emotional labor, positive habits

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