How do you make decisions in an unemotional way?

We want to conceive of decision-making as a process that is free of emotion. “Let’s think about this rationally,” we remark, knowingly or unconsciously dismissing the importance of feelings. However, you should constantly pay attention to your emotions when making decisions at or regarding work because they can be a valuable source of information.

Let’s assume you’re considering a new, lucrative career as a sales executive, but the notion makes you feel sick to your stomach. Those gut feelings, on the other hand, are based on your brain’s rapid way of digesting your experiences and knowledge, and they serve to remind you of how dreadful making sales calls made you feel in the past. Your feelings are trying to tell you something.

While you shouldn’t always listen to them, you should always think about them. Consider a 2007 study that polled a group of investors and was published in the Academy of Management Journal. It was discovered that investors who had strong emotions, positive or terrible, made better investing judgments than those who felt nothing.

So, how can we improve our emotional decision-making in the workplace? It’s a good idea to embrace pertinent emotions while ignoring extraneous ones. What is the distinction? Let’s imagine you’re offered a new job and, while considering whether or not to accept it, you experience remorse. This is an important emotion since it affects your decision.

In fact, thinking about regret can help you figure out what decisions will make you happy. This is how one of the authors makes decisions. For example, she asks herself, “Will I regret not going to graduate school in five years, or if I did?” Regret might assist us in seeing our future and how delighted we are with it.

Irrelevant emotions, on the other hand, slip their tentacles into our decision-making process despite the fact that they are, well, irrelevant. It’s why it’s a bad idea to interview someone while you’re angry and hungry: your hanger, an irrelevant emotion, is likely to distort your judgment.

So, the next time you’re faced with a major decision, jot down your possibilities. List all of your emotions, from your darkest worries to your caffeine addiction, and then rationalize away the ones that aren’t important. After that, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.

In a 2013 study, members of eight teams competing in a business school pitch competition were asked questions such as whether they loved horror movies and whether spelling mistakes irritated them. Alastair Shepherd, the experiment’s data scientist, had no idea about the team’s business experience, IQ, or leadership ability. Using solely the quiz answers, he correctly predicted the ranking of the eight teams in the ensuing competition. This is because teams that are tolerant and accepting of differing viewpoints perform better.

There’s a lot of evidence to support this idea: what matters in a team isn’t the people’s seniority or experience, but their attitudes toward one another. What counts most is the level of psychological safety in the group. This is measured by the degree to which group members feel free and able to share their ideas and views without fear of being judged.

In a 2012 study of 200 teams, Google discovered that the greatest performers were those who were part of groups with high psychological safety. They were not only less likely to quit, but their supervisors also described them as twice as effective.

Performance declines when teams are not psychologically safe. A simulation in which teams of doctors treated a reportedly sick mannequin was described in a 2017 Wall Street Journal story. Some teams were allocated an observer who treated them badly during the simulation, dismissing their efforts. These teams made major errors, such as misdiagnosis and improper ventilation.

Performance declines when teams are not psychologically safe. A simulation in which teams of doctors treated a reportedly sick mannequin was described in a 2017 Wall Street Journal story. Some teams were allocated an observer who treated them badly during the simulation, dismissing their efforts. These teams made major errors, such as misdiagnosis and improper ventilation.

Asking everyone to write down their opinions is another technique to encourage varied ideas, especially if there are introverts on the team. The group leader can then read them out loud and invite more debate. It is feasible to provide the groundwork for a safe and intelligent exchange of ideas in this manner. If your teams, on the other hand, aren’t embracing psychological safety, you might want to reconsider how you communicate with one another.

What would you be most afraid of? Is it better to break up with a love partner or confront a coworker who claims credit for one of your ideas? According to the Chartered Management Institute in the United Kingdom, most people would sooner abandon a girlfriend than deal with an embarrassing office dispute.

At work, we are often hesitant to communicate directly and honestly. That’s a problem since even little workplace miscommunications can escalate into serious issues if not handled. One of the authors, Fosslien, for example, used to get angry with a coworker who would answer her inquiries slowly. She was irritated by his seeming disdain for a time, until she finally asked him why he slowed down when talking to her. He spoke in this manner to avoid sounding foolish to her, it turned out.

So, how can we improve our communication? The solution is to acknowledge your feelings without becoming emotional. Students at Stanford Business School are taught a useful phrase: “When you do that, I feel this.” When start-up founder Chris Gomes was frustrated by his co-founder Scott Steinberg’s rising impatience, he would say things like, “When you interrupt me, I feel dumb and irritated.” And that makes it difficult for me to ask you questions.”

Gomes was able to express his feelings without becoming upset in the process. As a result, Because it reflected both people’s emotions without any of them becoming upset, it was a good talk that settled certain concerns.

Emotions and the risk of misinterpretation, are equally prevalent in the world of digital communication. When we write anything down, we don’t often recognize how readily other people can misunderstand what we’re trying to express. We joke about it when we write “don’t be late!” in an email. However, our intended recipient may perceive it as a threat.

Emotionally proofread your text and email conversations to avoid misunderstandings. Reread what you write to make sure there are no misconceptions. And, while you should use emojis carefully, especially with those you don’t know well, don’t be afraid to use them. A winky face may be added to the “Don’t be late!” message to make it more appealing.

An emoji may seem insignificant, but as we’ve seen, even modest actions may contribute to a healthier, happier workplace emotional culture. That is something we should all strive for.

Most of us have become accustomed to the notion that combining our feelings with our profession is somehow forbidden. That, however, is a myth. In fact, you are more likely to have a deeper, more meaningful, and productive working life if you begin to listen to, understand, express, and learn from your emotions.

Use a tip from Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy’s book, No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work. Try icebreakers that get to the heart of your coworkers’ personalities. Do you need to persuade a bunch of coworkers to open up? Divide them into pairs and utilize this excellent icebreaker: “As you reflect on your childhood, tell me about a meal that comes to mind and why.” No one simply responds with “steak.” Instead, you’ll hear stories about family, culture, and upbringing. You’ll elicit genuine feeling and establish an atmosphere of openness and affection in the room.

Check out my related post: Are you aware of your blind spots in decision making?

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