Ruling emotions

Alain de Botton on Emotional Education @The School of Life

“Whenever you are talking about your project, you seem to be sad,” my friend’s words struck me like lightening. Sadness was clearly not the emotion I wanted to stir up with relation to the initiative I felt responsible for. Sadness brings us dangerously close to doubt. Ideally, change should be linked with hope rather than fear, and doubt. Granted, some longer projects seem to run forever and project participants might become anxious – concerned about the end result, tired of the pressure of time, the constant stream of challenges. But this is something we, as project managers, should find ways to counter. Even when circumstances are tough. After all, we are supposed to manage the change. Of course, a sense of urgency by itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But we should deal with any negative emotions arising from or exacerbated by that change. Best – before they even appear. The worst thing we can do is allow them to rule us.

Personally, I link maturity with the ability to manage one’s emotions. Consider this for a moment – what’s typical in a child’s behavior? Emotions control the child rather than the other way round. Tantrums are one noticeable example. By contrast, a responsible leader seems to roam the sea of organizational challenges steadily, seemingly emotion-less, wielding emotions like a weapon or tool, drawing upon them only when required. The leader’s stability, predictability with respect to her emotions provides a solid ground for all the leaps the team has to make. Instability fosters doubt and mistrust. A positive outlook will be shared, so will a negative one.

See also
I Made A Mistake
The Stage is for the Child

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