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To Leaders: Don't Take Negative Emotions as a Taboo

Source of information: Time: 2020-02-21 02:39:56

Millennium Tongzhou vitality north stream

Sequoia · 7 hours ago · Skill GET
Even if the company is facing a crisis, leaders should be honest and right. Don't inspire employees with false enthusiasm. You can even properly share the current anxiety of the company and let them know that we are standing together
Editor's note: This article is from the WeChat public account "Sequoiacap" (ID: Sequoiacap), edited by Hong Shan; 36 发布 released with permission.
The vast majority of people have experienced negative emotions at work, but the vast majority-especially leaders-have never learned how to deal with them.
Author Christine M. Pearson is a professor at Thunderbird Global Management School, known as the "First International School of Management Education." Her research shows that negative emotions can greatly affect organizational operations, greatly reducing the energy and time employees spend on work, lowering performance standards, and weakening loyalty. When a company is in crisis, negative emotions may even become a "lethal blow", directly threatening the company's survival.
To this end, she shares in this article some ways to recognize and respond to negative emotions in the workplace, including at least the following points:
About 20% of the respondents said that in their careers, there has never been a boss who can effectively manage negative emotions. Most managers admit that they have no idea what to do with negative emotions.
Leaders should understand: Never take the negative emotions of employees as a taboo for the company.
Negative emotions are contagious. If negative emotions continue to brew, human physiological instincts tend to mimic those of depressed colleagues, bringing their movements, postures, and facial expressions together.
Anger, fear, and sadness are the three most dangerous negative emotions in the workplace.
"We were acquired, we cut 70% of our workforce, and each person now has twice as much work as before, but the resources we received have shrunk greatly. Employees at all levels are frustrated, angry and anxious about their future, and we all Of new executives seem to be unconcerned about the situation.
The pride of the organization has dried up, the pressure on people's shoulders is too great, and morale has been unprecedentedly low. This depression can be felt as soon as you enter the office. However, our new leader was taken aback when he learned that someone wanted to resign. Why is this happening? "
Many executives have tried to ignore the negative emotions of their employees and the results have been counterproductive.
Please be clear that it is impossible to prevent negative emotions in the workplace. Whether it's bad decisions, unfortunate encounters, or individual employee problems that cause negative emotions, no organization is completely immune to it. And this distress will incite more negative emotions. This is especially dangerous for startups where everything is unstable.
First, leaders should understand: Don't make employees' negative emotions a taboo for the company.
There are several causes of negative emotions in the workplace:
The lack of tacit understanding between superiors and employees;
Jobs are getting more demanding and less rewarding;
Unexpected change.
For more than two decades, I have been studying the workplace environment that causes negative emotions-from extreme cases such as workplace homicides or commercial crimes to daily problems among colleagues, we have defined this phenomenon as "the workplace Civilized behavior. " Through surveys and interviews, thousands of interviewees described to us the negative emotions in the workplace and related reasons.
In our research, there are two key findings: first, few leaders can deal with negative emotions properly; second, negative emotions do not only become obstacles, they even bring opportunities. When executives speed up and try to resolve growing dissatisfaction among employees, it is also a good time for them to build trust.
Helpless executives
Most executives suppress these emotions by putting pressure on employees. What's more, push the distressed employee to the human resources department. A small number of leaders believe that emotions are harmful to the company's operations and firmly believe that emotions should be avoided in the workplace. A representative reason for this is one of my interviewees: "Our CEO doesn't want to hear any negative news."
Other executives complain that dealing with employees' negative emotions can take a lot of time and energy. Some people worry that their intervention may exacerbate the situation rather than ameliorate it, and attempts to address emotional issues may elicit a stronger response that leaves the situation beyond control. In addition, executives worry that letting employees release negative emotions is extremely dangerous.
Many executives also report that they have not been trained to effectively manage negative emotions and have no role models to follow. A recent study of mine confirmed this claim.
I asked 124 managers and executives about their personal experiences related to negative emotions in the workplace. About 20% of the respondents said that in their careers, there has never been a boss who can effectively manage negative emotions, and most managers admit that they do not know how to deal with negative emotions at all.
I want to change that. We researched workplace crisis and uncivilized behavior and observed the impact and response of both. Based on the conclusions reached, we made a few suggestions. In addition, considering the sensitivity of negative emotions, I consulted clinical psychologists who serve managers and executives and validated the following recommendations.
Contagious negative emotions
Our research shows that ignoring or suppressing negative emotions can cause organizational productivity to decline, people's hearts to fall apart, efficiency to deteriorate, and millions of economic losses.
In a study of 137 senior executives in charge of the MBA program, Christine Porath of Georgetown University and I had a common finding: negative emotions are extremely It greatly affects the operation of the organization, greatly reducing the energy and time invested by employees in the work, lowering performance or quality standards, and weakening the loyalty to the organization. Those employees who try to cover up negative emotions will lose their enthusiasm and even pass on their negative emotions to subordinates, colleagues, superiors or unrelated people.
In our early research on uncivilized behavior, we found that negative emotions are not only easy to produce, but also easily "contagious": when emotions are high, tit-for-tat between superiors and subordinates usually leads to escalation and creates a vicious circle. If negative emotions continue to brew, human physiological instincts tend to mimic those of depressed colleagues, bringing their movements, postures, and facial expressions together.
Emotional warning mechanism
Do individual employees spend less time and energy on work? Has engagement declined? Are there fewer employees who sign up for events, such as non-mandatory meetings or studies? These behaviors all signal potential negative emotions, as well as some hard data and trend indicators: such as lateness, absenteeism, and turnover.
At this time, you need to find the troubled employees and ask simple questions, such as "How do you feel today?" Or "Everything is OK?" The employees may not be happy to tell you their sadness, but they may tell You, they are feeling frustrated or disappointed.
A senior manager of a manufacturing company explained, "Express my concerns with ease and wait for a response. I will also be careful not to play the role of parent." At the same time, help employees find the core of their network. Characters and let them help to provide support.
When negative emotions arise from conflicts among employees, remember not to shift the subject, but to facilitate discussions to let them realize that if differences cannot be resolved, it will cost many personal and collective costs.
Do not think that these situations only occur in a very small number of companies. If you don't believe it, you can look at the office now and you may find some "warning signs".
Dealing with anger, fear and sadness
Anger, fear and sadness are the three main negative emotions commonly found in the workplace.
anger
This is the most common negative emotion at work, and it is also the most acceptable.
Working with angry people is tiring: it exhausts others, destroys people's motivation, and inhibits their cognitive abilities. Even if people dare to respond to anger, the brain's chemical reactions can make it difficult for them to communicate smoothly or think clearly. Unfortunately, a low response will make the angry person more confident and strengthen the anger.
As a leader, you should guard against those "dangerous people" on your team.
An executive at a public service agency suggested, "To make employees aware that anger can't solve any problems, if they don't support the team, they will have to pay a higher personal cost, which is not beneficial to others."
fear
Comprehensive organizational crises, frustrating quarterly results, and even negative comments that are casually spoken out can trigger fear in the workplace. This often happens in startups.
When fear strikes, survival instincts make people ready for battle, flight, or stalemate, while organizations still expect employees to stay on the job. Even in the face of disastrous crises, employers still expect employees to continue working to achieve consistent performance goals.
In fact, after studying more than two decades of negative emotions, we found that fear is the most likely cause for employees to resign.
A common source of workplace anxiety is the spread of rumors. My colleagues and I have observed that managers and executives try to hide the details of current company changes, resulting in opaque information. However, this will cause employees to guess, and the results are often worse than actual. In order to dispel fear and avoid this problem, managers should communicate fully.
An executive described how he successfully responded to workplace fear: "I allow employees who feel scared to vent their emotions. I listen carefully to their concerns and tell them frankly all the facts I can say."
Even if the company is facing a crisis, leaders should be honest. Don't inspire employees with false and unrealistic enthusiasm. You can even properly share the current anxiety of the company and let them know that we are standing together.
sad
Grief is probably the most unwelcome mood in the workplace.
Our survey and interview data show that employees who are in sadness often arrive late but leave early, love to avoid meetings that may cause unpleasantness, take the initiative to complete out-of-office tasks, and seize the opportunities of remote offices. . Seventeen employees who had been in deep grief eventually became very indifferent.
But as I observed in organizational crises, companionship is the best antidote.
If employees have suffered serious personal losses, help them and temporarily put their work at a lower priority so they can focus on their own sad issues. Let employees overcome grief at their own pace, including providing several days of vacation or shortening working hours, allowing employees to work remotely, finding some reasonable ways to transfer some of their responsibilities to other colleagues, and allowing them to postpone or cancel work arrangements.
In difficult times, the support of company leaders can have a huge impact on employee morale. The founder and former president of an Internet company sees empathy as a key factor in the tremendous success of his business in difficult times. "I particularly want to use my difficult experiences to help my team members get out of trouble, after all we have experienced difficulties," he said.
This article was published and edited by 36 杉 with authorization from Sequoia Hui; the opinions of this article do not represent 36 氪 's position. Please contact the original author for reprinting.

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