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If unfettered, we lead with emotion

If unfettered, we lead with emotion

Perrin Carey

13 April 2021 at 10:00:00

Humans are not cognitive beings.
Humans are not rational.
Humans are not reasoned.

We've made this up. It's the narrative we tell ourselves.

I've thought this through.
I've been objective here.
I've left emotions out of this.

We're in denial. It's the most comfortable option.

The whole idea,

That emotions are soft skills.
That emotions are female skills.
That emotions demonstrate weakness.
That emotions result in poor decisions.

We're are disenfranchising ourselves.

"Humans do not fundamentally operate on the basis of thoughts and analysis, we fundamentally operate at the level of emotion"

This powerful and insightful quote from Jim Collins is actually quite disconcerting, especially if we think of what it's saying.

He is suggesting that as humans we live our lives through our emotions and that any concept of rational and reasoned processing is a fiction.

The thing is that the evidence supports this.

Look at evolutionary psychology
Look at behavioural science
Look at neurophysiology
Look at social science

They all say the same thing.

We are animals.
We are driven by our need to survive.
We make all our decisions in our limbic brain.

If unfettered, we lead with emotion.

Perhaps this is why we have tried so hard to head in the other direction, to move away from utilising emotion, towards a life without.

But this shift in cultural acceptance is damaging.

Even before the pandemic, evidence from the World Health Organisation confirmed that depression was the largest cause of disability in humans, superseding heart disease and cancer.

Millions upon millions of people are in dehumanised organisations around the world.

According to Susan David Ph.D

"When you can’t bring your emotions to work, you have segmentation
When you are told there are good and bad emotions, you have segmentation
When you are told to make a decision with objectivity and without emotion, you have segmentation"

Segmentation leads to a significant disruption in psychological well-being.

The opposite to segmentation, is integration.

The idea that you can hold the paradox of two emotions at the same time like grief and joy, this is integration.

The idea that you can utilise emotions as a source of data to support your decision-making process, this is integration.

"Emotions are data not directives."

These 'soft skills' are fundamental to engagement, culture, motivation and almost every aspect of our organisations, why?

Because organisations are just groups of humans.
Because there is a beautiful connection between using emotions as data and how that informs the way that we live through our values.

If we want high performing organisations,
We need high performing humans.

If we want high performing humans,
We need to understand how humans operate.

We are on the cusp of a mental health crisis that could outstrip the current pandemic crisis.

We have to look and work much harder at re-humanising our organisations to support, nurture and look after our humans.

We simply have to.

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