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Emotions, Work, and Engaged Employees

Posted Apr 02 2010 5:21am
"Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things."
Denis Diderot
French author and  philosopher  (1713 - 1784)
Is It OK to Be Outwardly Passionate at Work?

I don't know how to separate the idea of being "engaged" from being "emotionally involved."

It's consistent with who I am and may be true of you, too.

But I'm thinking, "Steve, when was the last time you heard a client plead for emotional involvement?"

If there is an Employee Engagement! battle cry emanating from boardrooms worldwide, there's also a potential deal-breaker waiting in the wings. It's the uneasy directive you've heard in business meetings when people really get involved, and it goes like this:

"Now let's not be emotional. We are rational people who should behave rationally."

Great. Excuse me while I sat back and concentrate on becoming dispassionately engaged while you put up another 27-bullet PowerPoint slide.

Apparently It Is Not Ok

I Googled the phrase "emotions at work" to see what we'd come up. Here is a snapshot of the results:

Emotionsatwork_2

Have a look at the titles listed. They view emotions as negative, something to be controlled, or something to "deal with."

I'll agree that no one wants an out-of-control wing-nut dominating a meeting. But is this  the  global business  approach to the lifeblood of humans?

I'm throwing down the gauntlet. Is it just me, or do we need to lighten up and genuinely accept people for who they are? That includes their enthusiasm, excitement, anger, disappointment, and all of the other normal and healthy emotions that are attached to a change, idea, or new initiative.

I hope that organizations who are proud of their diversity initiatives are equally as understanding of the deeper, common drives found in all of us.

Engagement depends upon it.

What do you think?!

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