Why do we need emotions at work? admin February 21, 2020

Why do we need emotions at work?

Q: Why do we need emotions at work? 


A: In the Industrial Age, I didn’t need my workforce to make decisions. I made the decisions for them.

Now, we want the doers to also be the deciders and we say “you’re going to be part of the decision making apparatus.” It turns out you need your brains emotional center in order to make healthy decisions.

This is basically the way it works. Your decision processing flows through an emotional part of your brain before it becomes output. Healthy emotions are necessary for healthy decision making and feeling connected as a human is necessary for healthy emotions.

In the past, I didn’t care whether you had a healthy emotional life because I was never asking you to make decisions. Only for you to sit at a stool, do the same simple physical repeated tasks eight and a half hours a day. Your emotional life could be crap and it didn’t really matter.

But now, it matters a lot. I want to take your be good self and activate the get better self and allow people to just actually look back and say “Yeah, you know, what we did, we gave it our all but there are things we can do better next time.”


Q: In Leadership is Language, you talk about Connect, don’t conform, which gives examples of hierarchies and people connecting at all levels and requires a great deal of safety as an antidote to fear between those layers of leadership.


A: So the idea is if we want our teams to evaluate their own work, their own decisions, things that they’ve been a part of that they’ve invested their life in, then we need to tame that be good self and activate the get better self.  That comes from, allowing people to feel safe. It’s an issue of safety.

I always thought we were just going to provoke people into programs. That just isn’t the right approach. It’s a sense of safety. It’s care to dare. George Kohlrieser has this right, we have to have a sense of caring and feel secure in our base in order to venture out.

There was a study where these little mice had two tube tunnels they could go down. One was sort of interesting but scary. The other one was boring but safe. When their mothers were there, the mice were more likely to go down the interesting but scary tube. When the mothers weren’t there, they went down the boring but safe tube. The presence of the mothers making them feel safe allowed them to be more risk embracing. Connect equals safety equals taking a chance to try, learn, or expose yourself to something new or scary.