Bring emotion back to business

By Lou Banks, Founder and Director at Rising Vibe

You don’t often see or hear that. ‘Emotion’ and ‘business’ in the same sentence. Traditionally, we don’t talk about our feelings and emotions at work. We leave them at home and we just get on with it. All this emotional chat is incense burning, sandal wearing pink and fluffy BS and has no place in the business arena. Right?

We’re all human. We all feel. Talking about our feelings and emotions is actually incredibly hard and incredibly brave. Moreover, it can bring about incredible transformations that have a real impact on business performance.

So Rising Vibe are busting the myth. We’re bringing emotion back to business.

Vulnerability. Shame. Fear. Anger. Anxiety. All these feelings are framed as ‘negative.’ In a work environment there seems to be some kind of unwritten rule that we avoid talking about them at all costs. We’re reminded of how we should have a positive mental attitude, constantly. How we should be passionate, focussed and driven. This stuff is important, but what if we don’t feel that way? What if we’re unable to talk about how we REALLY feel? What if how we really feel is stopping us from fulfilling our true potential?

Let’s take a look at ‘stress’. Probably the only emotive word we hear banded about at work. We can talk about being stressed at work all day long. Stress is acceptable. Stress is worn as a badge of honour. A marker of how busy we are and how hard we’re working. But what if we aren’t actually feeling stressed? What if we’re feeling anxious or afraid and we’re framing it as stress because we believe it to be somehow more acceptable and if we’re ‘stressed’ we won’t be judged?

If we frame our low vibe with a ‘stress’ label we won’t get the help we really need. We may get some support at a stress level, but that isn’t going to help us if we’re feeling anxiety or despair. We need to own how we really feel. Only then can we move towards feeling better.

I work with a lot of leadership teams that are very male dominated. One team I work with are primarily ex-military. Admitting to or even acknowledging feeling anything other than ‘stressed’ as a low vibe emotion was very difficult for them. When we started working together the business was in the middle of some massive changes. The leadership team were relaying the full details to the rest of their team but felt frustrated, as they weren’t being believed. It transpired that there was very little trust in the leadership team.

When we dug deeper into this, we discovered a complete misalignment between what the leadership team were sharing and how they were REALLY feeling about it. The details came with a ‘let’s stay positive/man-up/get on with it/stay motivated’ frame. In actual fact the leadership team felt the same fear and anxiety about the change as the rest of their staff, but they didn’t feel able to be honest about it for fear of being judged, seeming incompetent, weak or a failure.

When the leadership team went back to their staff members with a different frame – ‘I too am not enjoying this/I too don’t enjoy the uncertainty/I’m not leaping out of bed on a Monday morning like a used to/I’m also struggling, but I’m telling the truth and I’m here to support you – they had a completely different response. The leadership team were finally being honest and sincere, not only about the detail but also about the way they actually felt about it.

When leaders or those that seem to be infallible are honest and authentic, in this case by admitting they aren’t coping that well and don’t have it all figured out, it is amazingly connecting. It reminds us that our leaders are indeed human (phew!) by giving us a glimpse of their vulnerability, the vulnerability that we all have. And it motivates us.

Rising Vibe want you to bring emotion back to work and be honest about how you REALLY feel. We want to help business understand that all emotions should be addressed, as they are all valid and they all affect business performance. There are no positive/negative, right/wrong and appropriate/inappropriate emotions. At Rising Vibe, we reframe them as ‘helpful’ or ‘unhelpful.’ If an emotion isn’t helping, what can we do to feel better? If we feel fear, anxiety or despair and we go into a business pitch, these feelings aren’t going to help us. It’s about asking ourselves what we want to achieve and are our emotions helping us achieve it or not.

If we are to successfully bring emotion back to business, creating a safe environment in which to do so is absolutely crucial. Taking the leap into emotional honesty is a challenge, particularly for men, so we have to lay the foundations with care and create a safe space for it to happen.

When we enable people to access, own and share their lower vibe emotions, business performance improves.
That isn’t pink and fluffy, that’s just good business practice.

Read more on Rising Vibe as the Content Hub interviews Lou Banks.

Despite HR being a human-centric discipline, technology is rapidly evolving the conventions of good practice. We have put together a free 11 page e-book which includes:

– NASA’s perspective on the rise of the bots
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– Karen Brown at Baker McKenzie address humanised technology
– The concept of human robotic partnership

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