Dealing With Negative Behavior

Dr. Purushothaman
October 7, 2013

Emotions play an important role in everyday behavior. There is no thought, behavior, idea, or attitude that does not have a related emotional counterpart. Often times in the business arena, various forms of emotions are frowned upon. But, the reality is emotions do exist and do impact communications no matter how subtle. As often as it is said emotions do not belong in business, they will always be there. The intent of this information is to alert you to the importance emotions play in our everyday lives, and how a successful leader can create a productive and focused working climate while dealing with the reality of emotions.

As you interact with your staff or team, you begin to build up certain expectations of each other’s behaviors and reactions. In any relationship between two people who have been in continuous interaction over a period of time, certain tolerable limits of emotional communication are established. There are certain ways of saying things which must be slightly altered to fit varying situations. For example, you may not talk to your children the same way you talk to your partner; you may not talk to your superior in the same way that you talk to a team member, and so forth. In some instances, these behavioral responses are simply a matter of courtesy and respect for the other person. In some cases, they stem from a fear of undesirable results.

Constantly avoiding dealing with your feelings can build up a stockpile of pent up emotions. It can create a festering problem which when it does find expression, exhibits itself in ways that are harmful, hurtful, and destructive to a relationship. This repression and lack of adequate expression is not limited only to negative emotions such as anger but also applies to positive emotions such as love. We must develop a way to widen the tolerable limits of emotional expression, so that the problems associated with restraint and repression are diminished. By understanding human behavior, you will be able to identify emotionally based problems which emerge in the everyday operations of the organization. Effective management demands that you deal with emotions on a rational basis.

The key to managing emotions within your team is the environment. The culture that you create and maintain provides the platform for how you and your team deal with situations when they arise. Throughout most of our lives, we have developed ways to express disappointment, anger, and discontent in somewhat less than honest terms. We have learned, through experience and conditioning, that exhibiting hostility can prove ineffective in solving our problems with others. Instead of confronting situations head on we circumnavigate the stormy waters by using what we have come to believe are more socially acceptable forms of expression. This can be very functional behavior, up to a point, since a continuously abrasive and complaining individual soon finds no one around with whom to become hostile. On the other hand various negative feelings need expression as well. Emotions, if left unexpressed, or if expressed irrationally inhibit progress in improving relationships. Honest, open communication is necessary for a results oriented working environment. To do so, you must create trust, concern, and a mutual commitment with your people. Some additional ideas when implemented correctly will help create a productive culture.

Create a culture that encourages your staff members to come directly to you and discuss, share, or brainstorm a situation with which they may be dealing. Whether they need an avenue for emotional expression or they are on the receiving end of a distracting situation and want to brainstorm possible solutions, make yourself available.

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