Emotional decision-making has always received a bad reputation in the workplace. It’s associated it with unfair feedback, tense meetings, and even conflicts with co-workers. But the emotion’s role in making decisions is a little more complicated than we might think.
Here are some things you may not have known about emotional decision-making that could change the way you approach making decisions in your personal life and at work.
- Learn to use emotion to you advantage – Even if you think that you are a completely objective decision-maker, there are still ways in which you can harness your emotional needs to your advantage. In a collaborative environment, being honest and open about needing others to share their opinions can help diversify feedback. Alternatively, if you feel like being in your head is negatively affecting your decision-making, schedule time to sit down and really strategise the problems that create the most stress. By scheduling time to think through these decisions, you can reduce the stress that could be affecting your indecision.
- Not all negative emotions are bad – Sure enough, it’s unpleasant to experience negative emotions such as guilt, fear, or regret. And while we are wired to avoid these emotions, we experience them for a reason. Regret and guilt are essential to our decision-making processes because they allow us to learn from past mistakes. If you had no sense of regret about a project or idea that didn’t perform well, there would be no incentivising factor to improve your own performance and to do better next time. If people didn’t experience guilt after arguing with a co-worker, they might repeat that mistake or not see any reason to apologise at all. Of course, if someone is regularly experiencing negative emotions without reason, that’s not a good thing. However, it is important to acknowledge that negative emotions, when warranted, help prevent us from repeating past mistakes.
- Not all positive emotions are good – With the same logic in mind, not every positive emotion leads to positive outcomes in the workplace. While it feels great if an entire team agrees on project strategy, a lack of discussion can lead to overlooking genuine concerns or factors to work on. It can be exhilarating if, for example, a client offers more for a project than expected. In some cases, this excitement may prevent you from negotiating your contract at all, potentially missing out on further opportunities. It’s also important to not take this tip too far. No one wants to be miserable around coworkers or unfairly critiqued by an unhappy collaborator. It takes some time to find the right balance of positivity for the sake of your wellbeing and decision-making skills.
- Emotions play a role in all of our decisions – There is no such thing as making a decision without emotions; it’s just not possible. If you feel that your emotions are negatively affecting your decision-making, a solution is to strategise so that you can use your emotional tendencies to your own advantage. Check out some more information about how you can benefit from emotional decision-making below.
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