There are a lot of people I know who work very hard not to show their emotions at work. They think that showing emotions is not part of ‘being professional’. Inc.com has a great article entitled Why Great Leaders Get Angry — and Show It. Reading it reminded me of the many companies I’ve worked for or with that could best be described as polite. In many conversations and meetings, topics that should have been hotly debated or, worse, probably didn’t deserve the time they were given, were politely discussed. Then, once the meeting was done, small groups huddled in offices to talk about how they really felt about the discussion, or worse, the decision.
As the Inc article points out, anger and, in fact, the entire range of emotions can be very productive and powerful when used and displayed effectively. As the author of the article, Jeff Haden points out, anger can be very focusing. It can create confidence. I believe it can spur creativity and new thinking. It can reinforce the importance of a topic. And, when someone gets angry and shares it appropriately, it can lead people to resolve a conflict or solve a problem. These are the types of interactions that build effective workplace relationships and lead to better performance. When we don’t or think we can’t share emotions in the workplace, we interact in a superficial way and are not able to tap into the strength of working collectively. Our companies stagnate. Our products lose their luster. People are physically at work but probably not engaging all their efforts. We aren’t able to innovate. We don’t benefit from different perspectives and great ideas.
I challenge you to give this some thought. How is being too polite hurting your company?
About Edith Onderick-Harvey
Edith Onderick-Harvey is a highly regarded consultant, leadership and talent expert, and speaker. Edith is frequently quoted in the media including The New York Times, CNN.com, HR Executive, and American Executive. As the President of Factor In Talent, Edith works with leaders to take performance — their own, their team’s and their organization’s — to the next level.