Emotion management

Emotion management

From the Latin ex “ou” and movere “move”, “bring out”, “move”.

The idea of bringing one’s emotions into the classroom or workplace is still taboo because it is a common belief that human behaviour is the result of an exclusively or predominantly rational decision-making process. Our presumed rationality, however, is often full of errors and inconsistencies and is rather limited.
Contrary to popular belief, emotions play a fundamental role because they are not only the way to communicate our mental states to other people, but they are also a guide for making decisions. Emotions also play an important role in evaluating what is right or wrong and in consolidating learning after a mistake. The point is that we are unable to manage our emotions, to embrace those of other people and to accept our limited rationality.
Some people are slaves to their emotions because they are overwhelmed by them, while others are resigned to fact, they cannot manage them. Just a few people are able to perceive their emotions, process them using an almost methodical approach and manage them in the best possible way, gaining security and trust.

“Emotional culture” is rarely managed: teams that would benefit from joy and pride tolerate a culture of anger and “shame and blame” instead. The effects can be particularly damaging during transitional periods, such as organisational restructuring and crises.

Not knowing how to manage emotions means not knowing how to face defeat: when we experience failure we tend to be overwhelmed by the flow of emotions and we always ask ourselves the same wrong questions – Why did things happen like this? Why did this happen to me? Where did I go wrong? Why was I so trusting? – alternated with phrases that undermine our identity – I’m a loser. I’m inadequate. “I don’t count”.

The risk, when we are drowning in failure, is to trigger events that may acerbate the situation and to react impulsively, with anger, anxiety, fear and pain, identifying ourselves with failure and relating to mistakes as if they were a reflection of ourselves.
Instead, we need to learn not to be overwhelmed by the flood of thoughts and to observe emotions without judging them, for knowing and understanding ourselves better.

The ability to understand and manage our moods and to recognise and manage those of other people is therefore an important soft skill and one of the key factors that teachers and business leaders should develop and train.

Training can help teachers and managers to develop skills and practices useful for healthy and adequate management of their own emotions and those of their team. Understanding the mechanisms and methods for managing emotions also allows the individual and the group to question their beliefs and to look in a different way at their own mistakes and those of others.