Emotions are sensations with a message. There are hundreds of emotional words, but people have a hard time listing more than ten when given one minute to do so. If you want to see how rich is you emotional map try to list all the emotional words that you can think of.
Some people know many emotional words, but don’t think they actually can feel them in their bodies. You may have a sense of these emotions when you feel happy and angry, but mostly you are not aware of having much feelings. Emotions have an enormous impact on our experiences, and therefore on the decisions and actions that occur within organizations.
In some organizations there is a culture that does not view discussion of feelings a legitimate venture. When this happens the organization has a sure way to maintaining an ineffective climate for managing people. It is negative enough that so many people are denying their feeling platform or operating on unconscious feeling. This in itself makes feelings a force outside of awareness and choice, to later on be concerned with different modes of irrationality. The point is that people have emotions and those feelings powerfully affect what they say and do. To attempt to ignore them simply is to push them underground and make them more difficult to manage.
One of our organizational propositions is that when decisions are not being implemented is often because they radically violate people’s core feelings. The same thing occurs with the strategic plans of some organizations that call for radical changes that simply get ignored. When feelings are acknowledged and integrated into problem-solving and decision-making, better plans are created that people will implement.
The hallmark of emotional growth is the ability to fully feel one’s sensations and emotions without being overloaded by them. Emotional wisdom is the capacity to contain those emotions without diminishing them, and so be aware of what they are while still acting rationally and purposefully. This is a profound and complex process of learning to feel our anxiety and take the risk anyway. It is about learning to feel our caring for someone while saying things that we knew that would disturb them. It is about daring respectfully to speak truth to other.
Observations are a kind of sensory data we are collecting, especially within the boundaries of organizations. Thoughts are the interpretations, ideas, judgments, and beliefs we are having. Feelings are the body of sensations and emotions that we are experimenting. In every moment each individual has observations, thoughts, feelings and wants. The sum of these is our experience.
Learning from experience requires people’s ability to access and describe to each other their full range to experience.
Copyright 2005 QBS, Inc.