Emotional management

Trailhead: Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, Christina Bradley, and Lindred Greer. "How Leaders Can Optimize Teams’ Emotional Landscapes". MIT Sloan Management Review (2021-01-04).

I think I would have normally skipped by an article like this—or any article with the word "emotional" in the title. After 2020—I'll allow it. I spent what turned out to be most of 2020 just... angry at... whatever there was to be angry about. Maybe it wasn't straight-up fury, maybe just the final barbed tip of constant frustration, but it wasn't very healthy for anyone.

The falling-apart side of 2020 was an awful lot like having too much to drink: it didn't change who I was, but it did amplify certain parts of myself in clownish ways. Prone to frustration about things moving too slowly, about being left out of decision-making forums during normal times? 2020 amplified it. I don't know how that worked for others. I can't imagine the circumstances made other people's emotional states better on average. I can't imagine that having to organize a group of people in amplified states would be an easy task.

Emotional management is just part of coaching in sports, and likely in other arenas, I assume. Emotional identification and emotional management. You can't yell at every player to pick up the pace—some people feed off of it, some people hate it. And the people who feed off of it only need it when it's the right time, not all the time, depending on the circumstance. And the collection of team emotions combine to create another thing. And the combination of the team emotions and the environment create another—the environment at home, the environment in the arena, the environment in the world.

Something the article pointed out that I didn't consider was not just the collection of team emotions, but their distribution. In what cases does it make sense for the team to have emotions that are aligned or dispersed? I would have guessed that "aligned" is always the desired goal, but that's not necessarily right. It makes sense now that I think about it. Getting everyone on the same page emotionally makes sense if you're trying to get them to aim at a definite goal (Totterdell, Peter. "Catching moods and hitting runs: Mood linkage and subjective performance in professional sport teams." Journal of applied psychology 85.6 (2000): 848.). But if the goal is to come up with creative new ideas, then having people in different states is a fertile ground for new ideas. (Emich, Kyle J., and Lynne C. Vincent. "Shifting focus: The influence of affective diversity on team creativity." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 156 (2020): 24-37.)

Something new to think about: not just understanding how to identify the team's emotions, but considering how to arrange them to achieve the goal.

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