Wednesday, 26 July 2017

It is Complicated !

Yesterday I was in a very bad mood. I snapped at my husband, growled at my daughter, scolded my maid and was generally irritated.  Late at night, I tried a few minutes of "mindfulness" meditation , trying to sort out myself.  

But that made me thinking about Moods, emotions and affects ... It is really complicated ... but let me try a bit of rambling in this post to explain . 

Affects - this is a generic term that covers a broad range of feelings that individuals express 

Moods - they are less intense as compared with emotions and they frequently lack contextual stimulus. For example , if someone asks me why my mood was "off" yesterday, I will not be able to pinpoint to any specific incident or person per say !

Emotions : these are intense feelings directed at someone or something. 

But hold on ! Sometimes an emotion can change into a mood and a mood can change into a longer term emotion !  Again attitude and values are somewhat permanent and more stable than moods or emotions.  I may have negative emotion towards a person, but my value will forbid me to behave inappropriately with her . 

Coming back to emotions, research says that there are six categories of emotions . Anger , Fear, Joy, Love , Sadness and Surprise.  In the Indian culture we have "Nav Ras" . Nav = 9 , Ras = emotion.  The three extra emotions are namely Valor, loathsomeness and Peace

In life , including workplace we go thru hassles, uplifts and down periods.

It is very important to understand the influence of emotions at workplace and how charismatic leaders make use of emotions for transformative leadership.  For some job roles, it is imperative that you "put on " a smiling face irrespective of what you are feeling. Have you ever seen a grumpy air hostess or a customer care executive  ? 

For such jobs as well as in situations where the employees have to behave in a particular way their organization demands , during interpersonal transactions at work whether or not you are experiencing any emotion, is called "Emotional labor". The term "labor" comes because of the dissonance

The fact is that you cannot keep up the "labor" or dissonance for too long. If you are unhappy at your workplace, some day or the other, the mask will fall off and you will quit. 

Let me give you an example. 

Suppose , you believe that job responsibility and authority is a very important factor at workplace. If your supervisors and peers say or do anything which hits this belief, you will have an attitude of "I do not like my job" .  And once this feeling settles in, after a particular period of time , the result will be that you will quit your job. 

Here is where leaders and senior management of the organization has to step in.  For Job satisfaction, the following are the five facets : 

  1. The work itself - responsibility, interest and growth
  2. Quality of supervision - technical help, empathy, support
  3. Relationships - Respect, Integrity
  4. Promotion opportunities 
  5. Pay 
There are often constraints for the last two points , but the the rest can be easily implemented.  But to do that , the leader must have emotional intelligence , to understand her own emotions as well as the other person's emotions and then deal differently according to the situation. 

But it is not so easy ! 

Emotions vary across cultures.  Walmart's emphasis on friendliness did not work in Germany ! The Germans did not like the greetings and their helpful personnel.  In fact, I too find it quite irritating when I am browsing thru perfumes or clothes etc. in a mall , and an attendant comes and asks "Can I help you ?"

The Britishers do not like overtly show of emotions unlike the Americans. The Indians do not like showing affection towards their children or spouses in public... It is changing though ... I am told that in a business meeting in Japan, if they show eagerness and inquisitiveness , that means they will not sign the deal !

The same applies to individuals as well. So, the leaders have to deal with each one individually. The leader also has to put across a common goal for everybody. 

I am reminded of Bapu, Father of India, Mahatma Gandhi, how he motivated and got to the core of every Indian's emotion when he picked up a fistful of salt from the coastal sea shore of Dandi and said "We will disobey , but with non violence ... follow me ! British Quit India ! ". 

The crowd behind him swelled from 10 people to more than 50,000 Indians in that Dandi March.   

Such is the power of Emotion ! 

By the way, something to ponder upon. There are evidences which says  women suppress more negative feelings and emphasize more positive feelings !  Good in way and bad in a way. Good because this makes the females better leaders having higher emotional intelligence. Bad because , they will be a day when the females will just blow the top and dissent . 

Both at workplace and at home. 

Oh ... just to let you know, my mood is much better now ... Cheers !

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