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Leading Ideas: Raw Emotion

"Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American author, minister, & activist

A few weeks ago a client asked for my advice on how to deal with a staff member. The guy had jeopardized a major account because of thoughtless behavior. My client then reprimanded him. However, he still felt the guy didn't grasp how serious the situation was. I told my client, "You're so rational and calm that the guy doesn't know how angry you are. Support him, but really let him have it." He did that this week...and the guy got it.

Something to consider:

Raw emotion wakes people up. It brings your ideas to life. And sometimes it's the best way to get your point across. Let loose every now and then. When you do it occasionally, it's real and it's powerful.

Something to try:

When you find yourself in a situation where you're about to explode at someone or something:
1. First find a neutral 3rd party who will listen to you vent.
2. Use them as a sounding board and ask them to help you distill the thoughts you want to share with the other person.
3. When you communicate with the other person, be supportive, but really let them know how you feel at the same time.

Question: When has raw emotion worked better than a thesis for you?

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  • Mike Ray

    Emotions are a very primal part of who I am. When I hide my emotions to protect another I am doing us both a disservice. Still, in any reprimand, it is important to ensure that accurate data is given and that feelings are given separate from judgments. It may serve both of you after you have expressed your emotion in a clean way like: "I feel angry!" not yelling all sorts of profanities. After this is all done, really listening to the other person can ultimately be much more helpful than the reprimand. Finally and most importantly, reprimand if necessary the behavior and not the person.