Uh oh, he mentioned the F word…
This is where 20 blokes drop off the subscription list as we enter the dangerous and terrifying ‘FEELINGS conversation’. Of course, it’s OK and even admired to get passionate and even tearful when England lose another match – but feelings at work are still as welcome as an MP to his expense enquiry.
Why it’s a really bad idea to repress or ignore your feelings:
- The point of a feeling is to be felt. We are the dominant species on the planet – because we can use our feelings in the direction of progress and enquiry more purposefully than any other being. (Dolphins, I understand also have quite a good sense of Porpoise….) Note: Sometimes you just have to slow down to connect with your feelings on a situation.
- To repress one’s feelings only makes them stronger. Just think about that resentment or that fondness of another – it just keeps growing over time dammit…
- Asking someone (especially direct reports who have self preservation in mind) ‘what they feel about XYZ?‘ will give you more meaningful intelligence that ‘what do you think about XYZ?’ Thinking allows sanitising and filtering to occur and you may well be told what they think you want to hear.
- My good mate is a Police Chief Inspector and I quote “The biggest breakthroughs on a case are most often made on gut feel when we step out of the detail and challenge the assumptions.”
- You can run, but you can’t hide (from your feelings). Your true feelings seep out of your pores and people pick up on that. They know something is not quite right. Left uninformed they’ll assume the worst about you, them and the situation. That’s a big energy drain.
6 great starts to feelings conversations:
- What would you feel if I was was to say XXXX to you? (Caveat – be gracious, humble, well intentioned. Nobody likes an opinionated stuffed shirt.
- I want to let you know that I feel immensely grateful and happy about that piece of work you just produced and the MD feels the same.
What do you think about XXX?What do you feel about XXX?
- Can I be straight, direct and to the point about how I feel about this situation? (They always say yes and you just got yourself permission and a direct listening too).
- I believe the most important thing for me right now in this project is to understand how you honestly feel about it?
- Fred, I get the feeling that you are really… (insert here: hacked off, unhappy, mad, frustrated, massively passionate, unsure, sad, inspired). Now shut up and listen!
And what is the ‘worst and best’ human emotion?
For me it’s undoubtedly ungratefulness. It’s so easy to forget someone else’s greatness, strengths, tough journey, uniqueness and contribution. Yet gratitude moves mountains when sincerely and deliberately expressed. A work in progress for yours truly I have to say. ( I am now feeling extremely grateful to Mrs. Fox having had to solo ‘manage’ the kids for 5 days whilst she is away on business!) What is your worst and best emotion?
Go ahead do a feeling conversation today and see what different results unfold. The writer cannot be held responsible for any actual strengthening of the depth of work relationships that may occur…
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