Scared of feelings

Quite apart from the indoctrination we’ve had that organisations are like machines (and so the people inside them are like machines too), mostly we’re determined not to talk about feelings at work because they force us to face the truth.

If people are scared, they’re scared. If angry, they’re angry. Bored, they’re bored, and so on. Aside from those times when we confuse ourselves about our feelings, or delude ourselves, there’s no denying that feelings are true for those who are experiencing them.

And so when people say “We can’t talk about feelings here, it’ll open a can of worms” what they really mean is “It’s too dangerous to talk about what’s true, about what’s really going on”. Similarly, claiming that feelings talk is ‘fluffy’ or ‘soft’ is a convenient excuse for turning away from a perhaps difficult, significant, and real conversation.

The simple truth of what you’re feeling, and what those around you are feeling, will tell you much about what’s happening in your team and in your organisation. It will tell you much about what you and others actually care about (because feelings arise from what matters for us). And it can open up the possibility of facing the situation you’re in, and acting upon it, together.

We’ve already had enough trouble in the world of organisations because people wouldn’t look at the truth of what was happening around them. Can you be sure your insistence that feelings are irrelevant doesn’t have you join them?

Photo Credit: country_boy_shane via Compfight cc