In many work places we’ve taken up the idea that not feeling too much is the mark of sophisticated business. Feelings make us vulnerable, we conclude. And we can easily imagine a world of unruly, chaotic, hurtful and confusing behaviour if people were to act on their emotions.
But feelings are how we distinguish what matters to us, and how we most readily and fully experience connection with other people. Adopting a cool, detached, ‘rational’ stance robs us of both of these, distancing us from our relationships and from our capacity to decide wisely.
Instead of cultivating professional detachment, how much better for us to cultivate deep facility with emotions, so that instead of reacting impulsively (our great fear) we learn to name them accurately, feel them fully, mine them for their wisdom, and respond thoughtfully to what they show us.
This is a better way to draw on the fullness of our human faculties in our work. And surely preferable to having our work reduce us to the narrow robotic shadow of ourselves that detachment requires.