Why it’s Important to Take Emotion out of Projects


EmotionsBeing able to experience and express emotions is a natural human ability that we all have. Emotions are a state of mind and feeling that follow an instinctive response to a myriad of issues that affect as. They often result in psychological and physical changes that inherently influence human behavior. Being emotional is one of the human abilities that we can learn to control as much as it is an inherent instinct.

When you are handling a project or some other work, you are bound to experience different amounts of stress and anxiety that would cause an emotional change in you. While it is a natural response that triggers us to take action, we should always strive to keep from acting out of emotions in business. There are several reasons why you should take emotion out of projects including the following:

1. Emotions can Spread

Both positive and negative emotions can spread very easily, and so when you are working on a project as a group, this state of self can transmit itself to others around you. Now since emotions are capable of influencing human behavior, they will certainly have an effect on the work that all of you are doing.

In a study on emotions at work by Professor Cynthia Fisher at Bond University, frustration and irritation, worry and nervousness, anger and aggravation, disappointment, unhappiness and dislike were found to be the most common negative emotions at the workplace. The causes are diverse and so are the strategies that one can use to deal with them in the workplace.

It is a true skill, that of being able to keep emotions out of anything, especially when these emotions seem to emanate from the person who is at a higher authority. As the manager and leader of a project, you’ll have to keep emotions out of the project to avoid instilling a state of mind in your employees or team that will have an effect on the project at hand.

2. Emotions can Clog your Mind and Impair your Judgment

Whenever you let emotions control you, they tend to make you forget about your objectives and instead keep you focused on the matters that led to the situation. You need to attend to your master plan at all times if you are to accomplish your project goals. Emotions can clog and control your thoughts making you lose focus on what needs to be done at a particular time.

Instead of thinking about the way forward for the project, you will find that emotions tend to make you look for solutions that can ease those feelings. It is a natural reaction. So without knowing, you will find yourself trying to figure out how to get back at someone who hurt your feelings or how to change something in you that someone else did not like; even as you work on the project itself.

Once you start to do that, the rest of the project will suffer, and all the decisions you make from here on will be guided by what you feel as opposed to what is necessary, what is important and what is required.

3. Emotions can Run Rampant and Damage your Reputation

Emotions can become chronic if every time an issue rises you react to it emotionally. An American philosopher and psychologist William James and a colleague Carl Lange from Denmark theorized in the late 19th century that; in human beings, there is an autonomic nervous system that generates physiological events like a rise in the heart rate, perspiration, muscular tension and dryness of the mouth in a response to the experiences around them. Emotions according to their hypothesis were thus the feelings that come as a result of these changes, and not the causes of those changes.

If we are to go by that theory, then it is clear that we have to take extra precautions to avoid stressful situations that will cause the kind of physiological changes that are going to stir up negative emotions in us. We can always know when we are about to go all emotional because we get the signs first.

Prevention goes a long way and therefore as a manager, if you know something is going to have that kind of reaction in you, appoint someone else to do it or just postpone it to another time.

Whatever issues you encounter; whether it is a team member that is not doing their work, or a client who isn’t providing timely feedback, be professional about it for the sake of the project and to avoid ruining your relationship with every person that you work with.

Your client may have a line of projects waiting, and when you have ruined your relationship you ruin your future prospects of working with them again. It gets worse when your client tells others that you are a difficult person to work with, because that will then kill other business opportunities.

4. Haste makes Waste

Emotions make us act first and think later. If you are in a state of joy and overwhelming happiness for instance, you tend to become carefree. Positive emotions are certainly a good thing, but in business, you should ideally keep all forms of emotions in check. When you act under any emotion, a lot of assumptions are made and professionalism tends to go out of the window.

Haste does make waste, and if your decisions are going to be made in a hurry, then there is bound to be wastage and loss of project resources in one form or another. When you are in an emotional situation, whether positive or negative, refrain from any decision making, take a deep breath instead and calm yourself down. Don’t be quick to give that discount just because the client liked your shirt or hurriedly assign more to an employee just because he or she got to work late.

Set your objectives and priorities first and share these with everyone involved in the project. Define the steps that will be followed so that even under stressful emotions, you can always go back and check what has to be done. This will stop you and everyone else in your team from making decisions just from the top of their heads.

Final Word

Emotions are a normal human reaction and were put there by nature to guide and protect us from threats. We cannot say that we are going to live entirely devoid of emotions in the business environment or any other place for that matter. However, what we can do is teach ourselves how to handle emotions and learn how we can keep them out of the work we do for clients.

Image: Paris Buttfield-Addison

 

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