Urgency, Not Emotion

I will admit it: I am a crier. Even more so than Mandy (who is a bit closer to a stoic than a pass-the-tissues kind of girl) I, at times, respond to circumstances with a great deal of emotion. I cried at our wedding. I cried at the births of all three of our sons. I cried the first time we met Molly Kate. I have been known to tear-up at the occasional TV commercial as well. My emotions can come out on the field as well, regardless if I am playing or coaching. I have learned over the years, however, to curb my emotions in the workplace, which has served me well.

Emotion at the office can be a dangerous thing. Emotions are personal and can cloud your judgment or force you in to choosing a less-than-ideal solution to a problem. You have probably seen this before in the form of an emotional email response from a co-worker (perhaps even you were the author) that is laced with emotions that do nothing but make the issue at hand worse. Instead of simply dealing with the original problem you now have to deal with the fall-out from an emotional response that is destructive and unhelpful.

Email is a dangerous medium to begin with because it carries with it none of the non-verbal communication cues that help people decipher what we are actually trying to say. Personally, and on at least a weekly basis, I will start an email response in the morning and then let it set in my drafts folder all day while I tweak it so as to ensure that what I actually want to say is communicated and that all counterproductive emotions are removed.

Some will argue that a response filled with emotion is the most authentic, productive response that can be given. I could not disagree more. Rather than responding with emotion, we need to respond with urgency. Responding with a sense of urgency focuses you on the problem at hand; Causes you to evaluate viable solutions and then pick the best one given the time constraints. Urgency can keep us motivated to work on difficult problems long after emotions have burned out. Urgency can give us the laser focus we need to be successful. Urgency can also leverage logic whereas emotions are devoid of it.

In all things, we need balance. We all need emotions in our lives, just not in the office. We all need to know when to respond with urgency and when not to push too hard. This balance is difficult to find and even harder to maintain. The good news is that we have a new opportunity every day to continue to work on finding the right balance between urgency and emotion.

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