How do emotions influence our performance? Does it differ depending on the emotion? If so, can we use this in our advantage? How?
We tend to think about emotions as something out of control, whilst we have a general opinion that we can control our performance. However, if emotions have a big influence our performance, do we really control the way we perform in different situations (e.g. at work)?
From what I’ve experienced so far, emotions have huge influence over our performance. Just think about a regular workday. How often does it happen for an email to come in and you try to postpone your answer until the next day just because you don’t feel like dealing with that immediately? For me, it happens more often that I want to admit and because of this, I tend to believe that our performance is influenced by our emotions.
Negative Emotions and Performance
In my previous example, I used a negative emotion because these are more common and more powerful than the positive ones. When sadness or depression takes over, it’s like a dark cloud made of little demons whispering sh*tty things surrounds us and our will to work goes home before we do (and unfortunately it doesn’t make dinner).
Therefore, every time a negative emotion comes, our emotion drops. However, I noticed that emotions like anger, combined with ego, can increase our performance. For example, if a colleague sends a stupid email trying to prove he/she is better than you are, that could make you angry and you’ll try to show how great you are by working your ass off. Frustrations, which are cocktails of negative emotions, can also have this effect sometimes, in the right circumstances.
Positive Emotions and Performance
What about positive emotions? Can they improve our performance? Well, I think it depends. Sometimes we feel so happy that we don’t want to do anything related to work. There are other times we feel so pumped that we do in a day what we do in a week. It’s all about how we channel positive feelings.
Actually, it’s all about how we channel our negative emotions too. Imagine having problems at home with your bills and your only salvation would be more money. In this case, you’ll go to work to prove you’re the best so you can get a bonus or even a raise. The problems caused negative emotions, but those emotions are channeled to create performance so that performance can fix the problems.
As usual, it’s all about perspective. If we manage to channel our emotions with the things we need to do, then we can use them as a fuel to improve our performance. If we let those emotions block us, then our performance will drop. It’s all about the one that handles the emotions.
Which emotions can increase your performance and which emotions can decrease it?