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Emotional skills generate added value for business

Published on
17 July 2020

Developing emotional skills for relationships within and outside a company helps improve efficiency and decision-making. In an environment where everything is moving faster and social responsibilities are growing, perspectives on positive and negative emotions must be rehabilitated in order to generate value for organizations.

"By helping to develop employees' emotional skills, organizations can increase performance and improve their decision-making process," underlines Hugues Poissonnier,an associate professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management. "In addition, such skills are important for well-being and help mitigate the risk of burnouts. By improving cooperation in internal and external players, employees create relationships that have added value and encourage innovation with clients, partners and suppliers."

Improving soft skills, in particular emotional skills

"For too long, organizations have preferred to simply cover up any discussion of emotions," explains Hugues. Yet improving soft skills and the management of emotions helps pacify relationships and improve efficiency and trust. How can such improvements be implemented?

  • "First you have to identify all of the emotions related to a given professional context. Frustrations, anger, fear… But the vocabulary to identify an emotion can often minimize the intensity of the experience and our understanding of the emotion."
  • "Next you have to understand the needs that are hidden behind these emotions and whether or not they are being met. By identifying an emotion like joy, you can identify what causes joy in a company and re-iterate the experience. Joy is also closely associated with the need to be interconnected. The French expert on non-violent communication, Thomas D'Ansembourg, rightly says 'all that is joyful is meaningful'. Yet we often ignore joy to focus on more intense experiences that cause emotions like fear, sadness or anger, which then invade our mental space."
  • "You then have to learn how to regulate negative emotions in order to adjust a response according to a given reality and a set of values. What does fear and anger mean in terms of needs? Disagreeable emotions are necessary. Someone who doesn't feel fear, which is an alarm bell, would always be in danger of death. Anger is often connected to the desire to rectify injustice. It might not be very agreeable, but it's a precious emotion to understand an unmet need. In addition, emotional skills help people better understand those they interact with."
  • "Finally, empathy, or the ability to feel what others are feeling, is a key component of relationships. You have to understand what is happening inside in order to understand the person in front of you as Thomas D'Ansembourg would say. Empathy such as the ability to put oneself in the shoes of a supplier who is being paid late will help one regulate negative emotions and act with better coherence in terms of values and goals. This is essential to improve collaboration and co-innovation."

"Emodiversity" and "emotional parasites"

"Alexandre Jollien, a humanist philosopher, underlines: 'Because we don't accept deep sadness, we cannot find deep joy in our lives.' These words highlight the importance of exploring and understanding our entire range of emotions. 'Emodiversity' refers to the practice of letting all emotions exist whenever they appear throughout a day in order to identify them and accept them as they are," says Hugues. "The two reflexes we should try to avoid are: first to avoid covering up negative emotions, and second to avoid 'emotional parasites' which is where we substitute one emotion for another."

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