The role of emotions in business


We’ve all heard a version of it.  Don’t have emotions in business.

While many consider it a best practice, I would like to offer an alternative thought…

Emotions in business are vital. If you’re more emotionally connected to your computer than people, perhaps this isn’t the post for you. But if you are like me and feelings are your guide, read on.

Here are four reasons why emotions in business ARE valuable.

  1. Emotion fuels business: If you’ve ever started your own business or brand then you know what I mean. We get emotionally invested because our ideas are our creation. The passion we create with, and the drive it takes to launch a new idea is exciting. That excitement is fuel for our engine.
  2. Emotions are a leading indicator: In a previous post, I wrote about congruency between the two camps of thoughts & feelings and, what is done & said. When there is no alignment between the two camps we all get that ‘hinky’ feeling. We can’t quite put our finger on it. When I don’t pay attention to the feeling I am usually very disappointed. When I do, I instantly feel good about my decisions. When emotions are understood they can be a very valuable tool.
  3. Emotions make us different than machines: If leadership was following a sequence of events or instructions for the desired outcome I wonder how we would progress? We would do the same things, the same way each day just like machines. To ask people to remove emotions would be to remove creativity and reasoning.  When we challenge status quo, it is to create an outcome that is different and hopefully improved. Challenging the status quo is saying you aren’t satisfied so let’s create a better outcome. Machines don’t care about the outcome.
  4. Emotions are what reinforce our connection: Our attachment to our work is not only about the work itself. It is about the people we spend most of our time with. That connection develops from years of seeing each other through emotional highs and lows. Births, deaths, wins, losses, excitement, disappointment, etc. We are connected through our emotions. They are the building blocks of our relationships, and relationships are the root of business.

But for those of you (like me) who are overly-emotional (or accused of being too sensitive), I have a suggestion that might help; and for those who are far less emotional, my suggestion will make you jump for joy. Be careful though….. joy, IS an emotion.

Emotions in business are valuable. Emotional decision making in business is not valuable.

That’s been my secret to being emotional in business. Feel what you feel but when you make decisions work with facts, regardless of how they make you feel. Tough decisions become easier to make, and feeling stuff becomes more useful than distracting.

Mike Knapp


Mike has been helping businesses achieve their goals for more than 20 years. He believes there is a better way for business owners and leaders to build their businesses and achieve their big goals. As a Gravitas Impact Premium coach, he leverages the 7 Attributes of Agile Growth™ to simplify the art of strategy and discipline of execution.

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