Our emotions are signals that can give us data about what is important to us, but only if we pay attention.
Next time you feel emotional at work, take a step back and consider what it’s telling you. Let’s say that you’re anxious about giving some difficult feedback to one of your direct reports. Why do you feel anxious? In examining your emotions, you realise that you’re worried about being fair because she’s a good employee.
Consider how having, or not having, the conversation will bring you toward or move you away from being fair. Looking at the situation in this light, you can see that giving her the feedback and helping her to succeed is actually more fair to her — and to your whole team — than caving to your anxieties.
You’ve been able to unhook yourself from your immediate emotions in order to make a better choice that is true to the values that underlie them.