I remember when George was appointed the new CEO, and he called the first meeting of officers. He stood at the podium in front of about twenty people, and he gave an impassioned speech about how we were going to increase the profits of the company. He was standing up there with his arms waving and shouting things like “we’re all going to improve our numbers!” and “I can’t wait to see our competitors in the rear-view mirror!”, while he pounded the podium for effect. At one point he even had all of us chanting “we are winners”, “we are winners” in loud voices. He thought he was building up our energy so we could go out and conquer the competition, but he was actually doing the opposite.
George’s style was intense. He would say he was aggressive and tough and got things done. And some people may have been motivated by his style. But does this sort of intense passion actually lead to better business results?
Emotions can be powerfully beneficial in business. Employees’ strong intentions for their company’s success are crucial, and positive, heartfelt emotions increase their cognitive and creative abilities. But when the desire for achieving a goal becomes too intense, it no longer feels positive and from the heart, and it becomes a wanting rather than an intention. If you get wrapped up in it, it becomes a form of aggression, which is founded in a fear of not achieving the goal. Fear creates negativity in an environment and severely limits cognitive and creative abilities, and the wanting of a goal actually pushes it out of reach.
You can feel the difference between intention and wanting in your own body, although we each feel it differently. For me, a positive intention for something gives me a warm feeling in my upper body, whereas an intense wanting of something gives me a burning in the pit of my stomach. So when you’re inciting emotion and intentions for your company’s success with employees, make sure your passion is coming from your heart. When you’re coming from your heart, employees will feel it in theirs, and it will have the intended effect.
As we learn more from neuroscience about the incredible power of group emotions, we see reasons to adopt techniques beyond the ordinary. For more on shaping team emotions to increase creativity and performance, including research references, get notified of the upcoming book Primal Teams: Harnessing the Incredible Power of Group Energy or sign up for a monthly summary of articles.Share