Resist Emotional Reasoning
Consider this common scenario: A team member receiving feedback from a leader becomes combative and quarrelsome. Unprepared for this reaction, the leader becomes extremely uncomfortable and doesn’t know what to say or do in response. They clam up and wait for a quick exit from the conversation.
The leader feels unnerved by the situation and finds it terrifying. From that point on, anytime they sense a team member might respond combatively, they avoid the conversation. They convince themselves they just can’t handle it when anyone might respond to them in an antagonistic or aggressive way.
Leaders who reason emotionally begin the thought process with an emotion and then make a sweeping inference. They falsely presume that whatever emotion they experience in a given situation projects itself into the future for any similar situation.
For instance, a leader who becomes terrified speaking to a large group emotionally reasons that all large groups are terrifying. As a result, they avoid anything involving a large gathering of people. Such self-fulfilling thought processes prevent people from mastering the skills and strategies to overcome everyday challenges and setbacks.
Here’s another example: A leader who feels overwhelmed by their workload reasons they are incapable of handling their job. Rather than viewing the feeling of being inundated by work as a temporary challenge that should be resolved, a leader who reasons emotionally draws a sweeping conclusion about what it means about their ability to do the work in general.
The consequences of such reasoning can be dramatic. When people reason emotionally, they project those feelings into the future, often leading to avoidance, procrastination, or distaste.
When leaders catch themselves applying emotional reasoning to a problem or situation, or when they realize they avoid any situation entirely, they must break the force of this faulty logic. This begins by crafting a plan to address the challenge or issue without a focus on past emotion. Creating strategies to address the challenge pushes the residue of emotions to the sideline and presumes the situation can be handled effectively now and into the future.
All leaders are susceptible to emotional reasoning on occasion. But by recognizing that emotional reasoning can create a fog of delusion, leaders can prevent falling prey to this pernicious inference-making. Emotional reasoning leads to exaggerated conclusions about who leaders are and why they should avoid particular situations. Such reasoning never serves leaders well.
Is this the root of most of procrastination?
Not poor time management...
Not because of laziness...
That ego is always going to work to protect you from experiencing what you’ve perceived as stress or trauma.
You’ve got to actively work to keep those base emotions from being the loudest voice defining your reality. Sometimes you need to thank your ego for showing up but tell it - “I’ve got this.”