The world today is transparent, with professionals typically sharing more than we did in the past. Open office environments are the norm and information flows every which way within an organization. As amazing as this is for collaboration, connection, and generating teams that feel valued, it comes at a cost.
As a leader, it is up to you to determine what is best for the collective versus yourself.
When it comes to sharing within a business, it can easy to be reactive and assume transparency is key. Within a tough moment, a hard financial hit, or a product mistake, it is easy to make decisions based on what feeling surfaces in that very moment.
Personal morality tells me to share, react, and release this emotion. But it isn't always best for collective mortality. Often, you must stop and ask yourself, "Is this reaction what is best for the company?"
While there is great value in making business decisions rooted in your instincts, even more value can be found if you are willing to learn how to sit within the emotion that surfaces and discern whether it is something worth acting upon. This is where true leadership is born.
To determine whether you are acting from a place of personal morality or for the moral of the collective, create structure and space within the chaos. Here's how.
1. Write out the emotional story.
Emotions guide business decisions. If you are not able to recognize and control your emotions, they will run the show. Inspiration and joy can be amazing emotions to base actions upon, yet operating from a place of guilt, jealousy, or anger often does not help anyone.
Take time to sit down and live within the emotion that has risen within you. Write down anything that comes up around the decision or event and be as emotional and crazy as possible. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel.
From here, stop the impulse and become curious about the emotion. What triggered this feeling? Why does this emotion continue to surface? Look at these questions and be intrigued to learn from the experience instead of repeating it.
2. Identify what is true.
Become very clear on what the facts are. You may find the truth looks polar opposite to what your emotions are saying. You may quickly realize the thoughts you were basing your emotional reaction or impulse on are not actually facts, but ideas made up in your mind.
I once had to let someone go who simply wasn't showing up at the same level as everyone else. During this experience, I felt a massive amount of guilt. The idea that my team would no longer trust me or feel secure in their own jobs continued to pop up in my mind. Once I went to write this thought down as a "fact" I realized, it wasn't a truth. It was merely an idea. My team supported the decision and actually felt more comfortable after realizing how strongly our culture valued a committed work ethic.
3. Make a decision.
Take all of this insight and spend time making a clear-minded decision. Ask yourself, "What is the end outcome I want?" This answer can encompass a handful of viewpoints, be it business-related or emotional.
From here, decide creatively how to act and move forward. Once you have allowed yourself to sit within the trigger, the emotions, and the truth, it becomes obvious what action is best for the collective. You no longer will be making decisions rooted in your personal needs or the reactions of your emotions.