There are plenty of signs of the emotionally unintelligent workplace, and plenty of emotionally unintelligent workplaces too. But you don't expect to see traces of such behavior from the likes of Google and Amazon--two of the most admired companies on the planet.

But that's exactly what we're seeing (behaviorally) behind recent decisions made in an emotionally charged escalating feud between the two tech giants.

This week, Google announced that it would pull YouTube from Amazon's Fire TV and Echo Show products. It's not like they're customizing the YouTube logo for Amazon's products or something trivial like that. They are pulling YouTube--you know, online video--from your Kindle. Poof. So sorry. Gone.

Google cited Amazon's pettiness in refusing to carry key Google products like Chromecast, Google Home, and Nest and not making Prime Video available for Google Cast viewers.

Amazon fired back this week, saying in a statement to The Verge, "Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website."

I don't know who is wrong or right here, who is the winner or loser in this feud. But I do know who loses as a result of it all.

The consumer.

Assuming the two sides don't work this out soon, that Kindle you know you're getting under the tree this year will be missing a major application and reason to have the device in the first place. That's kinda a big deal; big enough that I have to believe that emotions are coming into play on both sides.

Emotional intelligence expert (and fellow Inc.com columnist) Justin Bariso writes that we need to make our emotions work for us, not against us--and I believe we're in a situation of the latter.

This whole thing got me thinking. Who loses when you blow your cool at work, and how can you learn to keep a lid on it?

We've all experienced hot-tempered managers who lose their minds at work. Such outbursts might net a short-term desired result--but such benefit rarely outweighs the consequence. If you blow your stack, here's who loses (besides the obvious "Your Company"):

1. You.

Going ballistic is simply uncalled for and casts doubts about your empathy, integrity, reliability, and stability. It moves people farther away from you and they'll keep thoughts and opinions even farther away. 

2. Your employees.

"I can't wait to get screamed at again--it boosts my confidence!" said no one. Ever. 

One out of a thousand times, the outburst may actually have been the only effective way to get the message through to that thick employee. In the other 999 times, you're achieving the opposite of what you really want--passionate commitment to your directive versus fearful compliance.

3. Your function.

If you're in sales and you go off on a product supply person, you've just done fellow salespeople a disservice. Product supply people may well develop biases against sales in the future.   

4. Your culture.

Outbursts often occur because the culture allows it. If you're a top manager and you're losing your s&#! periodically, that becomes the culture. No culture of worth makes it okay for employees to let their emotions drive disrespectful behavior.

I do realize we're not robots (and we've got enough to be mad at them about with the pending jobs to be lost to automation).  We have feelings and should express them at work. To avoid emotions spilling into unproductive anger, we turn to psychology for help. 

Stanford science director Emma Seppala can help you keep your cool with a one-word solution--forgiveness. Says Seppala:

"For one, forgiveness seems to counteract the effects of anger on a physical level by lowering your blood pressure and on a psychological level by increasing your positive emotions. Research shows that people who are more forgiving have fewer negative emotions overall and therefore tend to do better in relationships. Another way it improves your social life is that forgiveness tends to make people kinder and more giving."

So mindfully practice generous forgiveness. And I'd add one thing to Seppala's fix, think of the impact of your outbursts on the audience. For Google and Amazon's audience, their customers, this could get worse before it gets better with more restrictions of choice.

I'm certainly not suggesting that Google and Amazon "forgive" each other. Business is war. But the consumer, or the co-worker, should never be the casualty.

Published on: Dec 7, 2017
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