How bringing emotion understanding to the forefront of the minds of people and businesses can have a positive impact.



Feelings and emotions – a topic that is not often openly spoken about without inhibitions going up. It would appear to be the perfect time of year to talk about this with Valentine’s Day around the corner. What does this day mean for you? For some it stirs up feelings of sadness – if you have recently ended a relationship. For others in the blissful camp it evokes feelings of joy and happiness.

The study of emotion has been around for years. In fact it goes back to the 1800’s. William James, an American philosopher and psychologist wrote many articles one of which “The study of Emotion” raised a few eyebrows. It challenged the principles of how emotions were viewed. James questioned the “ordinary view” that physiological bodily responses occur after an emotion is caused. This American philosopher said that a physiological reaction happens first; so we smile and consequently feel happy.

We’ve recognised a shift in the awareness around this subject. For what is often perceived as a “flowery” or “soft” topic – we are very excited at this change. It would seem that hiding our emotions is slowly becoming a trend of the past.

The plethora of the digital age coincides with this new perceived “emotion awareness”. Technology measuring mood and emotion has been bought to our attention. A sporting event like Wimbledon provokes an array of emotions. Jaguar conducted a biometric campaign at Wimbledon last year measuring information from atmospheric sensors tracking a live picture of moods and emotions.

CISCO finance conducted an Emotional culture survey. The results showed a certain department was lacking in the joy element and impacting on employees satisfaction. On recognising this, management took the initiative to promote some fun activity at work changing the feel of the department and ultimately impacting on their bottom line.

Adding to our digital experience, the explosion of the Emoji world. Simple emoticons have been around for a while however with the increased use of smartphones, they have really come to the forefront.  They see us assigning pictures to how we are feeling everywhere from text messages to twitter hashtags and Instagram. Emoji’s originate from a Japanese research facility and different images mean different things to users. The emoji list is long and includes images of feeling “happy” to “frustrated” and even … “meh”??

Interestingly the vast amount of different meanings parallel with the potential minefield of the understanding and expressing of our own emotions. It would appear that we have so many of them! Emotions work at a sub conscious level yet affect our outward behaviour. So if we are not able to assign and recognise our emotions how are we ever going to regulate outward behaviour? Psychologists whittle the large list down to a few core emotions. Recognising and working with these select few can be powerful in various ways.

Bringing emotion understanding to the forefront of the minds of people and businesses can have a positive impact.

Why understand Emotion?

 A few of the many behaviours that can be influenced – this list is not definitive

  • Motivation: Recognising the emotion of an outcome can help us take action and prepare.
  • Adaptations: Emotional awareness can help us to adapt to our environment.
  • Decision Making: Every decision we make is based on emotion. Informed decisions are based on being clear on how you are feeling.
  • Influencing and Negotiating: If our decisions are based on emotions then emotionally aware people could tap into emotions to influence outcomes.
  • Creativity: Tapping into our positive emotions will mean feeling at ease and allow us to explore new ideas
  • Relationship building: Learn how to effectively interact with everyone – even those who trigger your negative emotions
  • Managing well:  Being effective in your role requires tuning in to one’s own emotions and having the ability to relate to how others are feeling too.
  • Effectiveness: Bringing your awareness to the present moment can have a profound effect on your focus and mind-set

So where to from here? If anything we hope that this has at least got you thinking about Emotion or perhaps googling the meaning of Meh?

If exploring Emotion in a work context is something you’d like to consider here are some options for you and your team:

  1. Dealing with Feeling: An introduction to how to identify your emotions and how they affect you and your team positively
  2. Emotional Health Check Audit: Effectively gauge and monitor the feeling of your workforce. Our assessment shows you quantitative and visual overview prioritizing employee engagement.
  3. Calm Communication: If anger is an undercurrent emotion in your work environment conflict does not have to be the end result. How to communicate assertively.
  4. Mindfulness De-Mystified: Recognise the choices of how we can skilfully respond rather than react to emotions and situations. Mindfulness trains our attention and enhances focus.

We’d love to chat!

Written by Leigh McKay