In the bestseller, The Forty-Eight Laws of Power, Robert Greene asserts, “An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power, a mistake that will cost you a lot more than any temporary satisfaction you might gain by expressing your feelings. Emotions cloud reason, and if you cannot see the situation clearly, you cannot prepare and respond to it with any degree of control.”
All of us know at least one drama queen or drama king. They love to yell and make a scene when they’re offended. While all of that screaming might make them feel better in the short term, in the long term it does nothing for their careers or their relationships. Seriously, how often can you give someone a piece of your mind before you run out of brain?
Screaming says more about you than the person you are attacking.
However, showing no emotion is not the same as feeling no emotion. Don’t close your heart unless it’s temporarily under reconstruction. Selfishness, cynicism, and sarcasm are also negative displays of emotion. Additionally, they are symptoms of a more serious disorder anthropologist Ashley Montague termed “psychosclerosis” or hardening of the attitude. Physicians prescribe medication for arteriosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries. Left untreated, arteriosclerosis may lead to physical death. It’s equally important for you to rid yourself of psychosclerosis because it inhibits your ability to think strategically, which may result in your professional death. You must use your emotional intelligence; that gut feeling that tells you when to appear maternal and when to appear majestic. The important thing is to act with more purpose than passion.
Former Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, is a perfect example of grace under pressure. She was accused of everything from not being black enough (whatever that means) to having an affair with former President George Bush. These are harsh allegations against a very accomplished, intelligent woman. It is conceivable that these rumors hurt her feelings. Our natural reaction when we’re hurt is to lash out at our critics. As the saying goes, “hurt people, hurt people.” Yet, Secretary Rice never publicly lost her temper refuting these claims. In fact, she barely addressed them. She kept her focus on her goal of doing the best job she could as a member of the President’s cabinet. When the rumors die their natural death, you will be remembered for what you accomplished, not what others said about you.
The workplace relationship is like any other relationship you may have, whether as a parent, girlfriend, or wife. You must constantly assess the situation you’re facing and decide the appropriate action for that moment. It may be a pat on the back. It may be a kick in the butt. It must always be in the best interest of everyone you value, including … no, especially, YOU.