Emotions – The Root of Underperformance
Why do we apologise for our emotions? Ignore them? And under utilise them?
Customer and employee emotions are the heart of all service and sales organisations.
- Customers buy on emotions
- Customers stay loyal or bad mouth you based on their emotions
- Customers defect to your competitors on emotions
- Customers complain because of emotions While…
- More staff leave because how they feel about their manager (Than any other reason)
- Staff disengage because how they are left feeling
- Leaders and managers grow weary because they feel like surrogate mother or father!
Customer service pioneers suggest that at least 50% of a customer experience is based on the emotions we leave customers feeling.
Which makes sense when you ask yourself, ‘how often am I experiencing a feeling, sensation or emotion’? And the only answer is, ‘always’!
The challenge we face is that instead of learning how to utilise emotions for good we tend to ignore them, block or run away from them; especially the difficult ones.
Common mistakes with Customer and Staff Emotions
Our first mistake is to organise them into categories of good and bad. As soon as we do this we’re already rejecting what is a normal part of being human.
For instance, evolutionary brain design shows our brains have been designed over millions of years to produce anxiety as a natural response of the fight, flight, freeze or flop protection system.
On a daily basis we are triggered into anxiety, sometimes legitimately and sometimes when an anxiety based response doesn’t serve us.
- When the boss calls us into the office
- When we are presented with a new target
- When change is thrust upon us
- When the last change already left us in burnout and that’s been ignored
- When customers are upset and complain
In previous articles, I’ve written how organisations and leaders unconsciously trigger unhealthy anxiety. One method is through the use of misleading language that ignores and often dismisses staffs natural anxiety. Such as when a team is cut in half, manpower wise, doubling the workload and the surviving team members are told ‘this is an opportunity’.
In their reality, this is a threat and with threats come high anxiety. Which leaders often completely ignore or are ill equipped to support and diffuse. Many of them just use the tools of logic that often fail miserably.
Scared of Emotion?
Typically, we allow ourselves to remain scared of emotions rather than learning how to acknowledge, accept, utilise and transform them.
There are many reasons why transforming emotions doesn’t happen and it’s some of biggest personal development a human being will ever undertake.
The irony is that it’s probably the most rewarding too but our anxiety about emotions prevents us undertaking the journey.
The same mistakes with emotions are the same I witnessed 20 years ago; it’s just a new era of leaders’ making them a fresh. Currently too many corporate cultures either see emotions as weak or something to ignore and package away behind a creaking wall of logic.
But then humans have, for a long time, failed to embrace emotions and instead temporarily treated them through distraction; by going to the pub, retail therapy or simply by diminishing their existence and importance.
Imagine going to a football match, a theatre performance or on a roller coaster and not experience any sensations, feelings or emotions?
Through emotions we know that we are alive; they also act as powerful feedback systems as to what can harm and nurture our growth as human beings.
However, in organisations you don’t see much depth of understanding. Instead influential leaders offer naïve mantras as a way of pushing staff through change along the lines of “Suck it up”!
Hidden behind ‘new’ leadership language such as, “We need more for less” and we need this to, “make savings”.
The double edged sword that are emotions have us feeling vulnerable when they come knocking and therefore we underestimate how our most challenging feelings can be rewarding experiences.
But that takes a bigger corporate responsibility than we tend to see right now. Across the numerous industry sectors we witness.
Few senior leadership teams have a vision or strategy specifically designed to work with emotions and our brains in built reactions to anxiety, threat and fear. And as a consequence, they unconsciously sustain low staff engagement, de-motivation and performance. While many of the same customer service issues they say they want to improve, continue or repeat.
If you would like a no obligation chat about your challenging world of customer contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org