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What We’re Reading: The Positive Side of Negative Emotions

Organisations need to make space for people to respond honestly and be better prepared for future challenges.
An image of a distant figure standing on water that reflects a sky lit by sunrise.

By Chally Kacelnik

The article: The Positive Side of Negative Emotions by Theodore Kinni at Insights by Stanford Business

What I think:

It’s tempting to slough off the discomfort of sitting with negative feelings and experiences – but sometimes you do have to sit with them in order to understand and apply the lessons. Theodore Kinni talks about the push among many companies to get their employees to use cognitive reappraisal techniques, a ‘widely used self-help strategy of reframing distressing situations to move past the negative emotions they engender’. This absolutely has its place when correctly applied and can help to minimise distress. However, when the emphasis is on avoiding negativity itself, there are some serious trade offs, with a recent study showing that there’s a heightened risk of counterproductive and unethical workplace behaviours while shying away from guilt. Part of emotional maturity and self-management, at work and elsewhere, is being able to effectively contend with things that make you feel bad. Organisations need to make space for people to respond honestly and be better prepared for future challenges.

At LKS Quaero, we support people to apply genuine reflection for better work. For more information, visit us at lksquaero.com or follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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