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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Try to avoid making key decisions under adverse emotional conditions

It is hard to make tough decisions when depressed
People often have problems that go well beyond the work place.  Home life for one is a place where issues arise that can leave one with a heavy heart and feelings of despair.  Look at all the people in New York affected by Sandy for example.  Many are without power and normal resources that were available prior to the storm.  Even those that are back to normal may have damaged properties that require filing of claims to recover for damages.  Such stresses are difficult enough.  Mix those issues with a major decision at work and maybe the work decisions are less than optimal.

A fight with a loved one creates emotions that may leave one depressed or angry.  The feelings may cause you to speak to someone at work in a manner that you would not under normal circumstances.  Suppose the argument was about money at home and a staff comes to you for a raise.  The home situation may lead to improper management of the work issue.  Perhaps you say something to a staff member you will regret later.

It is hard to set aside your feelings from your outside life when you go to work.  Those feelings carried to negotiations or business discussions may alter your views of what you will or will not accept.  When reviewing compensation of employees, you may feel overly generous and approve higher bonuses or pay increases. Feeling sad and depressed you may give your employees lower compensations.  Negative feelings may cause you to take a not seek proper solutions to problems.  Possibly, you may react in a negative manner to a co-worker and generate conflict in the work place.

Emotional issues and the effects on decisions are not one-sided.  If you have a bad day at work, those feeling may lead to issues at home.  Saying harsh things to a loved one when you had a bad day brings the tensions home and possibly may even generate problems for a few days. 

One of the hardest things to do is compartmentalize your feelings and keep issues isolated.  It would work better if it was easy, but it is not.  The best you can do is to try to separate the feelings from key decisions and spend a little more time thinking about them.  You may elect to wait until later to review what you have decided later and make sure you are really going in the direction you want to move.  Perhaps, you could have a third party review the decisions and discuss them with you.  Reconsideration of the decisions and adjustments often help to make for improved outcomes in these cases.

The one thing you want to guard against is making a bad decision because of external influences creating emotions counterproductive to the process.    You will have those days and you should consider steps to smooth out the decision process and ensure you do not do something you will regret.