We humans are very proud of our ability to think rationally. This cognitive power not only lets us understand and use facts, it also helps us build elaborate creations and fantasies.
We use our rational brains to conduct business. Cognition helps us sort stuff out, compare options, and rank priorities. Our rational, conscious brain is so “upfront” in our day-to-day work lives that we begin to believe it is our only way of thinking and acting at work.
Yet, as neuroscience is finding, it is now clear that this cognitive ability is not a stand-alone factor in how we perceive, sense, or act upon input. Indeed, we now see that emotions influence, if not drive, our thinking at every turn.
Emotions in play at work
We don’t readily admit it, but emotions – floating well below our consciousness – are in play all through the workplace. These emotions come to surface as feelings when people interact with one another, with people from the outside world, and with company news, policies, processes, and,