Chief Learning Officer magazine is a trademark of Mediatec Publishing Inc. All clomedia.com and Chief Learning Officer magazine content Copyright 2013 MediaTec Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. It is illegal to copy, reproduce or publish any information contained on clomedia.com or in Chief Learning Officer magazine without express written permission from MediaTec Publishing Inc.
The Happy Bottom Line
Tap into employees’ emotions to boost productivity.
John Lennon once said: “When I was a 5-year-old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down happy. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Humans make most decisions subconsciously in the emotional brain. That’s the massive parallel processor that has evolved over millions of years and fills most of our skulls. The prefrontal cortex, the more recently developed logic processor, puts things into words and puts a positive spin on our gut feelings.
Psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in economics for inventing behavioral economics. Kahneman pointed out that the so-called rational economic man had no clothes. Classical economics was based on a mythical creature who was all logic and no feelings. We deceive ourselves into thinking we’re rational. Such people do not exist.
Business tradition asks workers to leave their emotions at home. Yet managers wring their hands that half of the American workforce is not engaged. That tradition is absurd, a denial of our humanity. Is this not an emotional issue? Why should workers leave their feelings behind when they arrive at the office? Don’t we want them to be passionate about their work?
Sigmund Freud started a tradition that haunts the field of psychology to this day. He focused on making deranged people well. The Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, the shrinks’ basic text, has thousands of lines on anxiety and depression and not a single line about compassion, forgiveness or love.
Immanent psychiatrist George Vaillant said: “As a psychoanalyst, I’m paid to help you focus on your resentments and help you find fault with your parents. And secondly, to get you to focus on your ‘poor-me’s’ and to use up Kleenex as fast as possible.”
In 1998, the University of Pennsylvania’s Martin Seligman started turning the situation around. As president of the American Psychological Association, he urged psychologists to turn toward understanding and building human strengths to complement an emphasis on healing damage. In other words, instead of making sick people OK, let’s help OK people feel great.
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Get the Magazine