Emotions in the decision-making process

Stress, sadness, anger, shame, happiness; who doesn’t feel? Feelings are present in everyone’s lives. People react, express, and sometimes suppress emotions. There is a belief within the management field, that a manager should make decisions without any emotion: cold and only based on hard facts and analysis. If something goes wrong, people tend to look for blame in the influence of emotion. Business should be free from emotion, but where is the line between our emotions and the decision-making process?

The truth is that emotions are with people all the time. Every minute, each person is in a particular emotional state, even managers. Of course with negative emotions, the area of attention is smaller than with positive ones, but nobody can shut their feelings off completely. A large part of mankind is unable to feel one or two sorts of emotions. A tremendous number of factors can influence a lack or decrease in feeling emotions. The biggest contributor is after a traumatic experience. According to Demasio’s research (2002), regions within a damaged brain, are responsible for decision-making disfunction. This is happening because feelings help us to thoroughly evaluate the situation and intention of others. Emotion has kept humankind alive for centuries.

Emotions vary depending on which sex. Women feel differently than men. They are aware, show and use many more emotions and empathy. According to research, decisions women make are similar in quality to those of men. Women have historically been viewed as more intuitive than men, and better in reading into other’s emotions. Intuition is a huge part of the decision-making process. But what it is exactly?

Intuition is built based on experience and the emotions and understanding that accompanied the event. It is activated mostly when people stop thinking about a solution, during sleep or meditation. Everybody has intuition, but this inner voice will reduce if put aside and left unused. Emotions help people remember. Exercises such as meditation or walks help people call on their strength during harder times and help the mind to suggest possible solutions.

The best way to master control over emotions is to develop emotional intelligence (EQ). This is an ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions, both his/her own and others. People with high EQ are great leaders. They can easily manage people, read body language or deal with conflicts. The research of EQ term creators shows that emotional intelligence is more important than existing levels of IQ.

People who master the decision-making process are guided by both heart and mind. They know when to let intuition decide and are aware of which emotional state they are in. Emotional intelligence and balance are important for every aspect of life. It can help become not only a better manager but also a better person.

Author: Magda Glińska