When Business Gets Emotional

Column by Janine Popick, Inc.com "Female CEOs"
June 25, 2009

I have been in countless business situations and discussions where emotions tend to take over and we end up harboring some sort of resentment towards the other party.

"Remember when Sally told me that I could be doing a better job? Even though she’s my boss, I’ll never forget that." Conversations like this happen all the time and in general, it’s likely a woman talking. I am so jealous that men seem to be able to air their dirty laundry and just move on, in business and outside of business. It drives me nuts!

Ladies, I don’t mean to generalize but we do act this way. We’ll inject our emotions into a heated conversation or we’ll go back and forth in a passive-aggressive e-mail exchange until we get the last word whether the other party is a man or a woman.

I know; I’ve done it and have had it done to me. You know who you are. You may get a nasty e-mail from a colleague, and start feverishly typing what you really feel. You get all worked up and pissed off and then send the e-mail only to regret it the next day. Me? I’ve learned to send them to myself. Too many times I’ve let go the emotional e-mail to the intended recipient only to start a sh*t storm.

And on that note, it’s easy to be less emotional over an electronic medium, isn’t it? Or to hold yourself to different standards than you would face-to-face with a friend or colleague. You may have had fights over instant messaging and fights over e-mail and would probably never SAY the same things you write.

Men will just go up to each other face-to-face, say what’s on their minds, agree or agree to disagree. They then hug it out, call each other bro, and the conversation is over. Next topic? Did you see that Lakers game last night? Kobe rocked it! Let’s go grab a beer after work!

I wish that it was easier for women to just get over it. I used to have a female employee who talked the "Get Over It" talk, but it was her goal to always get the last word in every nasty conversation that she spurred online. She would fight to the bitter end and disagree with almost every decision I made, yet when confronted face-to-face she couldn’t really handle the controversy and we rarely -- if ever -- had a constructive ending that left me feeling positive.

I think we could really take a lesson from our male counterparts. When a heated discussion happens, and it does happen, do it face-to-face or phone-to-phone and get it all out on the table, emotion free. Then get over it and move on.

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