Negative feeling, positive thinking?

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

John Tropea turned up this brief report of this research by Annefloor Klep. The gist is summaried in US News thus:

Work teams who openly express their negative feelings share more information have greater solidarity and are better at solving complicated analytical problems a new study has found.

If you dip into the author’s summary you get a richer picture. It fits with what I blogged the other day about increasing emotional bandwidth: socialising feelings, as well as actions and meanings, actually makes for more creativity and better analysis.

“Negative” is a piece of shortand used to distinguish feelings like sadness or anger but this gives them a bum rap. All these feelings are legitimate and have clearly played vital roles in our evolution. By labelling them “negative” we risk deterring the sharing that the research suggests is useful.

I’ll also add that we kid ourselves if we think we can avoid sharing our feelings. They leak out like crazy, as anyone will recognise when dealing with difficult situations. You may hear people claiming “not to do touchy feely” but of course they’re generating a big felt impact on others whether they acknowledge it or not.

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