Pop quiz: When you’re dealing with a tricky negotiation at work, is it better to pay attention to emotions, or to cold hard rationality? A new book by Srinivasa Pillay, a psychiatrist and life coach, suggests a different approach than you might expect. “Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders” makes the case that emotions are a crucial and underappreciated part of decision-making.
Pillay uses the example of mortgage lenders who fearlessly lent millions of dollars in period before the housing crisis. Being truly “fearless” in business – or in a dark alley — is not good, because it means ignoring a valuable natural warning sign.
The book is geared toward executives, but the concept is interesting even for those farther down the totem pole. As Pillay tells BNET, “In business you’re dealing with more than just logical, linear consequences; you’re dealing with people. And people are as driven by emotions as they are by their thoughts.”
In other words, your boss and coworkers aren’t robots. (Unless you’re the only human left working in one of those creepy car assembly lines or you’re actually a professional robot dancer.) They’re human beings who respond to anxiety, empathy, and other intangible factors just like you do. Better to take that into account than to pretend otherwise.
Photo: Brand X Pictures