MIT Sloan Management Review Article on How Leaders Can Optimize Teams' Emotional Landscapes

  • 8m
  • Christina Bradley, Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, Lindred Greer
  • MIT Sloan Management Review
  • 2021

Emotions are running high. The disruptive events characterizing 2020 — a global pandemic, climate-related disasters, economic uncertainty, and social discontent — are leading employees to bring a higher level of emotionality to work than ever before. This is clashing with the culturally ingrained norm that an appropriate “professional” demeanor minimizes emotional expression.

At the same time, work on emotional suppression suggests that there are long-term costs to keeping emotions buried and that, if stifled, they will erupt in counterproductive ways. For that reason, leaders can no longer avoid taking an active role in architecting emotional landscapes — the collective composition of employee sentiments. Because emotional landscapes directly influence how employees make sense of situations, tasks, and what actions to take, they can help or hinder the pursuit of organizational strategic objectives. By supporting emotional expression within their teams, leaders can help their organizations function at their best.

About the Author

Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks is the William Russell Kelly Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

Christina Bradley is a doctoral student in the Management & Organizations department at the Ross School of Business.

Lindred Greer (@lindredg) is an associate professor of management and organizations at the Ross School of Business.

Learn more about MIT SMR.

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  • MIT Sloan Management Review Article on How Leaders Can Optimize Teams’ Emotional Landscapes