“There’s no crying in baseball!” Thanks to the 1992 movie A League of Their Own, where Tom Hanks plays a coach for an all-women’s baseball team, this quote has become famous and even came in at number 54 on the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 movie quotes. Like many others, I found the quote inspiring and blurted it out one day at work—with a twist on my industry.
“There’s no crying in frames.” Get it? With this quote, I meant to tell people to focus on the job and do what needed to be done, without any crying or complaining. I thought it sent the message that in the manufacturing plant where we made frames, we should avoid getting too emotional.
My quote got a few laughs and I kept it up for a while. However, I eventually realized that this “no crying in frames” mindset was creating less productive outcomes than I intended.
Does Your Team Need Help?
All emotions, both pleasant and unpleasant, are important. They are important information, and when you have better information, you make better decisions that result in more productive outcomes.
In a crisis environment, it’s critical to pay attention to how we feel and to learn how to act more intentionally with our emotions. Notice and intentionally act, rather than allow your emotions to take control.
The next time there is complaining or things start to get uncomfortable, check in on yourself. Is your body getting tense? Are you wanting to change the subject or looking for a way to get out of the situation? Or do you want to shut the whole situation down?
If you don’t always like the way you react, good news: this is a skill you can develop!
On the flip side, are you the one that can lean into it? Can you call it out and label it? Can you say something like “Hey Trevor, I feel like this is really bothering you, what is going on here?”
If that is you, there is a good chance you have a higher level of emotional intelligence!
What YOU Can Do About It
- Increase Your Awareness
You got this far in the article, so there is a good chance that you’ll see yourself or witness the moment when you begin to shut down the emotions you need to unpack.
- Bring it to the Surface
If you struggle with unpacking your emotions, take a chance and ask someone for help. We are surrounded by people who, for better or for worse, have different skills than we do. If you are comfortable and more skilled, call it out. By simply labeling an uncomfortable emotion, you cause it to lose its power and decrease its hold on you.
- Follow Up!
Take that extra moment and ask later how things are going. You don’t have to fix anything, but being curious and understanding often leads to better outcomes.
Take a Risk
Emotional intelligence is a set of skills that help us act intelligently with our emotions by enhancing our decisions, behavior, and performance.
If you are comfortable, you are probably not learning! When we are intentional, we can get out of the comfort zone and develop new skills. Try it with people you have greater trust in. Ask for feedback on how you handled that meeting when it got heated, or that casual conversational that got emotional.
There may not be crying, but leaving your emotions at the door is not an option. They are part of our thoughts. Try it out—you just might become a better leader and person through the process.
Written by Trevor Blondeel, copyright June 2021.
Meet Trevor and learn how he can help you with your emotional intelligence.