Receivable/Accounts - Information for Credit and Collection Issues

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Emotions of Business

Recently I was reading an article on the emotional rollercoaster of being an entrepreneur, and it’s absolutely true.  When I first started our company, there were exhilarating highs and lows, with victory laps around the office, and frustrating days – mostly because everything depended on that one call, that one client, that one meeting, that one staff member.  I can recall several times coming home, and telling my wife all about the day, and if it was good, she was excited for me, and if it was not so good, we went out and watched a movie with a lot of explosions in it – so she was on the rollercoaster with me.

As our company has grown, the rollercoaster is still there, but the highs and lows are more moderate as the company has become more resilient and more responsibilities have been delegated.  The one call, the one client, the one meeting, the one staff are still terribly important, but odds of burning the building down have been reduced as we grow.

Something I have noticed is that individual staff members are riding the rollercoaster too – the big collection payment, the frustrating client contact, the misunderstanding with a co-worker, the joking in the office.  It’s a good and bad thing – it’s good because they care about their environment, they are taking ownership in the company, and they can (wonder of wonders) enjoy their job, the bad is when they are having a down day, they can bring everyone they are in contact with down, or they can take their one call or one client poorly when in the big picture we’ll be just fine.

I’d rather they care than not care, but levelling out the rollercoaster a little bit is important for everyone.

The Fun Stuff

So today, on our IM channel, everyone’s a bit punchy because it’s Friday afternoon, and they are joking around with each other – is it taking time from work?  Probably, but they have already pretty much hit their monthly goal with a week to go.  They are bonding in strange and mysterious ways, and that will matter weeks or months later when someone is having a rough time and needs support, or we need to forgive someone for having a bad day and being grumpy, or showing co-workers who are new to the culture that letting your hair down a little is okay, and the people we spend the majority of our waking lives with aren’t hard to be around.

Encourage the fun, the spontaneous fun.  You can plan ‘team building exercises’ but you can’t plan on paper for long term employees, loyalty, or having people voluntarily give 110% when it’s needed.  The old school boss in the back of your brain might be screaming ‘get back to work’, but he’s outdated and represents all the crappy bosses you had at previous jobs, so ignore him if the trains are running on time, and the company is ahead of goals.

When we landed one of our first big clients, I did a victory lap – I literally ran around our office, high fiving everyone.  I may have alarmed people.  But by displaying joy at our success, I showed I was human, and I cared.  When one of our staff hit a record personal total for the month in the company, I high fived them and sent out a company wide email.  I showed that we were both human, and we cared about each other.  I’m a fairly serious guy at work 99% of the time but letting my business face relax shows it’s not just about numbers and cheques and bonuses, it’s also about pride and empathy and simple happiness.

The Not Fun Stuff

Everyone can have a bad day – it’s okay.  But just like my wife would talk me down or take me out to an explosion movie when the company was just me, or me and a handful of people, we need to have a support network for everyone.  Of course they can go home and vent  to their spouses, friends, landlords, or cats, but if we can, provide tools to talk them down before the end of the work day.

Let people vent, and validate their frustrations – yes, that client is unreasonable, yes, that co-worker inadvertently undermined you, yes, I gave you bad information.  And then get past it as soon as possible.  If people dwell on venting, it goes from a cathartic release to a toxic environment.  Get it over with.

What ever the problem is, don’t dwell on it, fix it.  If there’s a mistake made, it’s okay, as long as it doesn’t happen over and over again.  Build ways to avoid the problem, talk it out, retrain people, rewrite a company manual, or just have a meeting with the people involved.  Don’t hold grudges for mistakes, and help people let go of preconceptions because it will cause problems down the road.

Say you’re sorry, if you brought someone down.  You might have been entirely justified in being frustrated and snapping at a co-worker, but guess what, they’re going to be sitting beside you tomorrow, and you need to work together.  If a conversation isn’t going well, start over.  Make it about the problem, and not about the person.


We’re all human, and emotion is going to come into our companies, whether we ask for it or not.  But riding a relatively calm rollercoaster can be great fun – no one gets hurt, everyone enjoys the ride, and at the end, if our hair is out of place we straighten it and ask for another ticket to ride the next day.

The big thing is acknowledging the emotional highs and lows in yourself, and your co-workers, and having empathy for those around you.  We’re all on the rollercoaster together.

Got an opinion about handling emotion in the workplace?  Drop me a line or leave a comment …

Thanks kindly,

Blair DeMarco-Wettlaufer
KINGSTON Data & Credit
Brantford, Ontario

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