Why do emotions matter to your business decision making?

August 9, 2021

The generalization on emotions

Whatever business we’re in when it comes to being professional, we all know that our emotions can definitely affect our decision-making at times. Sometimes, it’s not even about the decision. It can be just about everything that relates to our work. But, not to worry, we need emotions because evidently, science says that without them, we would become completely ineffective at making the best decisions.

Fun fact, unlike the general assumption that emotions can impact our professionalism severely, recent research also proves that emotional intelligence can be one of the strongest predictors of success at work (Ahangar, 2012). But, there is indeed no denying that emotions can bring a severe impact when it collides with team decision-making. 

When we talk about emotions, we would almost always think of us being angsty or too sad. Still, we rarely talk about how important it is to preserve at least a little of them in our decision-making. Not surprisingly, a little emotion is good, even when that emotion seems inherently unpleasant or unproductive. You can feel a little fear, maybe some sadness, and even irritation towards the work problem you face, but they can actually help spark motivation and broaden your search for alternatives.

But behold. Emotion isn’t only about those ugly grumpy days. It’s also about us being on the other side of the coin. That’s why a little too much emotion is considerably worse, even when your emotions seem pleasant and productive. The thing is, when an entire team of people is feeling curious, excited, or confident, we tend to spend too much time admiring the view through our rose coloured glasses or happily make a hasty decision just to drive right off a cliff.

Now, from what we have learned it is important to be aware and be informed of the people’s emotional state in the room as it can affect the team’s approach to decisions. This is especially true when emotions are running high or when everyone in the group feels a certain same way. Based on Lerner, Valdesolo, and Kassam (2015), let’s get ourselves cultured with the kind of emotions we have and how they can help our decision-making yea!

Hopeful, interested, excited, and inspired people generate distraction, slow them down, and make them overly optimistic.

You may wonder how such positive emotion can make us distracted and slow us down? Well, individually, they do keep us going. But, the problem is not about how these emotions feel, rather how they can impact our decision-making behaviour as a team. Apparently, these emotions can lead everyone to happily exploring different directions without any decision forward in which this state is called ‘fabulousness paralysis.’ It’s like running in a circle without any definite end. On the other hand, if there is a proper stimulating person or event that strikes a match, the group may rush forward, dismissing genuine risks, failing to examine alternative possibilities, and eventually making judgements that fall short of expectations.

Anxious, concerned, worried, puzzled, or doubtful turn people driven and solution oriented.

As we all know, these emotions scream negativity and make us feel bad. But, that actually is the key to their power when it comes to business decision making. Unless we’re in dire straits, these feelings inspire us to make a change, and they’re fantastic at helping us think of new options. They are the source of the proverbial saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” If your team isn’t concerned or unsure about a decision, you aren’t striving hard enough to find a better method.

Confident, contented, and pleased employees provide excellent teamwork but bad results.

These are another set of positive vibes, and yet another mixed bag when it comes to making decisions. Fortunately, these emotions aid in the formation of cohesive teams, which is a valuable asset when things go haywire. These emotions, on the other hand, can also seriously hinder effective decision-making. A confident and pleased team not only considers few options, but they also tend to analyze the options in front of them less thoroughly. Hence, the longer a team stays in this state, the worse it can become.

Irritated and enraged, these are the seeds of dismissal and dissatisfaction. 

There isn't much to say about this. These emotions are unpleasant and ineffective. We ignore one other's viewpoints and reduce our view of the world to match our sentiments when we are angry. This leads to dissatisfaction even when everyone is upset at the same time, because different people are enraged by different things. Unimportant information easily distracts enraged teams, leading to short-sighted solutions. This goes without saying that teams that are enraged make poor judgements.

Final thoughts

When you’re stuck in a decision, try these two approaches, which usually always yield better results: ask for other people’s opinions and write things down. Emotions are no exception. According to research, involving five or more other people in decision-making helps to create a more diversified and balanced emotional atmosphere. The more individuals engaged, the less likely it is that everyone will be looking through the same rose-coloured glasses. Anyways, this is only one of the numerous ways that helps people make better decisions so don’t limit your options now. Don’t give in and explore new ways to make the best decision making!


Ahangar, R. (2012). Emotional Intelligence: The Most Potent Factor of Job Performance Among Executives. Retrieved from doi://10.5772/32337.

Lerner, J. S., Li, Y., Valdesolo, P., & Kassam, K. S. (2015). Emotion and decision making. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, pp. 799–823. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115043