What should your priority be in a Divorce?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Anger Gamble

Email is a dangerous tool. It is easy to create, is lightning fast, and once it's sent, it can't be unsent. How many times have we, in anger, sent an email and then regretted it. Why do we do that? Well, apparently there is a scientific basis for this.

At our recent IACP Conference, Dr. Jennifer Lerner has explained that anger has some interesting effects upon our decision making ability. According to Dr. Lerner:

Anger has been shown to bias perceptions of risk, which can fundamentally shape leaders’ most critical decisions. In one early experiment, we found that individuals who felt angry tended to engage in riskier behaviors than did individuals in a neutral emotional state.
In other words, when we are angry, we tend to minimize the risks of our behavior more than when we are not angry. How does this relate to Collaborative work? Well, consider ignoring the risks of our own behavior on:

  • financial outcomes ("I'd rather give it all to my lawyer than to give her one dime...";
  • parenting outcomes ("Look what your father has done to US");
  • personal outcomes (see the results of "stalking" and "harassing" behaviors);

Intuitively, I think we all know that anger has a negative impact on the quality of our decisions - however, the more that we learn about the physiological underpinnings of our emotions, the more we can see in a more predictable way just what those effects are.


The answer? Well, as we've learned, it's not to ignore the anger, it's not to just tell ourselves or our clients to "get over it" - it's to learn to recognize it when it occurs, and to examine it, and understand it. And when we understand it, we can learn to help diffuse it. So - for Collaborative professionals, recognize and discuss with clients the impact of anger on their welfare- that studies do show that they are inclined to make decisions that are not "risk adverse".

Anger is real. We cannot ignore the reality of it - however, we can learn to recognize it in ourselves or our clients, and we can educate them that perhaps, in the midst of anger, we are not at our best.

Collaborative Practice gives us the opportunity to help reduce the impact of emotion on our decisions.

No comments:

Post a Comment