This Magic Monday, we take a look at the emotional curve people experience during times of change and the different ways we can respond to and help others.
As we reach the end of August, many of us are preparing for the onset of autumn amid circumstances none of us could have predicted. This situation carries with it a heavy emotional weight as no one has all the answers.
It’s a good time to share some sage advice from Gary Burnison, CEO of the global consulting firm, Korn Ferry. I adapted the following from an email released by Mr. Burnison on emotions and how we can respond to them during these times:
You may have heard that people’s reactions will follow an “Emotional Curve” or “Change Curve” during a crisis:
- On the downward slope: Disbelief, anger, and withdrawal
- On the upward slope: Acceptance, optimism, and meaning
Being able to recognize and interpret emotions is vital, as people don’t always say what they feel – and no one will be in the same place on the curve. Below are some examples of how you can recognize and respond to these emotions:
- Behavior: Avoidance and shock? That’s denial/disbelief
- Response: Communication, communication, communication
- Behavior: Going through the motions, ‘business-as-usual’? They’re overwhelmed
- Response: Empathy. Suddenly, a simple “How are you?” becomes elevated to “How are you today?” sparking genuine conversation and connection
- Behavior: Asking about the future and what’s next? They’re on their way up the curve.
- Response: Provide guidance and direction
During this time, it is also essential to check in with yourself. None of us are immune to the emotional curve, and being conscious of your thoughts and emotions will be the first step to being open, curious, and invested in others, creating a safe space for them to share.
Finally, remember always take seriously the emotions others are feeling – even if we may not understand them ourselves.
Reach out to someone today, even if it’s just for a quick check-in about how their week’s been. Remember to listen and respond accordingly. It may be just what they need.