Why Negative Feelings May Be Good For An IT Manager

It turns out that negative feelings are not all negative
It turns out that negative feelings are not all negative
Image Credit: Nicki Dugan Pogue

I think that I’m safe in saying that at some point during the past week, despite all of your IT manager skills you probably would have described yourself as being “down”. Just exactly what we mean by this probably differs from person to person, but one thing that we can all agree that at some point in time we were feeling negative feelings that made us feel uncomfortable or unhappy. Is it possible that these are good feelings to have?

The Power Of Negative Feelings

Scientists who study such things have come to a brand new conclusion: it turns out that negative feelings just might be good for us to be having. What we need to do is to is something that is never covered in any IT manager training: take the time to pay attention to these feelings. Once we’ve done that, we need to identify what is going wrong in our lives and then we need use our negative feelings to motivate ourselves to take action in order to change things.

We probably need to take a step back at this point and identify some emotions that will do us no good. Not all negative emotions come with a positive side. A collection of feelings such as worthlessness, hopelessness, or even despair are called “empty emotions” by psychologists. More often than not, these emotions are a signal of depression and there is no known way to turn them into an advantage. The experts say that if you experience any of these emotions for more than two weeks, you need to get yourself to some professional help.

This of course leads to the question, what negative feeling can be turned so that they end up helping us out? The answer is anger, guilt, sadness, envy, anxiety, and loneliness are the beneficial negative feelings. What makes these feeling different from the so-called “empty emotions” is that something has really happened to you that has made you feel this way. You need to look at these feeling as sort of a built-in warning system. You need to find ways to protect yourself from bad behavior: either mistakes that you are making or bad things that others are doing to you.

How To Best Use Negative Feelings

So what should an IT manager do when we start to feel some of these “good” negative emotions? We need to understand that our first step needs to be to take the time to identify just exactly what negative emotion we are feeling. Once we’ve been able to do this, we then need to determine what change in our behavior we are going to have to make in order to eliminate these feelings. We need to understand that we may not be able to make these feelings go away completely, but what we need to be working towards is harnessing them in order to create a positive transformation within ourselves.

If we can agree that a negative feeling is your mind’s way of telling you that something needs to change, then this leads to the next question which is if we make the change that we are telling ourselves to make, will we end up feeling better? The answer to this question is that we need to weigh the consequences. Specifically, what we need to do is to sit down and write down a list of pros and cons. You want to write down a list of all the ways that the behavior makes you feel good and all of the ways that the behavior makes you feel bad. Once done, you then have to ask yourself: were the pros worth the cons?

One of the most powerful ways of dealing with negative feelings is called a “redo”. When you have done something that has caused you to have negative feelings, you need to take some time and sit back. Think about the actions that you took that caused you to have the negative feelings. Picture these events in your head. Now try to think of things that you could have done differently if you had not wanted to have negative feelings. Once you’ve identified what you could have done differently, make a promise to yourself to do the different things the next time you find yourself in a similar situation.

What All Of This Means For You

As IT managers we all have good days and not so good days. This provides us with an opportunity to make a decision: we can either let the negative feelings that we have on our not so good days get us down or we can use them to find ways to improve ourselves. It turns out that negative feelings have a message for us.

When we are experiencing negative feelings, we need to take the time to identify just exactly what we are feeling. Then we need to figure out what is going on in our lives that is causing us to experience these feelings. We need to realize that some negative emotions don’t have a positive side – these only cause depression. However, anger, guilt, sadness, envy, anxiety, and loneliness can be turned to help us become better. We need to identify the pros and cons of feeling the way that we do. If the cons outweigh the pros, then we need to make a change in our lives. We can also review what has happened in our lives to cause us to feel this way. Then we can imagine ourselves doing different things that would prevent us from feeling this way. The next time that we are in a similar situation, we can change how we behave.

As IT managers, we’d like to always be feeling happy and working on IT team building. That, of course, does not seem to happen. However, if we take the time to study why we are having negative feelings than we can start to understand what in our lives is causing us to feel this way. Once we understand this, we can then determine what we need to change in order to prevent ourselves from feeling this way and then we’ll be able to eliminate negative feelings from our lives!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If you keep finding yourself having negative feelings, what steps could you take to change things?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I’ve got a question for you: when you are at work, do you use your IT manager skills to be fully engaged all day? Has your IT manager training shown you how to always be thinking of new ways that your team can accomplish more? When you are not working on IT team building , do you spend your alone time coming up with new ways to tackle the really hard problems. Or do you find yourself, at times, being bored? Watching as your attention drifts from work related things to just about anything else because you just can’t seem to stay focused on what’s going on work? Perhaps we should take a look at why you are feeling this way and what you can do to do a better job of keeping your focus on the work at hand.