Emotional relationships (positive and negative) have a powerful influence on every aspect of our lives and are a key influence our behaviour and decisions. Behaviours driven by emotions can be dysfunctional, especially if based on feelings founded on false assumptions about another person. In a business setting, for example, an individual might assume that a colleague is jealous of his success and wishes to block advancement, in which case the individual might be uncooperative and even destructive about the colleagues’ work. In fact, the individual might well have been more successful had he assumed that the colleague had the emotional intelligence to help facilitate success for both parties involved. Either way, the emotion remains unspoken, the assumption remains untested and the outcome remains suboptimal.

By Professor William Scott-Jackson, Robert Mogielnicki, Lorraine Charles, and Rasheeda Haddish. This article is based on Oxford Strategic Consulting’s latest research initiative on ‘Leadership and Governance in GCC Family Firms.