In this video, I'd like to share with you a series of studies and research that help us provide a much different perspective on emotional complexity. Then we often hear around others. When we hear people are ambivalent, we often think of indifference, or indecision. I want to share with you work that helps reveal how emotional complexity and wisdom are more tightly linked than not. The core question here, of course, is can emotions help us become wiser? We're going to add not just emotions, but emotional complexity. Emotional complexity, you can think of that in terms of feeling two different emotions or even more at the same time. Torn and conflicted, optimistic, and yet fearful of risks. This complexity is a very common experience. In fact, more often than not, we have a constellation of emotional experiences that cannot easily be distilled to simply one particular emotion. One of the early studies that linked ambivalence and wisdom, or emotional complexity and wisdom, is a paper in which they presented people with a number of tasks. The task where, try to forecast the future, try to make a decision, say should an employee get promoted or not. What they did in this study, my colleagues and I really, was to try to ask the question, what would happen if people were just in a positive mood, or in a negative mood? There is, of course, work linking negative moods in effect to greater accuracy and decision-making because you're sensing something may not be right in the situation. When we pick those things against ambivalence, feeling that torn and conflicted, it turns out people who are feeling emotional complexity make more accurate forecasts, and are better at making decisions. Now, the reason why in what was found in this study, is that when you are feeling complex and torn, both positive and negative, you're actually more receptive to information that can confirm, or information that could disconfirm a particular decision. If you're evaluating a job candidate, in this study they found people who are emotionally complex were more willing and interested in getting information about positive things this candidate had done, as well as potentially negative information. Whereas if you were in just a positive mood, you look for confirming positive information. If you were in a negative mood, you looked for more confirming negative information. This flexibility in looking for contradictory, or alternative perspectives seems to come from feeling conflicted, feeling contradictory emotions. That was actually very helpful in setting the stage for a lot of subsequent work. Another study had a very similar conclusion, but it looked at what happens when emotions are influenced in us, when we're making investment decisions. There is lots of Lay Theory and sometimes popular discussions about how it's very important to suppress your emotions when making rational decisions, or financial decisions. Yet there's also work showing that emotions are very helpful. We've been sharing network in this lesson. Well, in this particular study which I show you here, it tried to answer the question, how might we reconcile these two different perspectives? It turns out they were finding that people were actually having greater financial performance in their investment decisions. When they were not only feeling intense emotions, but also were aware of how complex those motions were, which then allowed them to also help manage them in a way that they could channel their decision-making and remove biases. One conclusion, was that emotions can actually be helpful for financial decisions. The important caveat here, consistent with what we've been talking about, is it's having a more fine grain awareness of how we're feeling. Those two in combinations in this particular body of work, was showing that they can be helpful for decision-making. Now, one of the interesting things is this insight about the power of emotional complexity was recognized long ago. F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1936 captured it well in this wonderful quote, he said, "Let me make a general observation. The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold on to two opposed ideas in the mind. For example, to be able to see things as hopeless and yet to be determined to make them otherwise." This idea of intelligence linked with this emotional complexity, actually goes back quite some time, but only recently do we have the solid empirical evidence that it can actually be helpful for decision-making. Let's put this in a particular context that might be relevant for you. Let's say you're sharing a brand new idea with your team. You can present the idea in multiple ways. One common way we present an idea is to talk about the strengths. We go into sales mode. We say this is a great idea. You're going to love it. Let me show you all of the ways in which this idea can help move the mission forward in our organization. Maybe help a client make money for the organization or whatnot. This idea of being very positive when pitching an idea is actually one of the core themes in research, not research, sorry, but actually in popular books about how to pitch ideas, say as an entrepreneur. In this emerging research, we looked at this question more carefully. We said, well, what do observers think of somebody who comes across as a positive in their pitching, which you see here in the blue bar, versus what do people think of someone who pitches an idea shown here in the maze bar, who comes across as more emotionally complex. They're very hopeful, they're very passionate about the idea, but they also clearly recognize that there can be some risks, failure is possible and they see that emotional complexity, that tension. What you see in this graph, higher numbers here mean, I think you are more analytical in your thinking, is very consistent with what we saw from F. Scott Fitzgerald. This idea that when I see emotional complexity and somebody pitching an idea, I think they're thinking more carefully, they're more thoughtful, they're more analytic in their thinking. When it comes time to making a decision of how much should I invest in this idea? Or just generally, if you ask my opinion as an observer, is this idea worth future investment? I am more likely to say yes, or I feel more strongly, as this graph shows that that is true when I see that emotional complexity as opposed to when I just see positivity. Now again, remember, if you were to go and look into a number of books on how to pitch an idea, the idea is be passionate, be positive. There's nothing in there about being emotionally complex. This research suggests a very important nuance. One, emotions are good when you're pitching an idea, but you will be seen as more thoughtful and more worthy of an investment if you're more authentic, that although there should be a lot of promise to your idea or you wouldn't be presenting it, there are also some risks and having that authenticity come into the place where you're pitching the idea can actually be quite helpful. But there's a paradox. I wanted to share this research with you because it really hits to the core of the challenge we have as leaders, as members of teams, trying to create a dynamic in which people can be authentic in terms of presenting their idea. In this research, we ask people if you were to pitch an idea, typically like very positive and talk about the strengths, how much engagement would you get? Now, I need to back up just a moment. If we were to ask ourselves, what is the most important thing we need to accomplish when we share a very brand new idea with others? You might respond, well, they need to understand the idea. That is correct, but there's one thing more. We don't want people to necessarily support our ideas or approve these ideas because they may be bad. We need people to engage in the ideas. We need people to not just understand them, but start to think, I wonder if we could do this with this idea. I wonder if we can improve that. You want people to become like temporary team members and really engage with the idea. With that goal, participation is the goal. We looked at what will increase engagement. The blue bars you see here was basically the outcome when we ask people if you or someone in your organization were to present an idea in terms of its strengths and come across very positive and passionate. People said, okay, well, you're baseline. This is how much participation we'll get. Notice the maze bars. We ask people what if you were authentic, and/or somebody else was authentic in the sense that you conveyed this emotional complexity. The thing is not perfect, it's got a lot of promise, it will change, it will evolve. People said, well, if I did that, I would get more participation and so would others in my organization. This is wonderful, so far, this suggests that people have a good sense of the other work on how emotional complexity comes across to others as thoughtful. We even asked, "Well, what about the quality of feedback?" Same answer. People have this theory which seems to be consistent with all of the research. That not only can I get more engagement from others, but it's higher quality engagement. Again, there's a wonderful convergence of perspectives that to be more authentic in our emotional complexity, not just helps us make better decisions, but it also comes across as more thoughtful. Fortunately, those things match, they could have a mismatch, but there is a convergence on that. Here's the paradox. When we ask people, would you do this? They said, "Heck no," I will be seen as less competent. What you see here compared to the blue bars is a concern, a worry, a motivation to be more reluctant to engage in this emotional complexity pitching because I may be seen and others would be seen as less competent. What we're seeing here is that on average, people tend to shoot themselves in the foot in the sense that, they know their idea will be improved more quickly if they're more authentic about the imperfections of their ideas when they share them. Not to a client or to a boss but very early in the process to just others, however, we're more reluctant to engage in this behavior because we're worried about seeing competent. There's some talk on the street about how it's important to front or flex, and this is basically the concern that we're seeing here. Now, what are the summary and implications for all of this? Well, I hope the paradox opens our eyes to the fact that we need to create a culture that is not just psychologically safe, where people can share imperfect ideas. Removing psychological safety is like removing a headwind as we're sailing going forward. But we'd still be dead in the water, if we've just removed the headwind, we need to actually put wind in our sails, and that comes from modeling the legitimacy of having more emotional complex feelings, being hopeful about an idea, but also concerned about its potential risks. So that not only are we seen as more thoughtful, not less competent, but most importantly, the ideas can get the attention they deserve. Modeling complexity is key. You as a leader have that opportunity. As the late leader of Marriott had recently shown in the context of what their organization was going through from the COVID-19 pandemic, the video that he posted on YouTube and shared with the employees, but also others was one of sadness and concern over all of the financial implications and challenges that their employees were facing, but also hope about the future. In doing so, that leader legitimized feeling simultaneously both positive and negative. In conclusion, there's a lot of work that suggests that it is just okay to acknowledge your emotional complexity, and beyond being just okay with that, there's a lot of benefits that come from it. But, there are some challenges, and hopefully in this lesson, you are now more motivated and a little bit better equipped to go out and create these microdynamics where that complexity can help foster the goals that we're trying to achieve.