There is one particular difference that startles me whenever I work with corporate clients and that is the complete desensitisation of the individual from their work.
No-one feels… anything.
It’s the classic ‘leave your problems at the door’… an odd sentiment considering your average employee will often spend more of their life within the workplace, than with people they love.
Ironically, we observe an increasing demand for emotional intelligence in the workplace.
Soft/communication skills, empathy in leadership, resilience in teams, work/life balance, even the sentiment of ‘connecting to your passion’ is to ensure a longer career lifespan and greater productivity.
A demand for emotional intelligence, implies there is a deficit.
Emotional skills are rarely formally addressed; in youth it's left to the random hand of nature to develop emotional and social skills. In employment, HR initiatives to 'open up' and foster a ‘safe space’ rarely facilitate the genuine article.
Genuine trust is established by individuals feeling safe in positions of vulnerability - this entails all the emotions on the spectrum, not just the sanitised versions we present to our colleagues.
This is where the Arts have the edge in the realms of emotional intelligence as they do proactively develop, challenge, foster and hone your emotional process.
My entrance audition for Acting College involved a monologue from ‘Europe’ by Michael Gow. After performing this vulnerable break-up speech, where I’m left broke, confused and alone, I was asked by the tutor…
“Great! Now could you try it as if you’re on an infomercial selling a bargain”.
In any other industry, this is a ludicrous request; for an Actor, emotional flexibility is a key skill set. Could I, in an instant, shift from heartbroken, lost boy to self-assured con-man?
To be emotionally rigid, would be extremely limiting in the types of roles I could play; Romeo is chalk to Richard III’s cheese.
Similar techniques are employed in every Artistic field, designed to assess, challenge and stretch ones emotional range: the more colours on your palette, the more shades you have to paint with.
Seldom in other industries do we explore multiple ways to process information.
Only in the Arts do we explore multiple ways to process emotion.
The space required to take these emotional risks, to be vulnerable and in doing so, trust that you will still be ok on the other side, is the core of healthy individuals, relationships and workplace cultures.
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Christopher. S. Sellers is an Expert on Creativity + Creative Skill Sets
Founder + Director of Black Bulb Creative