We frequently talk with executives and team leaders about the importance empathy plays in fully understanding their employees and customers. But, often times, people forget that when it comes to the inner workings of their company, they should work to understand both the emotions of the employees as well as their own thoughts, feelings, and issues. We chatted with Tish Squillaro, leading lady behind CANDOR Consulting, radio regular on Women to Watch, and author behind the HeadTrash books, to discuss how to acknowledge damaging emotions in the workplace and what leaders can do about them.  



What is “HeadTrash”?  And why is it important?

HeadTrash is a series of seven key emotions that play a role in poor decision making and judgement, especially in the workplace. It’s like regular trash: it’s something everyone has but not everyone knows how to handle, and if they let the clutter pile up, it affects the people around them. In the workplace, it’s these relational and communication skills that make or break a relationship, so when we recognize when our emotions are driving us (and, more importantly, when they are not!), we can make better choices and create good habits. And, let’s face it, in the end, good habits produce better outcomes than bad habits do.


How do I determine if I’m affected by HeadTrash?

Am I the right person for this job?  Do I have the skills and ability to pull it off?  What is not working and why? Can the current team take us where we need to go? Executives affected by HeadTrash often find themselves dwelling on questions like this before they go to sleep at night. This translates to their job. Often, they become stuck in the workplace. They begin playing it safe in meetings and on projects, they’re overly sensitive to criticism, and they begin to question every decision. This causes them to become immobile, to spin their wheels, and to become completely unable to make the hard choices.. Things that were once second nature become onerous. Their self-esteem is affected.


What is the first step in identifying damaging emotions at play both in me personally and within my organization?

If these feelings of being stuck, overly sensitive, and immobile are affecting you, the first step is to identify the core cause of them, to acknowledge them. Executives, leaders, and employees need to admit something is holding them back and interfering with their ability to move forward. Make decisions and take action, then examine how thought processes are impacting business results.

Need a starting point? Take the HeadTrash index to find out how your work is being affected by emotions.


When damaging emotions are affecting business results, how do you identify a non-functioning organization before it is too late?

Look at your company culture: is there evidence of a complete lack of and/or ineffective communication? We see this when communications are trickled down from the top desk to desktop. Employees feel like they are lacking relevant information about things that directly affect the workforce and their roles. This isn’t just from the top down either; teams are included here. There needs to be fluent communication within the teams and from the teams out into the rest of the organization.


Communication is particularly important in turbulent times.  When people are given minimal information about company developments, they will reach their own conclusions and make assumptions.

How does an executive build credibility in an organization fogged by HeadTrash?

Executives need to lead the way by demonstrating confidence, staying committed to examining the business, and focusing on business development efforts. They need to continue doing what they know how to do best. Leaders lead….ALWAYS.  Circumstances are what they are, and successful leaders do not abandon their strategies when unforeseen things happen; instead, they adapt to them. Just examine the faces of flight attendants during airplane turbulence. They are unfazed, and they adapt to the sudden onset of a rocky journey.

If your team is stuck in an emotional rut and is facing their own HeadTrash, Tish and her consulting team offer HeadTrash coaching, workshops, videos, and programs. Learn more about Tish and purchase your own copy of her new book at HeadTrash911.com.


More about Tish Squillaro

Tish Squillaro, CEO of CANDOR Consulting, has more than 17 years experience advising executives in strategic planning, organizational dynamics, and human capital allocation. Her progressive vision and adaptive approach to practical application makes her particularly effective in collaborating with senior management. Combining sharp problem solving skills with effective mediation abilities, Tish works primarily with CEOs, executive management, and boards of directors within organizations at various stages of development, ranging from early entrepreneurial to Fortune 500 companies.

Visit CANDOR Consulting online to learn more or contact Tish. Get your own copy of HeadTrash for 10% off by mentioning XPLANE when you contact Tish through the CANDOR Consulting website.