People

Managing emotions in the workplace

Engel Schmidl /

There seems to be little tolerance for emotions in the workplace. We try to curtail stress and outbursts of anger – but there is also a conservative element that quashes tendencies to really have fun and express enthusiasm.

Over time, we become experts at presenting a professional front – but all too often this means presenting a completely impassive unemotional front.

 

We are social and emotional beings. As much as we try to deny our emotions, they exist and underpin every single behaviour and decision we make.

Your job satisfaction, your ability to co-operate with people, your tendency to take or avoid risks and your leadership skills are all completely moderated by your moods and emotions.

Understand your emotions

More difficult than it may seem, it is incredibly helpful to take the time to consider what really drives you and creates feelings of enthusiasm and excitement, as opposed to those that block you and raise feelings of frustration and resentment.

We are usually very aware of what causes us frustration – it is a very overwhelming feeling. But what makes you happy? What makes you smile? Moving towards this rather than just trying to reduce frustration will change the way you work.

Should you discuss these feelings?

There is a balance that needs to be struck with discussing emotions. It is important to let people around you know where you stand on issues, both interpersonal and job-oriented. If your feelings are negative ones and are consuming you and reducing your ability to produce your best work then you MUST discuss your feelings with someone. Unattended negative feelings will continue to grow and cause problems – the challenge is to find appropriate channels of discussion.

How do you manage your emotions?

Emotions are a force and they really have to be managed. Workplaces are usually inappropriate places to really let go of emotion, so you need to find ways to channel your emotions until you get a chance to express them properly. If you feel you are getting overwhelmed then it is important to step out for a few minutes. If you don’t channel emotions they will burst out in unexpected ways, such as unfairly criticising someone, or bursting into tears over relatively minor events. It is always better to manage these on your own terms rather than have them explode unexpectedly.

How do you manage the emotions of your staff?

Managing the emotions of staff is really difficult – it can be hard enough managing your own! Two things that should always be at the front of your mind are:

  • Not everyone responds the same way to situations as you do.
  • As manager, it is important to work towards what is best for the entire group.

This means you need an understanding of how your team members respond to things and you must also be aware of how their reactions will cascade through the team. An individual might need some special consideration due to external (or internal) stresses.

It can be so easy to forget emotions in the workplace. People tend to be much more results and task oriented in the workplace than outside of it. Show leadership and compassion by always being aware of the people around you, and being aware of the impact you have on others and yourself.

Eve Ash has produced hundreds of videos, assessment tools and two useful books for managing the inner thoughts and attitudes – Rewrite Your Life! and Rewrite Your Relationships!

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