5 Steps to Manage Emotions in the Workplace
What place do emotions have in the workplace? What role do they serve? What benefits (if any) do they bring? I hear these questions often, and I can completely empathize with the efforts to deal with this side of people in the appropriate way.
In personal settings, feelings can be a sensitive subject; for this reason, it is no surprise that in professional settings – the emotional side of people is often a touchy topic,too. Emotions are unpredictable, sometimes very distracting, enlightening, and everything in between. How they are expressed, when they are expressed and who expresses them – all make a world of difference.
As a leader or manager, regardless of your personal stance on this issue, it is professionally wise to determine how you plan to address your own emotions, how you plan to respond to others, and how you plan to approach emotionally charged situations. Although you can’t plan for every situation, the reason I still recommend taking a proactive stance (as much as possible) is because when feelings get involved, sometimes our logic goes out the window.
5 Positive Steps to Managing Emotions
Accept that emotions are part of reality. – Ignoring or denying that emotions will happen and do happen will only escalate your anxiety when emotions arise on the scene.
Acknowledge when strong feelings are present. – This is similar to #1 but different because it’s about increasing your awareness and ability to recognize what’s going on. Identifying and naming the emotional expression you or others are experiencing helps you take a powerful step toward knowing what to do with them. For example, recognizing and encouraging your team’s excitement about a new project can help you get a successful start towards goal accomplishment.
Channel your emotional energy and/or strategically “let off steam.” – The one thing about feelings is that if we don’t control them, they control us. It’s an either/or situation. We either take our emotions by the reigns or they will take us for a ride. Increasing your awareness helps you to build strategies on how you will handle certain emotional experiences in the future. A key questions is: how do you build on positive energy, and minimize negative energy? By making a plan, you can take the appropriate actions at the appropriate time.
Establish a mentoring relationship to explore and digest feelings. – Having a professional relationship where emotions can be explored is pivotal for professionals. This can be in the form of a colleague, a mentor or an old manager. Find someone you can trust to give you good feedback regarding how you want to or plan to address your emotions or others’ emotions.
After all of the above, express emotions – professionally and relevantly. – Once you’ve taken the appropriate steps to acknowledge, understand, channel and digest the sentiments that have emerged, address the situation at hand. If you have been fuming over a coworker, struggling with a report, or watching two of your team members destroy your team through disagreements – take appropriate action (as you would have identified in earlier steps). Confronting emotional environments directly demonstrates to your team that harmful expressions shouldn’t be ignored. Quite frankly they can’t be ignored. For example, an angry outburst from a co-worker left on checked can leave a residue of resentment. Events like this should be professionally, appropriately and strategically managed.
These 5 steps relate to emotional intelligence skills in dealing with others in positive or negative situations. Understanding and applying these points will start to set a solid example for handling working relationships more constructively. Writer Victoria Klein said, “Emotions make us human, denying them makes beasts.”
Do you want to create an environment that brings out the best in people and increases employee engagement? See this complimentary article: How to Motivate People and the High Performance Formula.