Emotions hold great power; they are the driving force behind our actions. Emotions directly impact our decisions by subconsciously running in the background of our minds. With so much happening in our everyday lives, it is easy to neglect our emotions and tread on. However, the act of suppressing our emotions actually has adverse effects on ourselves individually, and on our team performance.
Emotional Intelligence at Work
Emotions can especially impact our decisions in the workplace. For example, you are feeling stressed because deadlines are beginning to creep up. When you’re stressed, what is your response? Most people go into fight or flight mode, but little did you know there is a third option – acknowledging the stress, determining why you feel that way, then learning to deal with the emotion appropriately.
Once you can recognize your emotion, you can tame it. In the case above, acknowledging your feeling of stress is the first step. Once you notice the feeling of stress, you’re able to devise an action plan, which could be asking for help or getting an extension. If you disregard your stress, your stress will grow and may even snowball into bigger problems, such as burnout. This is an example of using your emotional intelligence; emotional intelligence can manage your emotions to act appropriately. Once you are in tune with your emotions, you will be able to make better-informed decisions.
Emotions Aren’t A Weakness
We experience an abundance of emotions in our work environment. From feeling accomplished when completing a project to feeling disappointed when work is not completed to your standards, you cannot deny that emotions are present in the workplace. However, many may be unaware of the impact emotions have and ignore them instead. Top Three Reasons People Don’t Show Emotions at Work discusses how team members may feel uncomfortable sharing their true, raw feelings and see emotions as a weakness instead. As business leaders, it is time to eliminate the stigma and open the door to an emotionally strong workplace.
Why We Suppress Our Feelings
There is a stigma behind showing emotions at work. People believe that expressing feelings in the workplace may exhibit a sign of incompetency. For instance, a team member may be afraid to tell their manager that they feel overwhelmed with a project deliverable as they fear their manager will view them as incapable of completing the task.
Furthermore, many associate emotions such as sadness, disappointment, and stress with negativity. As a result, these feelings are more likely to stay hidden as opposed to more positive feelings. When we suppress our true emotions and only show emotions that showcase positivity, it creates a fabricated environment that everyone is always happy. However, emotions cannot be labelled as good or bad, as all emotions are valid. Leaders need to recognize this and break down the walls to welcome all emotions into the workplace.
Why We Need to Bring Emotions into the Workplace
When we embrace our emotions at work, aspects such as communication, interpersonal relationships, and problem-solving will improve.
Here are the benefits of welcoming emotions at work!
Normally, at work, people have no issues advocating their thoughts or beliefs. But, when it comes to feelings, that is a different story. When people leave their feelings out of the conversation, others are left in the dark about their underlying concerns or motives behind their ideas. People tend to be most cooperative when they are aware of the WHY behind your plans. There is a better understanding of both the issues and feelings involved, and the resolutions tend to be more effective overall.
Sharing your emotions with your team helps build a culture of open communication and makes you a more personable leader. Without a solid foundation for expressing your emotions, you may sometimes come across as emotionally reserved, leaving your team hesitant to share information or approach you because your reactions, or lack thereof, are difficult to predict. By displaying emotions, communication becomes clearer and more meaningful, and you become more transparent and approachable as a leader.
When expressing emotions are welcomed in the workplace, it helps build strong relationships, where collaboration soars. Creating an environment where emotions are not frowned upon, true feelings are brought to the surface, creating a psychologically safe work environment for people to perform based on trust and compassion.
Leaders need to minimize the stigma – emotions are the enemy – creating a secure space where all emotions are accepted. Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. Creating this kind of culture where people are accepted for who they are and what ideas and talents they bring to the table cultivate an emotionally connected and transparent team that collectively produces amazing results.
Improved Decision Making
Being aware of the role emotions play, you can deal with issues under pressure more effectively. Acknowledging your emotions gives you clarity on how to make better decisions. Picture this – your team member suddenly leaves your project team without explanation. As a result, you feel extremely frustrated, especially now that you have to take on their leftover workload. In addition to frustration, you are feeling resentment towards your team member.
First, let’s take a step back. While you may feel inclined to send off an angry email at your coworker, your emotional self-awareness taps in and informs you that you’re feeling angry. Instead of sending that email, your EQ tells you that you need to manage your frustration first. You then make a conscious choice and decide to take a walk to cool down. Upon returning to the office, you feel much more relieved and begin sending out requests for assistance. Instead of impulsively sending the first knee-jerk email, you created space for you to self-regulate and then returned to your situation, making a better-informed decision.
Emotions Are Your Ultimate Strength
Emotions are not a barrier in your lifestyle but rather can be utilized to your advantage. Think of using your emotions like data. By tapping into the information your emotions provide, you can make smarter decisions, have better relationships, and more impactful conversations. Remember, showing emotions at work is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it is a symptom of an emotionally healthy and strong workplace and will lead to a happier, productive workplace.
If you are interested in learning more about the impact of emotions at work, read our blog, Why Emotions Matter in the Workplace. To learn more about emotional intelligence and how to develop your EQ at work, check out our Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace Keynote, available in live or virtual delivery.