• 02 June 2022

    Emotions in the workplace - How to handle them like a champ!

    Emotions, Emotional Intelligence, Workplace
    Emotional Intelligence in the workplace is a subject that has been gaining a lot of traction these past few years.
    In this regard, I would like to refer to the great work of Dr. Sigal Barsade, who was able to prove the direct correlation between the employees’ well-being and their performance at work.
    In her pioneering research, Dr. Barsade discovered how allowing employees to express all kinds of feelings in a safe environment helps them flourish on all levels and become more productive. 
    Consciously making space for a display of emotions will in turn, greatly reflect on the company: Teams perform better when they show care, love and affection.
    It is also important to allow employees express emotions that might be perceived as negative, such as anger or frustration, as long as they are being tackled in a constructive way that will eventually lead to the implementation of adequate solutions. 

    What is emotional intelligence? 
    Emotional Intelligence is our ability to recognize, understand, handle, and appropriately manage our emotions, as well the emotions of others. It can be measured using the Emotional Quotient (or QE).
    Emotional Intelligence is a skill that can be learned and developed over time, contrary to intelligence quotient (IQ) which is rather predefined. 
    This skill is essential for achieving success on both personal and professional levels, especially in leadership roles: your IQ can help you get into college, but it’s your EQ that will help you manage the stress and emotions when facing your final exams. IQ and EQ exist in tandem and are most effective when they build off one another.

    How to manage our emotions to achieve roaring success?
    In my line of work, I consecrate a lot of effort developing my clients’ emotional intelligence because of its direct influence on their performance. 
    Sara* was one of the clients who was having trouble recognizing her emotions and dealing with them in a healthy manner. This toxic situation was negatively affecting her performance and she wanted to find a fast solution.
    My efforts in this scenario were focused on dividing the workload in several phases to help her better manage her feelings. Therefore, I developed a quick and effective action plan that I am sharing with you below, and that allowed her to tackle her weaknesses:
    1. Recognize: The first step toward a healthy relationship with our emotions is to recognize and honor them, regardless of how irrational they may seem. We are often taught to ignore certain types of feelings that may be labeled as negative or portray us as weak, often believing that this behavior will simply make them go away. But this strategy will only backfire and after a certain time, repressed emotions will find a way to get out, causing us stress-related symptoms as well as a myriad of different ailments. 
    2. Understand: After recognizing and honoring our emotions, it is important to understand the reason why we are feeling a certain way. This will allow us to understand our triggers and equip us with the necessary tools to better handle them in future situations. With time and practice, that type of awareness will help avoid and/or diffuse work tensions. 
    3. Take a step back: Reacting when we are feeling angry or frustrated seldom leads to positive outcomes. Therefore, it is important to take a step back from our feelings and properly reframe them. I advise my clients to take the needed time to cool off before acting upon their feelings. This coping mechanism will generate better results and greatly improve our chances of being heard and actually having a chance to achieve what we want.
    4. Talk about it: to get it out. Talking about what we are feeling to a trusted person in our circle will help us feel relieved, cared for, and understood. It will also help us learn from other people who have been in similar situations, and maybe find better solutions. 

    Being able to freely express our emotions in the workplace in appropriate ways is the key to the organization’s overall well-being and success because it will equip everyone involved, with the appropriate knowledge to find solutions to problems that aren’t always obvious. 
    Dr. Barsade proved that emotions have a place at work and that acknowledging them is a step forward in creating a fostering environment: “Through her research, Barsade has found that emotions influence not just employee wellness and engagement, but also business outcomes such as productivity and profitability.”
    This strategy will also help to retain employees and top talent, saving companies many headaches.  Therefore, it is important for managers to shed light on the necessity of talking about emotions in the workplace by organizing workshops, as well as trainings that will allow them to lead by example.

    * The name of my client has been changed to preserve her privacy.