Managing Emotions At Work

When dealing with people remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but you are dealing with creatures of emotion.
 
It doesn’t matter what types of industry or organisations we work in, the reality is that people are people, and people are biologically programmed to experience emotions.
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Strong emotional culture
A healthy emotional culture don’t just tolerate emotions, they welcome emotions. These cultures understand that:
  • Employees are humans and strive to offer a supportive work environment
  • Prioritise transparency, honesty and well-being
  • Express optimism and recover from failure quickly
 
Struggling emotional culture
In an unhealthy emotional culture, employees often feel like they are walking on eggshells.
Studies have found that suppressing emotions can lead to heart disease, mental illness, intestinal problems, headaches, insomnia, and autoimmune disorders.
 
What are the most common positive emotions?
Comfortable
Ways to increase comfort
  • Provide regular opportunities for managers and employees to connect one-on-one
  • Train managers to act as coaches instead of bosses
  • Encourage team-building to promote positive relationships between employees
 
Satisfied
Ways to increase satisfaction:
  • Keep employees on their toes with work that challenges and fulfills them
  • Recognize good performance in a way that is meaningful to the employee
  • Help employees see the connection between their work and a greater purpose
 
Enthusiastic
Ways to increase enthusiasm:
  • In still confidence in employees by giving them projects that match their strengths and passions
  • Find ways to increase collaboration within and among teams
  • Create opportunities for people to connect and learn from one another
 
Other positive emotions to consider:
Calm, Energetic, Excited, Happy, Joyful, Peaceful, Relaxed
 
Negative emotions
It’s important for your organization to understand the most common types of negative emotions in the workplace, how to address them in a supportive manner, and how to proactively minimize their frequency. They create barriers between employees, and may impact other areas including productivity, innovation, and customer service.
 
Common negative emotions
 
Frustrated
Ways to decrease frustration:
  • Ongoing career and development conversations can help employees feel forward momentum at work
  • Make sure employees have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs effectively
  • Strive for open, timely, and transparent communication
 
Stressed
Ways to decrease stress:
  • Too much work is not a good thing — try to keep employee workloads manageable
  • Solid manager-to-employee communication can make a big difference in stress levels
  • Employees who work with customers are susceptible to increased stress — try to give them the tools and strategies they need to cope with stressful customer situations
 
Anxious
Ways to decrease anxiety:
  • Let employees know it’s okay to ask for help, and ensure they know how to access all the resources available to them
  • Anxiety often stems from the fear of the unknown — keep employees in the loop with frequent, timely, and transparent communication
  • Institute an open-door policy so employees can voice concerns and ask for advice when sticky situations arise 
 
Other negative emotions to consider:
Annoyed, Bored, Disinterested, Dissatisfied, Gloomy, Miserable, Sad, Tired, Uncomfortable, Unhappy, Upset, Worried
 
Some Negative Moral Emotions
Humiliation
How to avoid humiliation:
  • Address mistakes and concerns in a private, one-on-one setting
  • Foster an environment where team members know how to give honest and professional feedback and can resolve their own conflicts
 
Disgust
How to avoid disgust:
  • Ensure everyone at your organization is trained to give and receive effective feedback
  • Let employees have a voice in individual and team goals — there’s nothing more discouraging than trying and failing to reach an impossible goal
  • Demonstrate care and concern for your employees and their personal lives, especially in times of crisis
 
Resentment
How to avoid resentment:
  • When a problem arises, don’t place blame on employees — try to attack the problem, rather than the person
  • Make sure employees have a reasonable workload and adequate resources — even employees who love their jobs can suffer from burnout
  • Be sure to recognize employees when it’s deserved
 
Other negative moral emotions to consider:
Disappointment, Embarrassment, Envy, Guilt, Jealousy, Shame
 
Six HR Strategies for a strong emotional culture
1. OFFER FREE TRAINING ON TOPICS RELATED TO EMOTIONS.
Consider providing training on topics such as emotional intelligence, emotional regulation, anger management, stress reduction, conflict resolution, mindfulness, and other related topics.
 
2. ENCOURAGE MANAGERS TO UTILIZE FREQUENT EMPLOYEE CHECK-INS.
When employees have designated one-on-one time with their manager, it gives them a chance to build positive relationships with their manager, voice important concerns, ask questions, and provide feedback.
 
3. BEEF UP YOUR EMPLOYEE WELL-BEING PERKS.
Offering perks and benefits related to employee well-being encourages employees to take better care of themselves and shows that you care about them too. Think gym memberships, mental health days, EAP programs, financial counselling, etc.
 
4. PROMOTE BENEFITS AND RESOURCES ALREADY AVAILABLE TO EMPLOYEES.
Chances are you already offer benefits and resources related to employee well-being that your employees don’t know about or don’t know how to take advantage of. Be sure to promote these offerings regularly while also making a case for why they matter.
 
5. OFFER ON-SITE ACTIVITIES THAT HELP RELIEVE STRESS.
Give employees a break from the daily grind every now and then by offering on-site activities that help relieve stress. Bring in a yoga instructor or a massage therapist once a quarter and let employees relax, breathe, and feel pampered.
 
6. KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT DATA.
Prevention is key when it comes to emotional well-being at work and the best way is to have regular mini pulse checks. Keep an eye out for issues that are creeping up— employee comments will serve as a gold mine of information.
 
Last but not least strengthen your emotional culture:
  • Empower managers and their team members to stay connected and build positive relationships
  • Keep a pulse on engagement issues across your organization and the departments, teams, and individuals within it
  • Amplify and celebrate successes to increase positive emotions in the workplace
  • Help reduce negative emotions by enabling transparency, open communication, and authenticity with user-friendly, real-time tool.