Emotions in the workplace

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Are emotions in the workplace really the enemy?

The study of emotions is not new and for a long time were seen as passions that get in the way of reason, so emotions in the workplace are still generally seen as demons to be overcome.

The term emotion derives from the Latin ‘emovere’ meaning to – move out. We explain it as responding or behaving in a certain way, because of an impulse triggered by stimuli. The stimuli can either be internal or external – our environment or other people.


How emotions impact performance

We see a great deal of prejudices around emotions in the workplace, with staff and managers constantly urged to control them, so whether we like it or not, emotions are just as predominant in the workplace as in our private life. Repressing or expressing them in a dysfunctional way can affect performance.

For example:

  • Fear of failure, stress or tiredness – can all lead to a decline in productivity and possibly getting signed off sick or burnt out
  • Interpersonal conflicts – studies show that managers spend 40% of their time resolving conflicts within their teams or with their superiors
  • Expressing satisfaction in your success – can cause jealousy among co-workers, however if we don’t celebrate our successes, how do we stay motivated?
  • During periods of change – boycotting emotions can lead to frustration which can compromise the project and the return on investment.


Big boys don’t cry

Society today is now trying to remove gender stereotypes, but the old saying ‘big boys don’t cry’ can still be heard today both in the playground and the boardroom. In the corporate world, many of us are still expected to be serious and in complete control of our feelings. Therefore showing emotions in the workplace is still considered a sign of weakness and so many of us are taught to repress our emotions and stay strong under pressure or stress.

We do now have a growing awareness of the importance of emotional intelligence for performance in the workplace and the emergence of neuroscience is showing how emotions are vital to the harmonious functioning of an individual.


Importance of emotional intelligence

It is predicted that in the next ten years, emotional intelligence will probably replace the old concept of ‘soft skills’ and this constitutes some key objectives within corporate coaching. Therefore, coaches have everything to gain from a good understanding of how emotions work, what emotional intelligence at work covers and how they themselves work from this point of view.

Teaching the fundamentals of coaching often involves a basic explanation of how we work and the link between thought, emotion and behavior. These three elements interact to form our perception of the world, so as a coach you will need to be well-versed in the subject and make optimal use of emotional intelligence in your coaching sessions.


Further reading:

If you would like to explore the link between thought, emotion and behavior, or understand the importance of emotions in the workplace, check out our ebook in the online shop:

  • Coaching Emotional Intelligence – This practical guide looks at emotions, emotional intelligence and emotional intelligence in the workplace. Plus a look at coaching emotional intelligence and examples of how it can be tested.


We have published a full range of resources specifically aimed at supporting you as a professional coach:


We constantly add content to the site, so please check our on-line shop and look at the full range of games, ebooks and kits. Or read some of the other blog posts written by our team of international coaches.


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Image: Thanks to Lidya Nada for sharing their work on Unsplash.


Please note – Our materials can only be copied and distributed, if you include a reference and link to the original source: (cc) MyCoachingToolkit.com – 2020

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