Exploring emotions in the workplace
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.
But 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.
- 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
The term emotion derives from the Latin ‘emovere’ meaning ‘to move out’ and is explained as an impulse triggered by stimuli that leads us to respond by behaving in a certain way. The stimuli can either be internal or external from our environment or other people.
An emotion is made up of five components:
- A cognitive appraisal of the situation
- Bodily symptoms – the physiological component
- Action tendencies
- Changes in expression and behavior
- Feelings – the subjective experience
And 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.
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 and workshop kit in the online shop:
- Ebook : 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.
- Kit : Understanding emotions workshop – Use this kit to confidently deliver an interactive half-day understanding our emotions workshop. It will support discussions that help your clients understand the full range of emotions and how to identify and understand them.
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