I often get people coming and asking me how to deal with other people’s emotional behaviour in the workplace. The usual examples of people breaking down crying when confronted by something, the angry person when things go wrong, the person who suddenly ignores you after a heavy discussion or contrast of opinions– the blanking technique, the sarcastic one who you feel just wants to slowly break you, and the dominating ones who speak at you with force and vigour. Sometimes they are the ones displaying the emotional behaviour!
Managing your emotions at work is more important than it has ever been because I believe the workplace is becoming more challenging. There is often frequent change in workplaces – mergers, reorganisation, transfers, expanding teams, heavier workloads etc and of course diversity is becoming stronger with ages, backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, languages. And of course, that doesn’t take into account the stress and changes going on in people’s personal lives as well.
As a result, the range of emotions we experience at work is enormous. Therefore, it is important to for us all to understand what emotions are, how to control them positively and understand the effect they have on others. When we can manage our emotions, then we can handle the challenges and demands all jobs bring such as new team members, conflict in the workplace, teamwork, new bosses and tricky workmates.
3 key emotions to handle in the workplace are:
Anger – comes in many forms and often a symptom of fear, insecurity, suppression, over tiredness. It comes in many forms too – being excessively critical of others • berating or bullying others • being abrupt and dismissive • being cynical and sarcastic • “sabotaging” other people’s work indirectly.
Worry or insecurity – brought on by loss of control, change or lack of confidence in your role. Common triggers can be hearing rumours about restructuring or mergers, finding out a new manager is taking over, being given new responsibilities.
Frustration – this is one of the most common emotions and can build from the inability to perform or get results due to lack of resources or poor performing colleagues, no promotional opportunities so a sense of feeling stuck in a job, a difficult manager who ignores suggestions or opportunities. Frustration often if not dealt with turns to anger.
Remember when emotions are under control the payoff is big and we can work from our Power Zone. Learning to deal with your challenging emotions, manage them before they overwhelm you or affect work friendships increases your sense of control and effectiveness, both at work and in your personal life. See the top tips below on how to manage emotions in the workplace.