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Teaching Employees How to Deal with Emotions in the Workplace

Good or bad and whether we like it or not, emotions are abundant in the workplace. There has always been some question as to why employees behave a certain way while at work and now there is an explanation. Emotion and mood greatly affect how one behaves. Recently, it has come to light how important it is to know and understand the distinction among the two. Why? As an employer, your bottom line is to run a successful business and make a profit. Learning how to recognize and deflate an emotionally saturated situation will only benefit your bottom line.

Emotions are classified as being temporary and often intense by nature, encompassing a full spectrum of feelings ranging from fear, anxiety, sadness and happiness. Often, the first three on the spectrum lead to feelings of anger. Anger leads to poor workplace behavior which is often experienced on different levels by males and females.

It is important to understand what constitutes emotions in order to construct a course of action, turning bad behavior into good. On the contrary, moods tend to last for shorter periods of time and their origins are not quite as well known.

Some wake in a disdainful or cheerful mood, carrying it to work with them. There is a correlation between emotion and mood. A positive emotion may be used to change a bad mood into a good one. Moods affect one’s impulses. For example, if an employee is in a dreadful mood, they are more likely to walk out on a meeting with an important client when things don’t go their way. If they are in a good mood, they are more likely to form a plan of action and work through the situation.

Dealing with Emotion and Mood – Knowing the difference between emotion and mood is the first step. The next is teaching employees how to deal with emotion and mood in the workplace.

If you ask employees how they would prefer their co-workers deal with emotion and mood in the workplace, a vast majority of them will tell you they’d rather see none at all. This includes both the positive and the negative. There are appropriate ways for employees to deal with emotion and mood while at work. The key here is moderation. Being overly negative, especially on a continuous basis, or even too happy, is considered unprofessional by many employees.

Employees expect a certain level of professionalism at work, not only from their superiors, but from their coworkers as well. Gloating about a promotion or carrying on about one’s disdainful feelings towards a supervisor can both be construed as unprofessional. Employees expect their coworkers to filter their feelings and keep both positive and negative emotions and moods to a minimum.

The best way to teach employees how to handle emotion and mood at work is to lead by example. If you, the boss, are upset over losing a major client, don’t dwell on the subject. Be honest about the situation. End the conversation on the topic with a positive note and move on.

Emotions Under Pressure – Managing emotions while under pressure is critical when it comes to focusing on the task at hand. Dealing with bottled emotions makes it hard to concentrate on work, especially if reprimands and comments feeding these emotions made by other employees are unjust.

In order to remain a productive team member, it is vital to find a way to release emotion. Bottled up emotion has a trickle-down effect on other employees and customers. Increasing an employee’s sense of self will inherently build team morale and increase company profits, making it important to supply a method of emotional release for employees. Examples of methods to incorporate include: self-motivation programs, coaching, mentoring, and therapeutic exercises.

~ Gary Sorrell, Sorrell Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.