Appropriate emotions at work – Business & Social Etiquette

Emotions 2Many people want to manage their working environment more confidently. When you can manage your relationships in the work place successfully this will not only make you feel better it will improve productivity, efficiency and general harmony.

Events at work and home will have an emotional impact on you, and how you deal with your emotions will also have an impact on your work colleagues. Negative emotions such as guilt, anger, stress, hostility, fear, and sadness,  increase problems in the workplace and reduce productivity. It can be difficult to remain positive when there is a lot of negativity happening in your life.

Emotions are usually associated with specific events or occurrences and are intense enough to disrupt your thought processes.  Negative emotions at work can be caused by pressure to reach targets, a lack of praise and support, work overload, poor relationships, verbal abuse, sexual harassment and other stresses.  You may also have negative emotions due to something happening in your personal life such as financial problems, problems with children, relationship breakup, a bereavement, a traumatic incident or poor health. These are just a few things that could create negative emotions.

If your emotions do feel difficult to control it is important to seek either support from work, your GP, or professional counselling or another talking therapy.  I often see clients who say “I always thought counselling would not help and I can’t believe the difference it has made”. So give it a try before you rule it out; you are more than likely to be pleasantly surprised at the difference it can make.

One way to address negative emotions is to say to the other person, “I feel angry about the way you are behaving towards me; could I ask you to stop putting me down… shouting… or whatever”. Try not to start the sentence with “You are…”   This puts the blame on the other person and is better avoided.

Nevertheless, people who frequently suppress their emotions have been found to be more prone to disease and other mental health problems than those who are emotionally expressive. Therefore if it is not appropriate to show your emotions at the time, make sure you have the opportunity to deal with them as soon after the situation as possible.

Positive emotions in the workplace such as happiness, joy and enthusiasm help everyone to obtain good outcomes and enrich the working environment. Positive emotions at work help to improve relationships with others, as well as resulting in greater productivity and improved cognitive function. Those who express positive emotions in the workplace are better equipped to influence their co-workers favourably. It is likely that these people will inspire cooperation in others, improve the atmosphere and the morale.

While there may be instances where sharing your emotions would be appropriate or helpful, sometimes this is not the case, and expressing emotions can result in a significant loss of credibility and respect from employees, colleagues, customers and contacts.

Here are some effective ways to manage your emotions in the workplace

  1. Address situations assertively
  2. If appropriate, tell the person what you are feeling.
  3. Be aware of your feelings and do not bottle them up.
  4. If you feel tense do some deep breathing exercises.
  5. Take a brief walk – this will release tension.
  6. Spend some time getting to know yourself and your feelings;identify how your emotions make you feel in your body.
  7. Ensure that your self-care is good.
  8. Make sure you get adequate sleep, good food and regular exercise.
  9. Make sure you have plenty of support from family, friends, colleagues or professionals.
  10. Ensure you have a good work/life balance.

Sometimes, it can be useful to do something to get your mind off the subject. I often think an emotion can feel overwhelming today but will be history within a week. Obviously this does not apply to more serious things such as a bereavement, trauma or relationship breakup which can take a long time to get through.

If the weight of what you are dealing with is too heavy it is usually wise to take some time from work. You cannot give your best when you are overburdened with painful emotions.

For more information visit my website at www.etiquetteandmanners.co.uk The courses are also certified for continued professional development (CPD) if required.

Good Luck
Ellen Russell
About the author

Ellen is our Business & Social Etiquette Blogger. You can reach Ellen on: Etiquette and Manners, Facebook, Linked In

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