Joy, anger, frustration, fear, anxiety emotions are natural phenomenon part of any human being, as such we all have emotions of our own.
Society in general and the business world in particular are not fond of emotional demonstrations. Since childhood, we have learned, through our education and our culture, not to show our emotions, that it is inappropriate, a proof of inexcusable weakness. We have made a habit of camouflaged and repressed them for fear of opening up, out of pride, for fear of conflict to preserve the image of a reasonable person.
A place for emotions at work?
From a bare necessity
Viewed as incompatible with the professionalism expected in an office, expression of emotion is rarely encouraged at work. It goes like if emotions were switching to a "pause" mode when we cross the threshold of our office and come back when we leave! Actually, emotions are part of us and do not come and go upon request. If they are not allowed to be expressed, they have to be hidden, repressed.
They then become serious sources of tension, misunderstanding and conflicts. People who hide in an impassive mask create an indecipherable world, which is exhausting and difficult to live for themselves and others, and lead to blockages.
To an actual need…
In the last 20 years, the emergence of the concept of emotional intelligence, or "the ability to perceive and express emotions, to integrate them to facilitate thinking, to understand and reason with emotions, as well as to regulate emotions(…) and in others" along with the multiplication of start-ups where social relationships supposedly are simpler, has deeply transformed our business world. Individuals are no longer searched for their QI only but for their Emotional Quotient too.
It has been recognised that showing and sharing of emotions, positive or negative, contribute to accentuate the human aspect of their owner. Ability to properly display one’s emotions became a key competence for leaders and their development in the corporate world.
For which emotions?
Depending on their nature, emotions will be more or less accepted. It is globally admitted that so-called positive emotions, such as joy or happiness, can be expressed. Expressing joy or happiness about a successful achievement, the realisation of an objective can be seen as an evidence of a strong engagement. The same is not true for negative emotions such as fear, anxiety or frustration. Feeling these emotions is normal and it will be healthy to learn how to handle them. Fear of failure, of not being good enough, not to meet expectations, of the future. Negative emotions are more difficult to manage first because they are seen as proof of weakness and then because they generally have to be expressed in opposition to someone else.
Properly expressed emotions
Expression of emotion is not something that we can learn as a school topic. But it is something that we can shape and improve with coaching and work on ourselves. It starts with working of oneself, getting to know oneself, self-awareness will guide you through the following steps.
- Identification: Before trying to control, manage, and express them, emotions have to be analysed and their trigger properly identified in their early stage.
- Differentiation: Clear understanding of the emotion.
- Ability to give appropriate feed-back, clue to an efficient communication, harmonious social relations and productive environment.
- Empathy: Recognition and understanding of the feelings of the other party.
- Build up an emotional resilience by learning to listen to your body.
An indispensable ally to professional success, emotion regulation is a key competence demonstrated by successful leaders.
When properly managed, emotions are useful tools to help you better understand your deepest values, and often signal what is the most important for you.
Managing emotions isn’t just doing away with them; it is putting strategies in place that let you use them effectively rather than letting them govern your behaviours and actions. Your emotion become your natural guidance system and they are more effective when you don’t try to fight them but to use them.