Emotions are a fact of life.
We all have them, and it‘s sometimes challenging to keep them in check. In the workplace, emotional outbursts can have a detrimental effect on the whole team, not just an individual.
Anger, frustration, fear – negative emotions in the workplace can destroy a team; so how you as a leader handle emotion in your team is paramount to your overall success.
There are two things to bear in mind – the first is handling other’s emotions and encouraging them to develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence skills to deal with their workplace emotions.
The second is looking inwardly at your own emotions and how they play out in your role as team leader.
Managing Your Own Emotions
So, let’s start first with you.
After all, great leaders go first, so it’s only fitting that you should examine yourself first and work on improving your self-awareness skills so that you can successfully initiate change in others.
Self-awareness is sadly lacking in many of today‘s leaders and yet is so important in leading successfully.
Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and author of Permission to Feel, states that of all the facets of emotional intelligence, emotional regulation may be the ‘master skill’.
In other words, your emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role in your team’s dynamic, and being able to regulate your actions and reactions will set the benchmark for your team.
The ability to assess yourself will inevitably lead to a better awareness of your emotions and the ability to keep them in check in the workplace (and elsewhere!). This will inspire confidence in you as a leader who is thoughtful and measured in their response, and enable you to establish an ethos of trust and flexibility in your team.
Additionally, self-awareness will lead to an understanding of your mindset, focusing on the positive to create motivation in others and having the necessary drive to initiate action and achieve goals.
Managing Your Team’s Emotions
As Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand”.
That member of your team who fails to engage or seems to get angry easily may have an underlying reason. While I’m not suggesting that that negativity should be excused, its more often than not the case that someone who is experiencing emotional outbursts at work has something going on.
It may be that they are struggling with their work because they don’t have the right skill set, or that they have a problem in their personal life.
Don’t be quick to judge.
The best way to handle it is to have an honest conversation. That way you’re neither assuming, or ignoring what’s going on.
Don’t be afraid and leave it too long – many leaders shy away from dealing with difficult discussions but ignoring an issue can end up with it getting totally out of hand with team members storming out of meetings, for example, or going off sick, and affecting the morale of the whole team.
So, have that conversation. And don’t just let the individual know how it’s affecting the team. Give them the opportunity to explain their behaviour. Practice active listening; take on board what they are saying, so they feel listened to, and help them work out a positive way forward.
Sometimes all it takes is giving your time and empathy to make a difference.
If you find that your initial conversations stall and no improvement is made in their behaviour, then I recommend a more indepth feedback conversation.
This will enable you to explain thoroughly how they are being perceived by their colleagues, how their behaviour is impacting the team and the business overall, and how they can change.
It‘s wise to ensure that it is not due to a lack of communication at this point. Often, we forget that individuals have very different communication styles, and if you are not in tune with your employees’ styles it’s possible that they are missing, or misinterpreting your message.
So be clear. Ask them what they heard you say. Usually their response will tell you if they’ve heard you and understood, or if they’ve heard you and then made it mean something completely different. Or just not heard you at all.
Clarity and transparency will define you as an approachable leader who is willing to listen and take on board concerns they might have, and establish a bond of trust with them.
Wellbeing in the workplace is something that more employees are putting at the top of their list when looking for job roles.
It’s crucial that you establish an ethos of excellent communication, trust, ethics and collaboration within your team to ensure that everyone has a voice, and everyone understands how they fit into the bigger picture.
This will enable you to develop a great workplace culture where individuals are happy in their work and have a clear career pathway. Motivation will ensure productivity and performance, which will ultimately lead to great results, not just for your team, but for your whole organisation.
How your team members feel about themselves and their interactions with others will directly affect their contribution to the team overall.
By establishing emotional intelligence both in social proficiency (the ability to communicate and empathise with others) and personal proficiency (self-awareness and motivation), you will directly improve the outcome for everyone and help engage your team.
In her book Mindset, Carol Dweck refers to cultivating a growth mindset. If you haven’t read it, I can recommend it.
She comments that a leader’s mindset can directly influence how they perceive the performance of others.
So, my advice is, to best handle emotions within your team, first address your own emotions and responses. Once you understand and can self-regulate these, you will be able to bring about a positive mindset in others and establish a happy and emotionally well-balanced team.
Until next time.
About blue pea POD
At blue pea POD, we are in the business of enabling leaders and organisations understand who they are, their identity and purpose, creating the profitable future they desire now.
Blue Pea POD works internationally with a client base that includes the FMCG, Retail, and Pharmaceuticals sectors. You can subscribe to our podcast here and then if you would like to find out more about how we can help you get in contact here. Or call +44(0) 845 123 1280