Susie Little explains why it’s important to talk about emotions at work.
Emotions are contagious. Whether you are aware of it or not, your emotional state has a big impact on our work. We perform at our best when we are calm, confident, positive and focused. If you arrive at work feeling like an emotional train-wreck, struggling to think clearly, in a “fight or flight” state, the negative impact will make good decision making and imaginative problem solving almost impossible.
Employers aren’t usually in the habit of asking “How are you feeling?”. Most of them would prefer you to park your feelings with your car in the morning and pick them up on the way home. That’s fine if you’re a robot. We can pretend, but unexpressed emotions pervade the working atmosphere even when we aren’t conscious of them.
For some, recognising their own emotions is challenging. If you work in a company where the cultural climate isn’t grounded in emotional intelligence, expressing your true emotions might feel unsafe. But simply by noticing what’s going on inside you makes it less likely your feelings will spill over into your work.
Imagine if you worked in an environment where you are encouraged to say how you really feel. The value is that in expressing emotions, their power to ruin your day is diminished – you can “name it to tame it.”