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How To Talk About Emotions At Work
Are you an over-emoter or under-emoter?
As the final third of the year starts to draw to a close, there’s a lot of emotion flying around.
Highs of end of year success, anxiety over the cost of living pressures or early panic ahead of Christmas; if you feel like you’re flitting between empty and adrenaline, you’re not alone. *And that’s before the elation and frustration of the World Cup.
This December whether you’re almost burned out or approaching an end-of-year high, keeping going and taking care of yourself and your team is imperative.
There isn’t one right way to talk about emotion at work, in the same way there isn’t a single blueprint for leadership.
And it can be difficult to judge how much emotion leaders should show and how in touch with the inner feelings of their team they need to be.
Because being a leader isn’t just about knowing your stuff or delivering astounding results.
Taking time to connect emotionally with the people in your team as human beings, not just team members can be game-changing for your team, and you.
In fact, it's one of the reasons acknowledged for setting nearly 90% of high-performing leaders apart from the rest.
So, this week to help you authentically talk about how you’re feeling now at work, here are five tools to help you.
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Reflect: Whilst our rational and logical selves often predominate at work, humans are multifaceted. It isn’t just about what’s going on in your head. Your heart, your body, your spirit, and your mind all impact the way you feel, live, and operate every day.
Reflect on what dominates for you.
When someone asks you how are you feeling, do you answer from your head, or from your heart, or your body?
For you, where do you sense a feeling of energy? or of peace? Does it come from your body, your head, your heart, or your spirit?
Model: Psychologist Dr. Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions can be a useful tool to identify how you are feeling when words don’t come easily.
The Wheel sets out 8 core emotions that include joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger, and disgust. Like colors, primary emotions can be experienced at different intensities and can mix with one another to create different emotional experiences. Positive Psychology has a useful guide here about how to use it in depth. Where do you find yourself today? What could be driving that?
Check-in: Ask your team how they are, and really listen. Don’t settle for a passing exchange of pleasantries. Five minutes deep conversation is so much more impactful, and also more efficient, than frequent adhoc chat in passing whilst your brain is multitasking.
Ask a specific question about their day/morning or work.
What words do they choose to use when they respond?
What do you observe from their tone of voice, body language, and energy?
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Watch: If you find it hard dealing with or displaying emotions at work, this four-minute clip by Liz Fosslein for TED’s The Way We Work Series, called How to Embrace Emotions At Work will help.
Read: There isn’t one right way to lead and there isn’t one right way to talk about emotions either. This Fast Company piece gives you five ways to authentically add emotion to your leadership style.
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